CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - A neck injury jeopardises Duane Vermeulen’s participation in the rest of the Super Rugby season and casts a shadow on his World Cup prospects with a visit to a neuro surgeon this week keenly awaited by officials and supporters.
The Springbok number eight, who in February was named South Africa’s Player of the Year, suffered a neck spasm in training on Friday and had to withdraw from the Stormers line-up ahead of the weekend’s Super Rugby clash against the Lions in Cape Town.
Stormers doctor Jason Suter said Vermeulen was suffering from a disc bulging onto a nerve root, causing an intense spasm, and could require an operation, followed by a long period of rehabilitation. But further examination by a surgeon this week could also suggest rest only, making Vermeulen available for the Stormers’ participation in the Super Rugby play-offs later this month, Suter added. A draw with the Lions on Saturday ensured the Stormers finished top of the South African Conference in this year’s competition.
The World Cup, being played in England and Wales, starts in September.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty