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Ken Borland

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.


Two-try Savea makes way for Gear on the wing 0

Posted on October 22, 2012 by Ken


Wing Julian Savea, who scored two tries last weekend against Argentina, has been replaced by Hosea Gear in the New Zealand team to play South Africa in their Rugby Championship match at Soweto on Saturday, it was announced on Thursday.

Coach Steve Hansen has seemingly dropped Savea because of fears over his ability under the high ball and the likelihood that the Springboks will use plenty of kicking in the highveld Test.

The All Blacks are also expecting a fierce physical onslaught from the home team and Hansen has made one change to the starting pack, with Brodie Retallick replacing Luke Romano at lock.

Romano suffered facial cuts last weekend against Argentina and has been unable to train fully this week.

“Luke got beaten up a bit and has a lot of cuts, meaning he hasn’t played a full part in training, while we thought we’d give Julian a wee breather. We have a lot of confidence in Hosea Gear,” Hansen said at a news conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Romano will swap places with Retallick and start off the bench on Saturday and there are three other changes amongst the reserves with prop Ben Franks, flank Adam Thomson and utility back Tamati Ellison replacing Charlie Faumuina, Sam Cane and Ben Smith.

The absence of Cane robs the All Blacks of an out-and-out fetcher, but Hansen said the bigger Thomson would boost their lineout.

“Adam definitely gives us another lineout option. He’s been part of the set-up for a long time and we’ve just been waiting for his injury to clear up so we can give him a crack. He had a busy SuperRugby season, but the extra lineout option is the reason for the change,” Hansen said.

With Johan Goosen now playing at flyhalf, Hansen expects the Springboks to probe for gaps with ball in hand more than they did in their previous meeting in Dunedin three weeks ago when Morne Steyn was at 10 and the All Blacks won 21-11.

“Inside their own half they’ll kick, but in our half they’ll run more and play more of a continuity game. I expect we’ll see a lot more movement of the ball than in Dunedin, Goosen is a pretty classy player. He takes the ball to the line, he can break himself or put others in space. He’s quite special,” Hansen said.

The successor to World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry said it was important for the All Blacks not to focus on the venue, the 94 700-capacity Soccer City, the same field on which the 2010 football world cup final was played.

“We have a lot of experience through the spine of the team and those guys have played all over the world and seen most places. So when they get on the field, it’s all the same for them, it’s a bit of grass with lines painted on. That’s the mindset you want.

“Sure, 90 000 people will make a lot of noise, but if you do things right on the field then you quieten them down and it becomes your place,” Hansen said.

Team – 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma’a Nonu, 11-Hosea Gear, 10-Dan Carter, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw, 6-Liam Messam, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Andrew Hore, 1-Tony Woodcock. Reserves: 16-Keven Mealamu, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Luke Romano, 19-Adam Thomson, 20-Piri Weepu, 21-Aaron Cruden, 22-Tamati Ellison.


Habana scores hat-trick as SA squeeze Australia 0

Posted on October 15, 2012 by Ken


Wing Bryan Habana used his predatory instincts to claim a hat-trick of tries as South Africa squeezed Australia relentlessly and beat them 31-8 (half-time 14-3) in their Rugby Championship Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Springboks regained their attacking spark in front of a passionate crowd of 44 463 at their most secure home venue, but the victory was set up by their big men up front, who dominated the collisions and successfully disrupted the Wallaby lineout.

South Africa could have won by an even healthier margin, but goalkicking woes continued to dog them as flyhalf Johan Goosen missed the first two penalties and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar then failed with two penalties and two conversion attempts.

Habana ran in tries in the 29th, 62nd and 79th minutes to become South Africa’s leading try-scorer against Australia with eight in 16 Tests, beating Breyton Paulse’s mark of seven.

Fullback Zane Kirchner and flank Francois Louw scored the other Springbok tries, with Pienaar adding three conversions.

Australia, who were ravaged by injuries and finished with 14 men because they had used all seven of their substitutions, scored a 66th-minute try through replacement centre Mike Harris, while flyhalf Kurtley Beale kicked a first-half penalty.

After the 20-year-old Goosen, starting in place of the experienced Morne Steyn, missed two penalties in the first 10 minutes, South Africa decided to aim their next kickable penalty to touch. The rolling maul was well-defended by Australia, and loose forward Michael Hooper almost stole possession at a ruck, but in the end the home side managed to get the ball out right where Kirchner darted over in the corner for the opening try.

A minute later, a brilliant attacking sally by Goosen was stopped just short of the tryline by centre Pat McCabe and the Springboks’ kicking yips continued when Pienaar missed a long-range penalty.

But in the 29th minute, eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who lit up the first half with his brilliant foraging at the rucks and steely defence, made a break, Goosen was in support, Pienaar threw a dummy and made a half-break before Habana pounced on the pop pass and sliced through for his first try.

Pienaar’s conversion put South Africa 14-0 ahead and they were well on top at halftime even though the lead was narrowed to 11 points by a Beale penalty.

Just a minute before half-time, Kirchner was forced out on the corner flag by Adam Ashley-Cooper, who was playing at fullback because Berrick Barnes went off with a chest injury. Ashley-Cooper knocked himself out in the process though and was taken to hospital with concussion.

The Springboks again relied on their rolling maul to set up their first try of the second half, Louw scoring as the Wallabies’ defence shattered. Replacement prop James Slipper was yellow-carded just before the try for ruck infringements.

Habana earned his second try through quick thinking, finding hooker Adriaan Strauss with a quick lineout throw and then getting the ball back and sprinting clear from halfway, before notching his second hat-trick in 82 Tests with a minute left in the game as he ran in a breakaway try set up by Louw’s break and quick hands from fellow wing Francois Hougaard and replacement flyhalf Elton Jantjies.

Australia’s only try was set up by Beale, making his first start at flyhalf, as he kept the defence guessing, embarking on a crossfield run before straightening and throwing the ball out wide for Harris to score.

But the Wallabies were then reduced to 14 men and just seven forwards when referee Alain Rolland ruled they were not allowed to bring on replacement hooker Saia Fainga’a for the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau because seven substitutions had already been made, with loosehead prop Benn Robinson returning to the field after being replaced in the first half.

While Habana stole the limelight, it was the outstanding Springbok loose trio of Vermeulen, Louw and Willem Alberts that kept their opposition on the back foot, the bonus point for five tries leaving South Africa on 12 points and still in contention for the title if Argentina upset New Zealand later on Saturday.


South Africa – Tries: Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana (3), Francois Louw. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3).

Australia – Try: Mike Harris. Penalty: Kurtley Beale.


Dazzling Herbst leads SWD Eagles to victory 0

Posted on August 20, 2012 by Ken

The livewire JD Herbst, playing scrumhalf and wing, scored two dazzling tries to lead the SWD Eagles to a 33-27 (half-time 19-24) victory over a tiring Border Bulldogs team in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Buffalo City Municipal Stadium in East London on Friday.

Herbst, who showed blazing speed off the mark and was an elusive attacker all over the field, was the shining light as the Eagles overcame a flying start by the Bulldogs.

Border scored three first-half tries and played well enough, defending heroically in the second half, to leave their supporters eagerly anticipating their first win in this year’s competition.

Veteran wing Chumani Booi set the ball rolling in the third minute when he showed yet again that he is just one of those people blessed with both great instincts and enduring pace as he stole an intercept and roared away for the opening try.

Seven minutes later, Herbst had the vision and pace as well to break blind and then speed away for the Eagles’ opening try.

Right wing Francois Laatz dashed over in the 16th minute to return the lead to the Bulldogs, but he had the backs inside him to thank for their wonderful handling that created the overlap.

The powerful Eagles forwards had been strangely subdued, but they began to show their strength in the second quarter and flank Shaun Raubenheimer was driven over for the visitors’ second try.

Laatz scored his second try, after he had again been worked into space nicely by the backline, on the half-hour, flyhalf Johan Myburgh kicking his third successive conversion to give Border a 21-12 lead.

But the Eagles closed the gap before half-time as flyhalf Theuns Kotze chipped over the rapidly-advancing Bulldogs defence, reclaimed the ball and then dotted down under the posts, making his second conversion an easy one.

A Myburgh penalty just before the break meant the Eagles were trailling 19-24 heading into the second half, but they produced the sort of powerful forward performance one would normally associate with South-Western Districts rugby to thoroughly dominate the last 40 minutes.

A prolonged period of pressure eventually brought a reward when centre JJ Taljard scored after a neat scissors move, before Herbst sealed the win, and put the cherry on top of his own top-class performance, with his second try with eight minutes remaining. By this stage Herbst had moved from scrumhalf to wing, but the former Matie was still always up with play.

Kotze converted both second-half tries, and there were whoops of delight from the visitors after the final whistle as they moved into third place on the First Division log.

It was a credit to Border that, despite all the mayhem generally happening five metres from their tryline in the second half, they only conceded two tries. But they needed more possession to have any chance of actually winning the match. While they were denied the spoils, Myburgh kicked a late penalty to ensure the Bulldogs did at least get a losing bonus point for their efforts.

The Eagles could even afford to have a player yellow-carded in the second half – fullback Delroy Rhoode spent 10 minutes in the bin after a ham-fisted effort to pull off an intercept saw him only succeed in slapping the ball down from an offsides position.


Border Bulldogs – Tries: Chumani Booi, Francois Laatz (2). Conversions: Johan Myburgh (3). Penalties: Myburgh (2).

SWD Eagles – Tries: JD Herbst (2), Shaun Raubenheimer, Theuns Kotze, JJ Taljard. Conversions: Kotze (4).

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