Duane Vermeulen excited to return for Springboks duty after missing out on series win against Lions

Duane Vermeulen was part of South Africa's victorious World Cup campaign in 2019
Duane Vermeulen was part of South Africa's victorious World Cup campaign in 2019

South Africa international Duane Vermeulen is excited about his return to national duty for the remainder of the Rugby Championship tournament that will be played in Queensland.

Vermeulen was instrumental in the Springboks winning the 2019 World Cup but hasn't played since then with an ankle injury forcing him to miss the series against the British and Irish Lions along with the opening two rounds of the ongoing Rugby Championship against Argentina played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Even though head coach Jacques Nienaber added the 35-year-old to the squad ahead of the third and deciding game against the Lions, Vermeulen admitted that he wasn't fully ready but despite his absence, South Africa went on to win the game 19-16 and with it claimed the series 2-1.

"It was a tough one to miss out. It was the one other bucket-list item that I really wanted to tick off," he said.

"My injury was a bit more severe than everyone thought and although I hoped to get back on the field for the third Test, I just wasn't ready in time.

"I had to go to coach Jacques Nienaber and let him know I would have dropped the team if he put me out on the field.

"It was a tough decision but definitely the correct one at that stage, just to ensure I recovered and could be ready and fit for the next games.

"But I was fortunate to be part of the squad and next to the field for the final game of the series.

"The transition after being water boy for a couple of weeks really got me pumped up and now I'm just so looking forward to getting back on the pitch and playing my part within the squad."

South Africa will be locking horns with Australia in the third round of the Rugby Championship at Cbus Super Stadium on 12th September.