Vermeulen in a race to be fit for Rugby World Cup

Springbok loose forward Duane Vermeulen is in a race to be fit for South Africa’s
Rugby World Cup campaign in England.

Vermeulen will have a neck operation on Wednesday this week which will keep
him out of the Rugby Championship and if all goes well he could be eased back
in during the world cup pool stage matches.

“Duane will be put on an intensive post-operation rehabilitation programme
and we will work tirelessly to get him ready for the World Cup,” team doctor
Craig Roberts said Monday.

South Africa open their World Cup Pool B campaign on September 19 against Japan
in southern coastal town Brighton.

The surgery rules the 29-year-old No. 8 out of five pre-tournament matches
during July and August, including a Rugby Championship clash with arch-foes
New Zealand in Johannesburg.

Western Stormer Vermeulen, who illustrates more than any other forward the
ultra-physical South African approach, sustained the injury late in the Super
15 season.

“This is a huge setback for us,” admitted Springboks coach Heyneke
Meyer.

“As with any injury, it is something we simply have to overcome.

“That Duane is a world-class player was underlined last year when he was
named South African Rugby Player of the Year and nominated for World Rugby Player
of the Year.

“He is among the leaders in our squad and since making his debut in 2012
has become an integral member of the team.”

Roberts said,”Player welfare is very important which is why we made the
decision for Duane to undergo surgery.

“It is the best medium and long-term career option.”

Vermeulen will join European champions Toulon after the World Cup.

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