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Ken Borland



Bulls pack have to produce another mighty display – Strauss 0

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss says his pack are going to have to produce another mighty display if they are to beat the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday in the second game of their SuperRugby tour.

The Brumbies will have their all-Wallaby front row of Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Scott Sio back, while they possess two tremendous loose forwards in David Pocock and Scott Fardy.

“Their pack is definitely one of their strengths so it’s going to be a massive challenge for us,” Strauss agreed. “The Brumbies have got an excellent lineout and scrum, they have a very strong maul and their first-phase play is exceptional.

“It will be tough for us, but I’m very proud of our pack, they’ve really put up their hands and we have to do it again against the Brumbies.”

Strauss, as captain, can’t just focus on the forward battle though and, in terms of tactics, he hopes the Bulls can get the balance right between attack and defence, territory and possession, as they did last weekend against the Force.

“At stages we’ve played some great rugby and we want to play an all-round game and do it for 80 minutes. We want more artillery than just being a one-dimensional team, we want to be great at counter-attack and in the set-pieces, it’s all about playing decision-making rugby,” Strauss said.

The Brumbies will be desperate to get back on the winning trail after losing four of their last six games, including two in a row against the Crusaders and Highlanders. They are currently sixth in the Australasian Conference, two points behind the Rebels.

The Waratahs are level with the Brumbies on 21 points, but have a game in hand and are getting some good momentum after two successive wins.

Time to panic as full-scale crisis has developed for Boks 0

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Ken

 

The time to panic has arrived and Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is going to have to shed his fear of losing because the struggles of 2015 have now developed into a full-scale crisis after the shock loss to Japan in their opening World Cup match.

As magnificently as Japan played, what makes the loss even harder to swallow is that Eddie Jones telegraphed their game plan during the week; everybody knew they would go low in the tackle, bring pressure on the breakdown and move the ball away quickly from the collisions, and yet Meyer and the Springboks were unable to develop or execute a strategy to counter this.

All those tired old, injured bodies were not able to physically dominate the smallest team in international rugby, so what chance do they have against the massive Samoans? And if anyone says “no, but the Springboks will be ‘up’ for that game”, then I’d like to know what the hell was wrong with them that they couldn’t get properly motivated for the World Cup opening game?!

A defeat to Samoa will, in all probability, mean a flight home after the pool stages for the Springboks, so Meyer is now in a position where he has to go for broke.

A second-row of Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager will bring a more physical edge, which will be a prerequisite against Samoa. Francois Louw was anonymous against Japan after his injury woes and a second flank playing to the ball in Siya Kolisi could be useful. Frans Malherbe must come in for the unfit Coenie Oosthuizen.

Schalk Burger was a busy contributor, but what did he actually achieve? He is no longer a dominant force in the collisions, turning over ball far too often in contact, and constantly popping up at flyhalf or inside centre made him a disruptive force in the backline. Duane Vermeulen has to return, as captain, and maybe even Willem Alberts, if the medical team can actually get him on to a rugby field.

Zane Kirchner, after a bright opening 10 minutes, disappeared and is a total non-contributor on attack; Willie le Roux has to return at fullback to add a creative edge to a Springbok team that is a blunt weapon offensively.

Jean de Villiers has been a tremendous captain and a great player, but the emotion of a tenacious comeback should not be allowed to cloud the reality that the best centre pairing available for the Springboks right now is Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel.

It’s a great sadness that the legacy of top-class players like Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and De Villiers is being tarnished as they stumble on for a tournament too far. Du Preez should start at scrumhalf against Samoa and have a last chance to show that he still has a role to play for the Springboks.

 

 

Hard words spoken, but now Bulls need to do their talking on the field 0

Posted on August 18, 2015 by Ken

 

Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies disclosed this week that there were “hard words” spoken amongst the team after their lacklustre opening loss to the Stormers, but they are definitely going to have to do their talking on the field tonight if they are to beat a star-studded Hurricanes side in their SuperRugby match at Loftus Versfeld.

The details of the defeat to the Stormers will show that the Bulls were dominated at scrum time, failed to trouble the opposition lineout, missed 18 tackles and conceded eight linebreaks as they lost the gain-line battle, but the single biggest factor in the loss was attitude.

“We’ve had hard words for each other this week, we know that we’re a much better team than that. We made way too many mistakes, which means you can’t build pressure. Against the Hurricanes we have to execute what we do well, we have to take care of the ball and be clinical,” Spies said.

The Hurricanes will field a lethal backline featuring TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, the returning Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane, hence the Bulls stressing the importance of not allowing them turnover ball.

“Broken field is what they want, turnover ball, and like all New Zealand teams if they get front-foot ball and get their offloads going, then they are lethal,” Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said. “But they also have a strong defence, they’ve definitely improved there, their work-rate is good, they get numbers up in defence, and they’re very competitive at the collisions.”

Judging by the performance against the Stormers, Ludeke’s new game plan seems to be going down with his team like oil with water, but the coach said he can live with the mistakes as long as the decision-making of his players is correct.

“You win games from broken field these days because if you just carry the ball all the time you will eventually lose it. It comes down to decision-making, it’s about space and numbers and not trying to create something that’s not there. Passes not going to hand can happen and sometimes the contact skills of the players let them down, but as long as the attacking mindset is there,” Ludeke said.

The Hurricanes, who beat the Lions last weekend at Ellis Park, don’t have a great record on tour here and the last time they won two games in South Africa was way back in 2006. But they certainly made a statement against the Lions and if the Bulls also make numerous mistakes, then the Wellington-based side has more than enough firepower to punish them.

The Bulls need to up their intensity up front so they don’t look like carthorses again against a mobile Hurricanes pack, while the scrum needs a drastic improvement in the absence of tighthead Marcel van der Merwe with a knee injury.

The Bulls have plenty of talent, but one can’t expect the younger players to do everything; the Bulls’ senior players really need to step up tonight.

Teams

Bulls: 15-Jesse Kriel, 14-Bjorn Basson, 13-JJ Engelbrecht, 12-Jan Serfontein, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Piet van Zyl, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Lappies Labuschagne, 6-Deon Stegmann, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Jacques du Plessis, 3-Trevor Nyakane, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Morne Mellet. Reserves – 16-Callie Visagie, 17-Dean Greyling, 18-Grant Hattingh, 19-Hanro Liebenberg, 20-Rudy Paige, 21-Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22-Jurgen Visser, 23-Dayan van der Westhuizen.

Hurricanes: 15-Jason Woodward, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma’a Nonu, 11-Julian Savea, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-TJ Perenara, 8-Blade Thomson, 7-Callum Gibbins, 6-Brad Shields, 5-James Broadhurst, 4-Mark Abbott, 3-Ben Franks, 2-Dane Coles, 1-Reggie Goodes. Reserves – 16-Brayden Mitchell, 17-Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18-Chris Eves, 19-Ardie Savea, 20-Victor Vito, 21-Chris Smylie, 22-James Marshall, 23-Matt Proctor.

 



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