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Rugby: Relief for Bulls, Boks as Vermeulen cleared to face Sharks

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PRETORIA (Reuters) – Influential number eight Duane Vermeulen has been cleared to play for the Bulls in their South African Super Rugby derby against the Sharks on Saturday, news which will also please Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus.

Vermeulen limped off during the first half of last weekend’s humiliating 56-20 home defeat to the Waikato Chiefs, and there had been fears he could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

However, Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw confirmed on Tuesday Vermeulen would be available to play against the Sharks.

“Duane left the field with a badly twisted knee in the first half, but it is looking much better. He will start training with the squad and be available for selection,” Rossouw said in a statement.

That will be welcome news for Erasmus, with Vermeulen a key figure in his plans for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year.

South Africa have already endured serious injuries to number eight Warren Whiteley (pectoral muscle) and lock Lood de Jager (shoulder) earlier in the Super Rugby season, with the latter likely to miss the rest of the competition.

(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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