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Andries Bekker

Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Gary Gold and Andries Bekker’s Kobe Kobelco Steelers have crashed out of the Japanese Top League with a 43-12 semi-final defeat to Yamaha Júbilo on Saturday.

According to reports, Bekker made little impact in the game and failed to take control of the lineouts, while Jaque Fourie did not play because of injury.

Kobe coach – and new Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold – cut a dejected figure in the stands as his team, who had topped the log, were taken apart by a side they had beaten by a similar margin during the group stage.

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Rory Arnold

Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.

If you thought NSW Watarahs and Australian Wallabies battering ram Will Skelton was big, meet ACT Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.

The 208cm, 130kg lock created huge headlines last year after being involved in an alleged biting incident in South Africa, but Arnold is determined to make a big impact at the Brumbies for the right reasons.

While man mountain Skelton weighs in at 140kg, at 203cm he can’t match Arnold, who is equal in height with former South African player Andries Bekker. They are the tallest players in Super Rugby’s 19-year history.

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Pat CilliersAndries BekkerFrans MalherbeBeing officially out of the Vodacom Super Rugby race has not exempted the DHL Stormers from further injuries, with several players on the doubtful list for a clash against the Reds at Newlands on Saturday that is of academic interest only to South African fans.

Of course former Springbok coach Jake White and his Brumbies, and the Waratahs that beat them this past weekend, may have different ideas about the irrelevance of the game.

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The Springbok side to face the Wallabies on Saturday at Loftus, has been announced.

Two late changes have been made to the Springbok 22, with Francois Steyn failing a late fitness test and Coenie Oosthuizen also not fit enough to man the bench. Jean de Villiers moves to inside centre and Jaco Taute will make his Springbok debut at outside centre. PatCilliers replaces Coenie Oosthuizen on the bench.

It took guts and determination from Heyneke Meyer and clearly he has the best interests of Springbok Rugby as well as the individual interests of the players at heart, when making some hard and big decisions.

Johan Goosen starts at flyhalf and Andries Bekker starts at No 5 lock in place of Juandré Kruger. Elton Jantjies is on the bench and Morné Steyn drops out of the match 22 alltogether.

Flip van der Merwe moves down to the bench after a strong game against the New Zealand All Blacks, but one has to mention that Flip is carrying a niggling injury and did not practice with the squad on Monday and Tuesday.

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Juan de Jongh - Fit again

Schalk Burger - Crocked

Some good news, tempered with some bad news…

Juan de Jongh returns to the fold this week in preparation for the Stormers game against the Sharks, but the initial assessment of Schalk Burger’s injury was further compounded by news now that Schalk Burger, their mercurial captain and one-man wrecking machine, will be out for at least 6 weeks if not more, with damaged medial knee ligaments.

Andries Bekker and Jean de Villiers have some injury niggles, Rynhardt Elstadt is on his way back… and Peter Grant joins the Stormers this week from Japan.

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Since reading most opinions on news websites and the mainstream media I cannot get that irritating tune of Kenny Rogers called The Gambler out of my head. Continue reading

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