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Ken Borland



‘Working with Jake is one of the best relationships of my career’ – Carr 0

Posted on February 23, 2021 by Ken

Nizaam Carr is a Springbok loose forward who hasn’t had much game time since joining the Bulls, but he said on Tuesday that working with coach Jake White has been one of the best relationships of his career and the desire at Loftus Versfeld is strong to avoid what the player called “the same fate as Liverpool”.

With the talismanic Duane Vermeulen currently unavailable after minor knee surgery, Carr could well get his chance to shine in the preparation series that starts this weekend, with the Bulls taking on Eastern Province in Pretoria on Sunday. The former Stormers and Wasps star said the message from White has been clear: Even though several of the stars who won both SuperRugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup might not be playing, the Bulls are looking to improve their game still further.

“The message from Jake was that we have to take it to the next level, whether that’s in our diet, our training, our gym or whatever. What happened to Liverpool, what my friends have been telling me about them because I’m not a big football fan … we don’t want to suffer the same fate. So we need to do something different to stay on top, we need to take our game up a notch.

“This series is the perfect opportunity for us to prepare and you can see everyone want this opportunity. I always back myself to start but I will do whatever I can to help the team, like I had to do for the Currie Cup final. But I have a good understanding with Jake and the other coaches, in fact my relationship with Jake is one of the best I’ve experienced with a coach. It’s been fantastic to continue my journey with these fantastic people,” Carr said on Tuesday.

Carr is probably competing with former Springbok Sevens star Tim Agaba for the eighthman berth vacated by Vermeulen. While Agaba will bring work-rate and physicality to the role, Carr said he sees his strength as being the more classical ability to link with the backs.

“I want to play eighthman, I feel I am best there, but it is nice that I can cover a lot of options and different coaches want different things from their eighthman. My strength is linking, mixing it up with the forwards and backs, doing the dirty work if necessary and bringing a high tackle count. I’m also a lineout option although I’m not the biggest guy.

“I’m not one of those 120kg or 1.95 metres guys, but I bring something else to the party. I have not played as much as I would have liked here, so it feels like my first game again, something I am really looking forward to. It’s a big opportunity, that’s the motivator for all of us, we want to showcase what we’ve got, show that we can turn up at this level, given the opportunity,” Carr said.

Who will shine above the thin pickings as lights go out at Newlands? 0

Posted on October 05, 2020 by Ken

In terms of the national team, the lights will be turned off at Newlands for probably the last time after the Springbok Showdown on Saturday evening, which is what the game between the Green and Gold scratch teams will most likely be remembered for. Apart from getting some much-needed game time into the legs of the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship, there could be thin pickings for Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber given the difficulties associated with getting a team to gel after one week together.

Still, there will be some fine talent on display and it will do nobody any harm to shine given the lack of rugby South Africa has suffered this year. For the established Springboks, Saturday will be about saying farewell to Newlands while for the young guns, they will be judged mostly on their character and how much they have picked up off the training field this week.

“Cape Town has always been one of my favourite venues, although it’s unfortunate that there won’t be a crowd, that changes the dynamic. But we all know the history of Newlands and it will be great playing there one more time, even though we know how greasy it can be if the weather is bad. It’s also going to be very nice playing with new people around you,” Springbok Gold captain Lukhanyo Am said on Friday.

“Lots of energy is what the new players bring and it’s been a big week for those youngsters selected for what is basically the Emerging Springboks. They have got to experience what it’s like at Test level in terms of preparation and the environment in camp. We’ve tried to share our knowledge as senior players, they have received a lot of information, we’ve really pushed the learning, clarity and detail and hopefully it will make them better players.”

Part of the education for the youngsters will be in how to deal with combining with players you have never played with before in just a week.

“It’s really exciting to be playing alongside a guy like Rikus Pretorius, who has a lot of energy. And coming up against Wandisile Simelane is going to be challenging because he is very exciting and because of his prowess on attack we will definitely be looking out for him. No-one’s going into the game for a loss, we’re all very competitive athletes.

“We have to play with what we have, but we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves and even though we’ve only had a week to gel, we should all be able to execute whatever plans we have. It’s really nice playing with new guys in a situation where there’s less pressure. But in common with the Sharks environment, here at the Springboks it’s all about taking ownership as players,” Am said.

Erasmus worried about personal welfare of Springboks 0

Posted on September 29, 2020 by Ken

South Africa’s Rugby Championship participation is obviously dependent on government approval, but player welfare is also a major concern for Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and his personal opinion is that the Springboks are going to be underdone in terms of game time.

South Africa’s opening Rugby Championship game is against Argentina on November 7 and they have to arrive in Australia by October 18 in order to quarantine for two weeks, but that means the members of the Springbok squad that are based in South Africa will only have a maximum of 240 minutes under their belts – SuperFan Saturday, this weekend’s Green v Gold match and the opening round of Super Rugby Unlocked.

“We desperately want to play because it would be terrible to have a year with no Test rugby. But we’ve had no clear answer from the English clubs about their semi-finals and final, we have to take a massive squad because you need four players in each key position and we all have to arrive at the same time because of two weeks quarantine, during which we can practise together.

“The science tells us that the players need five or six games, 400-500 minutes, before playing Test rugby is safe because of the injury risk and player welfare. It’s a tough one because we know we have to go, but we just don’t know how it’s going to be possible. And we don’t have much time to sort it out, the decisions all have to be done by October 10. It’s a matter of high performance and player welfare, we want to be competitive but 240 minutes is the most our players will have,” Erasmus said on Monday.

It’s fortunate that the players don’t have to be isolated in their hotel rooms, stuck on their cellular phones and gaming devices, for their two-week isolation, but even playing intra-squad matches between themselves is fraught with risk.

“We’ll be lucky if most of them have more than 200 minutes game time when we arrive in Australia, but we can probably still play against each other, a 46-man squad means we have two teams of 23. So if we play twice then that adds another 160 minutes, takes us to 360, which is nearly there. And there may be more intensity than usual because the guys will be playing for spots. “But then there’s also the risk of more injuries. And it’s not just your 15 players that you are worried about, it could be any of 30 guys on the field at any given time. Plus all 46 of the squad have played less than 200 minutes and have been under strict Lockdown, the toughest in the world. So there are a lot of problems with that as well! But ultimately the decision will be made for us,” Erasmus said.

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  • Thought of the Day

    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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