Super Rugby: Relief for Bulls, Springboks as Duane Vermeulen cleared to face Sharks

Duane Vermeulen, pictured playing against the Stormers, has been cleared of a serious knee injury. Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Duane Vermeulen has been cleared to play for the Bulls in their Super Rugby derby against the Sharks on Saturday, news that will also please South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Vermeulen limped off during the first half of the humiliating 56-20 home defeat by the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, when there were fears he could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw confirmed on Tuesday, however, that Vermeulen would be available to play against the Sharks.

"Duane left the field with a badly twisted knee in the first half, but it is looking much better," Rossouw said in a statement.

"He will start training with the squad and be available for selection."

That will be welcome news for Erasmus, with Vermeulen a key figure in his plans for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year.

Key Springboks players Warren Whiteley (pectoral muscle) and lock Lood de Jager (shoulder) have already sustained serious injuries in the Super Rugby season, with the latter likely to miss the rest of the competition.