for quality writing

Ken Borland

Oosthuizen shows the pedigree to jack up his game when required 0

Posted on December 11, 2023 by Ken

Louis Oosthuizen finally gets his hands on the trophy at Leopard Creek.
Photo: Ken Borland

When Charl Schwartzel drew level again on the 12th hole, Louis Oosthuizen knew his great friend and rival was not going to go away in the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and he realised he would have to jack up his game if he hoped to win the famous Leopard Creek trophy for the first time.

Showing his big game temperament, Oosthuizen played beautifully through the middle of the back nine, reeling off three straight birdies from the 13th hole. It meant he went into the daunting last three holes with a three-stroke lead, and he needed it in the sodden conditions.

Finding a fairway bunker on the par-four 17th led to a bogey, and then his drive on the par-five 18th found the water down the right, creating an exciting finish as four-time champion Schwartzel was just off the green in two. Oosthuizen laid up his third well, and then nervelessly rolled in a tricky 18-foot putt for par to seal a two-stroke victory, his closing 69 taking him to 18-under-par.

“I knew I had to play well because Charl plays very well around this place and Christiaan Bezuidenhout started well too. Fortunately I made a few putts in the middle that let me get ahead because this is such a good finishing course, you need to hold on and it’s tough to be aggressive,” Oosthuizen said after his first win since his memorable SA Open triumph in 2018.

“I was a bit in-between what to do off the 18th tee and I had to make par the hard way, because Charl hit a good drive and I knew he would go for the green in two. It wasn’t much fun after that tee-shot, but it feels good now!”

After Sunday’s play was limited to just seven holes for the leading group by thundershowers, Schwartzel started shakily on Monday with bogeys on the par-four eighth and 10th holes. But he would trade those in for back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to draw level again. But six successive pars then followed as Schwartzel was just not quite sharp enough to put more pressure on Oosthuizen, closing with a 71 for 16-under-par.

Moving beyond the ins and outs of their respective final rounds, perhaps Oosthuizen was due to win at Leopard Creek, given his pedigree and how badly he wanted the title after twice finishing second.

“Since first playing in this event in 2004, this has been one of the tournaments I’ve always wanted to win, but it took me a while. Like the SA Open, which was my last win, I had to wait a while and now I’m very happy. It’s really special to win here, maybe I should play more in South Africa.

“I was very focused because I really wanted to win and I felt my game was good enough to do it and I’ve been putting well enough. But it was just a fight and I had to make it count with the putter in the end,” Oosthuizen said.

A beautifully curled-in 35ft birdie putt on the 14th hole was the 41-year-old’s highlight on the greens on the final day.

Bezuidenhout shot a four-under 68 to ensure he was always a lurking presence in the final round, eventually finishing third on 14-under-par.


Everitt praises major impact of the bench 0

Posted on January 03, 2023 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt praised the major impact of the bench in their impressive 40-12 win over the Glasgow Warriors at Kings Park, saying it was exactly what he had hoped for when he loaded his replacements with a number of Springboks.

Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Siya Kolisi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Makazole Mapimpi were all substitutes against Glasgow, and it was no coincidence that the Sharks finished emphatically, turning a narrow 13-12 lead after 50 minutes into a crunching, bonus point win.

“I’m very happy, we knew it would be a difficult first half, but we showed a lot of power in the second half. The game opened up and we played well from turnover ball,” Everitt said.

“We managed to get our attack and defence together in the same game. The starting line-up did the hard yards and tired out the opposition, and then we had a big impact off the bench.”

Even Warriors coach Nigel Carolan admitted that they had been blown away in the second half.

“There was always going to be an onslaught, it was very difficult to handle that sort of power in the last 30 minutes. And because we did not have enough on the scoreboard to protect, we had to try and get on the front foot still,” Carolan said.

Debutant Eben Etzebeth was the obvious choice for the man of the match award, for the power of his carries, his domination of the lineouts and the offloading skills he showed in ensuring the continuity of attacks.

“Eben was immense in disrupting their lineout and the quality ball he and Hyron Andrews won at our lineout gave us a good foundation to attack,” Everitt said.

“He has fitted in really well, he had done his lineout homework thoroughly, he was outstanding in both attacking and defensive lineouts.

“There was also much to be admired in his all-round play, he certainly played like the best lock in the world,” Everitt said.

Jake not one to massage players’ egos, but he wants his Bulls to go out & have a go 0

Posted on July 05, 2021 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White is not one to massage the egos of his players, but he said on Thursday that he hoped their “embarrassing” defeat in the Rainbow Cup final does not make them fearful and he wants them to go out and have a go when they return to action with a Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

The Bulls were hammered 35-8 by Benetton Treviso in Italy, leaving them shellshocked. But White is hoping they will not be “gun-shy” against the fired-up Pumas side that never stands back, especially not with the confidence gained from their bonus point win over the Lions.

There are only a handful of players taking on their neighbours on Friday night who did not play in the Benetton ambush.

“There could be that fear factor, the guys could go into their shell because of the damage done last weekend, which would not be good. We’ve got to bounce back, we are still one of the top sides in South Africa, the Currie Cup champions, and there’s massive motivation. But the true test will come when the guys run on the field. I’m hoping what we learnt about intensity in Italy is taken a step up.

“We worked hard to get to 8-8 against Benetton but then we did not fire a shot. It was a different level of intensity and I want us to play and not be scared against the Pumas. We’re not going to lose the competition on Friday night and I want us to have a go after we were a bit gun-shy last weekend. The captain said they were a bit embarrassed and people expect us to rebound and react,” White said.

White said his search for something to “spark” the team was behind the selection of veteran Gio Aplon at starting fullback and the call-up of new signing Harold Vorster, the powerful former Lions star who has the chance to nail down the No.13 jersey.

“Gio is unbelievably important to us, after seven months out with a knee injury he makes a great try-saving tackle against the Sharks and he had three or four phenomenal touches in last week’s final. And that’s not mentioning how much work he puts into the wings, Madosh Tambwe and Stravino Jacobs, it’s like having a senior coach out there.

“Harold was phenomenal for the Lions and hopefully he and Gio can spark something because we were flat last week, a bit reluctant to play. They are experienced and hopefully they will have a go because they don’t feel as much pressure. I would like to see what we learnt in Italy translated into our game against the Pumas, we must make sure we take that pace and intensity forward,” White said.

Bulls team: Gio Aplon, Madosh Tambwe, Harold Vorster, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs, Chris Smith, Ivan van Zyl, Marcell Coetzee (C), Ruan Nortje, Nizaam Carr, Janko Swanepoel, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Schalk Erasmus, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench – Sidney Tobias, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jacques van Rooyen, Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp, Zak Burger, FC du Plessis, David Kriel.

Smit hopes for Sanzar action following abysmal officiating 0

Posted on November 03, 2016 by Ken


Sharks CEO John Smit said at the weekend that while he could not publically share his views on the abysmal officiating in the match against the Waratahs in Sydney, he hoped Sanzar would take action following some of the most one-sided decision-making ever seen in SuperRugby.

“I’m sure Sanzar leadership is strong enough 2 do something before we need 2 enquire ,I hope!”, Smit said on social media after being asked if the Sharks would make an official complaint after referee Paul Hoffman, TMO George Ayoub and the assistant referees blew the visitors off the park in a 33-18 defeat.

While coach Gary Gold described the outcome as “a cruel result”, he was restraint personified after a match in which even New South Wales legend Phil Kearns said the Sharks had been “stiffed”. The post-game press conference was dominated by Australian journalists asking how the visitors felt about the refereeing.

“It seemed that some calls didn’t go our way, but that’s the way it goes, I’m afraid. A desperate Waratahs side played well and asked questions of us, but I felt that we answered them. S’Bura Sithole was a bit unlucky not to get his try,” Gold said.

Although Hoffman blew the Sharks out of the water with all the efficiency of an Uzi machine gun, Gold said he was not bothered by the referee being an Australian.

“I don’t mind where the referee comes from, every coach just wants a competent referee. I like to believe there is too much at stake for them not to be impartial, for them it’s about going to the World Cup, so it shouldn’t matter where they come from,” Gold said.

The director of rugby said he had sympathy for Sanzar referee head Lyndon Bray, who was bearing a heavy burden in trying to improve the standard of officiating.

“I know Lyndon is working unbelievably hard to improve the refereeing and it’s a huge responsibility. I have a lot of faith in him, but it’s a difficult vision and the game needs us to give him all the support we can.”

The controversial defeat merely exacerbated a horror year for the Sharks, their ninth defeat in 13 games leaving them 11th on the log.

Gold said they had to ensure they did not unravel like a cheap hem in their remaining three games.

“We need to show our supporters how much it means to us. We’re in a bad place on the log, but we need to take the punches and man up and we will be better for it. Some second or third-choice players are getting an unbelievable opportunity to play in SuperRugby – guys like Stefan Ungerer, Lionel Cronje, Etienne Oosthuizen, Andre Esterhuizen, S’bura Sithole and Stephan Lewies – and they’ll be better for it,” Gold said.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Even if I’m just a signpost on the road, it would be a source of great joy to know that my service for Christ is effective. It may just be something you say; a kind deed; support in times of need; a sympathetic ear.

    Because you bear his holy name, God expects you to be his witnesses, to proclaim the gospel, and to win souls for God. But Christ inspires you through his Holy Spirit to do this.

    Persevere in your service as Christ did – through obstacles, disappointment and adversity, and never give up hope.

    “Seek the Lord in prayer and open your heart to the Holy Spirit so that Christ can become an essential part of your life. As he leads you along his path, you will experience unparalleled fulfillment that can only be found in serving Jesus Christ.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

↑ Top