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Ken Borland

Given opportunity by Jake, Gans has become a Bulls star 0

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Ken

Given an opportunity at outside centre by coach Jake White, Springbok Sevens stalwart Stedman Gans has become one of the Bulls’ star players in their successful 2020/21 campaign and while he achieves some goals, he says there are more boxes he wants to tick in the future.

The 23-year-old Gans, born in Vredenburg on the Cape West Coast but educated at Waterkloof and Tuks, played three Currie Cup games off the bench for the Blue Bulls in 2019, but it was a major surprise when White entrusted him in SuperRugby Unlocked with the No.13 jersey. And it was a masterstroke as Gans has brought considerable flair, skill and defensive nous to the midfield alongside another former Sevens star in Cornal Hendricks.

“The plan was always to come back to XVs and I’ve really enjoyed the last year with the Bulls, I’m definitely happy with the way things have gone. I’m not surprised that us Sevens guys have done so well because the way XVs is going, it definitely suits the Sevens guys more these days. More speed and skill are coming in, power still plays a big role but skill has a big influence now.

“Because I play at No.13, a big motivation for moving to Sevens was to sharpen my defence, my tracking ability, and that’s a big focus in Sevens. I think we’ve shown that Sevens players can come in and make a big difference in the 15-man game. A guy like Cornal is a Springbok, he has played for a long time, at a few places, and you get a lot from the experience and calmness that he brings,” Gans, who represented the Blitzbokke from 2016 to 2019, said.

Looking ahead to the Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld next weekend, Gans said the do-or-die nature of the Sevens circuit will certainly help him prepare for the nerves and the pressure of knockout rugby.

“There are certain things I’ve learned from Sevens for if you’re in these situations, these pressure positions, I’m fortunate to have been in those a few times. So I will just focus on the processes and not the outcome, and there are certain mental triggers and I will use those in the next week.

“We are very aware that the Lions will bring their A-game in the semi-final, so we must prepare well and be at our best as well. We expect their best game of the season from the Lions, they’re definitely going to bring their A-game so we have to too if we are going to play in the final,” Gans said.

As for the rest of 2021, it is an Olympic year and Gans would like to be in the mix for a return to the Springbok Sevens squad.

“The Olympic Games are a definite goal, but closer to the time those details will be tightened up. But I have spoken to coach Jake White and it is his intention and mine to give me the opportunity to go to Japan if the Blitzbokke want me. It will be a very difficult decision if the Springboks want me at the same time, I will have to make that if we get there,” Gans said.

Unbeaten sides clash in the 3rd week of Premier League action 0

Posted on September 26, 2020 by Ken

by Michael Bisset

Five clubs have managed to maintain a 100% record as the English Premier League starts their third round of fixtures this weekend, and there have been no draws in 2020/21 – a fascinating statistic.

But with some clubs having flattered to deceive thus far, I foresee that record falling this weekend as clubs jostle for early success this season.

Brighton and Hove vs Manchester United

Manchester United have shown promise under Ole Gunnar Solskjær but they should be wary of Graham Potter’s possession-based Seagulls. The south coast side faced a tricky encounter against Chelsea to start their campaign and in fairness they were worth more than a 1-3 defeat. Manchester United fans should not expect an easy win here, but I think they will take a 2-1 away win at the Amex Stadium.

Crystal Palace vs Everton

An unbeaten side will fall in this clash. Crystal Palace are arguably the weaker out of the two and Everton’s exceptional start should not be a surprise. Carlo Ancelotti is a world-renowned manager for a reason and his shrewd signings of James Rodríguez, Abdoulaye Doucouré & Allan has added real steel to the Toffees’ midfield. I predict a win for the Merseyside club by 2 goals to nil.

West Brom vs Chelsea

The Baggies should expect another loss when Lampard’s men visit the Hawthorns. Any other result would be a shock. Chelsea to win by 3 goals.

Burnley vs Southampton

An awful fixture to predict as Southampton have been torrid so far and Sean Dyche’s men play a defensive form of football that is not easy on the eye. I am biased towards the Saints and I can feel it swaying my decision here. Heart says 1-1 draw, but I think it is better to give the win to the gritty home side. It will not be pretty, but a clean sheet and a 1-goal advantage will suit the Clarets right down to the ground.

Sheffield United vs Leeds United

Wilder’s men have been massively disappointing up until this point. One could say that losing Dean Henderson has hampered their progress, but the lack of a lethal finisher is a more pertinent point. Leeds play an expansive and adventurous style of football and I think they will surprise a few this season. Going with a win for the Yorkshire side seems the best choice but the Blades are stubborn, so a 1-1 draw.

Tottenham vs Newcastle United

Gareth Bale is back in North London although Spurs hardly needed a bigger boost following their demolition job of Southampton last week. Newcastle capitulated to Brighton in the opening 20 minutes at home, so I only see one side taking the three points here. Spurs to win it, 2-0.

Manchester City vs Leicester City

These two have thrown up incredible ties in recent campaigns. Leicester caused a massive upset on Boxing Day in 2018. That win showed that the Foxes are not intimidated by the money pumped into the blue half of Manchester in any way. De Bruyne and his compatriots should have enough to see off the 2015/16 champions, but Jamie Vardy will get on the scoresheet. City to win 3-1.

West Ham United vs Wolves

David Moyes has seen a major drop-off in his luck and success since moving from Everton to Manchester United in 2013. West Ham are an anomaly because on their day, they can blow sides away as seen in the latter stages of last season. However, Wolves will be desperate to right the wrongs of their previous loss to Manchester City and take the three points. The London Stadium may be a factor in this, so we are predicting an exciting 2-2 draw.

Fulham vs Aston Villa

Scott Parker’s lads are yet to taste victory in their return to England’s biggest league. I am a firm believer that Villa are there for the taking. Fulham need to get onto the scoreboard if they are going to give themselves a chance of survival. Do not be surprised if this ends in a draw but we are backing the Cottagers by the odd goal.

Liverpool vs Arsenal

The final game of the weekend – well worth the wait. Mikel Arteta’s men have won the previous two encounters with Liverpool but Jürgen Klopp’s champions will not be fazed by that fact at all. Captain Jordan Henderson sits this one out, meaning that Thiago Alcântara is likely to enjoy his first Liverpool start. It will be entertaining and make Monday easier to bear. Liverpool to edge it, however Arsenal will get on the scoresheet. Either 2-1 or 3-1, depending on whether the Liverpool front trio gel.

Let us know what you think of these predictions. All feedback is greatly appreciated, enjoy the football!

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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