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Ken Borland



John McFarland Column – Stormers’ turn to show they can bounce back 0

Posted on April 25, 2017 by Ken

 

SuperRugby is such a tough competition that every team at some stage will experience a crisis and it’s now the Stormers’ turn to face a test of character as to how they bounce back from their heavy defeat at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Stormers were fortunate to get out of jail a bit in their previous games with things like intercept tries from their own goal-line, but their luck ran out in Christchurch. Things they got away with in the first few weeks were punished by the Crusaders, who have a much more accurate passing game than most teams, and that exposed the Stormers. They struggled to deal with the width of the Crusaders’ game, they were up against a two-four-two set-up and the likes of Codie Taylor and Kieran Read in the tramlines proved too much for them.

The Stormers’ wings were continually being pressured by the poor defensive spacing on the inside; the main Stormers problem was their spacing around the ruck, there were too many players close to the breakdown inside their own 22. They need to get more players out wide, they were much too compressed in defence at the ruck. They were caught cold by the width of the Crusaders attack.

But for a lot of the Stormers players it was their first time in New Zealand and it takes some time to adjust. Plus the Crusaders are obviously on fire at the moment under new coach Scott Robertson and they were just too good for the Stormers.

I spent time with the Stormers in pre-season and coach Robbie Fleck is determined to play a hugely exciting brand of rugby, which has been successful, but now they’ve just hit a blip.

But the Stormers played quite well in the second half, with two of the Crusaders’ tries coming from intercepts, and they will draw some positivity from that. They obviously need to regroup against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday and having the roof closed will suit their game.

It was encouraging the way they came back against the Crusaders and now they are in Queenstown in a very pleasant part of the world where they can walk to training, so hopefully they will be in a better frame of mind come Friday.

It was a weekend of contrasting emotions with the excitement coming from the Southern Kings. For them to come through the way they did, for their forwards to play so well as they came back from 17-0 down after half-an-hour, and to win so convincingly really takes some doing. Plus any away win is super, so it really was a sensational result in Sydney, to win there without any Springboks (Waylon Murray being injured) was truly remarkable.

The Kings forwards certainly outmauled the Waratahs and the visitors took their chances, a charge-down try getting them back into the game. It was certainly a comprehensive win with the Waratahs scoring on the final hooter and one of their tries was also from an intercept.

The win shows that South Africa still has forwards that are well-drilled and marshalled and you have to credit coach Deon Davids. Sometimes on the third game on tour the players are thinking of going home, especially since you have to leave Sydney very early the next morning so you’re packing and getting ready for the game all at the same time!

You could tell how much it meant to the Kings players at the end of the game and it was the sort of win to resurrect some careers. Someone like Lionel Cronje has played at practically every union and although there is respect for his play, he hasn’t really fulfilled the promise of his SA U20 days. But time out of the game forced him to re-evaluate his priorities and he has come back a renewed guy.

The Lions against the Jaguares was a good game with Harold Vorster once again shining, the try he scored, running the same line as he did against the Stormers, got the home side back in the game.

The variety of plays the Lions have from five metres away from the tryline is impressive and it shows they want seven-pointers instead of three – they have front-peels, back-peels, shift-drives and normal drives.

It was also pleasing to see Elton Jantjies kicking a pressure goal. He’s certainly in the running to be the Springboks’ starting flyhalf, especially with both Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie injured at the moment, and it’s good to see him so composed.

Lionel Mapoe is also hitting some form and his dummy-and-go and finish for his try was first-class and he also put away Andries Coetzee for the final try.

So it will please Allister Coetzee to see those two coming back into form.

Two of the Tests against France will be on the Highveld so they will be quick games, with the Springboks also surely trying to up the pace because the matches are at the end of the French season and there will obviously be some tiredness. For that Allister should choose quick, Lions-type players – those Tests should really suit guys like Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel.

At the end of the day, the Lions are our flagship franchise and that should be reflected in selection.

The SuperRugby quarterfinals will probably be contested by four New Zealand teams, three from South Africa and one from Australia, so the likelihood is that the Lions will play a New Zealand side in the quarterfinal. So it’s important that they keep winning and now that they are overseas, they need to get on a roll. So it was good for them to come through the Jaguares game with a win.

The Hurricanes have still got to tour and the Crusaders are now in South Africa, so let’s hope the Cheetahs and Bulls can do something against them.

 

John McFarland is the assistant coach of the Kubota Spears in Japan and was the Springbok defence coach from 2012 through to the 2015 World Cup, where they conceded the least line-breaks in the tournament and an average of just one try per game. Before that, McFarland won three SuperRugby titles (2007, 09, 10) with the Bulls and five Currie Cup crowns with the Blue Bulls. In all, he won 28 trophies during his 12 years at Loftus Versfeld.

Rugby uses its testosterone in the fight against rape 0

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Ken

 

Too much aggression and testosterone are often factors which get the blame for South Africa’s horrific rape statistics, but one brave survivor has teamed up with rugby sides to turn these integral parts of the game into something beneficial for the fight against violent sexual abuse.

The Jes Foord Cup, which is named after the founder of the Jes Foord Foundation, will be played for on Saturday in Durban between the first teams of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban Collegians. But the day is about so much more than just two rugby teams slugging it out for some silverware.

The University of KZN Rugby Club and Durban Collegians, in conjunction with the Jes Foord Foundation, have formed the Rugby Against Rape charity and the annual rugby day will see eight men’s teams from both the Durban and Pietermaritzburg campuses and four women’s teams in action as not only money but also tremendous awareness is raised about the scourge of rape.

In an incident which shocked KwaZulu-Natal in March 2008, the then 21-year-old Foord was gang-raped by four men at Shongweni Dam while walking with her father, who was forced to watch the awful assault at gunpoint.

But Foord vowed not to allow the terrible incident to destroy her and decided to speak out, forming the Jes Foord Foundation.

“I formed the foundation to help restore lives after rape by way of a number of initiatives and activities designed to change rape victims into rape survivors. I want to educate people and help them realise that there is life after rape,” Foord says.

Her rapists were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 and since then the Jes Foord Foundation has helped hundreds of rape survivors regain their dignity and self-esteem.

A bunch of young rugger buggers might seem an odd choice of partner for such a charity, but Foord said the varsity students were the ideal fit for her efforts to increase awareness around rape.

“I wanted to activate young adults and what better target than someone big and strong. When I tell the rugby players my story, I see their faces and they are absolutely silent for the whole talk, they want to be involved and they want to know how they can stop rape.

“I tell them that during one rugby match, in the 80 minutes excluding half-time, 282 people are raped. I tell them to play for them and it breaks their hearts that while they are having fun, running around, so many people suffer rape. I tell them to direct their anger towards helping the survivors and not towards the perpetrators,” Foord told The Daily Maverick.

“At this age, many of them are starting to think of settling down with a wife, but if not, it could be their daughters, sisters or mothers who get raped. In any case, it’s always someone’s daughter, sister or mother who is raped.”

Mark Schulze, a University of KZN Rugby Club executive committee member and former scrumhalf, said the players were thrilled to get the opportunity to help such a worthy cause.

“There’s been a very good response and the guys have jumped at the opportunity to help. They are tjoepstil when Jes talks and the fact that rugby is an aggressive sport fits in perfectly with the target market and the message she is trying to get across. Rape is happening to people left and right and there are a lot of vulnerable people on our campuses. She’s removed the taboo around speaking out about rape very successfully,” Schulze said.

Efforts to help rape survivors have often been marred by the shoddy, insensitive treatment they receive immediately after the attack and ensuring they get special care is a focus of the Jes Foord Foundation.

Because their body is literally a crime scene, rape victims are told not to shower or clean themselves by police, which they are understandably desperate to do.

“After my rape, I felt so dirty. But it’s not just that you have dirt or blood on you, it’s a whole new, deeper level of dirty. You have their smell on you, their sweat. You are desperate to scrub it off.

“I received a care package from a local pharmacy with so many special products in it to help feel clean again. And I thought, what about all those survivors who don’t get this, who just have a bar of soap and a bucket of water?” Foord said.

So Foord instituted the Handbag Project which distributes bags that contain an assortment of toiletry items, a scrubbing brush, sanitary towel, clean new underwear, a personal gift and an encouraging note to let a survivor know she is not alone.

Over 2,000 handbags were distributed by the foundation last year and members of the public can help them reach their target of 10,000 this year by donating supplies, handbags or funds to support the project; volunteering for a handbag-packing day; organising a drive for supplies or a volunteer bag-packing day in your area; or volunteering to become a depot for the Handbag Project in your area.

Read more:

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-05-15-rugby-against-rape/#.VhJf-_mqqkp

Mooar teaches Sharks right time to counter-attack 0

Posted on February 04, 2015 by Ken

The Sharks have been enjoying a fortnight of input from New Zealand-born attack coach Brad Mooar and, according to veteran wing Odwa Ndungane, the specialist advice centred around being able to pick the right time to turn defence into offence.

“It’s been nice to have Brad around because the Kiwis have been the leading attacking teams. It’s about creating something out of nothing and he’s given us some small ideas. It’s about vision, decision-making and also confidence. The structure is there, but we need to see the opportunities when they present themselves elsewhere. The call might be to go left, but then there’s space on the right and everyone needs to adapt, everyone needs to know what to do,” Ndungane told The Citizen on Thursday.

The Sharks were in the bottom five for tries scored in the 2014 SuperRugby tournament, with just 32 in 16 matches, and Ndungane admitted their sluggishness on attack needed to be sorted out.

“We had our fair share of criticism for not scoring tries, but we want to play and score tries, so we’ll take any help we can get. Brad tweaked a few small things, the structure’s there but it’s just about shaping it to use all opportunities. It comes down to knowing when to play, about opportunities in the right areas.

“A lot of times last season I could see space on the outside, but it’s about having confidence in the guys around you. Everyone needs to be aware and communicating and the inside players mustn’t take up the space,” the Springbok said.

Ndungane said sharpening their skills in terms of running lines, catching and passing and when to push off or cut back in, was part of Mooar’s sessions, and the Southland coach told The Sharks website that his goal was to provide the team with the weapons to carry out the greater attacking emphasis that new coach Gary Gold wants.

“It’s about looking at different ways of attacking, looking at the little things,” Mooar said. “This is a very simple game, but as coaches we tend to over-complicate things. We need to go back to basics, so this is really simple stuff.

“Somewhere between the South African philosophy and the New Zealand philosophy is a very powerful beast. The main difference between rugby in the two countries is simply a decision-making thing. In New Zealand we are a lot more comfortable allowing opportunity over system. In South Africa, traditionally it’s been a lot more system-based. When an opportunity is presented, you must stay in the system, but if space opens, why not play it?

“I think that would be the key difference. Once that happens, it’s about providing the skills around that. What do we need to make that happen?

“The players are more than keen to learn; they have been outstanding. I think they are quite keen to attack, and it might not always be about attacking more, just attacking better.

“There are a lot of big men and good athletes here, but it’s about a mindset – becoming and being comfortable playing and taking opportunities. Knowing that if they have a go they’re not going to be criticised on Monday,” Mooar said.

 



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