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Highlanders Pay Tribute to Departing Smith

The Highlanders have paid tribute to Ben Smith in a classy way

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(Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

Super Rugby side the Highlanders paid tribute to club legend Ben Smith by releasing ‘the ultimate jersey’ before their final home game of the season.

The full-back was unable to play in the game against the Bulls, due to an injury he picked up last month, however that didn’t stop the home franchise from honouring him with a unique jersey.

The jersey is framed and consists of the four teams that Smith has represented so far in his career, Otago, Green Island, the Highlanders and Kings High School.

Smith is set to depart the New Zealand-based side following the conclusion of the country’s Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan and is set to join French outfit Pau.

In April he made his 150th appearance for the club and will leave as the side’s most-capped player. He has also played 75 times for New Zealand and will hope to add to that number come September when the World Cup comes around.

It is hoped Smith will line out one final time for the franchise next week in a game which means little following their 24-24 draw with the Bulls leaving them doubtful to make the play-offs. However, the Highlanders will want to send Smith off on a winning note.

No matter what happens it was a fitting finish on home soil for a true legend of the game.

Super Rugby

Highlanders Confirm Trio of Signings

The Highlanders have announced the arrival of three new players following the departure of a host of key men at the end of last season

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(Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have confirmed the signings of Otago trio Michael Collins, Vilimoni Koroi and Sione Misiloi ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Collins, who was the Otago captain, and Misiloi have penned one-year contracts with the New Zealand based franchise.

However, Koroi, has signed a three-year deal which will see him miss the majority of next season so to allow him to be in selection contention for the All Blacks Sevens at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Koroi is probably the most exciting of the three to have arrived as he can cover fly-half, wing and full-back and at only 21 will continue to grow as a player.

The other exciting prospect for the Highlanders is that they have already signed another All Blacks youngster in Scott Gregory, who is a blossoming full-back that has lit up the stage at underage levels.

The thought of Gregory and Koroi linking up is great but both are trying to get into that Sevens team and will be out of selection contention next season.

As well as that trio and Gregory the Highlanders have also signed Connor Garden-Bachop, Mitch Hunt, Jona Nakeri and Ngane Punivai in what has been an eventful transfer period so far.

However, the signings were vital following the departure of 12 key players including the likes of Jackson Hemopo, Matt Faddes, Ben Smith, Liam Squire and Luke Whitelock.

Although it might take a bit of time to get the squad together the new signings are promising for the franchise’s future.

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Super Rugby

Sharks Add Lions Star to Squad

The Sharks have seen a number of players leave this summer, but now they have started to add some promising stars ahead of the new season

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(Photo credit PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Sharks have confirmed the signing of from the Lions ahead of the 2020 season.

Tambwe joins the side on the back of an impressive Currie Cup campaign where he scored seven tries for the Golden Lions, having scored the same number for the Lions in the 2018 Super Rugby campaign.

The 22-year-old also joins back-rower James Venter who linked up with the squad yesterday.

RugbyPass are also reporting that the Sharks are looking at bringing in Ox Nche and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, while Rugby365 also claim that the Durban-based franchise are hoping to sign Werner Kok and Henco Venter.

The side are looking to rebuild following the departure of a number of players which includes the three du Preez brothers, Coenie Oosthuizen and Akker van der Merwe, who have all headed to Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

While Andre Esterhuizen has ledt for Japan, Philip van der Walt has signed for the Newcastle Falcons in England, while they also replaced head coach Rob du Preez with Sean Everitt.

Despite the leaving players the Sharks still have the likes of S’bu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi on their roster in what is an exciting prospect ahead of the new season.

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International

Dyantyi’s B-Sample Test Results Come Back

Aphiwe Dyantyi has been accused of doping and after asking for his B-sample tests to be checked, he has learned his fate

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(Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springboks winger Aphiwe Dyantyi has failed in his B-sample doping test after prohibited substances were found his A-sample previously.

The 25-year-old has been formally charged with having multiple anabolic steroids and metabolites in both samples that were provided to the South African Institute of Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).

SAIDS have now informed SA Rugby and Dyantyi’s Super Rugby franchise the Lions of the situation as they now decide what to do.

“SA Rugby, the Lions Rugby Company and Dyantyi are working with SAIDS, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and all other relevant authorities on the matter and no further comment can be made at this stage,” a statement read.

Last weekend the Lions player issued his own statement in which he plead his innocence before his B-sample was tested.

“I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will. The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence,” he added.

He went on to say that he would never have taken any substances and that the next sample would prove that he hadn’t.

“As a professional sportsman on the national and international level, we get tested on a regular basis. I have been tested before and again since this test. It is part of the job and we all know that each and every player is bound to get tested at least two to four times a year. Taking any prohibited substance would not only be irresponsible and something that I would never intentionally do. It would also be senseless and stupid. I underwent a drug test on June 15 (only two weeks prior to the July 2 test) which did not return any adverse finding,” he added.

Dyantyi is now facing the prospect of a four-year ban from rugby after being capped by the Springboks 13 times, however, failing to make the Rugby World Cup squad. He will have his chance prove his innocence, but he will need a seriously could case behind him to reverse the decision.

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