The retirement of Duane Vermeulen was a reminder of the period of renewal the Springboks will have to go through if they are to make it a hat-trick of consecutive Rugby World Cup titles in Australia in 2027.

Vermeulen was 37 when he stepped away from the sport that made him famous and which saw him earn two World Cup winners medals, and Deon Fourie, who was my unsung Bok hero of the most recent World Cup, is 38. But you can’t have more than one or two players of that age, so the fact that every player in the starting pack in the 2023 RWC final was over 30 means the Boks are in a different place to where they were in 2019...

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