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Ken Borland

Bavuma in touch with his female side 0

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

Temba Bavuma said on Tuesday that putting aside the emotion and focusing on the situation in the present helped him cope with the heavy pressures of leading the Proteas at the T20 World Cup.

The relatively new South African white-ball captain has drawn widespread praise for his handling of the usual off-field issues that plagued the team as well as his deft hand on the field as the Proteas exceeded expectations by just missing out on the semifinals on nett run-rate, despite winning four of their five group games.

“There’s always some type of pressure around me and I’ve learnt ways to deal with it. I put aside the emotion and deal with the issue at hand,” Bavuma said.

“The Quinton de Kock situation all happened quite quickly and there wasn’t really any time to consult anyone. I had to weigh up both sides and express an opinion.

“Sometimes it’s best when you don’t have too much time to think about things, you just speak to the merits of the matter at hand and that means you’ll be more authentic.

“It was always going to be a big responsibility to be captain and the pressure and expectation at a World Cup comes from all angles. But I have seen a shift in the energy and I sense that the backing and support for me is now there,” Bavuma said.

The skipper acknowledged that all the off-field noise surrounding the Proteas does eat the players up inside, but in a classic case of make-or-break, he said it strengthened the bond between the players, which was expressed in their never-say-die performances on the field.

“Matters off the field have put us under pressure, they have been challenging times but we have been able to get through them as a team. There were moments that could have broken us or pulled us together, and it turned out being more of the latter.

“I was put in a situation that was very hard to prepare for and I’m grateful that I got out of there. I now have a lot more confidence with the team in terms of trust and backing.

“I do believe we are in a better space as a team. We found a way to get together as a team and really fought for each other. That gave us the ability to play in those pressure moments, we did exceptionally well in those.

“There have been massive positives from this World Cup, even though we are now sitting at home watching on our screens, and we need to make sure we grow from strength-to-strength,” Bavuma said.

Davids says Boks must take the emotion out while critics say their No.1 reign has gone to the dogs 0

Posted on October 08, 2021 by Ken

The harsher critics of the Springboks are having a field day saying their reign at the top of the rugby world is going to the dogs, but assistant coach Deon Davids said on Monday that the team need to take the emotion out of their review of the back-to-back defeats against Australia as they prepare to face the mighty All Blacks this weekend.

The Springbok game-plan has been the object of much derision from their rivals who could not prevent them winning the World Cup, as well as seeing off the British and Irish Lions. But a strangely flat performance against the Wallabies last weekend, leading to a 30-17 defeat, has raised questions about how keen the Springboks are to keep chasing and tackling themselves into oblivion.

“We will be the first to say our performance has not been up to standard in the last two games and we need to look at the reasons for that. But it’s important to look objectively at our performance, we want to take the emotion out of it as quickly as possible. We need to look at how the plan was executed, did we stay in the task and then move on to the next challenge?

“We can’t dwell on things that are in the past, we have to focus on what we need to improve and what we need to do. And then prepare effectively to make sure we perform the way we need to. Obviously when you lose two consecutive games, it’s natural to get emotional and you can look for reasons that are not actually the case. We need to go back to our strengths,” Davids said on Monday.

The Springboks’ very specific game-plan needs multiple facets of their play to be working like clockwork and Davids is confident they can regain the required cohesion and fervour against the All Blacks for the 100th Test between the two great rivals, in Townsville on Saturday.

“We understand what we want to achieve, what we want to do with the ball where and when. Against New Zealand, we’ve got to be good in all areas, especially technically. But this group of players has been in this position before, they lost the first Test against the Lions and their first game at the World Cup, but they were able to pick themselves up because there’s a lot of experience in the team.

“I’m confident we will be back at the standard we are used to, even though there are physical and mental challenges due to the circumstances caused by Covid, which will have some sort of effect. But we had an idea of the challenges before we started this campaign and we prepared to adapt to circumstances. There is nothing standing in the way of us giving our best in these next two weeks,” Davids said.

Gratitude was Van Staden’s first emotion 0

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Ken

Gratitude was the first emotion Marco van Staden felt when he heard his name called out at the weekend for the Springbok squad to play in the series against the British and Irish Lions, and not just because he has not been a part of the national squad for a while.

Van Staden watched the live announcement with his parents and grandparents in the Magaliesberg mountains and he was delighted to share the best moment in his career thus far with the family members who sacrificed much so he could put rugby first, making it all the way to the top from a little agricultural school called Hoerskool Bekker. Especially since he is on his way overseas to play for English club Leicester Tigers as soon as his Springbok commitments are over.

“I was with my parents and grandparents and it was quite a celebration. I’m spending all the time I can with them because I’m going to be going overseas in a bit and I won’t be able to see them for a while. They sacrificed so much for me just to get me here, so it was wonderful to be able to share my selection with them.

“I was just very grateful, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it only comes every 12 years, so it is a big privilege and I am very honoured to be chosen. I’ve missed out on the Springboks in the last couple of years, I’ve only played three Tests and the last one was against Argentina just before they left for Japan for the World Cup,” Van Staden said on Tuesday.

On Saturday he will play his last game for the Bulls, in their decisive Rainbow Cup match against the Sharks in Durban, and adding to the poignancy is the fact that Duane Vermeulen and Elrigh Louw, the two players with whom Van Staden has bedded in so well as a loose trio, will both be missing through injury.

“It’s probably my last game for the Bulls so I want to make the most of it. It will be disappointing to not play together with Duane and Elrigh, because I think we have gelled together well. But Marcell Coetzee will be there and it’s an honour to play with him, he also gives his all out on the field. We’re all just trying to play for the guys next to us,” Van Staden said.

The 25-year-old also said there was no room for individual battles in Saturday’s match, which will see the Bulls needing to collect just one bonus point to book a place in the Rainbow Cup final, although there will be much jostling for places in the Test 23 amongst the 46 players in the Springbok squad.

“My focus is not on playing against Siya Kolisi. The team has a plan to execute and you don’t want to be out of position to make a point of your own. I will be staying within the plan and there’s no question of holding back because I don’t see the benefit in that. I just remember how we could not play any rugby in Lockdown and to not give 100% would be disappointing my team-mates,” Van Staden said.

Stormers rely on emotion & pride to stop Bulls going top 0

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Ken


The Bulls will finish on top of the Vodacom SuperRugby log if they can beat the Stormers in the final round at Newlands on Saturday, but the home side will be relying on emotion and pride as star wing Bryan Habana pulls on the blue and white jersey for the last time.

Finishing on top of the log would bring with it enormous reward for the Bulls because it means they advance directly to the semi-finals, without having to expend any extra energy on a playoff match and they would play their remaining matches in this year’s competition on the hallowed turf of Loftus Versfeld.

And we can banish any thoughts of rugby in South Africa being played along the lines of what’s best for the country and other democratic notions; the Stormers are not going to hold back on their fiercest rivals just because they are the country’s best hope of winning the competition.

For one, the Stormers will be out to ensure a winning send-off for France-bound Habana, the greatest Springbok winger since The Prince of Wings, Carel du Plessis, and, secondly, they will also want to satisfy their demanding supporters, who have sold out Newlands to come and see another epic north/south derby.

Captain Jean de Villiers, who returns to the team at inside centre, has been speaking of playing for pride in the build-up to the game.

“The focus is on our pride and playing for the jersey,” said De Villiers. “We are professional rugby players and we have a job to do, and that is to go out and do our best to win. We have disappointed ourselves this season and we’ve also disappointed our coaches and supporters and we are busy trying to make up for that by finishing the season well. We’ve won four in a row and we would like to make it five against the Bulls.

“Clashes between the Stormers and the Bulls are always huge and the ticket sales for this game have summed that up. The focus is on our pride as a team and playing for the jersey, which means we will do our best to win the game.”

Stormers supporters did not see too much pride from their team when they last played the Bulls – they meekly succumbed to a 25-17 defeat at Loftus in the opening round of South African action.

Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn killed the Stormers’ chances that day with his kicking, both tactically and at goal, and coach Allister Coetzee has responded by dropping his flyhalf Elton Jantjies and replacing him with the inexperienced Gary van Aswegen. To be fair, though, regular fullback Joe Pietersen, the Stormers’ best kicker, is out injured and choosing Van Aswegen gives them a right and left-footed kicker with Gio Aplon moving into the number 15 jersey.

Rynhardt Elstadt has returned to the starting loose trio and will help beef up a Stormers pack that will have to face up to the physicality of the Bulls far better than they did in their previous meeting.

The Bulls also have important changes, with Springboks Jan Serfontein and Francois Hougaard both out injured and replaced by Francois Venter and Jano Vermaak respectively.

The 22-year-old Venter is another bright midfield prospect and he started all but one game for the Bulls at inside centre in last year’s Currie Cup and also made eight SuperRugby appearances.

Vermaak is arguably the form scrumhalf in South Africa this year and made his return from the bench last weekend after a hamstring injury that cut short his Springbok campaign. He and Steyn form a formidable half-back combination and that is one area where the Bulls seem to have a clear advantage over the youthful Stormers partnership of Van Aswegen and Louis Schreuder.

There will possibly be even more emotion at King’s Park on Saturday as the end of a Sharks era is reached, while the Southern Kings will be desperately hoping they are not playing their last SuperRugby match.

There have been few more dedicated servants of KwaZulu-Natal rugby over the past 30 years than Hugh Reece-Edwards, but he and his co-coach Grant Bashford, both standing in after the unceremonious firing of their boss, John Plumtree, will be in charge for the last time before John Smit’s regime change takes effect in Durban.

The Sharks players, understandably ill-at-ease over the way Plumtree was dispensed with even though he had been promised a two-year contract extension, probably have more to gain from the game than their Kings opponents, who are a second-string outfit anyway.

At this stage, nothing is more important for the Kings than the promotion/relegation games against the Lions in a fortnight’s time, so they have rested all their regular starters who have injury niggles.

That means no more than three players who started last weekend against the Stormers – lock David Bulbring, terrific eighthman Jacques Engelbrecht and wing Marcello Sampson – are in the run-on XV for King’s Park.

No team has had more selection challenges than the Sharks in this year’s competition and this week the complications were Butch James’s four-week suspension for his wild tackle against the Bulls and a concurrent injury to Pat Lambie.

That means Riaan Viljoen, who showed in last year’s Currie Cup that he is more than comfortable in the number 10 jersey, shifts from fullback to flyhalf.

And while Habana is saying goodbye in Cape Town, fellow Springbok wing JP Pietersen returns to action this weekend in Durban.

The stadium may have been called King’s Park since 1891, but it has also been dubbed The Shark Tank. The second-string Kings are more likely to feel that they’ve been dropped inside the latter than feeling at home on Saturday.


The Sharks (v Southern Kings, Saturday 17:05): Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Louis Ludik, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Riaan Viljoen, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Edwin Hewitt, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Wiehahn Herbst, Jandré Marais, Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Cobus Reinach, Fred Zeilinga.

Southern Kings (v The Sharks, Saturday 17:05): Siviwe Soyizwapi, Hadleigh Parkes, Waylon Murray, Shane Gates, Marcello Sampson, George Whitehead, Nicolas Vergallo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Mpho Mbiyozo, Devin Oosthuizen, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Hannes Franklin, Charl du Plessis. Replacements – Grant Kemp, Bandise Maku, Darron Nell, Thabo Mamojele, Aidon Davis, Shaun Venter, Michael Killian.

Stormers (v Bulls, Saturday 19:15): Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Gary van Aswegen, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie, De Kock Steenkamp, Eben Etzebeth, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements – Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Don Armand, Nic Groom, Elton Jantjies, Damian de Allende.

Bulls (v Stormers, Saturday 19:15): Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Grant Hattingh, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements – Callie Visagie, Frik Kirsten, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross, Rudy Paige, Jürgen Visser, Morné Mellett.

Other fixtures: Crusaders v Hurricanes (Friday 9:35); Melbourne Rebels v Highlanders (Friday 11:40); Blues v Chiefs (Saturday 9:35); Waratahs v Reds (Saturday 11:40); Force v Brumbies (Saturday 13:45). Bye – Cheetahs (who will climb from 6th to 5th if the Reds lose to the Waratahs).

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    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

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