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Ken Borland



Deysel recovers quicker than expected & will lead Sharks 0

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Ken

 

Loose forward Jean Deysel will be leading the Sharks out into battle against the Western Force in their SuperRugby match in Durban on Saturday, the Springbok having made a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury.

Although Francois Steyn will be playing – and replaces the resting Pat Lambie at flyhalf – because Sanzar’s appeal against his exoneration on a tip-tackle charge will now only take place on Tuesday, coach Gary Gold felt the captaincy would just be an additional burden on a player who has had a troubled start to the season.

Deysel will be no stranger to the captaincy, having captained the Sharks in numerous Currie Cup games as well as in some SuperRugby encounters.

“The captaincy was an interesting debate, and if Jean hadn’t come through well this week we would have gone with Marco Wentzel as our captain. The other guys in the mix were Frans Steyn and Ryan Kankowski. I am sure Frans will lead the side again at some stage soon, but given the controversy around him this week we felt it was the wrong time to shoulder him with the extra burden of captaincy,” Gold said.

There was advance notification of Lambie, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and flank Marcell Coetzee being rested this weekend and their replacements are Steyn, who will bring just as much presence to the number 10 jersey, Conrad Hoffman and Deysel.

The powerful Andre Esterhuizen comes in for Steyn at inside centre.

Deysel will be playing blindside flank with Renaldo Bothma shifting to openside.

With so many first-choice players out, the back-up players now have the chance to state their worth.

“Having to make so many changes is challenging, there is no doubt about that, but at the same time it is exciting as we have a lot of depth to our squad and this is a chance for us to see what the players who might not usually get an opportunity do in a big game. This is a chance for us to look at our depth, to assess what we have available,” Gold said.

Team: 15-SP Marais, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-JP Pietersen, 12-Andre Esterhuizen, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 10-Francois Steyn, 9-Conrad Hoffmann, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Jean Deysel, 6-Renaldo Bothma, 5-Marco Wentzel, 4-Mouritz Botha, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Kyle Cooper, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements – 16-Monde Hadebe, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20-Daniel du Preez, 21-Stefan Ungerer, 22-Fred Zeilinga, 23-Waylon Murray.

Bulls rectify lack of ball-carrying loosie with Potgieter signing 0

Posted on May 19, 2016 by Ken

 

The Bulls have looked to rectify their lack of big ball-carrying loose forwards by signing Springbok flank Jacques Potgieter on a three-year contract, the union confirmed at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Potgieter, who is 6’4 and weighs 115kg, starred previously for the Bulls in 22 SuperRugby games in 2012-13, before becoming a high-profile player for the Waratahs. He joined the Sharks at the beginning of the year, but an ankle injury meant he never actually played a game for them, and John Smit, the CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal franchise, confirmed on Wednesday that they had released him from his contract. Potgieter is engaged to actress Angelique Gerber, whose career would be better served by them living in Gauteng.

“We always knew SuperRugby was going to be a battle on the gain-line, so we need good ball-carriers. We know what Jacques can do, we’ve seen how he’s played for the Bulls previously and for the Waratahs, so he’s definitely a good signing. At the beginning of the season we lost three loose forwards to injury at the same time, and Jacques also played four and seven for the Waratahs. Jannes Kirsten can do that too, and they both can really carry the ball,” coach Nollis Marais said.

High performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg said Potgieter, who has been seen at practice this week already, will probably be ready to train in a week’s time. He will probably play in all three SuperRugby rounds after the June break.

The acquisition of Potgieter offsets the disappointment of losing hard-working flank Lappies Labuschagne to Japanese club Kubota at the end of the SuperRugby season.

Janse van Rensburg told The Citizen they are hopeful, however, that Labuschagne will be able to return to play for the Bulls in the 2017 SuperRugby campaign at the end of the Japanese season. The fact that Frans Ludeke is coach of Kubota means the Bulls obviously have a negotiating platform, but they did fire Ludeke last year.

Van Rensburg also announced the signing of Southern Kings tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse, who Marais described as “a very competitive scrummager who stood his ground against the Crusaders”.

Sharks travel to Loftus Versfeld without robust Du Preez 0

Posted on March 17, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks will be without arguably the most robust loose forward in the country this year for their Vodacom SuperRugby clash with the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, but Jean-Luc du Preez will be replaced by the under-rated and experienced Philip van der Walt for the crunch local derby in Pretoria.

Du Preez suffered what has been described as a “minor” foot injury in the Sharks’ gripping win over the Stormers last weekend in Cape Town, but Van der Walt, who has made a different, more dynamic if less physical impact off the bench during the Sharks’ three-match unbeaten run, is a more-than-capable replacement.

The 26-year-old former Cheetahs star is one of five changes to the Sharks starting line-up coach Gary Gold announced on Wednesday, a short week encouraging some rotation amongst the players.

Lwazi Mvovo returns to the left wing, with JP Pietersen shifting to the right and Odwa Ndungane moving down to the bench; Michael Claassens swops with Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf; and two of the replacement front-rowers, tighthead Lourens Adriaanse and hooker Kyle Cooper, will get their first starts of the campaign as Coenie Oosthuizen and Franco Marais shift to the bench.

Of course, making five changes to the most in-form team in the country does bring certain risks, but Gold is confident that the introduction of fresher legs will actually aid their momentum rather than harm it.

“We are really keen to keep the momentum going now and, as a result, our confidence will keep growing. It’s the reason we’ve rotated a few guys this week, we want to improve each week and keep on building as a team and we have a huge amount of confidence in the guys that have come off the bench. They have made a significant difference to our games at critical stages.

“There were a few sore bodies after the Stormers match, so it made sense to make a few changes.  These changes are not disruptive and it does mean that other guys that have put their hands up have an opportunity to start this week, rather than come off the bench,” Gold said.

Van der Walt agreed that the changes would not weaken the Sharks for what they believe will be another demanding away derby.

“We have a big group and the two different teams that played in France played just as well as each other, as well as allowing us to get used to playing with each other. So there’s no big difference or harm to the momentum we’ve created. The core of the team is the same, the coach hasn’t changed too much, it’s just subtle changes.

“It’s been tough sitting on the bench, but all the other loose forwards have played well. The team is my main focus and how I can improve the team, so I could give everything for 20 minutes and continue contributing. I’ve just been trying to do the best I can, luckily I’ve had good form.

“The competition for places is a good thing, it pushes you to new levels. It’s lovely to have, especially for the coaches. As players, you always want to start, but we have this added incentive now. Fortunately us loosies all get along well and we push each other too,” Van der Walt said.

The space on the bench created by Van der Walt’s elevation will be filled by Keegan Daniel, back in the country after a stint in Japan and poised to play his first match in South Africa since 2014.

The Sharks have tasted bitter defeat in their last four SuperRugby visits to Loftus Versfeld, dating back to June 2011, and have lost three in a row to the Bulls home and away, so they are right to be wary despite their highly impressive performance last weekend and the lofty heights they are currently enjoying as the only unbeaten team alongside the Brumbies.

“We’re not expecting anything different to the Stormers game, the Bulls back three is just as capable and they also always pride themselves on big forwards and big drives. And they’re coming off a good win and a good rest, so they’re definitely going to come out firing.

“We worked hard last week because we knew the Stormers have a good set-piece, especially the scrums, and we were able to stand our ground and even get one or two of their balls. If the opposition have a good scrum then that’s something you focus on, and we know it’s most important that we carry that same effort into the next game,” Van der Walt said.

The Bulls scrum has endured some bitter experiences in recent times, but they will certainly be working hard on that facet of their game, and the Sharks will need to be at their best in that department.

Sharks team: Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Joe Pietersen, Michael Claassens, Daniel du Preez, Philip van der Walt, Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira (C). Bench – Franco Marais, Juan Schoeman, Coenie Oosthuizen, Hyron Andrews, Keegan Daniel, Cobus Reinach, Garth April, Odwa Ndungane.

Bothma returns in one of four changes for Sharks 0

Posted on December 10, 2015 by Ken

Ex-Pumas loose forward Renaldo Bothma returns to the Cell C Sharks starting line-up in place of the injured Willem Alberts for their Vodacom SuperRugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday after director of rugby Gary Gold announced a team with four changes on Thursday.

Alberts, who returned to action last weekend against the Stormers after a lengthy rehabilitation following a back operation, is now suffering from a tight hamstring and a po-faced Gold said he hoped the Springbok battering ram would only be out for a couple of weeks.

The Sharks scrum has been the centre of attention following their convincing defeat by the Stormers and Gold has responded to the threat the Cheetahs pose in that set-piece by choosing his first-choice front row, Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira returning to join fellow Springbok Bismarck du Plessis.

Hard-working lock Mouritz Botha also returns to the starting line-up, displacing Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda.

After losing three of their first four games, now’s the time for the Sharks to finally click and start playing like the Springbok-laden team they are, and Gold believes their strategy has been right, but the execution has let them down.

“It’s been a disappointing start, not what we expected, and the team is learning some harsh lessons. But there’s been no lack of effort, I have a lot of confidence in the players, they badly want to put it right and they just have to man-up and fight again.

“You always question where you went wrong, was it the plan or was it the execution? We’ve seen that the plan can work, but when you lose, it gets put under even more of a microscope. It’s fine to question the plan, but you don’t want to panic and just start changing it. We want to play ball-in-hand rugby, we want to attack more, in the right areas of the field,” Gold said on Thursday.

The Sharks and Cheetahs played against each other in the opening weekend of SuperRugby action in Durban, and the Central franchise wrecked the KwaZulu-Natalians’ set-piece, something that Gold acknowledges cannot happen again on Saturday if the Sharks are to win.

“The set-piece wasn’t good enough last time we played the Cheetahs and we can’t take them lightly. They’re a good team with ball-in-hand, and they have dangerous broken-field runners, especially their back three. And they play with a lot of width, especially in Bloemfontein. But we need to concentrate on what we do best and not worry about trends,” Gold said.

Team: 15-SP Marais, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-JP Pietersen, 12-Francois Steyn, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Cobus Reinach, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Renaldo Bothma, 6-Marcell Coetzee, 5-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4-Mouritz Botha, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements – 16-Kyle Cooper, 17-Dale Chadwick/Thomas du Toit, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Marco Wentzel, 20-Tera Mtembu, 21-Conrad Hoffmann, 22-Andre Esterhuizen, 23-Jack Wilson.

http://citizen.co.za/343022/bothma-returns-to-sharks-starting-line-up/



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