It was long anticipated, but now it’s for real – Duane Vermeulen is a Bull.
The Springbok No 8 will join the Super Rugby team for the 2019 competition in February.
The Pretoria franchise announced on Friday that Vermeulen will be part of their squad for the duration of the Super Rugby season.
His return to South African rugby is part of the bigger picture of the Springboks, with coach Rassie Erasmus regarding Vermeulen as a key part of his World Cup plans.
And having played for Kubota Spears in Japan over the last few months, his experience of the conditions will also assist the Boks in 2019.
“2019 is going to be a massive year for us,” said Vermeulen, “and I’m keen on starting it with an impact at Loftus. The Bulls have always been a team that I have respected, and I’m looking forward to joining the family.”
The 32-year-old former Pumas, Cheetahs and Stormers stalwart will beef up a Bulls pack that has gone backwards regularly over the last few years after the golden generation led by Victor Matfield retired.
Now it’s a new beginning with Vermeulen, as well as a new Super Rugby coach that will be appointed soon, following the departure of John Mitchell to England.
It’s all change at the Bulls in the administration as well, with Willem Strauss recently elected as the president for the next four years, while Barend van Graan will make way for a new chief executive in early 2019.