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Gio Aplon

Gio Aplon

Gio Aplon

South Africa’s Gio Aplon and Australia’s George Smith are among the new additions to the Barbarians squad for this month’s matches against Ireland and England.

Smith, the Lyon flank, is one of 5 players from 5 different countries named as the famous invitation club continues its 125th anniversary celebrations.

Head coach Robbie Deans has also added Springbok Aplon (Grenoble), Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres) and Japan No 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights) to his squad.

They join up with the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Berrick Barnes for the matches against Ireland at Thomond Park on 28 May and an England XV at Twickenham on 31 May.

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Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

“A good big player is better than a good small player” is something we have heard before on the rugby landscape in South Africa. Unfortunately, these type of utterances has been heard coming from the National coach, Heyneke Meyer, as well.

Is rugby not supposed to be the one game that people of every shape and size can partake and excell in? Remember when we were young kids, standing around with bare feet all excited about our very first rugby practice? Dividing the players into positions seemed like such a simple task…the fat kids were props, the tall kids were locks, the fast kids were wings. There seemed to be a position suited to every size and shape.

Professional rugby as we know it now has put paid to that philosophy, 15 supreme athletes seem to be the target for coaches. Centers weigh in at the 100kg mark or more, which is bigger and heavier than some of legendary Bok forwards of previous eras. Just this week the Under 18 Academy week was played in Worcester. One of the stand out players for the victorious Western Province Academy team was prop Carlu Sadie who weighs in at 122kg. The fact is, he is not judged on his size or weight, but on his playing ability and it would seem like this youngster has a bright rugby future ahead of him. Obviously when it comes to the position of front row, size is a huge asset, but what about the other positions?

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This is the 8th and last in the series of Stormers 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 BACK THREE in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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Gio AplonSpringbok and Stormers wing Gio Aplon’s preferred destination, if he leaves South African rugby, will be Japan, and not France, as earlier reports had indicated.

Western Province Rugby chief executive Rob Wagner has moved to dismiss reports that Aplon had signed a contract with French team Grenoble.

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South AfricaSiyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni is one of four uncapped players who will join three stalwarts of the Rugby World Cup winning squad of 2007, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha, in 32-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Wales, Scotland and France.

It will be Botha and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the previous Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand, while Pietersen is back in the squad for the first time this year.

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