Coronavirus: Springbok players stranded in Japan

Several Springbok players find themselves stranded in Japan after the Emirates flight that was supposed to bring them back to South Africa was cancelled on Monday amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Read: ‘People ignoring social-distancing advice irresponsible’

Springbok back row player Duane Vermeulen shared his frustration with a video on Twitter, showing the players at the airport, after the Japanese League cancelled the rest of the season owing to the same pandemic. Personnel shown in the video comprise Malcolm Marx and Jesse Kriel, along with Vermeulen and former Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, who coaches in Japan.

Image result for Japanese rugby league, Duane Vermeulen
Springboks back row Duane Vermeulen is one of several South African players stranded in Japan after the flight they were supposed to be heading back on was cancelled (Image: AFP).

Vermeulen was in South Africa just two weeks ago after the Japanese Top League was suspended, in the first instance, for three weeks. Vermeulen, who wears the number eight jersey, was ordered back to his club, Kubota Spears, to start training again in hopes the league would restart. However, on Monday, the league’s season was cancelled with players thereafter hoping to be heading back home to their respective countries.

Good times finding out our flights are cancelled as we arrive at [the] check-in counter. Absolutely no support from Emirates. Stuck in Japan indefinitely with my family back home,” tweeted Vermeulen, who recently signed with the Bulls for the next season.

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