Bulls skipper Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
- Duane Vermeulen’s availability for the series against the British & Irish Lions remains in doubt due to the unpredictable nature of his ankle injury, Springbok management have confirmed.
- For now, however, no replacement will be called up.
- National coach Jacques Nienaber is more optimistic over burn victims Damian de Allende and RG Snyman, who might need two to four weeks for their wounds to heal.
The Springboks will not call up a replacement for Duane Vermeulen yet as they adopt a wait-and-see approach on his ankle surgery.
Jacques Nienaber, the national coach, on Wednesday confirmed that his talismanic eighthman went under the knife to repair ligament damage sustained in last weekend’s Rainbow Cup clash between the Bulls and Stormers.
However, the nature of the injury means that there’s currently no clear time-frame on him potentially being ready for the series against the British & Irish Lions.
“Obviously that will be determined by the doctor when he’s seen the extent of the damage and how the surgery went,” Nienaber said from Bloemfontein, where a group of overseas-based players have assembled for a conditioning camp.
“It’s my understanding that this type of injury can take between five to 16 weeks depending on the severity. I joked a bit that they’re really covering their bases in this regard.”
Vermeulen’s operation is similar to one midfielder Jesse Kriel had to undergo before the 2019 World Cup and that rehabilitation process was relatively speedy.
As a result, Bok management are hoping the 34-year-old work horse can recover in time.
“The process differs from person to person. We’ll have clarity later,” said Nienaber.
Marcell Coetzee, the Bulls’ new ace, was speculated to be in line for a quick recall after being left out of the extended squad, but following “discussions”, a replacement won’t be forthcoming.
Nienaber, a qualified physiotherapist, has a more positive prognosis on Damian de Allende and RG Snyman, who both sustained burns from a fire pit accident in Ireland last weekend.
“I spoke to both of them and they are fine, which is the most important thing,” he said.
“They are seeing a burn specialist on Friday and if he clears them to fly, they’ll be on a plane coming back to us subject to some of the logistics being sorted like booking the flights.”
The Springbok mentor added that, “if all goes according to plan”, the World Cup-winning duo would be able to be line up for the first Test against Georgia on July 9.
“The challenge with burns is just if those wounds get infected or if there’s another medical reason why they can’t fly out as soon as possible. We have to be adaptable,” he said.
“The healing of the burn wounds can take anything between two to four weeks. Currently sitting here, I’m very optimistic that they’ll be good to go.”
Snyman, however, will additionally need to show that he’s recovered from a long-term knee injury.