Springbok Vermeulen wins top South African award

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South African Rugby Player of the Year Duane Vermeulen has played 54 times for the Springboks.

Springbok World Cup winner and Bulls loose forward Duane Vermeulen was named South African Rugby Player of the Year Thursday.

After playing a pivotal role in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final triumph over England, the 34-year-old skippered his Pretoria-based franchise to a domestic double last season.

Famed for his surging runs, powerful scrummaging, lineout leaps and inspirational leadership, he led the Bulls to the South African Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles.

Vermeulen regularly dismisses talk of retirement with his next international goal being to play for the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions.

The Lions tour, including three Tests, is scheduled for South Africa this July and August, but may be moved to Britain and Ireland due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was a very tough season but Duane was superb," said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander after Vermeulen was chosen by officials from the national rugby body and the media.

"On the field, his performances were on par with the very high standard we have become accustomed to from him.

"He led the Bulls with aplomb as our teams had to navigate numerous new curve balls and challenges," said Alexander.