Although he is in the twilight of his career, Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will make a favourable impression when he joins Ulster later this year.
That is the word from former Bok captain Bob Skinstad, who also played at the base of the scrum for South Africa before retiring as a Rugby World Cup winner in France in 2007.
Vermeulen missed his country’s recent series victory against the British and Irish Lions due to an ankle injury before returning to action in back-to-back defeats against Australia in the Rugby Championship.
And Skinstad believes the 35-year-old will make a big impact when he comes into Ulster’s squad after South Africa’s year-end Tests in November.
“He has got a lot to give,” Skinstad told the Irish Independent.
“I chatted to Duane last week. I think he gives a huge amount to the game of rugby.
“We have seen him perform in leagues all around the world. Physically, he is demanding of the players around him. Physically, he is imposing on the players who are against him.
“But more than his presence on the field, it’s the off-the-field calmness that he brings. It’s not his first rodeo, nor will it be his last.
“He is excited to come over here and be able to play the kind of rugby he has become known for – abrasive, in-your-face, ball-carrying, ball-stealing and leading from the front. I think you will see a lot from Duane Vermeulen.”
Skinstad feels that signing Vermeulen was a good piece of business from Ulster head coach Dan McFarland as the former Bulls captain will also help with the development of the Northern Irish province’s younger players.
“Duane has a reputation of being very magnanimous and giving (with his time),” he said. “I know for a fact he will be a huge inspiration and also a good team-mate.”