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Ken Borland



Cheetahs can surprise everyone with attack variations – Reinach 0

Posted on March 24, 2017 by Ken

 

Everyone knows that the Cheetahs are an attacking side, but Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach says his team are wary of all the little variations to their game coach Franco Smith could have up his sleeve for their SuperRugby clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

“Franco Smith has brought in a lot of different attacking lines, they don’t just go from wide to wide anymore. So that’s going to keep us on our feet, the Cheetahs have a lot of good attacking players and it’s a good challenge for us to have. The Cheetahs have a lot of exciting players and they can really bring anything to the party,” Reinach said.

The Sharks surprised – in a bad way – in their match last weekend against the Southern Kings, struggling to a two-point victory in which they made far too many errors and showed little fluency. While insisting that the team had moved forward since that setback, Reinach agreed that the performance was no laughing matter.

“We’ve put that match behind us, but it certainly was not the way we want to perform, it was a below-par display. It’s about attitude and we let ourselves down. We need to get our mental preparation right and make sure we’re up for every game. We train in a squad system so making changes to the team should not influence how we play, we all know the calls and when to do things and what not to do,” Reinach said.

Top-class Sharks halfbacks hoping for a change in injury fortunes 0

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Ken

 

Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach have endured a wretched time when it comes to injury in recent SuperRugby seasons, but Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt said on Tuesday that the team are excited about being able to field a top-class halfback pair in this year’s campaign.

“That’s where we’ve fallen short in the last couple of years, losing Pat early and then Cobus being unlucky in the last few years, means they have missed a lot of SuperRugby which is never easy for a team to lose their first-choice halfbacks. And SuperRugby is not really the sort of tournament you want to breed youngsters in, that’s more for the Currie Cup, and we’ve also had no Frans Steyn.

“But the youngsters are important and they’ve been working hard, because Pat has to rest at some stage. Innocent Radebe and Benhard Janse van Rensburg have done well and Curwin Bosch can play flyhalf as well.

“Cobus will certainly provide some x-factor, he’s an opportunist, but he does the basics well and has a good boot too. He’s been here a long time, he knows the systems well and he delivers on the field,” Everitt said.

While experience at nine and 10 will obviously be cherished by the Sharks, they do have a herd of youngsters challenging for backline places and that has pleased Everitt as well.

“The youngsters have a lot of enthusiasm and since losing JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux and Odwa Ndungane last year, the Currie Cup bunch have grown considerably. They’ve certainly played themselves into contention and that’s exciting.

“We have Kobus van Wyk on the wing, although we will look at him at centre if we have problems there. But Lukhanyo Am has done well in the Currie Cup and has had good preparation, so we’ll be looking to build up his combination with Andre Esterhuizen.

“Jeremy Ward is obviously a good signing because he was one of the top age-group players in his position [centre] last year and we mustn’t forget Johan Deysel from the Leopards, who played in the 2015 World Cup for Namibia. It’s time to move on and these guys have what it takes,” Everitt said.

But there is also the presence of veteran French fullback Clement Poitrenaud and Everitt said he would play a leadership role in guiding the young backline.

“Clement is definitely in contention for selection in the match-day 23, he has a lot of experience having played 47 Tests. We have a young backline, so he will be good for us, leading and helping those guys. He’s very popular amongst his team-mates, his English is quite good and he has a good sense of humour. Most importantly, the guys admire his skill-set,” Everitt said.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/1428003/sharks-holding-thumbs-their-dynamic-duo-keep-fit/

6 weeks in a row for Bok trio but Sharks say they will honour Saru agreement 0

Posted on February 12, 2016 by Ken

 

Director of Rugby Gary Gold said on Thursday that the Sharks will honour the agreement they entered into with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) over the resting of Springboks, despite naming Marcell Coetzee, Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach in the starting line-up for the sixth week in a row for their crunch match against the Chiefs in Durban on Saturday.

Saru confirmed this week that the agreement with the franchises that key Springboks would not play for more than five consecutive weeks and that they would have rest weeks during the tournament was “the ideal” and was not legally binding.

With the Sharks having endured a difficult start to the season, Saturday’s match against the powerful Chiefs is a key one as they look to close the five-point gap between them and the Stormers in the South African Conference, and Gold said the selection should be seen in the light of this.

“Our view is that we’re 100% behind the Boks in resting players, I think it’s the right thing to do and we’ve agreed to a plan. But we have a different challenge on our hands that other Unions don’t have. We have the most number of Springboks and our first bye is only in Week 11. So when other teams get that bye, they have the break within the five weeks.

“Where it becomes problematic is not being able to meet that five-week period this week. We haven’t been given the benefit of a bye which three of the five South African franchises have already. But as of last week, we’re the only team to have rested Springboks.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s something we’re committed to. It’s the right thing to do, I think the Springboks do need to get some rest time, and I want to make it very clear that we’re committed to that agreement. No-one wants the Springboks to win this Rugby World Cup more than me after going through the disaster of 2011,” Gold, who was the assistant coach when South Africa were eliminated at the quarterfinal stage of the last World Cup, said.

The selection of the current national players means there is just one change to the Sharks team that won so convincingly last weekend in Bloemfontein, with Marco Wentzel, capped as a Springbok in 2002, named as the replacement for the injured lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.

The in-form Du Toit’s knee injury is not as serious as first feared, with the 22-year-old now being ruled out for three months.

After such a good performance as the one in Bloemfontein, Gold said it would be silly to now make changes.

“The guys took a lot of confidence out of a tough game, the Cheetahs are not a roll-over. We played in tough conditions and we’re able to keep continuity going for the same guys in the same positions. From next week we’re going to have to look at jiggling things,” Gold said.

 

‘It’s not about the tries,’ says Cobus Reinach 0

Posted on August 10, 2014 by Ken

 

Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach has scored some tremendous individual tries in the last year, but the newest member of the Springbok squad is adamant that those are not planned and he has just had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.

“The tries have been a team effort, I just finished them off,” Reinach said with a modesty that was almost as impressive as some of the moments of solo brilliance he has dazzled with for the Sharks.

“It’s never about me, for me it’s always about getting the ball out, getting quick ball for the team, which is very key to the way the Springboks want to play. I’ll never try and force a gap for myself,” he added.

Reinach is the son of the late Jaco Reinach, the last man to represent South Africa in both rugby and athletics. Jaco was the South African record-holder for the 400m (45.01) from April 1983 until 2011 when it was broken by LJ van Zyl, a three-time African champion and Olympian.

So it probably wasn’t a surprise that Cobus Reinach began his rugby career on the wing, but was moved to scrumhalf when he was deemed to be too small for the back three.

“I always played wing until U13 when I was told I was too small for that position – at all of 38kgs,” Reinach recalled.

“I had to adapt very quickly and I didn’t really have any role-models who were scrumhalves. So I used to watch George Gregan and Fourie du Preez a lot and copy what they did.”

The evergreen Du Preez is injured – out for the rest of the year – which has allowed Reinach to receive his first full call-up to the Springbok squad.

“It’s an exciting, amazing feeling to be around the Springboks. I’m having a good season, which helps, but the main part of being here is to learn. Fourie, Ruan Pienaar and Francois Hougaard are all world-class scrumhalves, but if you want to be the best, then you have to compete against the best,” Reinach said.

While the Sharks, with a conservative game plan and problems at flyhalf, often relied on Reinach’s individual brilliance to spark their attacking play, the Springboks have threats across the park and the 24-year-old knows he has to concentrate on slick service and the one area of his game that has shown signs of weakness – his tactical kicking.

“There are always areas to improve. My passing from both left and right hand is fine, but I’m working on my weak foot.

“At the Sharks, we have a big tactical kicking game and if it doesn’t go your way on the day then you’re in trouble. We weren’t good enough in the SuperRugby semi-final, but the Springboks don’t play the same type of rugby – they run a bit more and they kick and exit their own half differently,” Reinach said.

Reinach junior was just six years old when his father died in a car accident, aquaplaning off the road near Kroonstad and hitting a tree in January 1997, but it is clear Jaco’s legacy lives on strongly in his son.

Apart from being a world-class athlete, denied an international stage due to Apartheid, Jaco Reinach was an exceptional wing who was unfortunate to only play four times for the Springboks. He was at his peak in the mid-1980s, but that was the era of Ray Mordt and Michael and Carel du Plessis and he played in just one series – against the 1986 New Zealand Cavaliers. Reinach snr scored two tries, one of them a memorable effort from the halfway line in the 33-18 victory at Loftus Versfeld.

When Cobus makes his bow on the international stage (it will surely be sooner rather than later), it will be an emotional time for the Grey Bloem product.

“Even though he was not there, my dad was definitely the biggest influence on my career. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I watched the Battle of the Giants video of the Springboks’ series against the New Zealand Cavaliers over and over and just to see him run was brilliant. I think I’m quite quick but not as quick as him, especially not off the mark!

“When I saw my name in the Springbok squad, I was so happy. But I’m going to try and keep the emotion out of it until I get in the team. After I’ve played my first game, then I think I will be emotional,” Reinach said with refreshing candour.

There are a million different ways to play rugby and, while there is a hint of contrasting philosophies when it comes to Jake White and Heyneke Meyer, Reinach welcomes all the input at this early stage of his career.

“Every coach has his own idea of how to play, so I’ve picked up a few ideas along the way. That’s how my game will grow up, that’s how I will be able to do everything. With experience and game time, my decision-making will get better and better, but I also don’t want to lose my instinctive moves,” he said.

The instinctive moments of brilliance are what most people will notice; but the best teams have scrumhalves who also do the basics faultlessly, unnoticed, much like a wicketkeeper in cricket.

Scrumhalves need to have their fingers on the pulse of play, they dictate the tempo and flow of the game.

In Cobus Reinach, the Springboks have someone with the skills to grow into that role … with a bit of magic on the side.



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