This is the opinion of the Capetonians’ coach Allister Coetzee after regular Super Rugby captain Jean de Villiers was given a break due to a slight knee injury – a rest which could only be to the benefit of the national side.
“Jean and other players will benefit from this two-week rest period with next week being a bye, and more players will be returning after the brief break,” said Coetzee.
Players like Scarra Ntubeni, Pat Cilliers, Schalk Burger and Cheslin Kolbe will all hopefully come into contention for selection after the bye.
But Coetzee said Vermeulen was the pick to try and lift the Stormers out of the slide they are entangled in.
“It’s scary to think that Duane is just 27 years old, yet he has already played 68 matches for the Stormers and he continues to get better as a player and a leader,” Coetzee said.
While another former skipper in Burger is also on the injured list with a calf injury, hooker Deon Fourie is also there as a former captain.
But Coetzee had made up his mind.
“Players like Duane are the future of this union and it’s an exciting opportunity for him to lead the team as we look to get back to winning ways now that we’re back at home at Newlands,” he said.
Coetzee also believed they were well covered in midfield despite De Villiers’ absence.
“Depth is crucial in this competition,” he said.
“Having Juan de Jongh back to full fitness, following his comeback from a pre-season knee injury, means that we can still field a formidable centre combination – with Juan and Damian de Allende – in Jean’s absence,” said Coetzee.