Springbok great Duane Vermeulen hints at coaching switch after World Cup

Springbok great Duane Vermeulen hints at coaching switch after World Cup

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen admits he is seriously considering turning his hand to coaching when he hangs up his rugby boots.

The legendary Bok forward is now 37 but remains a key part of the South African squad at this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

Vermeulen is currently without a club after leaving Ulster but it's unclear if he considers the World Cup his swansong in all forms of the game.

In June, he was quoted as saying: "I would love to be a part of it (the World Cup) and end my career on a proper high."

Nothing official has been announced with regards to his retirement, however, and Vermeulen has been linked with a return to the Bulls, although he reportedly turned it down.

Vermeulen was seen sitting in the coaches' box alongside Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber during the Boks' 13-8 defeat to Ireland last weekend and, as a result, the number eight was asked whether he had considered a move into coaching.

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"You never know. If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have probably said no," he said. "But when you finish, you want to give back to the younger guys.

"If the opportunity arises, if there is a possibility, then I would love to stay in the game. I would like to help younger guys, younger players.

"You never know where life takes you. But I love this game and it is difficult to step away when you have been in it for so long. It has been 19 years playing professional. It has been a good ride and it is not the end yet. So, hopefully, there is more to come."

Vermeulen also stated that his time in the Springboks coaching box was a great learning experience.

"It was crazy. As the coaches already said, they gave opportunities to players to sit in coaching meetings. Everyone is welcome to sit in these meetings. They also give some players the opportunity to come up in the coaching box," he added.

"We see and watch the game from a different angle. We also see how the coaches look at the game and it brings you a different perspective to the game as a player. Players think about the game differently as coaches during this specific time so, for us, it is a nice dynamic.

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"It makes us learn a little bit and shows us how we might think about the game. [Against Ireland] we knew what we wanted to do and achieve, and we had our opportunities. It is also daunting to be up there, but I actually enjoyed it. It was good fun.

"But I would rather be on the pitch. I love it, that is the most important thing. That is what it is all about."

Although Vermeulen enjoyed the chance to learn the ropes, he admitted to feeling helpless by not being amongst the action on the field.

"The strangest thing was to be sitting there and not being able to do anything. When you are on the pitch, you are part of the game, and you can still make it change. You can change the outcome of the game," he said.

"But when you are at the top, you give the players the info on what you want and what you see, but it is still up to the players on the field. That is the difficult part of being a coach. You can't do anything about the outcome of the game."

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