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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen says lessons learned during the June Tests have put the team in a great position ahead of the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks enjoyed an impressive start to the 2014 season, beating the World XV (47-13), Wales (38-16 and 31-30) and Scotland (55-6). South Africa scored 23 tries during these games, which creates great attacking confidence heading into the Rugby Championship.

The squad gathered in Johannesburg on Monday to start their tournament preparations. Vermeulen explained that the team boasts a special environment.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has conceded that there is an outside chance that his team may be without kingpin No 8 Duane Vermeulen in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands.

Vermeulen normally sits out Monday training session as part of Coetzee’s way of managing the hard working Springbok, who has played every game he has been available for at both Super Rugby and international level this year. However when he was also absent from training when the team ran at Newlands on Wednesday, it did prompt speculation that perhaps it wasn’t quite business as usual with Vermeulen this time around.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee adopted a different approach to his former Springbok management colleague Jake White during the break from Vodacom Super Rugby for the June internationals.

While White had his Cell C Sharks players play club rugby in the last weeks of the break so they don’t hit the remaining phase of the season cold, Coetzee’s players haven’t played in any matches since the win over the Sharks in Durban on the last day of May. The only players to see action in June were the Springboks.

However, the Stormers shouldn’t expect to take any cobwebs into Saturday’s big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands as in the two weeks back in training after the taking the first two weeks off, the Stormers have been steadily upping the intensity in training.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be hoping for a special performance against Wales when he makes his homecoming appearance in Mbombela on Saturday.

Playing in his 18th Test in the green and gold, Vermeulen missed out on the first ever Springbok match played in the Mpumalanga capital, against Scotland last year, because of injury.

The 28-year-old would return to the place where he took his first steps on the rugby field as a barefoot young boy.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

South AfricaCell C Sharks backline star Frans Steyn is unlikely to feature for the Springboks in the June Internationals.

Steyn was one of 10 players who took no or little part in the field sessions at the Springbok training camp in Durban, which concluded on Wednesday.

Steyn has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction which has been managed by Sharks and upon a request from his franchise, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.

While the severity of the injury will only be confirmed later in the week, Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. It is also possible that Steyn could miss the latter stages of Super Rugby, which would be a body blow to the Sharks.

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Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 013

Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 2013

The June Internationals are close at hand and Heyneke Meyer has already showed his hand to a certain extent by selecting a Springbok Training Group, which currently excludes players plying their trade in the UK and Europe.

The recent injury to Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, now determines that a  “Stand-in” Springbok captain will have to be selected and coupled to this the Springbok midfield positions are bound to be re-constituted.

Injuries to key players, specially flyhalf, as well as the 3-match suspension of Adriaan Strauss at hooker will see some juggling around of the match-day 23 and some very clear thinking will be required by Heyneke Meyer to address these issues.

We take a look at the Springbok Captaincy candidates as well as midfield combination and look at hooker options to function as back-up to Bismarck du Plessis.

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Stormers

This is the forth in the series of Stormers Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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AustraliaSouth AfricaThe hype building up to this match was big and the result as well especially if you support the Springboks. They dominated from the word go and also built the lead from early on. The match started at a huge tempo and held that most of the match, giving fans a great match to watch. The scoring of the match started slow with the Springboks scoring a early try but the Wallabies stayed in touch with penalties.

The end result of 38 – 12 in favour of the Springboks and a bonus point to boot has moved the Springboks 1 Log point clear at the top of the Log, 1 point ahead of the All Blacks, who they will be facing next weekend.

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South AfricaFourie du PreezGurthro SteenkampDuane VermeulenThe Springbok selectors have opted for continuity when they named a 30-man squad for the opening two rounds of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship later this month against Argentina.

Only three players who were not part of the Springbok squad which won the Castle Lager Incoming Series in June have been added to the squad.

They are experienced scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who has been selected for the Springboks for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Duane Vermeulen (No 8), who last played for the Springboks in November 2012.

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Stormers“This is where the debate starts to get interesting. So much conjecture around Schalk Burger, his role and where he should play. With Francois Louw gone, is the fetching role going to be an area of contention?” This was my view from the same article 12 months ago – has anything changed?

Schalk Burger still under a cloud, Nizaam Carr still hobbling, but a plethora of very good players in the squad means that if these two players do ever get into frontline rugby again, the Stormers will certainly be able to post a formidable loose trio on match days!

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DHL Western Province No 8 Duane Vermeulen and Toyota Free State Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen are the two uncapped players that have been added to the Springbok squad for the Australasian leg of The Castle Rugby Championship.

The squad of 28 for Tests against Australia in Perth (September 8) and New Zealand in Dunedin (September 15), was finalised on Wednesday.

Apart from the inclusion of Vermeulen and Goosen, there were recalls for DHL Western Province midfielder Juan de Jongh as well as loose forward Francois Louw, who has captained Bath in England.

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Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was reminded how important a physical back-row will be in Saturday’s Super Rugby semifinal, so he will be anxiously awaiting further assessments on the condition of Duane Vermeulen before finalising his team for the Newlands showdown with the Sharks.

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