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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.

 

Ludeke shuffles his cards for crunch game v Lions 0

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is a believer in rotation and has shuffled his cards for their crunch SuperRugby match against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, announcing a side with five changes to the starting line-up on Thursday.

Springboks Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein are both over their injuries and return at lock and inside centre respectively, while Trevor Nyakane was always going to start at loosehead prop even before Dean Greyling had to withdraw from the squad with a knee injury suffered in a car accident in midweek.

But Ludeke has decided to rotate his loose-forwards, with two of his hardest-working players, Deon Stegmann and Pierre Spies being replaced by Lappies Labuschagne and Arno Botha.

Stegmann drops out of the match-day 23 with Grant Hattingh, making room for Matfield, able to cover both lock and flank from the bench. Spies has been unwell this week and will be a replacement against the Lions.

“It’s more about rotation than anything else. It’s very positive to have Jan back and Burger Odendaal is on the bench and can have a big impact later in the game. It’s great to have Victor back and Arno and Lappies have both come through their injuries very well.

“Trevor has had a huge impact already this season, we had quite a crisis at tighthead and he really stood up. He’s on a roll, playing well and there’s no mental fatigue with him. At the moment he’s a crucial part of our team,” Ludeke said at Loftus Versfeld on Thursday.

Ludeke confirmed that starting Serfontein at outside centre, where he plays for the Springboks, was an option and the shift may well happen if the Bulls bring Odendaal on for number 13 JJ Engelbrecht at some stage against the Lions.

“Obviously it is an option to play Jan at 13, but we know his combination with JJ works. At this stage a change is not necessary, JJ has no niggles and is going well,” Ludeke said.

On the bench, there is the potential for a first Super Rugby cap for Tuks prop Andrew Beerwinkel, a rising star in South African rugby.

For Matfield, who takes over the captaincy from Spies, Saturday’s match is all about finishing the job in the closing minutes, something the Bulls failed to do in their last-minute 22-18 loss to the Lions at Ellis Park four weeks ago.

“We’re all confident at the moment, we had a great away win against the Sharks and we were in the games against the Stormers and Lions. But we need to pull those games through, we need to know how to finish and convert our chances,” Matfield said.

Team: Jesse Kriel, Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Handré Pollard, Piet van Zyl, Arno Botha, Jacques du Plessis, Lappies Labuschagne, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane. Bench – Callie Visagie, Morné Mellett, Andrew Beerwinkel, Grant Hattingh, Pierre Spies, Tian Schoeman, Burger Odendaal, Jurgen Visser.

Springboks Bismarck, JP & Lewies all return for Sharks 0

Posted on July 15, 2016 by Ken

 

Springboks Bismarck du Plessis, JP Pietersen and Stephan Lewies will all return to the Sharks’ starting line-up for their SuperRugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday, director of rugby Gary Gold announced on Wednesday.

The embattled Sharks will be desperate to start their tour on a positive note and hooker Du Plessis and lock Lewies will bring some much-needed physicality to the pack, while the experience, size and defensive nous of Pietersen is going to be crucial at outside centre as the visitors look to contain one of the most potent backlines in Super Rugby.

Franco Marais, Waylon Murray and Mouritz Botha all move down to the bench.

The other changes to the starting line-up see tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis rested and replaced by Lourens Adriaanse for a match that will test the Sharks’ mobility and defence more than their set-piece prowess, while Willem Alberts shifts to eighthman with Renaldo Bothma moving to blindside flank.

Gold confirmed that, because of injuries, he is going to have to shuffle his loose-forward stocks carefully, with Etienne Oosthuizen the only reserve flank on tour.

“Etienne will get some game time and will have to start a few games to give other guys like Renaldo or Willem a rest. At this stage it’s the only option I have with Ryan Kankowski and Tera Mtembu injured, Jean Deysel still serving his suspension and the Du Preez brothers with the SA U20 squad. We don’t have any more options and we have to look at it carefully and see how we go, it just means that Etienne is going to play more of a role. Mouritz Botha and Stephan Lewies can cover the blindside, if need be, but hopefully we don’t have that situation,” Gold said.

Fred Zeilinga will be flyhalf for at least another week and will be looking to impress after struggling against the Bulls a fortnight ago. Francois Steyn returns from suspension next week, and is flying over to New Zealand in the next couple of days, while Lionel Cronje is the other option for the number 10 jersey.

Steyn can, of course, also play fullback or centre and it is anybody’s guess where Gold will eventually employ him next weekend against the Hurricanes.

“Frans’s strength comes from his ability to cover all three positions, we will see what happens this weekend. He will only be joining the team this weekend, and we will see how all the guys go and who performs and we will have a look at where we best see Frans fit into the team.  I see him as all three of those positions,” Gold said.

Team: Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, JP Pietersen, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Fred Zeilinga, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Renaldo Bothma, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel, Stephan Lewies, Lourens Adriaanse, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Bench – Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, Mouritz Botha, Etienne Oosthuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronje, Waylon Murray.

Six changes in Bulls starting line-up in Sydney 0

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls coach Nollis Marais, his eyes firmly on the potential conference decider in 10 days’ time against the Stormers, has made nine changes, six in the starting line-up, as his team end their time in Australia with a tough match against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

Jamba Ulengo, who only arrived back in Australia at the weekend, comes straight back in on the right wing in place of Travis Ismaiel, who injured his hamstring. Tian Schoeman and Rudy Paige will also be in the pivotal halfback positions, with Francois Brummer and Piet van Zyl on the bench.

With Jason Jenkins fit again and back in the second row alongside RG Snyman, Jannes Kirsten also returns to the starting loose trio because he is no longer required to also provide lock cover off the bench.

Lizo Gqoboka comes in at loosehead prop for Trevor Nyakane in the other change to the starting line-up.

Nyakane joins hooker Jaco Visagie and tighthead Pierre Schoeman in a new-look replacement front row on the bench, while Dries Swanepoel is in the utility back position in place of Dan Kriel.

“The main thing is we wanted to win against the Brumbies before rotating players, but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury. Not all our best players will be on the field, but the guys that have come in will bring something different. Guys like Tian and Rudy were good earlier in the season and we must get momentum for the next three games, which are vital,” Marais explained from Sydney on Wednesday.

The first test for the Bulls against the Waratahs will be up front in the scrums and Marais is confident his front row can get the job done.

“We started well against the Brumbies but then we lost a couple of scrums in the second half because of early engagement. But Lizo is a good scrummager, this is a good scrummaging front row and it might be the new front row for the next three games,” Marais said.

While rotation was always going to be on the cards for the last game on tour, Marais said the players are still feeling fresh and enthusiastic.

“We know the next three weeks will be very hard, but the guys tell me they don’t want to rest, they want to play. They’re lus to keep going,” Marais said.

Bulls team: SP Marais, Jamba Ulengo, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Tian Schoeman, Rudy Paige, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Lappies Labuschagne, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (c), Lizo Gqoboka. Bench – Jaco Visagie, Trevor Nyakane, Pierre Schoeman, Marvin Orie, Roelof Smit, Piet van Zyl, Francois Brummer, Dries Swanepoel.

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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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