Ver­meulen called up, Du Toit out

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Liam Del Carme

Bar­rel-chested No 8 Duane Ver­meulen is back in the Spring­bok squad, re­turn­ing as of­fi­cial re­place­ment for prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen, whose tour is over‚ but ac­tu­ally has been called up as stand-in for the con­cussed Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Bar­rel-chested No 8 Duane Ver­meulen is back in the Spring­bok squad, re­turn­ing as of­fi­cial re­place­ment for prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen whose 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 Spring­boks in their vic­tory over Ire­land at El­lis Park in 2016‚ has only played two Tests un­der coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee.

He also played in the first Test of that se­ries.

Although Coet­zee is in­creas­ingly loath to se­lect for­eign­based play­ers‚ Ver­meulen’s skill set will match 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 Spring­bok 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 Bok 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 on the back of tight­head Oosthuizen’s dev­as­tat­ing tour-end­ing in­jury.

“Coe­nie had a scan in Dublin and it was an MCL [me­dial col­lat­eral lig­a­ment] and ACL [an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment] 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 Von Ha­gen.

/Gallo Im­ages

Back in the frame: Duane Ver­meulen, called up by coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee, last played for the Spring­boks in 2016.

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