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A Duane for all occasions



The pecking order of world rugby’s eighthmen has been exhaustively debated around South African braaivleis fires.

All of us appreciate the silky skills of the likes of New Zealand’s Kieran Read and Italy’s Sergio Parisse, but would we really swap the DHL Stormers’ Duane Vermeulen for either of them?

Vermeulen isn’t flashy, but his trademark take-no-prisoners performances make for compelling viewing. He’s a fearless and forceful defender, who is also very adept at winning turnover possession at rucks.

Every now and then we see an off-load pass, but his coaches don’t want him to try and make that his core business. “Stick to what you’re good at” is the mantra. Or, in his case, what you’re really good at.

“I don’t think you have to change, but you can improve,” says Vermeulen. “Every guy has his playing style. That is what got you to where you are. It’s what makes you unique and special. I’m happy with my approach. I do make the odd off-load, but I just want to jol!”

That he does with aplomb. And, as is the case with any world-class player, he’s continuously striving for perfection.

“You have to set your goals, and mine is to be the best. You’re not in this business to come second,” says Vermeulen.

“If you’re not striving to be the best as an individual, how will the team ever reach that goal? Every one of the 23 players in a team must share the dream of achieving something noteworthy.

“It’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of if there is someone ahead of you. Your way has been paved. It’s all about choosing the right path.

“You have to take it step by step. When I started out, I wanted to play in the Vodacom Cup. I progressed to the Currie Cup and after that I wanted to play Super Rugby, so I joined the Cheetahs. Rassie Erasmus then brought me to the Western Cape when he was appointed as the Senior Professional Coach here.”

Vermeulen signed his deal with WP at the end of 2007 and is now in his seventh season with the DHL Stormers. His form has never dipped in that period and he has distinguished himself as a great team man.

The bruising 27-year-old’s passion is fuelled by the unwavering support the team gets in Cape Town. While times have been tough, the Newlands Faithful has still been out in force.

“It’s amazing to see how many people are proud WP supporters through the good and the bad times. It’s sad that we have disappointed our supporters, but we’re determined to turn the season around. It’s not too late,” says Vermeulen.

Injuries have played a big part in the DHL Stormers’ struggles this year, but Vermeulen is encouraged by what he has seen from the likes of Nizaam Carr and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

“Nizaam has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. He’s made a statement of intent that he wants to remain in the starting line-up. He was already one of WP’s best players in last year’s Absa Currie Cup competition.

“Notshe’s got great skills and feet for such a young guy. It’s amazing to see what the youngsters bring to the party. There’s so much energy about them and it’s a lot of fun jolling with those guys,” he says.

“The youngsters have learned a lot from the seniors, while we’ve enjoyed sharing our knowledge and lapping up their energy.”

Whilst Vermeulen has been a terrific mentor for Carr and Notshe, there is another youngster who has demanded a lot more of his attention.

Little Anru Vermeulen was born on September 19, 2013 and Duane could not be a happier dad.

“It was a little difficult in the beginning. There were sleepless nights,” he says with a broad smile.

“But now he’s a treat. He’s seven months old, weighs 11kg and is a little machine. He eats like a monster, but I must say it’s really nice to be a dad.”

What would be really nice, of course, is a resurgent DHL Stormers in the second half of the Super Rugby tournament. Vermeulen is determined to deliver on that front.

“The last thing you want to do is end up at the wrong end of the league table,” he says. “We’re going to fight with everything we’ve got to finish as high as possible.”

DHL Stormers Matchday Magazine

Strong Cheetah side named


johan goosen

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has included two Springbok stalwarts in his run on side for their Super Rugby encounter against the Western Force in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.

Flyhalf Johan Goosen and prop Coenie Oosthuizen are back in the starting line-up after making an impact from the bench against the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

Goosen, who has recovered from a concussion, replaces Elgar Watts, while Oosthuizen comes in for Maks van Dyk at tight head prop. Both Watts and Van Dyk find themselves among the replacements.

“It is good to have both Johan and Coenie back. They are two quality players that are very influential in the way we want to play,” Drotsk said.

“Coenie played 30 minutes against the Bulls and I think he showed he is ready for more this week. We will see how it goes with his fitness, but we are excited to have him back.

“Goose has had a rough patch were he had a couple of niggles, so hopefully everything is now 100 percent fine and he can play longer.”

The coach opted to include winger Raymond Rhule in the side even though he aggravated an ankle injury against the Bulls. Should he not recover in time, Springbok sevens player Cornal Hendricks would be promoted from the bench.

“If Raymond cannot play, Cornal will come into the starting line-up and Howard Mnisi will sit on the bench. It looks like Raymond will play and our medical team is confident that he will be ready to face the Force.

“Both of them are playing very well, so we should be fine should Raymond need to sit out for another week.”

With flanker Jean Cook sidelined with a shoulder injury after the last game, versatile loose forward and lock Teboho Mohoje gets his chance in what will be his run on dbut against the Force.

“Teboho is very quick on the attack and a quality jumper in the lineouts where he contests well. It is time for him to make the step up and show that he can play Super Rugby and start on a regular basis,” Drotsk said.

“He has done well thus far, but this is the first start for him and a good opportunity to show he can play the full 80 minutes.”


Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Raymond Rhule/Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Waltie Vermeulen, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Cornal Hendricks/Howard Mnisi

Source: Rugby365

Jean out for Bulls



Jean De Villiers

Jean De Villiers headlines a horrific list of Stormers injuries, as they count the costs of their one point victory over the Highlanders at the weekend.

Captain De Villiers has been ruled out of the big north-south derby against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, with an AC joint problem that has been plaguing the centre through-out the season.
He will be reassessed next week, but perhaps it is time that the Springbok captain gets a well deserved rest.
Two players have been ruled out for the remainder of the season, with two more in doubt potentially only returning in the latter stages or play-offs.
Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder has fractured his thumb and had to have it operated on – he will be out for three months.
Wing Kobus van Wyk damaged wrist ligaments and could be out for some time.
His injury is similar to Manuel Carizza’s, who was injured in Round Two and remains on the casualty list.
Prop Steven Kitshoff has an MCL injury and it is up to a specialist to confirm exact lay-off, but it is likely will be long term.
More concerns at lock with Jurie van Vuuren, whose shoulder was injured in the match, out for this week and will be sidelined for eight weeks.
furthermore, two-try hero Frans Malherbe who took a knock to the head will be given this week to prove his fitness.
This goes for lock Michael Rhodes as well, he is also carrying a niggle from the weekend.
Some positive news for the desolated Stormers squad is that Prop Pat Cilliers, who has recovered from a knee complaint, and lock Jean Kleyn, ffrom an ankle issue, and they will be up for consideration this week.
However, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis who broke his nose against the Lions on the Easter weekend requires another week before becoming available for selection.
Source: Rugby365