Cape Town - Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) president Thelo Wakefield is reluctant to say whether the Cape union are interested in the services of Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Vermeulen, who recently confirmed he would be leaving French club Toulon, is set for a stint in Japan at the Kubota Spears before heading back to South Africa.
After announcing Vermeulen’s intended departure, Toulon said via a statement that the player wanted to return to South Africa to prepare adequately for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Rugby fans in the country - particular those in the Cape - naturally assumed that Vermeulen would return to his former team, the Stormers, but that appears to be no certainty.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Wakefield said the union would not offer Vermeulen a contract in 2018 and it’s also no given that he will play for the Stormers in 2019.
“We have to prepare Juarno (Augustus) for the Bok team. How can we achieve that if he doesn’t get game time? We also have to allow Nizaam (Carr) back into the team to continue the excellent form he showed during his stint at Wasps,” Wakefield said.
The WP president added that Vermeulen might be considered if there are injuries to the Stormers’ loose forward stocks.
“We must send out the right message. We are often criticised for failure to hold on to our youngsters because we contract older players from elsewhere. We must start focusing on the development of our own players.”