Duane Vermeulen delves into life in Bok bio-bubble: ‘It’s not as easy as people think’


Beauden Barrett of the All Blacks contests a high ball with Duane Vermeulen of the Springboks. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

  • Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen detailed the mental strain of being part of a bio-bubble home and away.
  • Vermeulen joined the Bok bubble later than normal because of injury.
  • The loose-forward hoped they’ll be able to take the momentum from the All Blacks win into next month’s tour of the United Kingdom.

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen detailed the emotional strain of being in a bio-bubble since July after beating the All Blacks 31-29 in Gold Coast.

South Africa’s success against New Zealand was their sixth win in 10 Tests this year, with six of them taking place in strict bubbles at home when they hosted Georgia, the British & Irish Lions and Argentina.

READ | Bok ratings: Siya sets tone for blood ‘n guts victory

Vermeulen didn’t play in any of the home Tests, but joined midway in an attempt to recover from an ankle injury sustained while playing for the Bulls.

Vermeulen said blanking out opinions was necessary, but being in the bubble was far harder than people thought.

“You have the media and public that have an opinion on what we do when we’re on tour and the things that we go through,” Vermeulen said.

“If you’re not here, you don’t understand the whole thing that we’re going through. It’s difficult and people say it’s your job.

“We don’t listen to the public’s opinion but it’s not as easy as people think. You’re away from home, family and you don’t see your kids.

“That’s vital to your mental state and where you are as a person and a player. It’s a difficult thing being away from home.”

Vermeulen said adapting to the different stages of lockdowns and bubbles came with its challenges that they needed to surmount to get the job done.

With next month’s tour of the United Kingdom looming where they will be facing Wales, England and Scotland on consecutive weekends, Vermeulen hoped they’ll be able to take the positive vibes from the All Blacks win with them.

The Boks will have a two-week break before assembling for that trip.

“We had no support in the first two weeks of the hard lockdown and you had to do everything yourself,” Vermeulen said.

“It’s a different setup and once you’re out of quarantine, it’s a different story, so we have to keep on adjusting to what is thrown at us.

“It can be difficult, but here at the end, we’ve got it all together and we walk away with a win at the end of the tour.

“Hopefully we can take the good vibes and positive energy into the end-of-year tour.”

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Publish date : 2021-10-03 07:12:34

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