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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.

Nollis will keep new style of play for SuperRugby 0

Posted on October 06, 2015 by Ken


Nollis Marais was confirmed as the Bulls’ SuperRugby coach for the next four years over the weekend and he said he will continue with the enterprising new style of rugby he has introduced in the Currie Cup and which has taken the Blue Bulls to the brink of a home semi-final.

“Of course we will need to be more accurate in SuperRugby, but we’ll have more time to prepare than we did for the Currie Cup. We will change one or two things in the three months we have pre-season and there’s still a lot of improvement needed,” Marais said.

“It’s a huge surprise to be appointed because I only applied on the second-last day, but I’d like to thank my captain [Lappies Labuschagne] and the support of the fans and players because their backing is what got me appointed. I know there will be a lot of challenges and we have a lot to improve on for SuperRugby,” the 43-year-old said.

Bulls CEO Barend van Graan described Marais as “fearless” and a “straightshooter” who has “turned the tide at Loftus Versfeld”.

“He knows the players and understands them and they have adapted very well to his coaching style. The board and I have got a lot of faith in Nollis and that’s why we have given him a four-year contract. It gives him the opportunity to build,” Van Graan said.

Even though the Blue Bulls will go into the final round of league play in the Currie Cup with a firm hold on second place, four points ahead of Western Province, after their 48-27 win over the Eastern Province Kings at Loftus Versfeld, the match showed the improvement that is still needed by the young side if they are to be a force in Super Rugby.

The Kings went into half-time with a 20-17 lead having dominated the gain-line and been slick with ball-in-hand as they probed both the near and wide channels. The Bulls managed to up the intensity to produce an impressive second-half display, but the ability to play an 80-minute game still eludes them.

“The first half was a bit lacklustre, we made mistakes and they capitalised, and we only started to get momentum in the second half. The pattern needs to suit the players and we needed to play less expansively because we lost Deon Stegmann before the game and Jacques du Plessis had to move from lock to flank, when we wanted to play a quick game. We had to stick to playing the ball closer and not going wide and the best thing was the improvement in the driving maul. We put them under pressure with it in the second half and it paid off for us,” Marais said.


Titans introduce IPL-style tournament with none of the horribleness 0

Posted on April 02, 2014 by Ken

The Titans have introduced an IPL-style (with none of the horrible shady dealings) T20 cricket tournament to conclude the season with four squads bought by commercial sponsors taking part in the Northerns Bash at SuperSport Park in Centurion from April 10-13.

The pleasing aspect of this new T20 competition is that the top club players do get the opportunity to take part as well, with the Titans, Northerns and premier league players auctioned off with each team having a certain number of points to spend.

“You want to give club cricketers bubbling under the first-class sides the opportunity to show what they can do and this tournament does that,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told The Pretoria News yesterday.

The involvement of established Titans stars like Ethy Mbhalati, Shaun von Berg, Roelof van der Merwe, David Wiese, Heino Kuhn and Mangaliso Mosehle, as well as up-and-coming junior stars like Murray Coetzee, Corbin Bosch and Aiden Markram will ensure that there is plenty of interest in the new event.

The support of the commercial partners – Global Softech Solutions (Gladiators), Nashua Tshwane (Phantoms), WAD Holdings (Pirates) and TMM Capital Investments (Tornados) – has also ensured that the inaugural event makes financial sense and Faul is hopeful that the tournament will take off and grow.

The Phantoms and the Tornados have the most Titans players with five each, while the Gladiators have three and the Pirates have decided to just use the services of national T20 star David Wiese.

Given the nature of T20 cricket and the autumnal pitches, it seems the Phantoms will obviously be the team to beat, boasting four high-quality spinners in Roelof van der Merwe, Shaun von Berg, Eden Links and young Thomas Kaber.

The Tornados have the batting talents of Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Graeme van Buuren and Theunis de Bruyn to make them strong contenders as well.

The format of the competition is a round-robin leading to a final. With the problems of dew at this time of year, the decision has been made that all the matches will be day games, with two clashes per day.

Titans high performance coach Pierre Joubert has been appointed as the tournament commissioner.

“The purpose of the Bash is to give top players at club level an opportunity to perform at SuperSport Park and to give them a taste of provincial cricket. The Titans also wish to enhance our relationships with commercial partners and attract them to the Titans family,” Joubert said.

“All the commercial partners will have naming rights on the shirts of their team members, and will also get free access to suites for their company for the duration of the RamSlam T20 Challenge next season.

“There is a fresh vibe around SuperSport Park as club and provincial players are talking about the privilege of being part of the Northerns Bash. Some of the companies have asked if they could organise special barbeques and  team mascots and we are naturally very happy for the companies to do that, as it enhances a great fun element and atmosphere at these matches,” said Joubert.

Entrance for all four days of the Northerns Bash will be free.


Gladiators: Lerato Kgoatle, Cobus Pienaar, Ethy Mbhalati, Andre Malan, Bafana Mahlangu, Sean Dickson, Tertius Gouws, Murray Coetzee, Ryan Houbart, Corbin Bosch, Ruan Sadler, Kabelo Raseleka, Vincent Moore, Janneman Malan, Evan Jones, Ryk Eksteen. Coach – Johan Muller, manager – Leela Yemineni.

Phantoms: Thomas Kaber, Shaun von Berg, Qaasim Adams, JP de Villiers, Eden Links, Patrick Motao, Jason Brooker, Kobus Delport, Sean Phillips, Aiden Markram, Wayne Scott, Blake Schraader, Stefan Klopper, Roelof van der Merwe, Henk Coetzee, Roger Arendse, Rowan Richards. Coach – Nico Martin, manager – Divan Malan.

Pirates: Lesiba Ngoepe, Sash Naidoo, Heinrich Klaasen, David Bunn, David Wiese, Eldred Hawken, Dean Foxcroft, Ryan Cartwright, Cloete Buitendag, Tom Khoza, Wian van Heerden, Schalk van Heerden, Rivaldo Moonsammy, Willem Britz, Abrie Smit, Craig Letcher. Coach – Arno van Wyk, manager – French van Heerden.

Tornados: Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Graeme van Buuren, Sami Mofokeng, Theunis de Bruyn, Junior Dala, Lucas Manzini, Regardt Verster, Gerry Pike, Jacques Snyman, Gerhard Linde, Thean Schutte, Niki Bouwer, Tyler Easton, Sean Nowak, Ruben Claassen. Coach – Pierre de Bruyn, manager – Aldin Smith.

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