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Duane Vermeulen's Ulster debut has been delayed after the Springboks forward tested positive for COVID-19. 

The number-8 has arrived in Belfast, but now must isolate after returning a positive test.

Vermeulen signed for the province in September as a replacement for his international teammate, Marcel Coetzee. It had been hoped the 2019 World Cup winner could be thrust into action as soon as this weekend.

“We’ll obviously have a plan for how we introduce him," said McFarland ahead of last week's win over Leinster, "He’s a seasoned professional, it’s not going to take much time for him to get up to speed.

“We’ve lots of other considerations to take around that but we’re really looking forward to seeing him and welcoming him to the Ulster family.”

However, it will now be hoped to have Vermeulen fit and up-to-speed for Ulster's opening Heineken Champions Cup pool game away to Clermont Auvergne on December 11.

In a statement they said, "As a result of testing positive for COVID-19 prior to entering the professional squad bubble, Vermeulen will not train with the team this week. He will continue to be monitored medically and is currently well.

"The Public Health Agency has been contacted, and it is expected that he will integrate into the squad over the course of next week."

9 Further Positive Covid Cases Discovered Among Munster Rugby Squad

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