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Rugby Union: Springbok primed to bolster Bedford

Bedford have stepped up their promotion push from the Second Division with the signing of the South African international Rudi Straeuli.

The 33-year-old flanker, who played for the Springboks in their 1995 World Cup final triumph, is expected in Bedford on Thursday and could be in the side to play Rugby Lions on Saturday.

A club spokesman said: "There are still one or two loose ends to tie up but we expect him here on Thursday and hope he can play on Saturday.

"He came here before Christmas and was given a tour around the club. He was under contract to the South African Rugby Union then, though was not in their current squad."

The player-coach, Paul Turner, and director of rugby, Geoff Cooke, have made it clear to Frank Warren, the club's backer, that they could not sustain a promotion challenge with their current players.

The spokesman added: "We are still aiming to recruit more players and will now have to start looking to off-load those who are surplus to requirements."