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Ken Borland



Injury-hit Alberts back for one last hurrah 0

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Ken

 

The hard-hitting Willem Alberts returns to the Sharks’ starting line-up for one last hurrah at Kings Park in their final SuperRugby match against the Stormers on Saturday before he joins the foreign legion.

The Springbok loose forward has had a badly disrupted season due to injury, playing just six games in which he has had six hours of action, but he has apparently recovered just in time to earn his 73rd SuperRugby cap for the Sharks before heading for Stade Francais.

Saturday’s SuperRugby finale (for the Sharks at least) is also the farewell for the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, who are also heading to France, most probably to join the previous  Sharks coach, Jake White, at Montpellier.

Another Springbok flank, Marcell Coetzee, also returns to the Sharks line-up, boosting an outfit that is otherwise largely unchanged from the squad that has won two games in a row, against the Reds and the Rebels.

Coach Gary Gold said on Thursday that the team were eager to end a tough campaign on a high note, with three successive victories.

“We want to make the same statement as when it was important to beat the Reds and Rebels, and why it was important not to give up the fight on tour after two good performances against the Hurricanes and Waratahs. Teams do go through tough times; there will be critics, people who want to throw stones, that we’ll take on the chin. But the people that really matter know the challenges we’ve had, that it’s been a complicated year and the thing that would really frustrate them would be if the team gave up and rolled over. That we’re not prepared to do.

“The statement a win would make is that it matters, whoever you’re playing. We have to pitch up and we owe it to the people who have been loyal to us through the bad times, we need to give them good times now. It is critically important that we put up a proper performance and finish the campaign on a high. Not for any other reason other than the fact that it would be three wins on the bounce and give us confidence moving into the next chapter of our lives.

“I can’t sit here and say I’m happy with where we’re sitting on the log, I’m not happy at all. But in terms of the team and turning it around, I’m very proud of the character they’ve shown, I’m really appreciative of how the players have stuck together and stuck by us as a coaching staff; I never felt at any time that there was a divide between us and them. If there were issues, we spoke openly about them and that helped us turn the corner; too late unfortunately.

“But there have been lots of positives, youngsters who we never thought would get Super Rugby experience and now they have six or seven games under the belt, that can only do them the world of good,” Gold said.

Team – Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Andre Esterhuizen, S’bura Sithole, Lionel Cronje, Stefan Ungerer, Renaldo Bothma, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Bench: Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Khaya Majola, Conrad Hoffmann, Fred Zeilinga, Heimar Williams.

 

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/

My question for Heyneke Meyer 0

Posted on November 06, 2015 by Ken

 

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer returns to South Africa this morning and will face the press after a disappointing end to their World Cup campaign; my question to him would be “Why do you think you deserve to continue in your post, what progress has been made over the last four years?”

In my opinion, there has been no real progress. There is no meaningful silverware to show, the good results have been cancelled out by some truly awful results, a world ranking of three is nothing to shout about, and, as clearly shown in the dour win over Argentina in the third-place playoff, Meyer cannot even say the game plan has evolved under his watch. And he continues to cause outrage when it comes to transformation – his treatment of Rudi Paige, Lwazi Mvovo and Siya Kolisi showing that he just doesn’t get it when it comes to that vital issue.

Meyer is an honourable man, as passionate as anyone when it comes to Springbok rugby, and he says he wants to be part of the solution that will fix the problems. But in my eyes he is part of the problem; his emotional excesses and fear of losing rub off on the team. The Springboks have not shown the ability to adapt to what is happening on the field, they are too stuck in a rigid game plan.

Watching New Zealand deservedly win the World Cup final clearly showed the direction the Springboks should be going. The All Blacks are peerless when it comes to vision and adaptability on the rugby field and it was surely destiny that Dan Carter would be man of the match in winning the World Cup final.

Meyer seemed to be heading in the right direction in 2013 and 2014 when he tried a more up-tempo, ball-in-hand approach; two epic Tests against the All Blacks resulted and Ellis Park was sold out as she hosted two of the best games of rugby I have witnessed.

But the coach failed to build on those performances, losing his nerve in this World Cup year and retreating back into a conservative, unambitious game plan that was easy to counter. Losing to Japan was bad enough, but the Springboks had the added ignominy of being called “anti-rugby” and being as boring as Argentina were when they first joined the Rugby Championship in 2012.

The fact that his team struggled to beat an Argentina side missing nine first-choice players last weekend rams home that Meyer has not added anything to the Springboks. Replacing him at the helm of a team that clearly needs renewing, especially in terms of strategy, is the only sensible option because Meyer has shown that he cannot take the team forward.

On a positive note, a big high-five to the England Rugby Union for hosting a top-class World Cup. A pleasing feature of the tournament was the improvement shown by the minnows: apart from Japan’s incredible heroics, there were also no massive hidings as rugby showed it is a truly global game.

Even the referees, who are under the harshest lens, stepped up and, barring one or two mishaps, the officiating was of a high standard, helped by a greater reliance on the TMO.

 

Titans working their emotions out after parlous start v Warriors 0

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Ken

 

The Titans have spent the week “working the emotions out” from their parlous Momentum One-Day Cup opening match against the Warriors, according to coach Rob Walter, and they have been boosted by the returns of Albie Morkel and Marchant de Lange from international duty.

Grant Thomson, however, must be pondering Lady Luck and her capricious side as he has been ruled out of Friday’s match against the Cape Cobras at Newlands with a hamstring strain. Thomson, having fought so hard to get into the side, made his franchise 50-over debut against the Warriors and top-scored with a wonderful 98 not out off just 71 balls, and now he’s unfortunately on the sidelines again.

“We’ve been working the emotions out and clearing the heads because the guys were visibly hurt by that performance. They invested a lot in that opening game, they worked flippen hard for four months and then they deliver that. We trained our best, we spoke specifically about starting well, getting the basics right in the field, extras …

“But it was game one and it’s about what happens next. On the positive side, we dominated about 70% of that game, we had an outstanding middle 20 overs and a very good last five. So it was just the opening overs and 40-45 that cost us,” Walter said on Tuesday at SuperSport Park.

Walter is too young to wear spectacles, but if he did there would be a few areas he would be giving special focus to before the defending champions travel to Cape Town for a repeat of last season’s final.

“There were basics errors in the field, we couldn’t even get the regulation stuff right, and the extras will get specific attention. It’s becoming a bit of a trend for us but it’s hard to put a finger on why. You never see us training without cones in front of the line to stop no-balls and the wides are of course disappointing as well.

“Strike-rate is also key up front with the bat and we had 48 dot balls in the first 60, while scoring 28 runs, so it was mostly fours and not much rotation. Henry Davids is a seasoned campaigner, but for Mangi Mosehle it was his first time out opening and his 49 ensured a nice foundation was set. He’s been working on tightening his defence and that shone through, and he will learn to be more assertive,” Walter said.

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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