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Ken Borland



Top-class Sharks halfbacks hoping for a change in injury fortunes 0

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Ken

 

Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach have endured a wretched time when it comes to injury in recent SuperRugby seasons, but Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt said on Tuesday that the team are excited about being able to field a top-class halfback pair in this year’s campaign.

“That’s where we’ve fallen short in the last couple of years, losing Pat early and then Cobus being unlucky in the last few years, means they have missed a lot of SuperRugby which is never easy for a team to lose their first-choice halfbacks. And SuperRugby is not really the sort of tournament you want to breed youngsters in, that’s more for the Currie Cup, and we’ve also had no Frans Steyn.

“But the youngsters are important and they’ve been working hard, because Pat has to rest at some stage. Innocent Radebe and Benhard Janse van Rensburg have done well and Curwin Bosch can play flyhalf as well.

“Cobus will certainly provide some x-factor, he’s an opportunist, but he does the basics well and has a good boot too. He’s been here a long time, he knows the systems well and he delivers on the field,” Everitt said.

While experience at nine and 10 will obviously be cherished by the Sharks, they do have a herd of youngsters challenging for backline places and that has pleased Everitt as well.

“The youngsters have a lot of enthusiasm and since losing JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux and Odwa Ndungane last year, the Currie Cup bunch have grown considerably. They’ve certainly played themselves into contention and that’s exciting.

“We have Kobus van Wyk on the wing, although we will look at him at centre if we have problems there. But Lukhanyo Am has done well in the Currie Cup and has had good preparation, so we’ll be looking to build up his combination with Andre Esterhuizen.

“Jeremy Ward is obviously a good signing because he was one of the top age-group players in his position [centre] last year and we mustn’t forget Johan Deysel from the Leopards, who played in the 2015 World Cup for Namibia. It’s time to move on and these guys have what it takes,” Everitt said.

But there is also the presence of veteran French fullback Clement Poitrenaud and Everitt said he would play a leadership role in guiding the young backline.

“Clement is definitely in contention for selection in the match-day 23, he has a lot of experience having played 47 Tests. We have a young backline, so he will be good for us, leading and helping those guys. He’s very popular amongst his team-mates, his English is quite good and he has a good sense of humour. Most importantly, the guys admire his skill-set,” Everitt said.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/1428003/sharks-holding-thumbs-their-dynamic-duo-keep-fit/

No silver lining for Bulls as emotions run high at Loftus Versfeld 0

Posted on June 01, 2016 by Ken

 

The emotions were running high at Loftus Versfeld after the Bulls were mauled by the Lions last weekend, so much so that coach Nollis Marais could not see the silver lining which their conquerors’ own recent experiences provides them.

The Lions suffered a similarly dispiriting defeat at home a month ago when they were hammered 50-17 by the Hurricanes; they rebounded spectacularly though and now top the South Africa Conference and are second on the overall log.

All is not lost either for the Bulls, who are four points behind the faltering Stormers and three behind the Sharks in the hunt for the other two local qualification places.

“It’s best not to say anything to the players straight after the game because emotions are still running high and there’s no silver lining. There was a good crowd behind us but we did not put in a good performance, so now we have to bounce back.

“We’re now working on permutations, which is always bad, but we have to get back on the right track. There’s still a lot to play for, we are down but not out … The Hurricanes also gave the Lions a beating a few weeks ago,” the dejected Marais said.

In a way, the fortnight’s break that the Bulls will now have has come at a good time, preventing them from harping on about one of their worst displays of the season and a humiliating defeat at their home fortress.

The Bulls have to hop on a plane to Argentina when the competition resumes at the beginning of July to take on the Jaguares, before hosting the Sunwolves and then finishing their campaign with a potentially tricky visit to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

“We were short against the Lions, but sometimes it’s good to have setbacks, you learn from them. Not getting it too easy maybe makes the players work harder,” Marais said.

How Dolphins adapt to volatile Willowmoore Park pitch the key 0

Posted on January 02, 2015 by Ken

The improvement shown by the Unlimited Titans bowlers and the recent struggles of the Sunfoil Dolphins batsmen suggests that how the visitors cope with batting on the often volatile Willowmoore Park pitch will be key to the outcome of their RamSlam T20 Challenge match in Benoni tonight.

By securing a comfortable 27-run win over the table-topping Highveld Lions in their last match at Willowmoore Park, the Titans attack showed that they are able to put the best batsmen under pressure.

Ethy Mbhalati ensured that the Lions were always on the back foot by removing openers Alviro Petersen and Chris Gayle in his first two overs and he was also excellent in his two overs at the death.

Junior Dala, David Wiese and Darren Sammy have each brought their own special strengths to the attack over the last couple of games and the Dolphins batsmen should find the going a lot tougher than when they plundered 194 for five in Durban two weeks ago.

“Junior has come in and bowled really well, and he’s quick too. He’s worked relentlessly on his skills and I’m very happy he’s had the opportunity and he’s taken it. Ethy was outstanding at Willowmoore Park. He has very clear plans now, specifically at the death, and his skill level is very good now after plenty of work in the off-season. When skill and strategy meet, that’s when you get success.

“David Wiese is our banker, he puts it together most games. I think we’ve bowled pretty well in the competition, barring just a couple of games,” Titans coach Rob Walter told The Citizen yesterday.

While the Titans have tightened up considerably in the field, their batting is still a work in progress. The decision to relieve Henry Davids of the captaincy has paid off, with the opener the leading run-scorer in the competition with 280 at an average of 40 and a strike-rate of 142.

Dean Elgar, who has scored 213 runs but is more of a worker than a blaster of the ball, has been rested and Davids will be looking for more support from fellow top-order batsmen Theunis de Bruyn and Qaasim Adams, before the big hitters like Wiese and Sammy, who is yet to show his prowess with the bat, are unleashed down the order.

Walter mentioned in the interview that while the Dolphins will be equally desperate in Benoni, they may lack confidence after a horror run that has seen them lose two in a row, while a third match was rained off after they had been bundled out for just 82 by the Knights.

The Dolphins can look forward to the return of Cody Chetty, their best batsman in this campaign, from a hamstring injury but whether they can give their attack enough runs to defend remains to be seen.

Cameron Delport, their quickest-scoring batsman, has been dropped and captain Morne van Wyk will be acutely aware that he needs to step up now after scoring just 79 runs in seven innings.

Fast bowler Craig Alexander will be the chief attacking threat for the Dolphins, while seamers Robbie Frylinck and Dwayne Bravo and spinner Prenelan Subrayen will be their other key bowlers.

Squads

Titans: Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Qaasim Adams, Graeme van Buuren, David Wiese, Darren Sammy, Heinrich Klaasen, Shaun von Berg, Eden Links, Junior Dala, Ethy Mbhalati, Cobus Pienaar.

Dolphins: Morné van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Cody Chetty, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Dwayne Bravo, Khaya Zondo, Robbie Frylinck, Andile Phehlukwayo, Prenelan Subrayen, Keshav Maharaj, Craig Alexander, Chad Bowes, Brandon Scullard, Mbasa Gqadushe.

 



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