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Ken Borland



Boks fitter than ever to do justice to up-tempo hopes – De Allende 0

Posted on April 10, 2017 by Ken

 

Centre Damian de Allende said on Wednesday that the Springboks have focused on being fitter than ever this year in order to do justice to the more high-tempo game plan most people are hoping they implement in 2017.

With the Lions being the country’s most successful Super Rugby side, there has been pressure on the Springboks to emulate their expansive, up-tempo style of play, but as De Allende pointed out, the groundwork has to be laid for that in terms of fitness and training.

“It’s tough to play that way if physically you’re not there. You also have to train that way and for a lot of seasons teams have wanted to play that way, but we haven’t trained like that.

“But this year we’ve all been striving for that, the plan is to make our play more dynamic, and our fitness levels have improved immensely. At the start of the season I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been.

“The Stormers are now training like that, we’re not perfect yet, but we’ve come a long way  and we’ve scored some great tries, even from our own 22. We’re still getting better,” De Allende said.

The 25-year-old said he hopes the new international season sees the Springboks all on the same page.

“Every Super Rugby franchise is heading in the same direction and once we all join the Springboks, I hope we’re all on the same page, we should all have the same fitness levels. We’ve changed our mindset a lot and I hope we can all combine better,” he said.

De Allende is still in a moon boot following his ankle injury, but is hopeful that the latter half of May will see his return to action.

 

Bulls learn the harsh lesson that intensity must be raised further 0

Posted on May 18, 2016 by Ken

 

The harshest lesson the Bulls learnt on the tough three-week tour of Australia was that the much-improved intensity and tempo of the game plan still needs to go up to the next level if they are going to reach the playoffs of the SuperRugby competition, assistant coach David Manuel said on Tuesday.

The outcome of the Africa Conference 1 could well be decided by the crunch match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday between the Bulls and the Stormers, and Manuel reckons the home side will have the advantage of experiencing the next step up, while the Capetonians only go overseas after the June break.

“The one thing that stood out was the intensity of the Brumbies and Waratahs which we had never experienced before, they bring a different intensity to the contact areas and in terms of line-speed, and we struggled to adjust. We were under immense pressure, but it was a very good experience.

“We were maybe spoilt in the beginning stages of the competition, we had a favourable draw and the opportunity to play the way we wanted. But Australia was a different challenge and now we know exactly what to expect from the top sides,” backs coach Manuel said at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday.

Apart from trying to increase the tempo of their play even more, Manuel said ball-retention was also the biggest area they need to improve on ahead of the Stormers game.

“The biggest focus point has been respecting the ball more. We created opportunities but then we would release the pressure by forcing a pass or trying something magical. Clearing the ball quicker from the rucks is definitely an area we can improve on too, but for that to happen you need to have good shape, you need guys on their feet otherwise there’s nothing on.

“These are growing pains, but we learnt from our mistakes in the first game against the Stormers that it’s always going to be a set-piece battle. If you don’t have a platform there then the backs will struggle. The result will also go on the advantage line, who gets on the front foot there,” Manuel said.

 

No impatience for Coetzee as he wins Tshwane Open 0

Posted on January 04, 2016 by Ken

There was no panic, no impatience, just a steely determination to stick to the game plan as George Coetzee chased a birdie on the closing holes to win the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

Fellow South African Jacques Blaauw had earlier blazed his way to a nine-under-par 61 that featured four successive birdies from the sixth hole and two-in-a-row to finish, to post the number – 13-under-par – that Coetzee had to beat.

But Coetzee, having started playing golf at Pretoria Country Club and winning his first tournament there when he was 10, knows all the secrets of the Waterkloof parklands course and he knew patience and sticking to his game plan would eventually pay dividends.

He systematically went through the first five holes in par and then claimed his first birdie at the par-four sixth after a monster drive to just in front of the green. Writing three successive birdies on his card from the eighth hole allowed the 28-year-old to catch Blaauw on 13-under. Then it was just a matter of waiting for one more birdie; it eventually came on the penultimate hole, by which time a lesser golfer may have become impatient.

“I’ve played those first three holes a thousand times and they’re probably the trickiest on the course, and then the fourth they made a par-four this week. So that’s not where I wanted to make my charge, it’s easy to drop shots there, but I knew when I stepped on to the sixth tee that it was time,” Coetzee said.

“Jacques put me under a lot of pressure and there were other guys racing out of the blocks as well. But I had a good game plan mentally and it was just a matter of playing my game and waiting for my birdies to come. Towards the end, I was waiting for 17, which is usually a birdie chance, and the 65 I shot today was the round I’ve been looking to play, it was controlled and how I wanted the day to play out,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee had started the day tied for the lead with five other golfers – fellow South Africans Trevor Fisher Junior and Wallie Coetsee, Englishman David Horsey, Scotland’s Craig Lee and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui.

But it all turned sour for those contenders, none of them being able to break par.

Although Coetzee said before the tournament that the 6459-metre course redesigned by Gary Player in 2004 was not exactly up his street, his delight at winning his second European Tour title at his home club was obvious.

“I loved the fans, when I was growing up you dream about playing in front of galleries like that and the crowd just seemed to get bigger and bigger. There were hundreds of people following our group and I recognised a lot of them. I never thought, as a kid, that I’d be playing a European Tour event at my home club, so it’s unreal to win here,” Coetzee said.

His previous European Tour title was won in Johannesburg 13 months ago, and he has four other Sunshine Tour wins. But this was achieved in different fashion and Coetzee was especially pleased with that.

“In the Joburg Open win, I was behind on the front nine and then ahead on the back nine, so it went from being aggressive to being conservative. Today I had to mix aggression with cleverness and it was nice to make a birdie to win. Most of my previous wins have come from putting very well, but I’m very happy to have my ball-striking come through today. I’m loving my driver,” Coetzee said.

And with good reason because he hit 13 of 14 fairways off the tee in the final round and gave himself several looks at birdie on the back nine. But as the number of holes left diminished, so thoughts turned to whether Coetzee would finally make birdie or push too hard and end up dropping a shot.

Lee, playing in the final two-ball, was just one shot behind but he would drop a crucial shot on the 15th when his drive went too far right on to a bank, from where he had to lay up before the stream crossing the fairway and then missed a 10-foot putt for par.

That meant it was all up to Coetzee to overtake Blaauw.

His drive on 17 went off to the right, into some trees short of the bunkers guarding the green. But the benefits of playing on his home course once again came to the fore.

“It didn’t happen exactly how I wanted, but I know there are gaps between the bunkers there,” Coetzee said after he had played a lovely, delicate chip to within five feet of the hole to set up the birdie that won the Tshwane Open.

http://citizen.co.za/344470/tshwane-open-round-four-final-wrap/

Springboks’ game plan has advanced, say All Blacks 0

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Ken

The Springbok game plan has advanced over the last year, according to the All Blacks players and coaches, despite the negative perceptions that persist among sectors of the uninformed.

“They’ve certainly taken a step forward in the way they play, they still use their traditional strengths so you always expect a big tough battle, but they’ve added creativity and a bit of flair. There’ll be massive pressure on the game, no matter what, because it’s number one on the rankings versus number two, and whoever wins can say that they’re playing the best footy in the world at the moment,” Kieran Read, the All Blacks’ outstanding eighthman said yesterday.

New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster, who looks after back play and attack for the All Blacks, said the selection of Handre Pollard as the starting flyhalf for the Springboks had added a new dimension to their play.

“It’s been quite a significant change at 10, we thought Handre Pollard was really strong in Wellington, he’s quite attacking and composed, he did a lot of good things and he’s very much a player of the future. He gives them a bit more width.

“The Springboks also seem to have a strong squad of 23 now, they’ve developed a strategy to use all 23 players more. It’s been one of our key strengths to use all 23 players and keep the tempo going upwards. They also still have their key strengths of kicking and the lineout drive,” Foster said.

The Waikato legend also said the All Blacks and Springboks had a special relationship, which was borne out by the wonderful gestures made in Wellington towards Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana to celebrate their 100 games for South Africa.

“The All Blacks versus the Springboks is special, it always has been and it always will be. There’s a great feeling between the teams, a mutual respect. We have a lot of time for how they go about things and the biggest compliment we can pay them is how we always lift our game against them. We know we have to be at 100% to beat them, if we’re at 99% we’ll lose,” Foster said.

2013 IRB Player of the Year Read, who had a tremendous tussle with Duane Vermeulen in Wellington, admitted that he would be disappointed if the injured eighthman was not in the picture at Ellis Park on Saturday.

“I’m sure the Springboks will still be good whoever steps out at eight, but Duane certainly leads the charge for them with his hit-ups, his carries really give them go-forward. He loves the physicality and he’s just a typical brute of an African beast.

“I’ll be a little bit disappointed if he’s not playing because he’s a good man and a great rugby player, and you always like to pit yourself against the very best. But it’s not really an individual battle out there, you rarely come up one-on-one against your opposite number, it’s a team game,” Read said.

 

 

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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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