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Vermeulen possibly preparing for life after rugby with coaching role

Vermeulen will be donning the Bok No7 jersey for the first time in a long while, as he strikes up a partnership with Siya Kolisi and Jasper Wiese.

Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen is possibly preparing himself for the next stage of his life, with an eye on coaching after he was spotted in the Bok coaching box during their World Cup pool loss against Ireland over the past weekend.

He is however back in the starting line-up for their clash against Tonga on Sunday and will be aiming to make a big impact.

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Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said he was unsure what Vermeulen’s future plans are, but claimed that it wasn’t strange to have a player in the coaching box.

“I can’t say if he’s preparing for the future. It’s not the first time that we have had a player in the box. It’s good for us as coaches to sometimes have a player (there), because they give us a different perspective of how our communication is within the team,” said Nienaber.

“They get a sense of the frustration that coaches are sometimes under in a coaches’ box. That grows them as a player.

“Our coaches’ meeting starts at seven in the morning, any player can join that. Let’s say it gets to something sensitive like team selection, we will excuse them from the meeting and have the internal discussion, but they are more than willing, from 2018, to sit in coaches’ meeting as much as they want.”

Side of the scrum

Vermeulen will be donning the Bok No7 jersey for the first time in a long while, as he strikes up a partnership with his captain Siya Kolisi and Jasper Wiese at the back of the scrum.

At the 2019 World Cup Vermeulen’s role was as the first choice eighthman and one of the defensive co-ordinators, with him putting in massive performances over the competition including in the final against England where he was named man-of-the-match.

However, this time round he is the most experienced player in the Bok setup and he has a more encompassing role, similar to that of former Bok loose forward Francois Louw.

“Duane’s role, if you look back to 2019, the best way to describe it is a Francois Louw role. He’s a guy that can start, that can play a test match for you, but he’s also a guy that’s got a lot of experience and he adds his wealth of knowledge into the group,” explained Nienaber.

“I’m not saying that he can’t start. Look at Francois Louw, the contribution he made in that semi-final (against Wales) for us, to get a penalty in the 76th minute. 

“Big moments, big roles, been there before – he’s (Vermeulen) probably in that mould, but if there’s an injury and he has to start and play the whole game, he’s more than fit and good enough to do that.”