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Monday, October 21, 2013

Gio Aplon's great try and play gets Western Province to another Currie Cup Final

Western Province will host the Currie Cup final after they beat the Golden Lions 33-16 at Newlands on Saturday. The win was sparked in part by brilliant fullback Gio Aplon, who has put his hand up for selection ahead of the end of year Springboks European tour.

Aplon, who last played Test rugby against England last year, has been out of favour with coach Heyneke Meyer, who appeared to prefer bigger backs. The inclusion of the dynamic Willie Le Roux this year however leads one to believe that the door may not be shut on the 31-year-old.

"I think there is a spot for Gio in the Springbok squad, especially now that Heyneke Meyer has shown with his decision to pick Willie le Roux that he seeks a player with X-factor at the back," said former Springbok centre and now Western Province coach, Robbie Fleck. 

Western Province reached their second consecutive final thanks in large part to Man of the Match Aplon, who glided through gaps and fended defenders with ease, despite his diminutive stature.

His try, when the game was finely poised at 10-9, helped the home side pull away and thanks to some fine kicking and a try from flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, WP will meet the Sharks in the final.

Aplon nearly scored earlier in the game as he combined with 19-year-old clone Cheslin Kolbe down the left wing, but the final pass was unfortunately called forward by the TMO.

The 17-times-capped Bok was a constant attacking threat, prompting former national coach Nick Mallett and former flyhalf Naas Botha to question why he isn't part of the current Test setup.

"Gio is a fantastic player who has great feet and constantly breaks the line," said Mallett, with Botha saying "I cannot understand why Gio is not in the national squad - he is such a consistently good performer at Super Rugby and Currie Cup levels."

The end of year squad will be announced two days after the Currie Cup final.

Below is a quick wrap-up of some of Aplon's great play, including that excellent try just before halftime. At the beginning of the video you can also look out for a big tackle by lock Eben Etzebeth.

Posted at 4:33 pm | 10 comments

Hooker Willie Wepener smashes fullback Gio Aplon

Gio Aplon knocked out with brutal elbow from teammate

Chris Ashton's huge hit on Gio Aplon

Gio Aplon's brilliant individual try against the Chiefs

The Springboks thump France in Cape Town

Excellent Gio Aplon Try against the Bulls in 2006

Posted in Great Tries

Viewing 10 comments

wow-jiffy-lube October 21, 2013 5:25 pm

Probably the most dangerous stepper and broken-field runner since Shane Williams retired. What a role model as well for Kolbe, who's just as small but has the potential to be even better.

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matt October 21, 2013 10:00 pm

Not sure I agree with you entirely, but if we call Aplon tiny, then what the hell are we supposed to call Kolbe? 68 kilos!?

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krip October 22, 2013 9:34 am

What about Marc Andreu or Terry Bouhraoua : )

Amazing, amazing players!

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matt October 22, 2013 7:14 pm

I had to google both, but you are right, they are good players.

I watched the first youtube tribute that came up, and my impression from it was that Marc Andreu has a fantastic ability to be offside and not get pinged for it.

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Badge October 21, 2013 6:07 pm

Tons of heart and skill once again from Aplon. I believe he always deserves a look for test selection. Take it easy on my Sharks this weekend.

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trainsmash October 22, 2013 9:47 am

We love him here in Cape Town pretty much like Breyton Paulse a few years back. Exceptional speed and a lethal step. We call him Lion-Heart because he has been bulldozed so many times but never backs down. Kolbe is special, very special. Looking forward to a great final on Saturday, going to be a cracker!

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Eddie-g October 22, 2013 2:57 pm

I agree he should be in the Bok squad, hopefully he will tour Europe.

But I can understand why he hasn't been part of the set up this year - first, Willie le Roux grabbed his chance to be the x-factor. Then if you have Pat Lambie on the bench, hard to include Aplon as one of the other two backs.

But Meyer will have noticed Aplon's form, it should be enough for him to get on the plane overseas. Quality player.

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Hendogo October 22, 2013 5:07 pm

Gio is a perfect example of why rugby is so great. The fact that small players still have a chance to play at the pro level, and be lethal.

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RefSam October 23, 2013 7:44 am

Great try from Aplon, an incredible broken field ball carrier.

Just a quick mention of the Assistant Referee who went from the breakdown, and arrived in a great position to give a thumbs up for the try, despite there being people standing on the sidelines in his way. Good work!

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