Wallabies star bounces off Duane Vermeulen like a brick wall, gets yellow-carded
This is the sort of concrete block Ulster Rugby have acquired.
Three days on from Ulster announcing that Duane Vermeulen would be heading to Ravenhill after The Rugby Championship, and some fans are still getting their heads around it.
He may now be 35 years old, but 'Thor' is still a serious rugby player and is just two years removed from winning a World Cup, and being a pivotal player in that triumph. He missed the Lions Test Series after getting injured while playing for the Bulls, but he is back in action during The Rugby Championship.
Vermeulen is currently with the Springboks in Australia as they try to follow up their Lions Series victory by claiming the championship. They were in good shape after beating Argentina twice, but are now up against it after running into a Wallabies side inspired by flyhalf Quade Cooper and captain Michael Hooper.
The Boks were trailing 15-9, late in the first half, when Wallabies lock tried to make a statement and drop Vermeulen at the restart. The South African No.8 fielded the ball from Cooper's kick, and in charged Swinton.
He threw the kitchen sink at Ulster's newest addition, and only succeeded in bouncing back onto the turf. Vermeulen rumbled on, but play was halted so the TMO could share some images with the referee, Matthew Carley.
It was eventually agreed that Swinton had gone too high and he was sent to the sin-bin. Vermeulen, who repelled the Aussie like a brick wall, played on.
— Stan Sport (@StanSportAU) September 18, 2021
15-12 behind at half-time, and with Jasper Wiese replacing Duane Vermeulen, South Africa hit the front in the second half when Lukhanyo Am crossed the white-wash. That as as good as it got for the world champions, though.
Cooper kicked a close-range penalty to edge the hosts back in front before Marika Koroibete sealed a bonus-point victory with two tries in the space of seven minutes. Both were wonderful scores, but the Taniela Tupou offload before Koroibete's first was a pure joy to behold:
Taniela Tupou, you beautiful man 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Yxl59GBu9r
— House of Rugby (@HouseOfRugby) September 18, 2021
Try as they might to get a late try that would give them a losing bonus point, the likes of Hooper and Samu Kerevi stepped up with big defensive plays.
The All Blacks are in pole position to clinch this championship and the Boks now know that only two wins against their old rivals will be enough to give them even a sighter at more silverware.
For British & Irish Lions supporters tuning in, many must have wondered what might have been as the Wallabies beat the Boks with brave, attacking rugby.