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Ken Borland



Sharks have tough time against 14-man Rebels 0

Posted on November 18, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks had a tough time beating a 14-man Melbourne Rebels team in their Vodacom SuperRugby match at Kings Park in Durban on Friday night, eventually scrambling to a 25-21 victory.

The crowd had little to get excited about in the first half until the 29th minute when a fight broke out between Sharks tighthead Jannie du Plessis and the Rebels number three, Laurie Weeks.

Replays showed that Du Plessis had slapped Weeks on the back of the head, prompting a barrage of punches from the Rebels frontrower. With the input of the TMO Marius Jonker, referee Jaco van Heerden yellow-carded Du Plessis and gave Weeks a red card.

It meant that the Rebels played with one man short for the whole second half, but it didn’t seem to faze them as they held their own in the scrums and had a real chance of winning after scoring two tries in the final quarter.

The Sharks had little impact on attack because they lacked straight runners and their handling – as well as the Rebels’ – was dreadful.

They were given a 10-0 lead five minutes after the Du Plessis/Weeks fracas thanks to a storming run by wing S’bura Sithole, who stood out for the Sharks with his work-rate and powerful running, but the Rebels were able to cut the deficit to 7-10 on the halftime whistle, thanks to a try by eighthman and captain Scott Higginbotham, who was rightly given the man of the match award despite finishing on the losing side.

The Sharks defence had held off the Rebels for numerous phases, but the explosive Higginbotham was then given the chance to score by a weak tackle by flyhalf Lionel Cronje.

The Sharks were under pressure early in the second half, but fullback Lwazi Mvovo saved them by intercepting on his own 22 and then racing away for an 80-metre try.

The home side were plagued by scrappy ball-retention and hesitancy on attack, but replacement centre Heimar Williams lifted them to a 22-7 lead after 52 minutes with a brilliant solo try.

The 23-year-old produced the direct running that had been so lacking, cutting back inside and then racing past the cover defence for the first try of his SuperRugby career and a memorable one at that.

The Rebels fought back doggedly, however, inspired by the brilliance of Higginbotham.

On the hour mark, he stormed through a big hole in the Sharks’ midfield for his second try and, with five minutes left in the match, he set up the Rebels’ third try, by replacement wing Bryce Hegarty.

The Sharks had been on attack after Mvovo broke from deep for the second time, but once again the poor ball-retention let them down, the Reds winning a turnover and Higginbotham surging forward from the 22-metre line.

The defeat means it is the end of the road for the Rebels’ hopes of reaching the playoffs, while the Sharks are still trying to rid their game of the basic errors that hold them back.

The defence was good at times, but the attack is amongst the most insipid in the competition.

Scorers

Sharks – Tries: S’Bura Sithole, Lwazi Mvovo, Heimar Williams. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2). Penalties: Cronje (2).

Rebels – Tries: Scott Higginbotham (2), Bryce Hegarty. Conversions: Jack Debreczeni (3).

 

Coetzee scrambles but remains in front 0

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Ken

 

George Coetzee said he felt like he was either making pars or scrambling for them in the second round of the Chase to the Investec Cup final at Millvale Private Retreat near Koster, outside Rustenburg, on Friday, but he nevertheless still reached the halfway mark of the elite 30-man tournament with a two-stroke lead.

Coetzee, who shared the overnight lead with Charl Schwartzel, shot a two-under-par 70 on Friday to go to six-under for the tournament.

Jaco van Zyl, who was the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup champion in 2013, produced the best round of the tournament – a five-under-par 67 – to leap up the leaderboard to second on four-under.

Schwartzel is tied with Justin Harding four strokes back on two-under-par, but there is some doubt as to whether South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer will be able to complete the tournament due to a swollen and painful shoulder.

Darren Fichardt, Dean Burmester and Jean Hugo are also all still in contention on one-under-par.

“I survived – it was another tough day. I didn’t play as well today, I was just making pars and scrambling. I drove the ball better yesterday, but I putted better today. I’m where I want to be, but there’s still a lot of golf to play,” Coetzee said.

Any time you go round the 6839-metre Millvale course with just one dropped shot is a remarkable effort given the slick greens, the amount of water all over the course and the tricky pin-positions, but that is what Coetzee and Van Zyl managed, despite the tricky wind that made the first round so tough still being around.

Van Zyl’s bogey came on the par-five sixth and it was thanks to some unwanted company at the most unfortunate time.

“On six I hit a good tee-shot, I was in the middle of the fairway with the perfect yardage into the green. But then on my downswing, a bee landed on my ball and I hit it straight right into the water, leading to bogey,” Van Zyl explained.

Coetzee’s bogey on the par-five seventh was associated with the wind as he misjudged his club selection and sent his approach over the green.

Coetzee established his lead with birdies on the 11th and 12th holes, while Van Zyl rebounded superbly from his bogey with three birdies in four holes from the eighth, and then sealed a brilliant 67 with another birdie on the 14th.

Van Zyl said the secret to his success was staying patient and hanging in there on a tough course.

“You’ve just got to try and stick around here, it’s a great test of golf with the firm greens, the flags tucked away and a lot of water. If you start on the 10th then you have seven really tough holes on the trot from the 15th to the third and you just try for level-par,” the 36-year-old said.

The tournament now moves to the Lost City course at Sun City for the last two rounds, and Van Zyl said the going would be easier.

“It should be a bit easier at Lost City on Saturday and Sunday, there’s a bit more scoring opportunities. I’m hitting the ball well, so I look forward to that,” Van Zyl said.

http://citizen.co.za/347795/coetzee-reaches-halfway-mark/

Flip van der Merwe inexplicably withdraws from Springbok selection scramble 0

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Ken

 

South African rugby players are normally like crayfish scrambling to get out of a bucket when it comes to fighting for a place in the Springbok squad in a World Cup year, which makes lock Flip van der Merwe’s decision to not make himself available for international rugby this year all the more inexplicable.

It’s unusual for South African rugby to be short of locks but Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer admitted on Monday that the second row is one of the areas he is most concerned about, Van der Merwe’s unavailability only making the situation worse.

Although Meyer revealed the Bulls lock’s shock decision, he was not at liberty to reveal the reasons for it, save that they are personal.

“Locks are a worry because you need specialists. If I had to pick the World Cup squad today we’d be in trouble – Eben Etzebeth has just recovered from injury and Pieter-Steph du Toit, Victor Matfield and Lood de Jager have all been injured recently as well,” Meyer said.

Having announced his decision to join French club Clermont at the end of this season, Van der Merwe has lost his Springbok contract, which could place him in the same awkward position as Francois Steyn when it comes to image rights.

Four of the six locks who attended the Springbok camp session at St Peter’s College on Monday have injury problems – Ruan Botha, De Jager, Du Toit and Matfield – and they largely sat out training.

While Meyer said centre (due to injuries) was also a worrying position, he said the toughest decisions he would have to make revolved around which loose forwards to take to the World Cup.

“The main difficulty is the loose forwards. We can only choose a 31-man squad and nine of those players have to be front-row forwards. So that means you either choose four locks and five loose-forwards, which most teams do, or three locks and six loose forwards.

“So I have to pick five players from 12-15 world-class loose forwards, which is going to be very difficult. Pierre Spies is a great player who’s been injured for two years so it’s been tough for him and he could still play better. There’s Jaco Kriel, who was brilliant against the Bulls, and Heinrich Brussow, so there’s a lot of competition. Willem Alberts has played two great games for the Sharks … “ Meyer explained.

The Springbok coach confirmed that he is likely to stick with the cadres he has been using for the last three years for the World Cup, although there is always room for the odd bolter to force his way into his plans this year.

“We’ve done a lot of research and spoken to the different coaches who have won the World Cup and the one thing they all say is to stick to what has worked for you. You don’t want to be too predictable though because the game changes every six months so you have to try new things, but you don’t want to change too much.

“Current form is important, but there are guys who have performed over several years, I’ve had three years to see how they perform under pressure. Test rugby is totally different to Super Rugby, especially in the Northern Hemisphere at the breakdowns and with the referees.

“I have some sort of idea of my first XV, but there are always guys who come in late, someone like Jesse Kriel is very close to selection. But it’s very difficult for players to peak from February to October, there are just too many games, and quality players don’t become bad overnight. There’s still time to get guys right, world-class players who have proven themselves …” Meyer said.

One of those players who will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for the World Cup is captain Jean de Villiers, who has been laid low since November with a serious knee injury.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said De Villiers is “running very hard” at the moment and they are very happy with his progress.

Roberts added, however, that they are looking to provide some games for the centre to play before the World Cup in order to find his form and confidence.

 

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    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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