Exeter Chiefs confirm star WILL return to the club - Ruck

Exeter Chiefs confirm star WILL return to the club

Exeter Chiefs hope to have South African forward Jacques Vermeulen available for selection again next week after he was forced to stay in his homeland after personal documents were stolen.

The 27-year-old forward sat out the club’s pre-season friendly with Ulster, as well as last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership win over Leicester Tigers, after thieves broke into his car.

Vermeulen had returned home to pick up a new passport as part of his visa criteria, but it was whilst he was home that thieves struck, leaving him stranded and unable to return to the UK.

“Jacques is well and should be back by the weekend,” declared Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter. “Jacques had a valid passport, but as people involved with sport will know, to move around Europe you need to have a certain visa and when you apply for that visa, one of the things you have to have is three clear pages in your passport.

“Jacques didn’t have that, so he had to get a new passport. The best way to do that was make the application and pick it up in South Africa, which we aligned to do during our week off, but whilst waiting to pick up his new passport, he had other documents stolen from a car break-in, which then meant other elements had to be re-applied for, including his residency card which he wasn’t allowed to fly without.

“It’s just taken time to get that other paper work sorted. Ironically, his new passport wasn’t stolen and he was able to pick that up.”


Baxter confirmed Vermeulen is one of a number of star names who could come back into the selection mix ahead of next week’s home clash with Harlequins at Sandy Park.

Internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg and Henry Slade are all back in training with the first team, as are young Welsh lock Dafydd Jenkins and full-back Josh Hodge.

Vermeulen, who was part of the Exeter side that won the Premiership and European Champions Cup double in 2020, spent 10 months on the sidelines last season with a serious hamstring injury, only returning last March.

“The important thing is no-one got hurt in the incident,” added Baxter. “We dealt with last weekend’s game and I’m pretty certain that all the conversations we’ve had that Jacques will come back ready to play and ready to go.

“We’ll have a good look at him this weekend when he gets back and then we’ll assess him for next week.”