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Duane Vermeulen set to make his belated Ulster debut in Champions Cup opener with Clermont

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Held up: Duane Vermeulen tested positive for Covid on his arrival in Belfast. Credit: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians

Held up: Duane Vermeulen tested positive for Covid on his arrival in Belfast. Credit: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians

Getty Images for Barbarians

Held up: Duane Vermeulen tested positive for Covid on his arrival in Belfast. Credit: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians

World Cup winner Duane Vermeulen is set to make his Ulster debut on Saturday in the Champions Cup opener against Clermont after the province confirmed he “remains well” after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Springbok No.8 was due to link up with his new team-mates last week only to record a positive test, forcing him to isolate upon arrival in Belfast. However, his quarantine is scheduled to end before Saturday’s game.

Ulster did not say whether Vermeulen would be available for the trip to the Stade Marcel-Michelin, but it is believed that, provided there are no setbacks between now and Saturday, the South African will go straight into the team to take on Jono Gibbes’ Clermont.

While Vermeulen’s inclusion will be a major boost for the province, who are looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to the Ospreys, they will head to France without talismanic captain Iain Henderson.

The Ireland lock had sounded an optimistic note that he would recover from a hamstring injury in time to make the trip to the Auvergne, but instead will sit out alongside Bradley Roberts, Marty Moore and Tom Stewart, all of whom were injured in the loss in Swansea a week ago.

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