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Ex-Springboks Pienaar and Aplon suffer potential season-ending knee injuries

By Online Editors
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former Springboks Ruan Pienaar and Gio Aplon are set to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby Unlocked series in South Africa following worrying knee injuries in the Friday night match that the Cheetahs won 19-17 against the Bulls in Bloemfontein.

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Veteran scrum-half Pienaar, who returned to the Cheetahs last year after a long stint in Europe with Montpellier and Ulster, was left in anguish on the ground at the Free State Stadium just 15 minutes into the round two game.

The Cheetahs skipper was ready to play the ball at a ruck when he was illegally clobbered by Bulls flanker Marco van Staden, an incident that resulted in just a penalty award. It put Pienaar out of the match and the 36-year-old was pictured later on crutches with his right leg heavily bandaged.    

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How the Cheetahs felt approaching their round two match in Bloemfontein

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How the Cheetahs felt approaching their round two match in Bloemfontein

Aplon, the 38-year-old who returned to South Africa earlier this year from the Japanese Top League, had left the fray ten minutes before Pienaar’s departure after he embarked on a run that left him nursing left knee ligament damage. 

“Injuries are unfortunately part of the game,” said Hawies Fourie, whose Cheetahs are now two wins from two in Super Rugby Unlocked after last month getting kicked out of the PRO14. “It was really bad to see that he [Pienaar] and Gio Aplon had to be taken off on the medical golf cart. We are thinking about them and hope that their injuries aren’t too serious. It’s a big setback.”

There was no confirmation as to how badly Pienaar might be injured, although the speculation was he had torn his MCL, but Bulls boss Jake White definitely wasn’t too optimistic about the status of Aplon. “It’s all speculation (at this stage), but he himself thinks he’s done his ACL. He’s never done it before, so he says he isn’t quite sure. 

“I don’t want to pre-empt anything, but he feels that it is his ACL. He was basically running and as he stepped, the outside of his knee went. Hopefully, it’s not, but if it is, I just hope he gets better,” said White to media post-match.

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Red and White Dynamight 3 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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