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Ken Borland

Ludeke on his way out of Loftus 0

Posted on December 22, 2016 by Ken

It is not yet clear whether Frans Ludeke will be catching the next train out of Loftus Versfeld for a permanent exit, but the Bulls coach has stood down from his SuperRugby and Currie Cup duties with immediate effect after eight years in charge.

Nollis Marais, the Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup and U21 coach, will pick up the pieces of the failed SuperRugby campaign and guide the team through this year’s Currie Cup, franchise CEO Barend van Graan announced on Saturday night after the first defeat to the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld in the history of the Sanzar competition.

The 43-year-old Marais has steadily risen up the ranks at Loftus Versfeld, coaching the U21s since 2011 and the Vodacom Cup team since 2013, while also winning the Varsity Cup with Tuks in 2012 and 2013.

Who will coach the Bulls in next year’s SuperRugby competition is still up in the air, however, with Van Graan describing the decision as “an ongoing process”.

Ludeke still has a shade more than a year left on his contract with the Bulls and there is speculation that the two-time Super Rugby winner will move upstairs to take up a director of rugby post.

“It is a big privilege for me, a tough competition lies ahead and I look forward to taking that on. I heard today about my appointment, I’ve been busy preparing for the U21 leagues, so it’s been a very quick five hours in a man’s life.

“As far as my coaching philosophy goes, for me, if you are being paid R1 to play, then you must really play, for the jersey before anything else, but also for the union and the people who come to watch. I will try very hard to bring that attitude to the team,” Marais said on Saturday night.

The Bulls’ reluctance to come out and reveal their long-term plans is mostly because there are still too many variables that haven’t been decided yet. There has been speculation that if Heyneke Meyer does not get an extension to his Springbok contract then the Bulls would be willing to shell out on him as a director of rugby.

His Springbok support team – Johann van Graan, John McFarland and Ricardo Loubscher – could then join him at Loftus Versfeld.

No conversation about the Bulls’ future coaching structure is complete without Victor Matfield joining the debate. The Springbok lock is already part of the coaching set-up and has indicated his desire to succeed Ludeke.

Nobody can stop sublime Donald’s charge into the lead 0

Posted on January 14, 2015 by Ken

Former world number one Luke Donald was in sublime form at Sun City on Friday and nobody was able to interfere with his charge into the lead of the Nedbank Golf Challenge after the second round at the Gary Player Country Club.

With precision driving and his usual brilliant iron play, Donald went shopping for birdies and one of the best putters in the game collected nine of them in all. Not dropping a shot completed a dazzling round for the Englishman, his 63 lifting him to 10-under-par, two shots ahead of overnight leader Ross Fisher.

UPDATE: Nedbank Golf Challenge: Round 3 results

It’s hard to believe based on Friday’s evidence that all has not been right with Donald’s game recently; the first man to win both the European and PGA Tour moneylists in the same year (2011) has not won a tournament since November 2013 and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley took the difficult decision to leave him off the triumphant Ryder Cup team this year.

“I think everything starts for me when I feel like I can drive it in the fairway and then give myself some opportunities, and then I’m not scrounging around trying to make pars and get up‑and‑down.

“So I gave myself a lot of good opportunities today, I didn’t put myself into too much trouble, and obviously when the putter is warm, it’s always one of my best weapons in the bag. So it was nice to roll in a few today,” Donald said after one of the best rounds ever seen at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Fisher actually regained the lead from his compatriot after a wonderful eagle-birdie combo on the 10thand 11th holes, but an offline tee-shot on the par-three 12th drifted on to the mound next to the green and then bounced deep into the bushes, forcing him to drop and the resulting double-bogey checked his progress.

A wayward drive on 14 led to another bogey and Fisher probably did well to stop the bleeding and par the remaining four holes for a 70 and eight-under-par overall.

“It’s a tough golf course and I don’t feel like I played probably as solid as yesterday. I didn’t hit it as good off the tee. But I still felt like I played pretty solid. I hit one poor tee shot on 14 which cost me a six and had to take a penalty drop there. I got it to five‑under after 11, so I was hoping to kick on and reproduce 66 from yesterday or even a little bit better. But unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, so I still shot under par, even with a couple of those loose shots coming in.

“Today it just seemed like every putt we over‑borrowed. I hit at least half-a-dozen, if not seven or eight putts, that I hit exactly where I wanted to hit it, and just unfortunately was over-reading the greens today,” Fisher said.

Crucial errors on the back nine were also the feature of the two other golfers in the final three-ball – Marcel Siem and George Coetzee.

Siem lost ground with a level-par 72 leaving him on four-under-par, the German suffering successive bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes thanks to wayward tee shots.

“It was a strange day, the total opposite from yesterday. It started really nicely, but all of us had problems on the golf course today. It was not like yesterday where we fed from each other. I felt like we were never going to finish, and on 16, we felt the whole tournament was over already. We played five hours, two minutes, just had a really long round and we didn’t play as well as we did yesterday.  Unfortunately the few chances we had on the back nine didn’t drop,” Siem lamented.

Coetzee plummeted even further down the leaderboard after a 74 left him on two-under, the South African dropping three shots on the back nine, including one on the infamous par-five 14th, where he found the dreaded love-grass.

Another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, had the next best round of the day after Donald, a five-under-par 67 that included a rare eagle on the 14th, as he swiftly recovered from being in the wars on the par-four 13th.

That lifted Fleetwood to three-under-par overall and in the five-man group tied for sixth. Brendon Todd, Thongchai Jaidee, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark are the other golfers on 141.

Ahead of them are Siem, Englishman Danny Willett, who shot a 68 to jump to five-under, and Frenchman Alexander Levy, who posted a solid 70.

“It was a good 70, I’m happy because it’s not my best golf but I managed the golf course well. It’s always good to play 70 on this golf course, it’s very difficult and it’s hot,” Levy said.

Although the English dominance, with four golfers in the top six, will be galling for the home fans, it would be boorish for anybody to begrudge the brilliant Donald his success.

“Obviously nine birdies around this place is a great round and something I was very pleased with. It’s been a while since I played such a solid round,” Donald said.

The man may never have won a Major, but he can certainly produce championship golf as he showed on Friday.

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    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm

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