Duane Vermeulen

Ashfak Mohamed

DUANE VERMEULEN is set to stay with the Stormers for at least two more years.

The Cape Times understands that Vermeulen has signed a two-year extension to his current contract that expires this year.

His absence in the latter stages of this season’s campaign had a big impact on the Stormers as they missed his physicality and game sense, especially in the 26-19 semi-final defeat to the Sharks.

The big No 8 is also highly rated by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, and would probably have started against England in June if it wasn’t for his knee ligament injury.

After clinching the signatures of “young guns” Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi earlier in the season for the next three years, the Stormers are also likely to announce next Monday that senior players Peter Grant and Tiaan Liebenberg will stay with the Cape side in 2013.

Other senior players such as captain Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana signed three-year contracts earlier this year, as have Coetzee and assistant coaches Matthew Proudfoot and Robbie Fleck. However, defence guru Jacques Nienaber may still join up with the Springboks in the near future.

Grant will once again miss out on playing for WP in the Currie Cup, which starts next Saturday, August 11, against the Sharks at Newlands. He will return to his Japanese club side Kobe Steelers immediately if he is not included in the Bok squad for the Rugby Championship, which is likely to be announced next Monday after the Super Rugby final.

The No 10 will then come back to the Stormers once his Japanese season is completed early next year.

Demetri Catrakilis is the likely first-choice WP flyhalf, as Gary van Aswegen has only recently recovered from his ankle injury. Also, the two youngsters could be fighting it out for a WP contract for next year. Coach Allister Coetzee said he was “not certain” if the Stormers’ back-up pivot Burton Francis, who does not have a contract, will stay at WP. Francis is rumoured to be moving to Griquas.

WP already have several young flyhalves on their books, including Baby Bok Dillyn Leyds, while former Bishops star Tim Swiel is also making his way to the top.

And after losing Handré Pollard to the Bulls, WP are believed to have countered by snapping up Bulls Craven Week flyhalf Ryno Eksteen (who was included in the SA Schools squad at the weekend), as well as Sharks centre Paul Jordaan’s younger brother Pieter (a centre/flyhalf) from the Cheetahs for next year.