D-day for ThorMeulen
FROM THE BOK CAMP: The Springboks will reveal on Tuesday if talisman Duane Vermeulen will feature in the decisive third Test against the British and Irish Lions.
The experienced No.8, Vermeulen, joined the Springbok team at their Cape Town base on Sunday.
He missed the opening two Tests against the British & Irish Lions after undergoing injury surgery – an injury he suffered while featuring for the Bulls in a Rainbow Cup match.
The No.8 jersey has been donned by Albertus Smith in the first Test and Jasper Wiese during the second in Cape Town.
The duo delivered solid displays in their respective outings, but don’t have the experience that Vermeulen possesses.
To add to the injury concerns for the Boks in the loose forward department is World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph Du Toit, who is also doubtful for the final Test against B&I Lions.
Du Toit sustained a shoulder injury during the Springboks 27-9 win over the weekend.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Springboks assistant coach Deon Davids could not confirm the availability of Vermeulen for this weekend’s crucial encounter.
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“It is fantastic to have Duane Vermeulen back in the group,” Davids said.
“He’ll be joining our training session today [Monday] and has already been part of review sessions.
“We will hopefully have more details on his injury tomorrow [Tuesday].”
Meanwhile, Bulls director of Rugby Jake White painted a bleak picture, suggesting Vermeulen’s return could come in the first or second Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina – both in Port Elizabeth, on August 14 and 21.
The Springboks are set to name their team for the third test on Tuesday.
Regarding an update on the injuries of Du Toit, Francois de Klerk and Retshegofaditswe Nche, Davids said: “We are in the 48th-hour protocol assessing all the injuries.
“The medical staff are working closely with the coaching group and will an announcement on Tuesday.”
Aside from Vermeulen, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber has added Jaden Hendrikse, Rosko Specman, Dan Du Preez and Johan Grobbelaar to the squad.