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Anton Bresler

Glasgow WarriorsEdinburghThis weekend represents the final chance for Gregor Townsend and Alan Solomons, head coaches of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, to test out various combinations in a match situation ahead of the 2014/2015 season which starts in all earnest next weekend. Edinburgh played their pre-season friendly match last night against Newcastle Falcons in Hawick while Glasgow Warriors face London Scottish in London.

In last night’s match the final score was Edinburgh Rugby 21(11)/15 (10) Newcastle Falcons. Alan Solomons was pleased with the win as although it was only a friendly match they had gone into it with the mind-set of it being a competitive one.

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Guinness Pro12The league competition which features teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, the Pro12, has had something of a makeover between last season and the upcoming one. The previous version of the Pro12 had been sponsored by RabboDirect for the last few years, but their deal came to an end and the competition needed a new sponsor. Up stepped Guinness to fill the vacuum to become the title sponsor. There have also been some changes on the broadcasting front with subscription television Sky Sports joining the likes of regular broadcasters BBC Wales, BBC ALBA, S4C and TG4 this season in a shared deal to show the games.

To add to the makeover there has been a fair amount of movement of players both away from and to the Pro12 with various South African players joining up with Pro12 clubs in the closed season – Former Free State Cheetahs and Blue Bulls prop Rossouw de Klerk has moved to Glasgow Warriors, ex Sharks player Anton Bresler has signed up with Edinburgh where he will join a host of South Africans to play under Alan Solomons and will team up with former team mate Allan Dell who signed back in February but has yet to feature for the team from the capital due to injury. Fullback Hennie Daniller and lock Andries Ferreira  will make their appearance for Italian club Zebre for the first time in the new season.

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Anton Bresler

The Sharks travelled to New Zealand without Anton Bresler, who suffered broken ribs against the Highlanders

Jake White believes the Sharks can win in Christchurch for the second time this season.

The Sharks beat the Highlanders 31-27 at Kings Park on Saturday to set up a semi-final showdown with the Crusaders. While the long plane trip will count against White’s side, he believes they can win in Christchurch on Saturday, having done so earlier in the season when they played most of the match with 14 men.

“It’s an 80-minute run and if we play well we can win, and I have to believe that,” said White.

“The Highlanders flew in from the other side of the world and came within four points of beating us. They came sixth on the log and we came third.”

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Patrick Lambie

Patrick Lambie

Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks will return to Vodacom Super Rugby action this coming weekend one position lower on the log than they were when they went into the June break, but there is plenty of reason for them to be optimistic about their chances of going all the way to the title.

While the Sharks were out on their feet when the June international window arrived, as evidenced by their lame performance in the narrow home loss to the DHL Stormers, the break may have come at just the right time for them. During the off period they have welcomed Patrick Lambie and Anton Bresler back to training, while Jean Deysel is now over his suspension that was incurred for the stomping incident that saw him being sent off against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Willem Alberts, one of the players who was looking tired before the break, had the week off from international duty last weekend because of the concussion that forced him off the field in the second test against Wales. He should be relatively refreshed when he does return, be it this week against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein or next week against the Stormers in Cape Town.

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SharksThis is the third in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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SharksIn this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.

At Lock the Sharks have had their fair share of worries this past year, none more so than the semi-final and final of the Currie Cup 2012.

Anton Bresler and Jandre Marais along with Steven Sykes were the frontline jumpers but there always seemed to be something missing, and although the Sharks made both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup Finals, one glaring aspect of their play that at times was very troublesome was the poor line-outs.

This was due, one can assume, to various issues such as injuries to key players at critical stages of the season as well as just poor play.

The season of 2013 will see the Sharks with the same young locks accept for two changes – Steven Sykes has signed for the Kings and is returning to his family farm (Steven was a great servant to Natal rugby and will no doubt be sorely missed) and on loan to the Sharks for the Super Rugby season 2013 is Franco van der Merwe, who no doubt with his experience can help fill that void and add some much needed experience.

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