Duane Vermeulen: Springboks veteran in talks to return to a former club

Jared Wright
bulls Springboks veteran Duane Vermeulen is in talks to return to South Africa with a former club following his departure from URC side Ulster.

Springboks veteran Duane Vermeulen played his final game for Ulster in the United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final defeat to Connacht on Friday.

But discussions are currently ongoing for the 36-year-old to rejoin a former team, either as a coach or a player.

Vermeulen was confirmed as one of 10 departees from Ulster at the end of the season, and reports in South Africa state that he is considering a return to Pretoria.

Return to the Bulls

The 2019 Rugby World Cup winner is understood to be considering retirement after the tournament in France but could continue playing with a return to the Bulls on the card.

“It makes sense to give Duane an interim place here. His experience and knowledge will be invaluable. Whether this is only in the short term is uncertain. It all depends on Duane’s future decision after the World Cup,” a Bulls insider told Netwerk24.

“If it depends on Jake [White], he’ll want to keep Duane at Loftus longer.”

The report adds that Ulster could release Vermeulen back to South Africa before the end of the month, and he could turn out for the Currie Cup side to remain match-fit for the Springboks.

The role at the Bulls is believed to be a combination of a player and an assistant coach.

Players and coaches frequently commend Vermeulen for his meticulousness and analytical expertise, and he has been tipped for a successful coaching career once he does hang up his boots. A return to the Bulls could be his first step in doing so.

Duane Vermeulen’s career

The number eight featured for the Bulls between 2019 and 2021, playing a significant part as they won back-to-back Currie Cup titles and a Super Rugby Unlocked trophy.

Having started his career at the Pumas back in 2005, he had a short stint at the Cheetahs before signing for the Stormers and Western Province in 2009.

The 63-Test cap loose forward represented the Cape-based side until 2015, when he signed a deal with Top 14 giants Toulon.

The well-travelled Bok also had a stint in Japan before linking up with the Bulls and, finally, Ulster.

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