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Ken Borland

Bregman eager to mount strong defence of title 0

Posted on May 31, 2024 by Ken

The Sunshine Ladies Tour returns to the Western Cape this week with the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club and stalwart Stacy Bregman is eager to continue the steady improvement she has shown this season and mount a strong defence of her title.

Bregman claimed her sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour title in April last year when she won the tournament at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s West Course, beating Lee-Anne Pace in a playoff. She began this year’s campaign by missing the cut in the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt, but then finished tied-38th in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Lost City and then tied-19th in last week’s Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge at Blue Valley Golf Estate, where she was in contention for the title before shooting 75 in the final round.

The 37-year-old Bregman says her game is really starting to come together.

“I do feel like I’m starting to find the keys to my game again, even though I wasn’t playing that well at first. But I’ve felt it coming together and my results have been getting better and better,” Bregman said.

“I’m in a good space, my game is trending in the right direction and I’m feeling good. I’ve been putting really well this year, but I could be a bit better off the tees.

“And you’ve got to be good off the tees at Royal Cape, because it’s quite tight and old-school. It’s about positioning yourself and putting well, but it gets really tricky, especially if there are winds, if you’re not in the right positions,” Bregman said.

Royal Cape is the oldest golf course in South Africa and much restoration work has been done in recent years with the original design of Charles Murray and the indigenous landscape at front of mind. The course is built on sandy fynbos plains, but hectares of the endemic Cape Flats vegetation has been lost to the pressures of urbanisation, so Royal Cape have embarked on a program of bolstering the endangered locally-adapted flora.

Although relatively flat, Royal Cape is a challenging course that has 58 bunkers and six holes that feature water. The parklands layout, with Table Mountain looming over it, is exposed to the famous Cape Doctor, the south-easterly wind which is a near-constant obstacle when it comes to finding the tree-lined fairways. It has hosted the South African Open for men 10 times.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour has seen strong competition this season with three different winners thus far – Kylie Henry, Tvesa Malik and Helen Kreuzer – and all three of them are in the field again this week.

The trio come from Scotland, India and Germany respectively, showing the greater interest from overseas that the tour is generating. But South Africa also has some amazing talents to keep an eye on and Kiera Floyd, Gabrielle Venter, Nicole Garcia, Cara Gorlei, Tandi McCallum, Nadia van der Westhuizen and Bregman herself are all capable of winning the R600 000 Standard Bank Ladies Open.

Overseas refs have made it easier for the Bulls to adapt – Nollis 0

Posted on May 19, 2022 by Ken

Notwithstanding their defeat to the Stormers, playing with overseas referees in South Africa has made it easier for the Bulls to adapt to the way the breakdown is officiated in the United Rugby Championship, but Nollis Marais, their assistant coach responsible for that phase of play, says they still require much improvement in that department.

The Bulls will be looking to bounce back from their narrow 17-19 defeat to the Stormers in Cape Town on April 9 when they host Benetton Treviso at Loftus Versfeld at 2pm on Saturday. They will need to beat the Italians to ensure they stay in the playoff places, and their best chance of doing so would seem to be by tiring out the tourists through the pace and intensity of their game at altitude in the afternoon heat. And a quick game requires quick ball, and hence precise breakdown work.

“For two years we only played local sides and you see the same picture every week at the breakdown,” Marais said on Tuesday. “But you play against European sides and you see a totally different picture.

“We were a bit behind those sides and we needed to adapt very quickly. The breakdown was definitely an area where we were lacking. But it’s like ball-carries, where we are now one of the best.

“We needed to make a huge step-up at the breakdown and we’ve benefited from having overseas referees for the matches here. They give us what we’ll get overseas, which helps us adapt.

“The key is always to adapt quickly, but the Stormers put us under pressure at the breakdown, with Evan Roos and Deon Fourie doing really well. But that was a once-off, not one of our best days,” Marais said.

On an almost daily basis in their build-up to the URC, Bulls head coach Jake White was telling the players and his management team that doing well in Europe would demand a sizeable lift in performance from the team, who had been utterly dominant domestically.

“Jake White said we think we’re good but wait till we play overseas,” Marais revealed. “And then two weeks after the Currie Cup final we played against Leinster in Dublin and we found out.

“It was a bit of a humbling experience, but Jake warned us and said afterwards ‘Remember I told you!’

“Our reaction speed at the rucks was not nearly quick enough and we had to be better. There were also small technical things where they were better than us.

“We had to implement those things with more accuracy. And then there are the referee’s interpretations of what’s legal, what’s not and what you can get away with,” Marais said.

Everitt full of praise for his forwards’ wonderful improvement 0

Posted on May 09, 2022 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt rates the Lions pack highly, but he was full of praise on Thursday for his own forwards and the wonderful improvement they have shown ahead of their United Rugby Championship clash at Kings Park on Saturday.

The Lions have been playing some thrilling rugby of late, winning their last four URC matches, and it is their pack that has been laying the platform.

Critics of the Sharks have been suggesting they need to boost the strength of their pack, but their forwards have been on the charge lately and Everitt has been delighted with their efforts.

“The forwards have put a lot of work in. Not too long ago they were considered our achilles heel, but I’m very proud of their wonderful performances lately,” Everitt said.

“Our lineout has been good and our scrum has been dominant and earning penalties. That means we’ve been able to get good field position inside the opposition 22.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the Lions scrum, and deservedly so, they are still the most effective scrum in the competition, they’ve earned the most penalties.

“That allows their loose forwards, who are very good, into the game. But our all-Springbok front row has done very well too, so it’s going to be an interesting battle,” Everitt said.

The Sharks have made three changes to their pack, arguably making it stronger than the one that overwhelmed the Dragons last weekend, with first-choice flanks Siya Kolisi and Henco Venter, and lock Reniel Hugo returning to the starting XV, in place of James Venter, Jeandre Labuschagne and Le Roux Roets.

All four of those Lions wins have come at home, at altitude, and now they have to travel to the subtropical lowlands of KwaZulu-Natal. While the drop in altitude will do little to their aerobic capacity, they may still find their vigorous style of rugby a bit harder to pull off in Durban.

“In terms of altitude, the change will not have as much of an affect as when we go up there,” Everitt admitted. “But the conditions might not be as conducive to throwing the ball around.

“There’s a very good chance that there will be some rain, which is not ideal, it makes conditions tough in the humidity and heat.

“But the Lions do have a good kicking game and we must make sure we don’t give them any opportunities.

“We’ve practised in the rain though and done fairly well, we’ve played some good rugby,” Everitt said.

Sharks teamAnthony Volmink, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Henco Venter, Siya Kolisi (v/c), Reniel Hugo, Gerbrandt Grobler, Thomas du Toit (c), Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Khutha Mchunu, Le Roux Roets, Jeandre Labuschagne, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Boeta Chamberlain.

Foster gives Boks their due; Nienaber delighted 0

Posted on October 29, 2021 by Ken

All Blacks coach Ian Foster gave the Springboks their due after the world champions had edged out the new No.1 side in the rankings 31-29 in their thrilling Rugby Championship Test on the Gold Coast on Saturday, while South African coach Jacques Nienaber was delighted with the belief his side showed and the improvement in their play.

Like the previous match between the two powerhouses, it took a penalty at the death to decide an epic encounter, but Foster was fulsome in his praise of their conquerors.

“It was a massive arm-wrestle, South Africa were superb, they came with huge attitude, carried hard and moved us around. They had a very strong third quarter and got us a bit flustered, but I was very proud with how we got back,” Foster said.

“Then we just lost a bit of discipline in the last two minutes. We just weren’t as accurate as we needed to be at one ruck and we were beaten in that moment.

“We were up against a foe whose playing style we know can suffocate you, we showed we can deal with it, but we need to deal with it for longer periods.

“We got a bit muddled in the third quarter and in the last quarter we struggled to play with ball-in-hand in their half, but we hung tough. It was a tough old game and the Springboks probably played their best game today.”

Nienaber also pointed to the result being decided by a couple of decisive moments.

“The margins between one and three in the world are so small, last weekend against New Zealand and in the first Test against Australia we lost in the last plays of the game, but this weekend fortunately we got the opportunity to win.

“We’re not at our 2019 level yet, the balance in our game was a bit better today, but we’re not there yet,” Nienaber said.

“The players never doubted, they never lost focus although there was a lot of white noise and justified criticism after the second Test against Australia.

“They never veered off what we are trying to do. But the margins are so small, one misread and you can get punished, and this week we got the last call of the game. We try to take the emotion out of it and look at ourselves objectively.”

That being said, the Springboks did manage to sheal themselves out of their shells a bit on attack, their ball-in-hand skills being highlighted by a moment of handling magic by Lukhanyo Am that led to their first try and will be celebrated everywhere in South Africa from a hut on an Eastern Cape hillside to a luxury North Coast beach house.

Replacement flyhalf Elton Jantjies produced a top-class display of how to finish a game, a lovely pass helping wing Makazole Mapimpi score, followed by a fine drop goal to go with a couple of penalties.

“We had opportunities like this against Australia and last week, closing the game and getting the result, we’ve been in that position.

“The coach encourages us to take opportunities if we see them and we just tried to stay aligned in the last five minutes when a lot happened. We showed our belief and executed our plan,” Jantjies said.

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    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

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