June 29, 2018 / 8:57 AM / 5 months ago

Rugby-Springbok Vermeulen signs for Japenese side Kubota Spears

CAPE TOWN, June 29 (Reuters) - South Africa number eight Duane Vermeulen has signed to play for Japanese side Kubota Spears, the club has confirmed.

Vermeulen was a stand-out performer for the Springboks in their 2-1 home series victory over England this month but said after the final test that he would not be available for the Rugby Championship against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

Vermeulen joins a Spears side that is coached by compatriot Frans Ludeke and has a number of other South Africans on their books.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has said he was planning for the Rugby Championship without Vermeulen and is pinning his hopes at the back of the scrum on fit-again Warren Whiteley.

The former national team captain is returning from long-term injury for his Super Rugby side the Lions against the Sharks on Saturday.

Vermeulen, 31, recently ended a three-year stay with French Top 14 side Toulon and has also played in Super Rugby for the Stormers and Cheetahs. (Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

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