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Robbie Fruean to retire due to heart problems - reports

By Ian Cameron
Robbie Fruean

Powerhouse Edinburgh centre Robbie Fruean is set to call time on his career on medical grounds – according to reports today.

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Fruean has a well-documented history of heart problems and has undergone open heart surgery twice. The 29-year-old had the valve of a pig implanted, and latterly one from a cow, which allows his heart to beat normally.

While Edinburgh have yet to comment officially on his retirement, Richard Cockerill and the club had previously signed him in the knowledge that his health could become a factor while at the club.

Speaking in September, Cockerill said: “You have to understand that where we are as a club at the moment. We’re probably not first off the rank when people are choosing clubs to come to, so we have to take a little bit of a risk on some players. Robbie’s injury history isn’t perfect, but we’ll look after him, we’ll get him fit, and we’ve done that over the last few weeks to get him on the field.”

“His heart condition is an ongoing bigger-picture thing that needs to be exactly right.”

Fruean spoke about his heart condition during his time at the Crusaders (see video).

The former World Rugby U19 Player of the Year joined from English Premiership side Bath, where he was recruited by his former Canterbury coach and Edinburgh great Todd Blackadder.

The centre made 66 appearances for Super Rugby’s most successful side, Crusaders, over two stints and amassed 70 points through 14 tries for the Canterbury-based side. He has also made appearances for New Zealand Super Rugby franchises Hurricanes and Chiefs.

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His move to the northern hemisphere followed a two-year stint at Hawke’s Bay, where he crossed the whitewash on nine occasions in 25 appearances.

A mainstay in Canterbury’s domestic campaigns between 2010-13, he finished his first season as the competition’s joint top try-scorer (10) in 2010 and was named as ITM Cup Player of the Year in 2012.

Canterbury won the ITM Cup each season Fruean was involved with his contribution of 20 tries proving highly influential to his side’s success.

He has also played for Wellington in New Zealand’s premier domestic competition and scored five tries in 12 appearances for the North Island outfit.

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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