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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Brink's career over
Robbie Brink only managed to play once for Ulster
Brink seen here in action against Swansea last season
Ulster flanker Robbie Brink has been forced to retire from the game.

The 32-year-old South African international was told by a specialist on Thursday that an operation to cure his long-term shoulder problem had been unsuccessful.

Brink had returned home to South Africa last season for his eleventh operation on the injury.

The big, abrasive back-row forward originally picked up a dislocated shoulder during Ulster's opening Celtic League victory against Swansea in August 2001.

That proved to be his only competitive Ulster outing.

Big blow

Brink also had an operation for a troublesome ankle problem during the summer.

This season, he did play 40 minutes of rugby when he came on as a half-time replacement in the friendly against Glasgow.

The loss of Brink is a big blow to coach Alan Solomons who brought over the man they call ''The Tank'' from the Stormers Super 12 side.

Solomons had hoped Brink's experience and physical presence would act as a clarion call for the former European Cup champions.

Brink was a member of the South African World Cup-winning squad back in 1995.

He represented the Springboks on three occasions.


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