Jacques Vermeulen. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
South Africa’s vaunted crime rate has left the former Sharks star Jacques Vermeulen unable to return to the UK where he currently plays for the English Premiership Exeter heavyweights.
Several British publications, including the Telegraph, reported the absence of the 27-year-old flanker from the Chiefs’ line-up for their opening game of the season against Leicester last weekend. with his car in Cape Town.
Vermeulen had returned home especially for that reason.
As a result, the process has now been delayed so much that Exeter has had to jump in and desperately seek an emergency visa for him.
As a former Junior Springbok, Vermeulen has established himself as a key player for the two-time English and one-time European champion.
The Chiefs, under director of rugby Rob Baxter, have become known for their thorough, data-driven scouting and recruiting process and pride themselves on value for money, attracting a number of full internationals.
Vermeulen is also part of a meaty contingent of talented but underrated South African players.
Former Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten has become a cult hero at the club, while Vermeulen’s former Sharks teammate and lock Ruben van Heerden joined the off-season.
They also signed Cheetah’s toughie Aidon Davis for the new campaign.
It is not known whether Vermeulen will return in time for this weekend’s round of play.
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