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Ken Borland



Coetzee loving CC final build-up week … & chance to join other Loftus legends 0

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Ken

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee is loving the build-up week to the Currie Cup final against the Sharks and especially the chance to join such Loftus Versfeld legends as Naas Botha, Thys Lourens, Anton Leonard, Piet Uys and Victor Matfield in lifting the famous old trophy.

Coetzee, whose previous South African playing experience was with the Sharks, had not yet arrived in Pretoria back in January when the inspirational Duane Vermeulen led the Bulls to their first Currie Cup crown since 2009, winning an extra time thriller against the self-same Sharks.

“To be mentioned alongside those names, you just feel humbled and honoured. It’s obviously a big dream to win the Currie Cup, but it also comes with great responsibility. We are just trying to be calm and enjoying it. My Dad is a huge Bulls fan and my sister as well, while my brother and mother support the Sharks. So there could be a bit of civil war in the house!

“I don’t want to take anything away from what the Sharks did for me, but this is a special Bulls team and there is a great atmosphere here. Just to see legends of the game here like Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez is amazing. And you can feel the excitement in Pretoria as well, we feel they are behind us even though it is very heartsore that Loftus won’t be packed,” Coetzee said on Tuesday.

The man with the bole-like arms and legs said mental composure is going to be as important to beat the Sharks as any physical characteristics the Bulls might bring on Saturday.

“The last final here was touch-and-go and the Sharks were well on their way to winning it, but then luckily fitness came into it. We’re expecting another neck-and-neck contest, there’s no way it’s going to be an easy game and we definitely can’t be nonchalant about anything. We’ve taken some learnings from that match, but we also have some new personnel and some older, wiser heads.

“It’s going to come down to composure and who executes better. When the pressure comes, you have to stick to your guns and that’s when experience comes into play. You never know how finals are going to play out, but it will come down to composure, execution and discipline on the day. Discipline especially will play a big role, we can’t leak soft penalties,” Coetzee said.

New Springbok captain one of the most admired SA leaders 0

Posted on June 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Adriaan Strauss has been confirmed as the new Springbok captain and it’s difficult to find a current player whose leadership skills and personality are more admired across the board in South African rugby.

The 30-year-old is one of those people for whom leadership comes naturally, even though he is softly-spoken and rarely demonstrative, a classic example of someone who leads from the front through actions, rather than words. He is currently doing a fine job as the captain of a young Bulls side, having previously led the Cheetahs, and has been a member of the Springbok leadership group for some time, having already played 55 Tests and been a vice-captain on several occasions.

Former Springbok eighthman Anton Leonard, who is working closely with Strauss as the Bulls’ forwards coach, is well-placed to speak about the hooker’s leadership skills, having led the Loftus Versfeld outfit himself to two Currie Cup crowns.

“Atta is a great person before he’s a rugby player and I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of players have a lot of respect for him as well. He’s not a big-talker, he’s more of a doer, but when he speaks, people listen. He’s done a tremendous job at the Bulls, especially with a young side, showing them the ropes of life and rugby. He’s personally earmarked and is growing some other leaders in the squad,” Leonard told Saturday Citizen.

There is little flashy about Springbok captain number 57 – although he is rather adept at stealing balls in the ruck – but he will be bringing technical excellence to his core role as a hooker and that is in solidifying the set-pieces. Leonard said these will be exciting times under the stocky Billy Bunter-like figure of Strauss, who did his schooling at Grey College in Bloemfontein like so many other Springboks.

“His appointment is very satisfying for us who work with him and I’m very glad for him. Firstly, he deserves to be the number one hooker, he’s number one in SuperRugby in that position if you look at the stats for the lineout. His hard work has paid off and he will bring fighting spirit to the Springboks in what is obviously going to be an exciting new era.

“He will have a lot of leaders around him, helping, respected guys like Warren Whiteley and the experienced Pat Lambie. But Atta’s strengths are that he is very good at summing up the game and he looks first at himself. He’s very humble and straightforward, every player knows where he stands with him. He handles pressure well, he shifts it on to himself and takes responsibility,” Leonard said.

Adriaan Strauss is living proof that not saying much does not mean you cannot have an amazing impact on those around you.

LAST 20 SPRINGBOK CAPTAINS

 

NAME              DATE          VERSUS      WHERE   RESULT    AGE   TEST No.      PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
Wynand Claassen  30/5/81    Ireland                  Cape Town          23-15          30           Debut                       Natal captain
Divan Serfontein    20/10/84  S America & Spain   Pretoria    32-15          30           18th                         Led WP to 3 Currie Cup titles
Naas Botha               10/5/86        New Zealand         Cape Town      21-15       28            18th                        NT captain 4 previous seasons
Jannie Breedt        26/8/89      World XV            Cape Town            20-19        30           5th                    Tvl captain in 2 Currie Cup finals
Francois Pienaar   26/6/93     France                   Durban                 20-20         26           Debut          Captained Tvl Super 10 title 1992
Tiaan Strauss           9/7/94       New Zealand       Dunedin      14-22        29           12th             WP capt, close contender when Pienaar appointed
Adriaan Richter        30/5/95     Romania           Cape Town             21-8        29           8th            Midweek captain on Boks’ 93 tour of Australia; NT captain
Gary Teichmann         17/8/96      New Zealand   Durban            19-23              29        7th         Captained Natal to ’95 Currie Cup title
Corne Krige               19/6/99                Italy              Durban       101-0            24          Debut         Captain Paarl BHS, SA Schools & WP
Rassie Erasmus        17/7/99        Australia      Brisbane      6-32        26                21st      Turned down captaincy earlier when Krige appointed
Joost van der Westhuizen   7/8/99    New Zealand      Pretoria  18-34    28           52nd                   Led Blue Bulls to ’98 Currie Cup title, inspired confidence
Andre Vos                        10/10/99           Spain                    Edinburgh   47-3  24           7th                 Lions captain ’98 & former Bok midweek captain
Bobby Skinstad                  30/6/01           Italy                Port Elizabeth    60-14    24           18th                Maties, WP & Stormers capt
John Smit                             24/10/03          Georgia               Sydney      46-19        25           24th     Led SA U21 to Sanzar title & Natal ’01 CC final
Victor Matfield                  23/6/07      New Zealand        Durban        21-26    30         58th       Bulls Super 14-winning captain, highly respected
Johan Muller                 14/7/07           New Zealand            Christchurch   6-33    27           16th            Sharks Currie Cup captain
Jean de Villiers             9/6/2012           England                 Durban           22-17       31           73rd    Stormers capt & long-term leader in Bok team
Schalk Burger                    25/7/15       New Zealand       Johannesburg  20-27    32           78th         SA U21 & Stormers captain
Fourie du Preez              3/10/15         Scotland                   Newcastle       34-16     33        72nd         2008 Bulls Super Rugby captain, had to turn down Bok captaincy in 2012
Adriaan Strauss            11/6/16          Ireland                 Cape Town       ??-??    30         56th                Previously Bok vice-captain, Cheetahs & Bulls SR capt
 
 

Leonard to help Bulls pack go from bonsai to mighty oaks 0

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Ken

 

The current Bulls squad seems to have the potential to grow into mighty oaks, but at the moment their young, inexperienced pack could be likened to a bonsai, which is probably why coach Nollis Marais on Monday announced former Springbok eighthman Anton Leonard as one of his assistant coaches.

Leonard, who captained the Bulls at the beginning of the century as they began their climb out of the mire, will be the forwards coach having impressed Marais with his work with the South-Western Districts pack.

“I’ve been speaking to Anton for a while and he’s done excellent work with South-Western Districts, they almost beat the Lions in the Vodacom Cup to make the semi-finals. He’s the best forwards coach currently available and he’s very experienced. How many Super Rugby games has he played, he knows the Bulls’ tradition, he knows about the travel and our culture.

“He told me he wants to make the Bulls proud again and get the old values back. The players look up to him and he agrees with me that rugby has changed and we have to change our style of play. But to do that we have to have a platform up front, and Western Province showed where we need to improve by putting us under pressure in the set-pieces,” Marais told The Citizen.

David Manual, who has done brilliant work with this year’s Currie Cup squad, will be the backline coach, while Gary Botha (scrums & breakdowns) and Pine Pienaar (defence) will work with all Bulls teams as specialist coaches.

Hendre’ Marnitz, who replaced Marais as Blue Bulls U21 coach when he was promoted to the senior team, has also been confirmed as next year’s Currie Cup coach.

After eight years of service, Org Strauss has resigned as the team doctor and will be replaced by Herman Rossouw.

 

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