Springbok legend Duane Vermuelen ready to pass on the baton

  • By Kate Nokwe

  • 14th August 2023

Springbok legend Duane Vermuelen ready to pass on the baton

Loose-forward Duane Vermeulen is embracing his final days as a Springbok, but he is determined to make sure those behind him understand what the jersey means.

At 37, Vermeulen is the oldest player in South Africa’s 33-man World Cup squad, and this is likely to be his last international assignment in France. 

If so, the Bok legend told SABC Sport he would like to leave a lasting legacy for the likes of Jasper Wiese, who is taking on the mantle.

"Well, there is the emotional side to it, and then obviously there's the jersey and what it means – it means different things to every individual who played in it," said Vermeulen.

"I actually had a good chat to a guy like Jasper Wiese, and Evan Roos – what I like, if I step out, hopefully they understand what the jersey meant for me, and hopefully the next guy – a youngster coming into the squad, can continue to pass it down."

Vermeulen is one of nine players who could make their third consecutive World Cup appearance, but he admits at one stage he second-guessed his place on the plane to France.

"If you asked me in the beginning of the year, I would have said, 'There's no way that I would make this squad.' And then, a couple of weeks ago when we started playing, I actually felt good and my body felt good, I was well rested," he added.

"Ulster, where I played, really managed me well throughout the season. So, I kind of feel refreshed, young, and energised – even if it doesn't say that on paper.

"But, ja, I'm in a good space, and I thought whatever happens, happens. I enjoyed my career, I had a good career, but it's still not over yet."