Vermeulen a future Springbok

Written by Clayton Saville (Clayton(PJLD))

Posted in :Cheetahs, In the news, Super 14 on 24 Apr 2008 at 09:04

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen for IOL

He’s been compared to legend Andre Venter and team-mate Juan Smith, and just like them, Duane Vermeulen is a man of few words.

Like former Springbok legend Venter and World Cup-winning Bok Smith, the 21-year-old Cheetahs loose forward is making his mark on the field, rather than in the press through bold statements.

Vermeulen has made something of a meteoric rise since joining the Cheetahs at the end of 2006 from the Pumas and is increasingly being spoken of as a potential Bok this year.

If he continues to produce the kind of rugby he’s played in the Super 14, and during last year’s Currie Cup, it’ll be a case of when, not if, Vermeulen wears the green and gold.

Unfortunately, he won’t be able to measure himself against one of the best loose forwards in the world – Jerry Collins of the Hurricanes – this weekend as the big New Zealander has returned home after picking up a rib injury. But in Rodney So’oialo and Chris Masoe, Vermeulen will have more than enough quality opposition to know exactly where he stands after Saturday’s outing.

Vermeulen’s big attribute is that he can play on either side of the scrum and at No8. “I played openside a bit last year, but am more comfortable at blindside or No8,” says Vermeulen, who played Craven Week Rugby for the Pumas in 2004. He ran out for the Mpumalanga Currie Cup team in 2005 and 2006 after matriculating from Hoerskool Nelspruit.

“I don’t really mind where I play as long as I get game-time,” he says.

He admits that joining the Cheetahs has had a significant impact on his rise to the top, where he regularly features in the weekly Super 14 form teams picked by scribes in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

“I knew that if I wanted to progress, I had to join a big union. The Cheetahs offered me that chance. Getting an opportunity to play Super 14 rugby was the key for me and obviously the next goal is to make the Springbok side,” he said.

“I’ve gained good experience playing against the best in the Super 14, while the players around me at the Cheetahs – especially someone like Juan Smith – have added to my growth as a player. But the coaches and all the players have had an input in my development.

“It’s also important to remember that an individual is only as good as the players around him, and here at the Cheetahs, we’re a close-knit group who have set high standards for each other. The Cheetahs also play the kind of rugby which suits my game.”

Vermeulen is certainly in the same mould as Venter and Smith in that he not only brings aggressive running to the loose trio, but also the ability to be a key lineout man. He’s also an effective ball-winner on the ground, which only adds to his array of skills. This is perhaps the one trait that makes him a more dangerous player than teammate and captain Smith, who is not known for his ability to steal ball on the ground.

While the Cheetahs have won just once this Super 14 season – they’ve lost a number of games by seven points or less – they’ve played some of the best attacking rugby of all the local sides. And Vermeulen has played a big part in those attacking moves. He says that little mistakes have cost them a number of victories this season, but, ahead of their clash with the Hurricanes this weekend, he adds there is still a lot to play for.

“It’s been tough at times to lift one’s head and stay motivated, especially when those tight games have got away from us. But, there’s no point in staying down… one has to look up and forward to the next game or you’ll never move on.

“We want to make right in the coming weeks what went wrong in the first half of the tournament and hopefully we can finish up in mid-table. The longer we play together as a team, the stronger we’ll become and the more dangerous we’ll be.”

Vermeulen may just be one of a number of genuinely classy loose forwards doing the rounds in South African rugby at the moment, but he’s certainly doing his Springbok chances no harm with his consistently good performances this year. He’s a versatile loose forward who seems to know exactly where the ball’s going to be, and it’s no coincidence he was named Man of the Match three times in last year’s Currie Cup. He’s won that award once this year, against the Reds, and he’s a player on top of his game.


  • Without a doubt!

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.04.08 09:07:38 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • Hoerskool? 😯 They have schools for that now? 😆

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.04.08 09:14:59 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
  • Haven’t see enough Cheetahs game to pass comment, i always believe it best with new players coming through to talk to about them in their second season…..a good example is Robbie Diack – burst onto the scene was talked about as a future Bok etc etc and now is languishing on the bench….his second season was also a serious downer after the fireworks of season one.

    Best of luck to this kid and hope his second season at this level is just as good as everyone suggests.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.04.08 09:20:17 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 of 3…..:D

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.04.08 09:23:14 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Cheetahs should develop their own talent instead of pinching it from the Pumas 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.04.08 09:25:07 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • This guyis definitely a future Bok. Nice size for a loosie too, very difficult to bring down and invariably gets past the first line of defence!

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.04.08 09:34:50 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner
  • He’s been the star in the Cheetahs side this year…and like the article says has got BOK written all over him…pity the Lions didn’t buy him when he was at the Pumas…LOL!

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.04.08 11:17:02 by walter van Reply

    walter van Lions World
  • Hey Walter with that 30m they have from A&G and who knows how much from Xerox they may just still do that 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.04.08 11:24:14 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Don’t know if we will buy him know…Alberts and Big Joe plays at No 8 for us and they’re doing okay.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.04.08 11:28:05 by walter van Reply

    walter van Lions World
  • He’s very good and I think is a natural back-up to Juan Smith (not quite the same presence as Juan yet tho), but with both Spies and Kanko in such form and also young, he’s up against it for 8th man.

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.04.08 12:11:40 by cab Reply

  • Sauce at 3, also true, let see 2nd S14 season. Brussouw also been very good in his 1st S14 season.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.04.08 12:13:02 by cab Reply

  • Robbie Diack was only hyped up because he plays for Stormers/Wee Pee and we all know that the SA rugby press are predominantly Cape based!! 👿

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.04.08 13:53:12 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Villie – when am I suppose to make a F1 predict? When is the race?? 😳

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.04.08 13:54:48 by I'ce (TKMITFM) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Ice – the next race is on Sunday. Probably best to wait until Saturday to make your predictions coz that way you can see who is on pole, who has gone fastest in practice etc

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.04.08 14:21:59 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner

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