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Bok successor for Big Duane: The slow hunt begins

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Duane Vermeulen.
Duane Vermeulen.
Lee Warren

Is Duane Vermeulen going to be another Sergio Parisse for rugby longevity in age-related terms?

If that proves the case - the Italian No 8 legend has just turned 37, with uncertainty over whether he has played his last game for the Azzurri - then the Springboks perhaps don't have to obsess too much yet with grooming a replacement for their own gnarly stalwart of the berth.

The Argentinean-born Parisse has been unfairly dogged by ill luck in his quest to have a fitting Test swansong: Italy's final game of RWC 2019 against glamour group opponents New Zealand was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis, and then the 2020 Six Nations was plunged into some chaos, too, by the coronavirus.

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