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Ken Borland



Sharks Currie Cup coaches licking their lips 0

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Ken

 

“You must be licking your lips!” Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold told his assistant coaches, Sean Everitt and Ryan Strudwick, when he introduced the Currie Cup coaching team at a pre-tournament press conference in Durban on Wednesday.

Everitt, who has been part of the Sharks’ coaching structures for nearly a decade, will look after the backline and Gold said he was particularly excited by the quality players available in that department.

“We have such an exciting backline with Andre Esterhuizen who played so well, S’bura Sithole played very well, Odwa Ndungane I thought was very good; to name a few. We have a really good balance this year with a little bit of experience but a lot of youth. We also have the SA U20 players coming back in. It’s exciting times at the moment, Michael Claassens has been very impressive, likewise Joe Pietersen,” Gold said.

Mobility is what stood out for Gold in terms of the forward pack.

“If you take just one position, Etienne Oosthuizen will go to second row and he’s played back row in Super Rugby. You have those kinds of mobile players in the second row which can only stand you in good stead. Then there’s Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez, Khaya Majola, Jean Deysel to pick from in the back row, we have quite a mobile team. I think it can lead to some exciting rugby.

“I’m very excited about the team, about the balance between the young players who are so enthusiastic and a couple of older guys we have, like Deysel and Marco Wentzel. Philip van der Walt has joined us now and he’s looked particularly impressive too,” Gold said.

Gold also expounded the merits of his assistant coaches.

“It made perfect sense for Ryan Strudwick to step up. His experience speaks volumes, not only did we work together in the UK at London Irish, he was our captain and we won trophies together, but he’s also been an outstanding coach in KZN for a number of years, recently winning the Varsity Shield. For me it’s a very exciting prospect to take Durban boys and be able to bring them through.

“Sean Everitt’s experience is fantastic, he was a rock in the Super Rugby competition, he’s coached at club level and been successful there, and he’s done very well with the juniors. It’s great continuity to be able to bring these guys through and I’m very excited for this Currie Cup campaign,” Gold said.

Sharks will take same valiant 23 into Waratahs match 0

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Ken

 

The Sharks will take the same 23-man squad that lost valiantly to the Hurricanes last weekend into their SuperRugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, director of rugby Gary Gold announced on Thursday.

The defending champion Waratahs are struggling to get into the playoffs and are currently in seventh place overall and second in the Australian conference, with the Brumbies and Rebels making life hard for the New South Welshmen. And they are coming off a shock defeat against the Western Force, so the Waratahs will come out firing.

The Sharks hammered the Waratahs 32-10 last year in Durban in one of their best performances of the season, tearing into the Australians up front, and they are clearly expecting another tremendous tussle between the forwards.

“They’re a very physical team, probably the most physical Australian side. We saw what the Force did to them last weekend by matching them from a physical point of view, so that’s the challenge for us. They have a big strong pack, but they move the ball well, so we’re really going to have to get our defensive shape right. Their front row has played probably 80 or 90 times together and all of them are Wallabies.

“Then you add the likes of Will Skelton into the mix, Dave Dennis and others, you can see why they’re the reigning champions. They’re a formidable team, one through 15, they’re a very well-balanced team with threats everywhere, some fantastic playmakers in the backline – the likes of Beale, Folau and Ashley-Cooper. This is possibly our toughest challenge to date,” Gold said.

The continued absence of Willem Alberts is going to make the world of difference unfortunately for the Sharks, for whom there are already question marks over the fitness of Bismarck du Plessis, Renaldo Bothma, Marco Wentzel and Lwazi Mvovo.

Team: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Francois Steyn, S’bura Sithole, Lionel Cronje, Stefan Ungerer, Renaldo Bothma, Etienne Oosthuizen, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel, Stephan Lewies, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Bench – Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Mouritz Botha, Kyle Cooper, Conrad Hoffmann, Andre Esterhuizen, Waylon Murray.

Absence of Alberts would be major blow for Sharks 0

Posted on August 09, 2016 by Ken

 

The fitness of Willem Alberts, Franco Marais and Conrad Hoffmann are the new concerns facing Sharks coach Gary Gold ahead of his team announcement on Thursday for their SuperRugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

The absence of the inspirational physical presence of Alberts would obviously be a massive blow for the Sharks as they take on the runaway leaders of the competition and, although Renaldo Bothma is fit to play, the only other specialist loose forward on tour is Etienne Oosthuizen, who did not have the best of games last weekend against the Highlanders.

The arrival of the experienced Kyle Cooper from South Africa this week means the reserve hooker berth is taken care of should Marais not pass a late fitness test, but the player Cooper replaced, Cobus Reinach, has left a massive gap at scrumhalf.

Reinach has fractured his hand, according to Gold, and his substitute against the Highlanders, Hoffmann, now also has a niggle. The inexperienced Stefan Ungerer could therefore be in for a baptism of fire at The Cake Tin.

After four successive defeats – two of them in ignominious fashion – Gold said he does not believe he needs to light a fire under his squad just yet.

“For me the big stick comes out when you have a look at your play and get a sense of a group of players who are lethargic, non-committed and are not trying hard enough. I do not believe that this is the case at the moment.

“Over the course of my coaching career I have had to use the big stick. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means satisfied with our performances, but at this moment in time I see a group of players who are hurting a lot and whose pride is at stake.

“As a coach and a leader, one needs to assess the situation. Everybody goes through tough times. I do not believe for a minute that this group lacks commitment, in fact, the players are committed to fixing the problem.

“Difficult times require calm heads and mature leadership. We have a great group of senior guys who are committed to seeing out this campaign.  A lot of lessons have been learnt and a huge amount of lessons can be taken out of this campaign, which will only benefit us down the line,” Gold said.

 

Springboks Bismarck, JP & Lewies all return for Sharks 0

Posted on July 15, 2016 by Ken

 

Springboks Bismarck du Plessis, JP Pietersen and Stephan Lewies will all return to the Sharks’ starting line-up for their SuperRugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday, director of rugby Gary Gold announced on Wednesday.

The embattled Sharks will be desperate to start their tour on a positive note and hooker Du Plessis and lock Lewies will bring some much-needed physicality to the pack, while the experience, size and defensive nous of Pietersen is going to be crucial at outside centre as the visitors look to contain one of the most potent backlines in Super Rugby.

Franco Marais, Waylon Murray and Mouritz Botha all move down to the bench.

The other changes to the starting line-up see tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis rested and replaced by Lourens Adriaanse for a match that will test the Sharks’ mobility and defence more than their set-piece prowess, while Willem Alberts shifts to eighthman with Renaldo Bothma moving to blindside flank.

Gold confirmed that, because of injuries, he is going to have to shuffle his loose-forward stocks carefully, with Etienne Oosthuizen the only reserve flank on tour.

“Etienne will get some game time and will have to start a few games to give other guys like Renaldo or Willem a rest. At this stage it’s the only option I have with Ryan Kankowski and Tera Mtembu injured, Jean Deysel still serving his suspension and the Du Preez brothers with the SA U20 squad. We don’t have any more options and we have to look at it carefully and see how we go, it just means that Etienne is going to play more of a role. Mouritz Botha and Stephan Lewies can cover the blindside, if need be, but hopefully we don’t have that situation,” Gold said.

Fred Zeilinga will be flyhalf for at least another week and will be looking to impress after struggling against the Bulls a fortnight ago. Francois Steyn returns from suspension next week, and is flying over to New Zealand in the next couple of days, while Lionel Cronje is the other option for the number 10 jersey.

Steyn can, of course, also play fullback or centre and it is anybody’s guess where Gold will eventually employ him next weekend against the Hurricanes.

“Frans’s strength comes from his ability to cover all three positions, we will see what happens this weekend. He will only be joining the team this weekend, and we will see how all the guys go and who performs and we will have a look at where we best see Frans fit into the team.  I see him as all three of those positions,” Gold said.

Team: Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, JP Pietersen, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Fred Zeilinga, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Renaldo Bothma, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel, Stephan Lewies, Lourens Adriaanse, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Bench – Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, Mouritz Botha, Etienne Oosthuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronje, Waylon Murray.

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  • Thought of the Day

    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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