Super Rugby
Vermeulen injury blow for Boks
ESPNscrum Staff
June 20, 2011
Vermeulen has been in fantastic form for the Stormers this term but will sit out the rest of their campaign © Getty Images

Stormers No.8 Duane Vermeulen has been ruled out of the remainder of the Super Rugby season and is a major doubt for this year's Rugby World Cup.

The 24-year-old, who has been named in the Springboks' 49-man World Cup training squad, will be out of action for six to nine weeks following surgery on a knee injury he picked up during his side's Super Rugby victory against the Cheetahs on Saturday.

The 44-34 win secured the Stormers a bye week and a home semi-final in the new-look finals series, but if they are to progress they will have to do it without Vermeulen who is also set to miss a good portion of the Springboks' Tri-Nations campaign.

"Duane will undergo an operation on Tuesday," said Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee. "It should put him out of action for six to nine weeks and then he has to start the rehab process. Duane is very strong and I'm sure he'll heal faster because of his superb fitness, so he might be back sooner. Duane's abrasive and gives us a line-out option. He's been strong on defence and we'll miss him a great deal."

Vermeulen now faces a race against time to prove his fitness before the 30-man Springboks' squad that will defend the sport's biggest prize in New Zealand is announced on August 23. In Vermeulen's absence, Nick Koster is likely to come into the Stormers' side following his impressive try-scoring appearance from the bench against the Cheetahs.

"We are fortunate that we can call on a player like Nick, who brings a new dimension to our attack," said Coetzee. "It's a great opportunity for Nick to play in the starting fifteen again. I don't know at this stage who will be our back-up loose forward but there are options such as playing Andries Bekker (lock) as a flank and then bringing in Anton van Zyl."

The Stormers will also be without injured Springbok scrum-half Ricky Januarie. Januarie, who will join Top 14 Orange side Lyon next season, was named alongside Vermeulen in the 49-man training squad but will be sidelined for the next four weeks. "Ricky has torn a ligament; it is not just a chip on the knuckle which we initially thought. That ligament also has to be attached again so he will be out for longer than we thought," said Coetzee.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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