Probably the best player of the series against England, abrasive Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will leave a massive hole when the Rugby Championship commences in August.
Disappointed with the 25-10 loss in the third Test, but still happy with a 2-1 series win, Vermeulen confirmed he would not be available due to overseas club commitments.
The 31-year-old is expected to cash in on a lucrative short stint with Japanese club Kubota Spears until January next year and, according to reports, will then return to England to run out for Bath.
“It will be difficult not to be part of the plan, but I’ve spoken to Rassie (Erasmus, Bok coach) about it,” he said.
“There’s more time in the next few weeks to work out exactly what we are going to do, but it was great to be back and be part of a young squad.”
While Warren Whiteley could return in place of Vermeulen for the Championship, Erasmus said it would be important to manage players like Vermeulen, captain Siya Kolisi and fullback Willie le Roux in the 15 months before the World Cup next year.
“We might have to go out and use Duane sparingly and guys like Siya and Willie. There are a lot of things we have to balance to make sure we are ready for next September,”Erasmus said.
Vermeulen, who picked up a hamstring injury late in his 42nd Test at the weekend, said England were like fish in water in the wet conditions.
“I think at breakdown time they really dominated us and our poor discipline put us on the back foot,” he said.
“This is the kind of game England like to play and well done to them for stepping up and going back to their traditional style of play. It worked in the end for them.”
The Boks were offered some hope after centre Jesse Kriel’s try gave them a 10-9 lead in the 47th minute, before the tourists ran away with the game.
“We made some changes after the break and the guys from the bench definitely played their part and made an impact. They contributed a great deal and also in the build-up to Jesse’s try,” Vermeulen said.
“There are small things to fix on our side, but for us it all came down to ill-discipline.”