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Duane Vermeulen: Ulster sign World Cup-winning South Africa No 8

World Cup-winning back-row will link up with Irish province in November after South Africa's autumn internationals; Vermeulen missed the Springboks' series win over the British and Irish Lions with an ankle injury

South Africa..fs Duane Vermeulen runs during the Rugby World Cup semifinal at International Yokohama Stadium between Wales and South Africa in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila).
Image: Duane Vermeulen says he is 'very excited about his role in the Ulster journey'

Ulster have pulled off a major coup by signing South Africa No 8 Duane Vermeulen until 2023.

Vermeulen is among the game's most influential back rows and against Australia last Saturday he made his comeback from the ankle injury that forced him to miss the recent British and Irish Lions series.

The Wallabies clash was his first appearance since the 2019 World Cup final victory over England, in which he was named man of the match, and he will head to Belfast after the Rugby Championship has finished.

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Highlights from South Africa's win over the British and Irish Lions in the Castle Lions Series

"Duane is clearly a world-class player who will bring depth and experience to our really talented group of back rowers," head coach Dan McFarland said.

"As well as being an undeniable talent on the pitch, I know Duane will play an important role going forward in strengthening the winning mindset we are building as a squad."

The 35-year-old will join Ulster for matches in the United Rugby Championship in November once he has completed international duties during the autumn Tests.

"Ulster and myself had detailed discussions about the club's values, expectations and the potential role I can play going forward," said Vermeulen.

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"It appealed and resonated with me to a point where I got very excited and decided to commit myself to this Ulster journey. I cannot wait to become part of the Ulster family and to serve as best I can."

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