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Ken Borland

Sharks start tour which Everitt says will have passed muster if they get 10 points 0

Posted on November 07, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks, who had a bye on the opening weekend, get Round 2 of the United Rugby Championship underway as they take on Zebre in Parma on Friday night at 6.30pm, starting an overseas tour that coach Sean Everitt says will have passed muster if they can gather 10 points from the three matches.

After taking on Zebre, who gave powerful Leinster an almighty battle last weekend, the Sharks play Welsh side Dragons at Rodney Parade, before ending their tour in Dublin against Leinster. Not many teams beat the Irish giants at home, so Everitt is clearly targeting wins in their first two games and a couple of bonus points along the way.

“Zebre have a new coaching staff and are very attack-minded now. They did very well against Leinster and we are very wary of them,” Everitt said. “We obviously have certain things from last season we need to work on.

“We have sorted out our problems and we are a bit more aware now of what to expect, but we will be playing against teams with their full international complement.

“We know the breakdown will be unforgiving and that has been a focus of ours, and also being able to execute from set-piece.

“The goal is to come home with 10 points. The log was really jammed at the top last season, just one to three points separating the teams at the top, so bonus points are crucial,” Everitt said.

Captain Thomas du Toit was impressed with how the Zebre forwards stood up to the strong Leinster pack.

“They matched Leinster’s scrum very well, they have a lot of plays off their lineout and they are a good mauling side. We’re excited for the challenge, Zebre are obviously a new-look team and that makes them a bit unpredictable. But we are very well prepared,” tighthead prop Du Toit said.

The other matches involving South African sides this weekend see Edinburgh, who made short work of the Dragons last weekend, travel to Loftus Versfeld to take on the Bulls, who narrowly failed to win the URC crown last season, on Saturday at 2.30pm.

The defending champion Stormers open their campaign against Connacht, who beat them by a short head in Galway in February, in Stellenbosch on Saturday afternoon (2.30pm), while the Lions, who competed hard but ultimately fell short against the Bulls last weekend, have travelled to Swansea to take on the Ospreys at 7.35pm in the evening.

Simelane is on a mission to gather as much proficiency in all facets of the game as he can 0

Posted on October 18, 2022 by Ken

Wandisile Simelane has a burning desire to improve his game in all facets and his time with the extended Springbok squad last year and his move to the Bulls for the 2022/23 season have been used as a means to gather as much proficiency as he can.

Simelane has long been considered as one of the country’s brightest young talents and his selection for the initial 46-man squad for the British and Irish Lions series raised hopes of him making his Springbok debut.

In the end the established and world-class pairing of Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende did South Africa proud, but Simelane soaked up the atmosphere and the learnings to be gained at elite level.

“I learnt a lot, and I realised I need to get better in every aspect of my game, including things like work-rate, training and just being in that environment,” Simelane told The Citizen.

“It really helped me both as an individual and as a rugby player. Just being around Lukhanyo Am, who is one of the best No.13s in the world, you put yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t learn from him.

“He is an inspiration and a role-model to me, and there were others too like Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn and Damian de Allende, who are great centres. You take bits and pieces from everyone and add it to your own game.

“I’ve always believed every rugby player in South Africa should aspire to play for the Springboks, and hopefully I’ll be back there sooner rather than later. It’s definitely my number one goal,” Simelane said.

While the 24-year-old did not want to go into the reasons why he left the Gauteng Lions this year, there was a sense among neutral observers that his game did not grow at Ellis Park, the Lions did not make the best use of him, over the last year, and playing in an exciting Bulls backline featuring Springboks in Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Sbu Nkosi, Johan Goosen and now Canan Moodie, could see Simelane fulfil his potential in the coming season.

Apart from all that star quality and wise old heads, Simelane, as a Jeppe High old boy, was also delighted to come under the wing of school legend Jake White, and also get the chance to play alongside Nkosi, Jeppe’s most recent Springbok.

“Jake winning the World Cup in 2007 was a massive achievement and knowing he’s a Jeppe old boy, he’s a great hero at the school and in South African rugby generally,” Simelane said.

“When the opportunity came to be coached by him at the Bulls, I didn’t think twice. I can gain so much knowledge from him.

“Unfortunately, when Sbu played first XV at Jeppe, I was still U16 and I missed playing with him by one year,” Simelane said.

As fate would have it, the Bulls’ opening United Rugby Championship fixture this season is against the Lions at Ellis Park on September 17, but the Johannesburg-born player will not be focusing on the unhappy memories of his previous home.

“I’m definitely excited to start the season and I’m looking at it as my first game for the Bulls and not the first match I will play against the Lions.”

The Lions tended to shift Simelane away from the midfield and play him on the wing, but he said this was not the cause of his unhappiness.

“I don’t mind at all, I don’t care if I play wing, centre or fullback, as long as I am in the team. It doesn’t bother me much. Number 13 is my main position, my number one choice, where I want to be a specialist.”

The defensive nous required to be a world-class outside centre will no doubt come with more experience, but what Simelane already possesses are the feet of a magician.

“I guess it’s just natural instinct, it’s something that gets better and better the more I play, since my school days. But the key is to keep working on it,” Simelane, who first started playing rugby in Grade V at Dalmondeor Primary in Johannesburg South, said.

He is a nightmare to defend against if he’s in space because of his ability to not only beat the man with a late sidestep, but also his passing skills. Many of his team-mates have profited from delayed ball that has put them right through the gap.

“To make the most of space, I like to use the pass also. It depends on how you analyse different players, what you want to achieve as a team and also your feel for the game.

“The more I put myself in those situations in training, the more I will make the right decisions. It’s something I’ve had to work hard on too,” Simelane said.

Simelane will be 25 when the next World Cup is played and then the Springboks will surely enter a new cycle in terms of personnel. Hopefully the selectors don’t leave it too late to introduce him to the international stage that seems to be his destiny.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.

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