Jake, Bulls give Duane a pat on the back

Henry

Duane Vermeulen made a definite difference in his time at Loftus Versfeld and the hard-bearded loose forward led the Pretorians to a Currie Cup and Super Rugby Unlocked title.

On Wednesday, SA Rugby confirmed the official retirement of the 37-year-old World Cup winner – who is known to friends and foes as “Thor”.

In addition to his 76 international tests, Vermeulen also played in 23 games for the Bulls and Jake White praised the Springbok star for his professional approach to the game.

“Duane was an influential player in his time at Loftus; someone who not only boasts an incredible work ethic, but also possesses the ability to change the course of a game in the blink of an eye,” said White.

According to the Bulls’ head coach, Vermeulen’s smart technical play often ensured that the Bulls were on the front foot in the set pieces.

“You gain a lot of confidence when you know that a player comes up with excellent play on a regular basis. He is a top leader and his teammates enjoy being in his presence.”

After his time at Loftus, Vermeulen played a few matches for Ulster and coach Dan McFarland did not hesitate to use the honey brush to describe his rugby skills.

“Duane is a great player, he is the eighth man of the defending World Champion team and the player of the match in the final of the 2019 World Cup tournament. His experience is invaluable,” McFarland said at the time.