Duane Vermeulen could make his return to the Springbok team against England in November. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

It has been on the cards for a while, but now it seems to have taken another step closer to being a done deal.

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who is currently playing in Japan for Kubota Spears, is set to play for the Bulls in 2019 and 2020 according to a report by Netwerk24 on Saturday, who stated the Pretoria team are set to make an announcement soon.

Vermeulen left French club Toulon earlier this year, having moved there from the Stormers and Western Province.

The 32-year-old returned to the Bok fold for the three-Test series against England in June.

But he was unavailable for the Rugby Championship as he wanted to get away from the game for a while and recharge his batteries, as part of the plan to ensure he is in top shape for next year’s World Cup.

Now that he has done that in Japan, he will look to get into top shape at the Bulls, who will have a new coach in charge after John Mitchell quit to join England last month.

Vermeulen will be in a dual contract with the Bulls and SA Rugby to ensure that he is available for all Springbok matches in 2019 ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

He is also expected to return to the Bok team for the upcoming end-of-year tour to Europe.

Netwerk24 added that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will be part of advisory committee that will assist in the process of appointing the next Bulls coach.

Erasmus will join Blue Bulls Coaching Association chairman Blikkies Groenewald, outgoing chief executive Barend van Graan and former Western Province coach Alan Zondagh on the committee.

Blue Bulls Rugby Union president Willem Strauss added that Erasmus will not be a “celebrity coach” in Super Rugby, but that his “expertise could prove valuable for a period”.

The likes of Jimmy Stonehouse, Victor Matfield, John Dobson and Deon Davids have been mentioned as possible Bulls coaching candidates.

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