South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen hopes to play in 2023 Rugby World Cup

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Duane Vermeulen of South Africa heads onto the during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen is hopeful of representing South Africa, the reigning World champions, at the Rugby World Cup in France next year despite coming towards the end of his career.

The 35-year-old veteran said he believes his recent move to Irish outfit Ulster will be good for his game as he aims to remain in contention for selection for the three-time World champions.

FILE PHOTO: Duane Vermeulen of South Africa. /Getty Images)

“I still want to play for the Springboks as well. So if I can push towards the next World Cup as well, that’s my marker. That’s a big thing,” Vermeulen was quoted as telling The Ulster Rugby Show.

“If I can play and contribute I want to keep going as long as I can.”

Vermeulen has been capped 60 times for South Africa and is still regarded as the Springboks’ first choice number eight. One of the most influential forwards in e was voted the Player of the Match during the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, which South Africa won 32-12 against England.

While injury prevented him from representing South Africa during the British & Irish Lions series, he played for most of South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign in addition to the Autumn Nations Series.

He was one of three South African World Cup-winners who were called up to the world-famous Barbarians side to face Samoa for the Killik Cup at Twickenham last month. That match was, however, cancelled just hours before kick-off due to a number of coronavirus cases in the invitational side.

South Africa is in Pool B with Ireland, Scotland, and will be joined by qualifiers from Asia/Pacific 1 and Europe 2.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)