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Ulster Rugby have announced the signing of World Cup-winning Springbok Duane Vermeulen, who will join the Irish province after the Autumn Tests in November.
Number eight Vermeulen, nicknamed Thor, has signed a two-year contract with Ulster that will keep him in the province until 2023.
The 35-year-old brings with him experience gained in both Super Rugby and the Top 14, as well as internationals, and will join the United Rugby Championship in November once he has completed international duties during the Autumn Tests.
In 2019, Vermeulen was crowned Player of the Match as South Africa stormed their way to World Cup victory, lifting the Webb Ellis trophy.
Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said: “Duane is clearly a world-class player who, as the current World Champions’ starting 8 and MVP from the last RWC Final, is set to bring depth and experience to our really talented group of back rowers.
“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.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise Bryn Cunningham’s brilliant work in orchestrating this deal from start to finish. It was always going to be a difficult ask to find a difference-making 8 but Bryn has definitely achieved that.”
Duane Vermeulen added: “Ulster and myself had detailed discussions about the club’s values, expectations and the potential role I can play going forward. 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.”
Ulster Rugby has been actively seeking a world-class addition to the squad following the planned deal with Leone Nakarawa falling through in June.