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Bok No 8 Vermeulen to lead Bulls

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Duane Vermeulen has played 54 Tests for South Africa and impressed the new director of rugby at the Bulls, Jake White.

Duane Vermeulen has been named Bulls captain. Picture: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Seasoned Springbok loose-forward Duane Vermeulen will captain the Bulls later this year.

The experienced No 8, who played such a pivotal part in the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan last year, follows in the footsteps of the likes of Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez and Adriaan Strauss, who all led the Pretoria-based union in their prime.

Vermeulen basically takes over from centre Burger Odendaal, who was captain of the side earlier this year before Covid-19 hit the world and brought a sudden halt to rugby and sport across the globe. Odendaal has subsequently left the Bulls and joined the Lions in Joburg.

The 34-year-old Vermeulen turned out for the Bulls last season after joining from Toulon in France. He previously also played for the Stormers and Cheetahs and started his career with the Pumas. Most recently he featured for the Kubota Spears in Japan, but returned to South Africa when the coronavirus struck the world.

Vermeulen has played 54 Tests for South Africa and won over new director of rugby at the Bulls, Jake White.

Vermeulen’s first assignment as Bulls leader will possibly be in this country’s new-look Currie Cup-style competition which is set to get underway in the middle of next month. South African rugby bosses are hoping to soon stage an eight-team competition – the format of which is still to be determined – in what is called a “bio-bubble” in one venue, until early December.

The Bulls will be joined in this competition by their three local Super Rugby competitors, the Lions, Sharks and Stormers; the two Pro 14 sides, the Kings and Cheetahs; as well as new franchises, Griquas and the Pumas.

@jacq_west