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Boks will adapt if they have to

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In the past two years we have adapted to all the different scenarios the pandemic has thrown at us.

Duane Vermeulen (c) of the Vodacom Bulls during the 2020/21 Carling Black Label Currie Cup game between the Vodacom Bulls and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria in december last year. Picture: Christiaan Kotze, BackpagePix

SOUTH AFRICAN rugby’s newly-crowned Player of the Year, Duane Vermeulen, says the Springboks will have to adapt to whichever scenario is thrown at them regarding the British and Irish Lions tour.

The tough No 8 yesterday also scooped SA Rugby’s Super Rugby Player of the Year award while his Bulls team cleaned up most of the other awards.

As things stand, the Lions are highly unlikely to tour South Africa in July because of the Covid-19 pandemic and on the table are options for the tour to take place either in the UK and Ireland, or in Australia.

“It’s a difficult one,” Vermeulen said shortly after receiving his awards. “Obviously, we would love to host the Lions.

“You only get them every 12 years. For our economy, the masses of tourists spending pounds in the country on the wine farms and tourism … it would be a pity if it doesn’t happen in South Africa.

“But obviously, we will need to adapt,” the 34-year-old continued. “In the past two years we have adapted to all the different scenarios the pandemic has thrown at us. If we have to go play there, then we can’t do anything about it. We haven’t played any Springbok rugby for the past couple of years.

“It doesn’t matter where we play as long as we are playing.”

Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen. Picture: Twitter, South African [email protected]

Vermeulen pointed out that April’s Rainbow Cup would be invaluable for South African rugby should the Lions series take place in the UK.

“It would be really beneficial for us in terms of playing against guys who might be selected for the Lions and getting used to the conditions,” he said. “Also, SA Rugby could see how we perform in those conditions and see who they can rely on and pick for those specific conditions.”

2020 SA Rugby Awards

Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen

Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Cornal Hendricks, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Steyn

Young Player of the Year: Wandisile Simelane

Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Stedman Gans, Ruan Nortje, Dylan Richardson

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Stedman Gans

Finalists: Angelo Davids, Selvyn Davids

Team of the Year: Bulls

Finalists: Sharks, Springbok Sevens

Coach of the Year: Jake White

Finalists: Sean Everitt, Neil Powell

Super Rugby and Unlocked Player of Year: Duane Vermeulen

Finalists: Frans Steyn, Marco van Staden

Currie Cup Player of the Year: Cornal Hendricks

Finalists: Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen

Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper