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Sale bring in Hyron Andrews on short-term deal from the Sharks

By Neil Fissler
Sharks' Hyron Andrews (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Sale have signed South African lock Hyron Andrews from the Sharks, the Durban-based United Rugby Championship club, on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

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Andrews has this season played four games for the struggling South African franchise, who are bottom of the URC table with only one win – all of his appearances have come off the bench and have ended in defeat for John Plumtree’s side.

Known for his high work rate, the 28-year-old was sent off for the first time in his career for a dangerous clean-out when Zebre Parma ended an 18-month wait for a win in November.

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A former South African schools and U20s international who joined the Sharks in 2016, he was banned for four games and returned to action in their defeat to the Stormers last weekend.

Andrews has made 83 appearances for the Sharks, scoring three tries, and was part of the side that suffered a Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Toulouse last season.

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Andrews will act as cover for Jonny Hill, who suffered a season-ending injury last month, and Dan du Preez, His arrival will pave the way for teammate Le Roux Roets, who is moving from Durban to Manchester this summer.

Second row enforcer Roets will replace Cobus Wiese, who recently confirmed that he is returning to South Africa to join the Bulls next season.

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Poorfour 10 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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