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Ex-Springbok Gio Aplon follows Jake White home from Japan and signs for the Bulls

By Online Editors
(Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

New Bulls boss Jake White has signed ex-Springbok utility back Gio Aplon from Toyota Verblitz, the club the coach himself left to head home to South Africa. The 37-year-old, who was last capped in 2012, forged his career at the Stormers before heading to French club Grenoble in 2014. 

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“The Vodacom Bulls have always been a formidable force in the rugby world,” said Aplon in a tweet on the club’s social media page following his signing. 

“I have always had a great deal of respect for the brand and what it has achieved, and I’m truly looking forward to running out at Loftus. Coach Jake has an amazing vision and plan for the team, and I am just honoured that he wants me as part of it. I look forward to making the #BullsFamily proud.”

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Verblitz had been breaking even in the Japan Top League before the season was cancelled in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, White’s side winning three of its six matches. Aplon was only used in one of those games, a February win over Kubota. 

While will hope the veteran’s experience will benefit the team and he will also want Aplon assisting the further development of the club’s younger outside backs.

Aplon’s signing is further indication of the change ongoing at the Bulls, who recently released coach Pote Human and installed a new CEO, Edgar Rathbone, to succeed Alfons Meyer. 

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finn 6 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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