Schalk Burger pays tribute to Duane Vermeulen after final Bok home game

Schalk Burger pays tribute to Duane Vermeulen after final Bok home game

Former Stormers and Springboks flanker Schalk Burger has paid tribute to his ex-teammate Duane Vermeulen after his final home game for South Africa.

Vermeulen confirmed that Saturday's Test at Ellis Park against Argentina was his final match on South African soil for the Boks.

The 37-year-old is set to hang up his boots after the Rugby World Cup and is widely expected to go into coaching with reported offers to join the Springboks or Bulls as defence and forwards coach.

Vermeulen captained the Springboks in his final home game as South Africa claimed a narrow 22-21 victory over Los Pumas.

Burger was in attendance for the match in his role as a pundit for South African broadcaster Supersport and spoke highly of his ex-Stormers and Springboks teammate.

"Fortunately, I started playing against him when played for the Cheetahs just after he came from the Lowveld, from Nelspruit, and then obviously, thankfully, joined us down in Cape Town [at the Stormers]," Burger said.

"So I spent many a time with him at number eight, me at openside [flanker], and Francois Louw at blindside flanker.

"Then we managed to play a few Test matches together [for the Springboks], but like you saw him tonight, the way he carried deep and he carried hard.

"And he's got, like, a calmness about him; it's almost like the bigger the occasion, the bigger Duane gets.

"He's the man for the big occasion, and he's always that type of calm influence within your changing room.

"So when you're getting flustered, or the second-half when the Boks were under the pump, you always see him talking to the ref at good opportunities. Experience brings that on to you as well.

"You know, three months ago, we were looking at possible World Cup squad, and you think maybe Duane is not even in the mix? He captains tonight and puts up a captain's performance."