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Ken Borland



Bulls will be without unsung hero Paige 0

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Ken

 

Scrumhalf Rudy Paige has probably been the unsung hero of the Bulls’ climb to the top of the South African SuperRugby Conference, but now they are going to have to do without the man who has become their attacking heartbeat for the crunch encounter with the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

Paige suffered a grade 1 medial ligament tear of his knee in the impressive win over the Sharks and will be out of action for at least two weeks, coach Frans Ludeke admitting that it is a major blow to his team.

“Rudy’s a very busy player and he gets a lot going for us, especially in terms of go-forward on attack. He brings a lot to our game,” Ludeke said.

The 25-year-old has not only provided a crisp, clean service from the base, but has also impressed with excellent decision-making in terms of who to pass to and when to probe gaps on his own.

Ludeke has two options when it comes to replacing Paige.

Francois Hougaard has played more rugby for the Springboks at scrumhalf than at wing, but the mercurial Paul Roos Gymnasium product has become an integral part of a Bulls back three that has produced some exceptional rugby and Ludeke could well decide not to potentially create two problems by moving him to halfback.

Piet van Zyl’s rugby has gone backwards since he moved to Pretoria, but he is likely to get a chance to shine now, at least for a couple of weeks, in the number nine jersey.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is keeping his cards very close to his chest this week, but he will be well aware of some Bulls’ weaknesses this season.

The Bulls are not a side that deals in offloads so the Stormers defence don’t need to worry about that, while, despite upstaging the Sharks last weekend at the breakdown, their record in the rucks has been far inferior to that of the Stormers’ this year.

You know what you’re going to get with the Bulls – the blunt instrument of forwards monotonously carrying the ball up – but it works for them and they have actually scored two more tries than the Stormers thus far in the campaign, even though the Capetonians boast the attacking abilities of Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh and Dillyn Leyds.

 

 

Jannes Kirsten Q&A 0

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Ken

 

Q: Jannes, today you were up against a Stormers pack that featured six Springboks, guys like Schalk Burger, who was probably a hero for you growing up. And yet you were a major factor on the gainline, smashing all of those guys back, how did that feel?

JK: In my first game of SuperRugby I had big eyes, playing against all those Springboks in the Stormers team, all those guys with so many caps. But when you’re under all that pressure, you just have to lift your performance. It definitely motivates me playing against guys like that, against our arch-rivals, so you lift your game as much as possible. I’m a born-and-bred Blue Bull, I’m sure if you cut me blue blood will come out, so the Stormers are not my favourite team, it’s why they are such a big team to play against. My brother Frik once got an offer from Western Province, but he said to my Dad – “How am I ever going to pull that jersey over my head?”!

 

Q: Putting your body on the line like you did, is it just because you were playing the Stormers, or was there other motivation?

JK: The coach has been hard on us this week and we knew we would have to perform to win. It’s like a sin to lose at Loftus Versfeld, so we really didn’t want to disappoint our fans or the coach either. I think I’ll be moving a bit slower on Sunday, get up later. I’ll ask the coach on Monday if maybe I can have a swimming session or a massage …

 

Q: Your brother Frik actually had to give up rugby last year due to a neck injury. Does that also motivate you to give absolutely everything while playing for the Bulls?

JK: Ja, Frik was a prop and then he hurt his neck in 2014, when he was just 26. The year before he had been a member of the Springbok touring squad at the end of the year. I think regularly about how nice it would have been to play together. So I really want to build on the name that he put out there, to make him and my Dad, who played flank for Eastern Transvaal, proud.

 

Q: How do you feel after the game, you must feel immensely proud?

JK: I’m very proud, it was a massive defensive effort. We needed to act as a collective and we did that, it was good to be a part of that effort. It was a great day and a great win, we’ll keep our feet on the ground but enjoy the win.

 

Coetzee does not know which game will pitch up in Tshwane Open 0

Posted on December 06, 2015 by Ken

 

Local hero George Coetzee says he does not know which game is going to pitch up – the good one or the bad one – when he tees it up at Pretoria Country Club, his home course, in the first round of the Tshwane Open on Thursday.

The Tshwane Open, which has a purse of R18.5 million, is the last co-sanctioned event of the season in South Africa and Coetzee would obviously like to improve on his previous performances this summer – he missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the SA Open and the Africa Open, while only finishing T16th in the restricted-field Nedbank Golf Challenge and T24th at the Joburg Open.

But the world number 87 was not overly confident after practising at Pretoria Country Club on Wednesday.

“It’s great to have a tournament in Tshwane and unbelievable for me that it’s at my home course, where I imagined I was playing in the British Open growing up. I hope knowing this course as well as I do is in my favour, but at the moment I don’t know whether I’m going to play well or badly. I find out on Thursday morning on the first tee … ” Coetzee said.

The 28-year-old, who claimed a breakthrough maiden European Tour title in last year’s Joburg Open, has undergone some well-publicised changes to his game that have looked ill-advised given that he hasn’t come close to winning a strokeplay title since then. But Coetzee said on Wednesday that the changes are starting to work as they become imbedded in his game.

“There are a few things I’ve been working on, and every round I play, there’s a bit more of that coming through,” he said.

South Africa’s other main hope for the R2.9 million first prize is Trevor Fisher Junior, but it’s been a bit of a zoo for the first-time European Tour winner after his triumph in last weekend’s Africa Open at East London Golf Club.

“I’m still on a high, but it’s been tough with all the calls and messages and with all the excitement I’ve hardly slept. But last week is now in the past and I just want to get out on to the first tee and play. I don’t want to get comfortable, I want to try and win again as soon as possible,” Fisher Junior said. “If it will take a week or 10 months, I don’t know. There are such small margins in golf.”

Englishman Ross Fisher is the defending champion after winning the 2014 Tshwane Open at Copperleaf by three strokes, and he said the key to playing well at Pretoria Country Club was strategy off the tee.

“It’s a very different course to Copperleaf, a lot shorter and more fiddly, there’s a lot of positional play off the tees so you’re hitting a lot of irons and not many drivers. Being strategic is going to play a critical role,” Fisher said.

Fisher has the build and good looks of a model and “driving for show” is probably the strong point of his game. The world number 66 realises that he’s going to have to play a much more tactical game at this parklands course.

“I prefer quite long and tight courses because driver is my strength, but I’ve come up with my own game plan,” he said.

Fisher can also take confidence from his excellent recent form and, having finished strongly with rounds of 71-69-72 for tied-23rd in last weekend’s WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral’s tough Blue Monster, he can expect the going to be a bit easier at Pretoria Country Club.

“It’s been a very good start to the season. Finishing second at Sun City was a great start, I had a decent three weeks in the desert and I’m really pleased I came back well at Doral.

“This course should be easier because the winds were pretty strong and there was a lot of water at Doral, but there’s still trouble out there,” said the third-placed golfer on the Race to Dubai.

Matteo Manassero, the youngest winner on the European Tour, is another overseas talent to watch because he clearly likes the course.

“It’s a good course, a fun course, that’s opened out for an old type of course. You can shoot really low or make a mess of it, so it’s a really well-designed golf course. It’s enjoyable and my type of course,” Manassero said.

Conversely, Coetzee may be at home, but he does not feel entirely comfortable.

“I didn’t build my game at this golf course. I putted well to shoot good scores here, but it’s a drawers’ golf course. There is a lot of risk and reward and on a lot of holes you can take it on. There are some advantages to knowing the course as well as I do, but it suits a certain type of golfer. Hopefully I make enough putts to make up for that,” Coetzee admitted.

Other locals to watch are Jean Hugo, who finished in the top-20 in last week’s Africa Open and celebrated a win at Pretoria Country Club in the last Sunshine Tour event played here – a  2011 Vodacom Origins of Golf event; Jaco van Zyl, who was strongly in contention at East London Golf Club, and Keith Horne, who has the experience to know when to attack and when to box clever.

Englishman Andy Sullivan, the winner of back-to-back titles in the SA and Joburg Opens, is sitting at the top of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and is ninth in the Race to Dubai, and has proven himself to be lethal at altitude, while the other strong overseas contenders are Morten Orum Madsen, the 2014 SA Open winner down the road at Glendower, Gregory Bourdy, the four-time European Tour winner from France, and Korea’s Byeong-Hun An, the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

http://citizen.co.za/342188/toss-up-before-tshwane-open-tee-up/

50 minutes enough for Steyn to destroy West Indies 0

Posted on March 03, 2015 by Ken

There were only 50 minutes of action for a decent Saturday crowd at SuperSport Park but it was highly pleasing fare for them as home-grown hero Dale Steyn destroyed the West Indies, bowling South Africa to victory by a massive innings and 220 runs, their second biggest win by an innings, in the first Test at Centurion.

Only their triumph over Sri Lanka at Newlands in the 2001 New Year’s Test, by an innings and 229 runs, has been bigger.

The West Indies batsmen resumed on 76-2 but were powerless to keep a rampant Steyn in check, the fast bowler taking six for 34 as the tourists were bundled out for 131, Kemar Roach again being unable to bat due to his ankle injury.

Steyn’s availability after bowling just five balls in the follow-on innings on Friday was a massive bonus for the injury-hit South Africans and even the most one-eyed West Indian supporter could not help but be impressed by a ferocious spell of fast bowling.

Leon Johnson and Marlon Samuels added 11 to the overnight score before the left-handed Johnson (39) tried to play a short delivery from Steyn just outside off stump. It was unnecessary, the ball got big on him and he could not get over it, edging a regulation catch to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.

Given Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s recent form – 270 runs in his last three innings without being dismissed – his displays in this Test have been an anomaly: 21 in the first innings and then just 4 on Saturday before a Steyn bouncer was beautifully straight and did not get up as much as the 40-year-old expected, the left-hander gloving a simple catch to De Villiers.

By now Steyn was as lethal as a basilisk, all fiery glances and poetry in motion as he hit the popping crease. Samuels (17) and Denesh Ramdin (4) were dismissed within three balls in his fifth over of the morning, the former undone by a clever cutter that gripped and bounced more than expected, and the West Indies captain dismissed in more conventional fashion, prodding from the crease at an away-swinger, De Villiers leaping nimbly to take a spectacular one-handed catch in front of slip.

The West Indies were 105 for six and their effete tail was no match for the brilliance of Steyn.

The last specialist batsman, Jermaine Blackwood, lasted for 17 balls in scoring 15 before a well-directed Morkel lifter at the body had him caught  at short-leg, replacement fielder Temba Bavuma snatching up a sharp catch.

Three overs later, it was all over, Steyn having enacted a heavy toll on the West Indies to make up for his wicket-less first innings and claiming his best figures at the ground he called home for so many years.

 http://citizen.co.za/296877/dale-steyn-delivers-hammer-blow-proteas-crush-windies/



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