Duane Vermeulen returns to the Boks squad
Barrel chested No8 Duane Vermeulen is back in the Bok squad.
He returns as official replacement for prop Coenie Oosthuizen who’s tour is over‚ but in reality has been called up as stand-in for the concussed Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Vermeulen‚ who last played for the Boks in their victory over Ireland at Ellis Park last year‚ has only played two Tests under coach Allister Coetzee.
He also played in the first Test of that series.
Although Coetzee is increasingly loathed to select foreign-based players‚ Vermeulen’s skill set matches what the coach is looking for.
That much became apparent in the way the coach illuminated what Du Toit had to offer.
Whether Vermeulen will this week leapfrog other squad members into the starting team remains to be seen.
Either way‚ Du Toit’s injury has come as a blow.
Usually a lock‚ Du Toit's efficacy on the side of the scrum had been questioned before he packed down there with some punch against New Zealand in Cape Town.
His partnership with Siya Kolisi and Francois Louw worked on the day.
He delivered another honest shift against Ireland last weekend‚ although most Bok performances of that calibre were drowned out by mediocrity elsewhere.
“He left the field with five minutes left (against Ireland) for a concussion test which he unfortunately failed‚” said team doctor Conrad von Hagen.
“We’ll follow the normal concussion protocol to determine his return to play but he won’t be available for selection this weekend.”
It comes in the back of tighthead Oosthuizen’s devastating injury.
“He had a scan in Dublin and it was a MCL and ACL tear which means he will need surgery and he’ll be out for an extended period.
"He’s on his way home where he’ll see a knee surgeon as soon as possible‚” said Dr Von Hagen.