Ulster has announced the signing of Springbok colossus Duane Vermuelen ahead of the new United Rugby Championship season, a major coup for the Irish franchise.
Vermuelen had been due to play a part in the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in the summer, but was ruled out with injury. But the back-rower will complete his recovery for his new club after the Autumn Internationals in November.
A World Cup winner in 2019, Vermuelen made his first test start for South Africa in 2012, against Australia and subsequently has gone on to earn a further 53 caps for his country.
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙏𝙝𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙍𝙪𝙜𝙗𝙮 ⚡️
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) September 16, 2021
His club career has also taken him across the world, with stints at the Pumas, Cheetahs and the Stormers in his native South Africa preceding a trip to France to play for Toulon.
He spent three seasons there, scoring two tries in 68 appearances before moving on to Japan to play for the Kubota Spears. Vermuelen then returned to South Africa to join the Bulls where he has been since 2019. His deal with Ulster is the next, and potentially, final challenge for the versatile back-rower.
“Ulster and myself had detailed discussions about the club’s values, expectations and the potential role I can play going forward,” he said.
“It appealed and resonated with me to a point where I got very excited and decided to commit myself to this Ulster journey. I cannot wait to become part of the Ulster family and to serve as best I can.”
Vermuelen will join a long list of South Africans who have spent time at Ulster, with Stefan Terblanche, Pedrie Wannenberg, Johann Muller, Ruan Pienaar and Marcell Coetzee all having plied their trade at the Ravenhill side over the years.