Former Springbok Duane Vermeulen on the verge of first coaching job

Jared Wright
Springboks' Duane Vermeulen reacts during the Rugby World Cup final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis

Springboks' Duane Vermeulen reacts during the Rugby World Cup final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

Double Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks forward Duane Vermeulen appears set to start his coaching career imminently.

The 37-year-old brought his playing career to an end in the World Cup final against New Zealand last month and now looks poised to take up a coaching role in South Africa.

Throughout his playing career, Vermeulen has been praised for his rugby intellect and been tipped for a successful coaching career once he hung up his boots.

Duane Vermeulen set for Stormers return

While a role with the Springboks has been suggested, a return to the Stormers – who he played for between 2009 and 2015 – is on the cards.

“We started talking with Duane last year, we knew he was going to retire, and he was keen to stay in Cape Town,” Stormers head coach John Dobson told reporters this week.

“We reached an idea where he could look after the forwards in our pathway, which is very important, making sure those guys are technically strong.

“He is technically outstanding. He acts as a player-coach wherever he goes; he certainly did at Ulster and, I suspect, very much at the Springboks. If we could get him up here, that would be great. But it is subject to a few things.”

In 2021, SA Rugby took administrative control of the Western Province Rugby Football Union and Stormers, and despite an equity deal being approved for the union and the URC club, there are final processes that have not been completed.

Dobson added that these final sign-offs mean that the Stormers have been unable to complete the addition of Vermeulen as a coach.

“It’s curious; we are still under full administration. The Red Disa consortium doesn’t have full control, but they also have to get insight into what we spend during this period. We can’t laden them with all sorts of spending, Dobson explained.

“We see how Duane fits in here, and we think he is keen to come, and we are keen to have him. But it still does need some movement off the field. There’s a will for everybody to make it happen. So hopefully, we can get it wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.”

“I would love to stay in the game”

During the World Cup, Vermeulen hinted that he was interested in a coaching role after his playing career.

“You never know. If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have probably said no,” he said. “But when you finish, you want to give back to the younger guys.

“If the opportunity arises, if there is a possibility, then I would love to stay in the game. I would like to help younger guys, younger players. You never know where life takes you. But I love this game and it is difficult to step away when you have been in it for so long.”

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