Vermeulen : We want to go and win a World Cup

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen says that his team mates in the South
Africa Rugby World Cup squad can’t wait to start playing in England and “want
to win a world cup”.

Vermeulen suffered a a potentially career-threatening neck injury in June,
but following surgery and successful rehabilitation the Springbok player of
the year in 2014 is expected to be fully ready to take on the Japanese.

Vermeulen says that he has fully recovered from injury and now that he is training
with the squad he feels he is ready to play in South Africa’s first Rugby World
Cup match on September 19 against Japan in Brighton, England.

“I’m ready and fit to go. I can’t wait to get on the pitch
and play a game,” said Vermeulen in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“We want to go there and win a World Cup.”

It was a long, arduous journey back to full-fitness, and there were times of
self-doubt admitted Vermeulen.

“There was a stage where I felt like it was going South, and not the
way you want it to go. But I got the go ahead from the surgeon saying I’ll
be ready to go and here I am in the 31-man squad and looking forward to my first
World Cup.

“I never quit. I was in a difficult position, but with all the guys that
surround me and the energy in the squad, that’s also a big motivator.
Some days you don’t feel like you’re ready or that you should be
here, but I’m very glad I’m in the squad. I just can’t wait
to play my first World Cup. If it’s not this time, you never know if you’ll
be selected for the next one.”

The 29-year-old was being eased back into full contact training, and the bruising
eighthman was itching to return to his physically dominating role at the back
of the Bok pack.

“In training I just wish I can run into a guy. From this week on everything
will fall into place and I can start making contact. I just need to take it
still a little bit easy in the breakdown sessions, otherwise it’s full
contact on the field.”

The forward said criticism of the players selected to do duty for the nation
at the World Cup did not bother the individuals, as the pride and sense of responsibility
outweighed any questions surrounding personnel.

“There are some experienced, and older guys but come match day against
Japan everyone will be available.

“Our focus is on the games we need to play, it doesn’t matter who
slots in where – those 23 guys will do their utmost to win a game and
represent our country.”

The bookies have South
Africa at 6/1 to win the Rugby World Cup.

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