Boks players stranded in Japan

Duane Vermeulen is one of the Springboks players who are stranded in Japan.
STRANDED Duane Vermeulen is one of the Springboks players who are stranded in Japan.
Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Several Springbok players have been stranded in Japan after Emirates cancelled their flights back to SA.

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen posted a video on Twitter showing the players at the airport, who were set to return home after the Japanese League cancelled the rest of the season because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In the video, Springboks Malcolm Marx and Jesse Kriel are with Vermeulen, as well as former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, who coaches in Japan and former Free State flyhalf Fred Zeilinga.

Vermeulen was in SA just two weeks ago when the Japanese league was suspended for three weeks, but was ordered back to his club, Kubota Spears, to start training again as there was a hope that the league would restart.

But on Monday the league's season was cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic and players were hoping to head home.

“Good times finding out our flights are cancelled as we arrive at check in counter. Absolutely no support from Emirates. Stuck in Japan indefinitely with my family back home,” Vermeulen's tweet read.

The Bok No 8 had earlier returned home to see his family and recently signed with the Vodacom Bulls for the next season, and would be available for them as from June.

It is unclear how and when Vermeulen will return home.

Emirates announced on Sunday that a number of flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but neither Tokyo nor Johannesburg is on the list of flights on their website.