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Ken Borland

Sharks win in the end … after letting the air out of their own tyres 0

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks found themselves on the winning side in the end, by the narrowest of margins, but for the vast majority of their United Rugby Championship match against the Dragons in Newport, they huffed and puffed, generally without accuracy, before a handling error or turnover would let the air out of their tyres.

The Sharks snuck home 20-19 thanks to a 75th-minute try by wing Thaakir Abrahams, who was sent to the line by replacement back Marnus Potgieter, after substitute flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe had broken the line to create the space. Flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain then slotted an excellent conversion to give the visitors the lead for the first time since the 11th minute.

Apart from their tendency to lose possession on attack, the Sharks were also not helped by a wayward lineout and the fact that the Dragons beat them in the kicking game. They were also outworked at the breakdown, although unlucky at times that referee Ben Blain did not seem to enjoy their efforts there, or in the scrums, where they won a few penalties but were also on the wrong side of a couple of momentum-breaking decisions.

The first scrum allowed the Sharks to land the first blow with a Chamberlain penalty, but their problems at the ruck, lineout and then, in the second quarter, at scrum time, began to hurt them as Dragons flyhalf Will Reed kicked four penalties.

Chamberlain was able to kick one more scrum penalty, but the Sharks would have been relieved that they went into the break 12-6 down, the Dragons opting for their fourth penalty after the hooter instead of pushing for the try that would have made that lead even more formidable.

But the Dragons went 19-6 up early in the second half when hooker Elliot Dee scored from a rolling maul, the Sharks having been deep on attack inside the 22 after a Rohan Janse van Rensburg charge was wasted by a pass going astray.

It’s a long way back from there away from home at an intimate, boisterous venue like Rodney Parade, but it’s to the Sharks’ credit that they did not panic and kept soldiering on.

An intercept try by scrumhalf Grant Williams was a massive blow for the Dragons, but the Sharks, on the ropes for so long, finally landed a knockout blow with just five minutes remaining, thanks to the strike-running of Notshe and sheer pace of Abrahams.

It’s surprising that the Sharks were so outplayed at ruck time given that their loose trio contained two flanks who play to the ball in James Venter and Dylan Richardson. Then again, Notshe is in the same mould as eighthman Phepsi Buthelezi, one of their few successes on a difficult evening.

It’s becoming apparent that the big-spending Sharks need less flash and more players willing to put in the big hits and do the dirty work around the rucks.


Dragons: Try – Elliot Dee. Conversion – Will Reed. Penalties – Reed (4).

Sharks: Tries – Grant Williams, Thaakir Abrahams. Conversions – Boeta Chamberlain (2). Penalties – Chamberlain (2).

Williams brings the aerobatics as Pumas win the battle in the air 0

Posted on June 06, 2022 by Ken

The Airlink Pumas won the kicking battle both in the air and in terms of territory, while flying fullback Devon Williams brought the aerobatics with both of their tries as they upset the Sharks 20-10 in their Currie Cup match at Kings Park on Friday evening.

The victory was not quite enough to lift the Pumas into the top four, but they can certainly still launch a semi-final challenge as they are now just one point behind Griquas in fourth and five points adrift of the Sharks, who have played an extra match.

Williams sped over for the opening try in the eighth minute after the Sharks over-threw a lineout in their own 22, with outstanding Pumas centre Eddie Fouche then producing a telling dart and then a lovely offload to midfield partner Alwayno Visagie, who fed Williams down the left wing.

The Pumas soared into a 17-3 halftime lead after excellent scrumhalf Chriswill September sent a pass from the base of a ruck high and wide to right wing Sebastian de Klerk, who passed to the jet-propelled Williams on his inside for his second try shortly before the break.

Both coaches, Etienne Fynn of the Sharks and Jimmy Stonehouse of the Pumas, would have died many deaths in the second half.

The Sharks dominated the third quarter but were overall just not sharp enough to cross the line more than once, through replacement hooker Fez Mbatha’s try from a big rolling maul.

The Pumas, who were most effective at killing the Sharks’ momentum at the ruck, then regained their dominance but could only add a second penalty from Fouche as they wasted several promising positions in the Sharks’ 22.


Sharks: Try – Fez Mbatha. Conversion – Boeta Chamberlain. Drop goal – Chamberlain.

Pumas: Tries – Devon Williams (2). Conversions – Eddie Fouche (2). Penalties – Fouche (2).

Mthethwa clears the air on role of independents on CSA board 0

Posted on April 06, 2021 by Ken

Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa cleared the air at his meeting with the Cricket South Africa Interim Board and Members Council on Tuesday night and left no-one in any doubt that he supports a majority independent board and an independent chairperson of the board, encouraging the Members Council to remember the mandate and role he gave to the Interim Board last year to restructure the governance of the sport.

The Members Council has been fighting against a majority of seats on the board going to independent directors, obviously because that would cut down on the number of seats available to them, and they refused to adopt a proposed new Memorandum of Incorporation for the new board drawn up by the Interim Board two weeks ago.

With the impasse rapidly developing into all-out war between the two parties, Mthethwa’s joint sitting with them was overdue and he apparently made it clear that the independence of the new board is a vital principle.

The Members Council have now been given until April 6 by Mthethwa to reconsider their position. They will need to meet again with the Interim Board to find common ground and hopefully this time there will be no buccaneer statements from either side.

Confident Bulls knock stuffing out of WP in first hour 0

Posted on August 09, 2016 by Ken


The Blue Bulls knocked the stuffing out of Western Province in the first hour as they beat last year’s Currie Cup runners-up 45-26 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night, giving the ball plenty of air as they ran in six tries to start their campaign on a confident – almost arrogant – note.

After a bad start in which flyhalf Tian Schoeman had his clearance from the kickoff charged down, forcing the Bulls to defend five metres from their line, the home side played some breathtaking rugby as they scorched into a 24-0 lead at halftime, which they extended to 38-0 after 54 minutes.

The try-feast began with a high-class try in the 19th-minute as loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman, who was one of the Bulls’ standout forwards, made a great steal and then scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, who gave quality service throughout, made a tremendous pass out wide to eighthman Arno Botha, the captain going on a storming run before passing back inside for Van Zyl to score.

The Bulls’ second try, 13 minutes later, came from a textbook up-and-under from Van Zyl and a wonderful chase by wing Jamba Ulengo, opposite number Khanyo Ngcukana being counter-rucked off the ball. A swift backline attack led to a Bulls lineout and centre Dries Swanepoel took it quickly, his smart play leading to a ruck, from which impressive lock Jason Jenkins burst through to score.

Another slick backline move created space out wide from the kickoff and lock Marvin Orie galloped over to complete a classy first half for the Blue Bulls.

Pierre Schoeman was again in the thick of things in the loose in the 47th minute, his tackle winning a scrum for the Bulls, from which debutant wing Jade Stiglingh showed his pace to slice through for the try on a wraparound move with Tian Schoeman.

The home side again found space out wide in the 54th minute, fullback Bjorn Basson chipping infield for Ulengo to score.

The quality of the game suffered in the last 10 minutes as the Bulls went through the motions and Western Province finally hung on to the ball for long enough to score four tries and earn themselves a bonus point, Basson scoring a late try for the Bulls to have the final say.

Tian Schoeman was excellent with the boot, succeeding with all seven of his kicks at goal.


Blue BullsTries: Piet van Zyl, Jason Jenkins, Marvin Orie, Jade Stiglingh, Jamba Ulengo, Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (6). Penalty: Schoeman.

Western ProvinceTries: Johnny Kotze, Leolin Zas, Huw Jones, Scott van Breda. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (3).



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