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Ken Borland

Twist on old joke about Sharks staying with family in Bloem as Cheetahs visit Durban to make sure Powell’s team ready for Cardiff 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

There was a twist last weekend on the old joke about where do the Sharks team stay when they play Free State in Bloemfontein (Answer: With their family) when the Cheetahs visited Durban for a friendly match, but the goal was very serious – making sure they are ready to fire when they return to United Rugby Championship action against the Cardiff Blues at Kings Park on Sunday.

The Sharks last played on October 30 in a disappointing defeat to the Bulls in Pretoria, which leaves them eighth on the log, so it is important they hit the ground running and maintain their five-match unbeaten home run against a tough and highly capable Cardiff team.

“Three weeks off without being in a game situation would maybe have caused us to be rusty this weekend, but fortunately we were able to organise a friendly against the Cheetahs,” director of rugby Neil Powell explained on Friday.

“It was a very good exercise, playing three halves of 30 minutes each, with full-out contact. A guy like Lionel Cronje, who could move into flyhalf on Sunday, was able to get some game-time, as did other guys who have not played a lot.

“Hopefully that means we have more flow and momentum on Sunday and we have to make sure we are up and ready against a really good, quality Cardiff team, who are defensively very strong and have lots of experience.

“We will have to make sure we manage our game well and are very disciplined, because Cardiff score the majority of their tries from the lineout and maul and we can’t be giving penalties away,” Powell said.

The new head honcho at Kings Park acknowledged that the Sharks always seem to be well-prepared for games but then for some reason don’t deliver the same clinical execution come match day. It is something they have identified as needing to be put right so they do not suffer two defeats in a row.

“The whole week we prepared so well for the Bulls but it did not carry over on to the field on match day. So the big focus is that: Carrying what we have done in our training sessions on to the playing field.

“We need the same effort, execution and consistency. I believe it’s a focus thing and we need to get the individual roles right in the structure.

“That wasn’t great against the Bulls, for some reason we didn’t focus enough on getting those basics done. We need to be present in the moment and firstly, understand all our roles and responsibilities,” Powell said.

Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Marnus Potgieter, Francois Venter, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Werner Kok, Boeta Chamberlain, Cameron Wright, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Vincent Tshituka,

James Venter (CAPT), Gerbrandt Grobler, Justin Basson, Carlu Sadie, Kerron van Vuuren, Dian Bleuler. Bench – Dan Jooste, Khwezi Mona, Khutha Mchunu, Hyron Andrews, Phepsi Buthelezi, Bradley Davids, Lionel Cronje, Ben Tapuai.

St George’s Park measurements good, but is the pitch T20-friendly? 0

Posted on January 17, 2022 by Ken

The measurements of the St George’s Park ground are perhaps conducive to spectacular run-scoring, but the bowling-friendly nature of the pitch has raised concerns that Cricket South Africa’s imminent announcement that the entire Mzansi Super League will be played in a bio-bubble in Gqeberha may be misguided.

CSA are set to announce that both remaining domestic white-ball competitions this summer – the Momentum One-Day Cup and the MSL T20 competition – will be played in bubbles, which are on course to be a staple part of the South African game for a while yet.

In fact, the International Cricket Council have apparently decided that all international cricket for the next two years will be held in bio-bubbles.

The MSL is set to be played between February 7-28. In the two four-day matches played at St George’s Park this summer, scores of 170, 54, 96, 173, 366 and 79 have been recorded. If conditions stay the same, batting is not going to be easy, which many fans believe will detract from what is meant to be the T20 showpiece of the season.

Batsmen and spinners are going to be happier to hear that the 50-over Momentum One-Day Cup will be staged in two bubbles, one in Durban and the other in Potchefstroom.

Given how spin-friendly Kingsmead has been in recent years, and how flat the Potchefstroom pitch generally is, the pacemen are going to be disappointed.

The Momentum One-Day Cup is set to start in early January and will be completed before the MSL. Last season’s competition ended in disappointment in Potchefstroom as the Imperial Lions and Dolphins were forced to share the title after rain washed out play after 55.2 overs on the reserve day.

Meanwhile, the final round of fixtures in the first stage of the 4-Day Franchise Series, due to start on December 19, is set to be postponed because several teams have large numbers of Covid-positive cases within their squads.

The four-day competition is due to resume on March 4.

Lizo was the new kid in town who is now up against the man about town who helped him 0

Posted on May 04, 2021 by Ken

When Lizo Gqoboka arrived in Montpellier on a short-term deal in September 2019, he was very much the new kid in town but there was a friendly South African fellow prop and man about town who helped him out considerably in Jannie du Plessis.

Gqoboka was signed by the French club as cover for the duration of the World Cup and stayed with the good doctor and his family in the city near the Mediterranean coast, and not only did Du Plessis show him the ropes at the club, but they also spent a lot of time discussing scrummaging.

And now on Saturday the Bulls loosehead prop and the veteran Springbok tighthead will be going to town on each other if they are both on the field at the same time when the Lions visit Loftus Versfeld in the opening round of the Rainbow Cup.

“I enjoy scrumming against Jannie, I did it a lot in training at Montpellier and we played against each other in the Currie Cup semifinal in January. So we know what each other can bring at scrum time, but with such experience, Jannie always has something in his back pocket. It’s difficult to scrum against a guy like him who has the attitude of always learning and getting better all the time.

“With Jannie there at the Lions, he plays a massive role in their scrum, he’s so experienced and very smart. It’s not just about power with him, you can feel it, he is very technically sound. So the young guys at the Lions like Carlu Sadie are really learning from him. The Lions scrum is very good, they have a good system and it’s going to be a nice challenge,” Gqoboka said on Tuesday.

But the Bulls scrum certainly have the credentials to win the crucial scrum battle this weekend, as they showed when they had the upper hand against the Lions in that Currie Cup semi-final and when they dominated the set-piece against the Sharks in the final. The home side might be without Springbok tighthead Trevor Nyakane due to injury, but Mornay Smith showed his ability to step up when he performed strongly off the bench in the two decisive Currie Cup matches.

“We know we can’t relax, every scrum is going to be a war so we have to show up and concentrate,” Gqoboka added.

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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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