IT HAS become increasingly difficult to fins reasons to commend Allister Coetzee, but his move to recall experienced eighth-man Duane Vermeulen could just be what the doctor ordered.
The 31 year old has been announced as a replacement for the injured Coenie Oosthuizen, but all indications are that he could take over from Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will miss the next clash against France in Paris on Saturday. Lock Du Toit suffered a concussion in the loss to Ireland on Saturday.
Vermeulen, who last played for the Boks last year in the Test against Ireland when Allister Coetzee had just taken charge, has been missed in the team. Questions have even been raised about whether players like Uzair Cassiem and JeanLuc du Preez are able to offer anything close to what the experienced former Stormers man can.
Many have been baffled by Coetzee’s decision to constantly overlook Vermeulen when the flank had played a huge role in Coetzee’s Stormers success and was dominant for the Springboks when they last managed to beat the All Blacks when Heyneke Meyer was still in charge. For the player to have played just two games under Coetzee is not what was expected.
Bok doctor Conrad von Hagen explained why Du Toit is a doubt for Saturday’s clash against France, giving Vermeulen a better chance as he understands the French conditions well as he is on the books of French top 14 side Toulon.
“He (Du Toit) left the field with five minutes left for a concussion test which he unfortunately failed. We’ll follow the normal concussion protocol to determine his return to play but he won’t be available for selection this weekend,” Von Hagen said. “Coenie had a scan in Dublin and it was a MCL and ACL tear which means he will need surgery so he’ll be out for an extended period. He’s on his way home where he’ll see a knee surgeon as soon as possible.”
The Boks lost badly to Ireland on Saturday and will be looking to bounce back against a French side that pushed the All Blacks at the weekend.