for quality writing

Ken Borland

If you are a Bulls fan of old, you would not believe this fullback selection 0

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Ken

If you are used to some of the Bulls sides of old, you would not believe it but current coach Jake White has prioritised a counter-attacking fullback, which is why he has shifted wing Canan Moodie to No.15, in place of the injured Kurt-Lee Arendse, for their United Rugby Championship clash with Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

Arendse, who has shown marvellous ball skills and the ability to regularly ghost past defenders on his way to seven tries in this season’s tournament, fractured his thumb last weekend against Benetton Treviso. White described it on Thursday as a relatively minor injury similar to the one that kept Stormers star Warrick Gelant out for a few weeks.

“Kurt-Lee got injured in the 60th minute and then after the game he felt his hand was a bit sore after the adrenalin wore off. He came to training on Monday and the hand was a bit bruised,” White explained.

“The scans showed a little hairline fracture at the bottom of the thumb and he had a screw put in which should help the bone heal quicker, hopefully it gets him back on the field sooner.

“It’s an injury like Warrick had, with the associated ligament damage, which could take four-to-six weeks, but hopefully sooner because Kurt-Lee is very important to us.

“The way we attack requires a different kind of fullback to say a David Kriel, Kurt-Lee’s type of fullback has worked well for us. And the competition as a whole has shown that a fullback that can attack from the back works – for example Warrick,” White said.

The well-travelled World Cup winning coach likes the idea of backs who can play in several different positions, and the versatile James Verity-Amm comes in on the right wing to replace Moodie, while former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks will continue his midfield partnership with Lionel Mapoe, with specialist inside centre Harold Vorster on the bench upon his return from a positive Covid test.

“Canan has run a few times at fullback in training and James can play both fullback and wing. It’s a good opportunity to see how Canan goes at fullback with mature and older wings around him in James and Madosh Tambwe,” White said.

“In the 2003 World Cup, Australia played Latham, Roff, Rogers, Larkham and Burke, who were all fullbacks. If you’re good enough, you should be able to play anywhere.

“It’s just about balancing the combinations, and the number on your back is not important in multi-phase attack. Jonah Lomu played eighthman at school and was one of the greatest wings ever.

“Tiaan Strauss and Morne du Plessis both played fullback and centre before moving into the pack; Danie Craven played in a handful of positions for South Africa. So it’s nothing new.

“It’s the way the game is going now, the more versatile you are the better. To use a chess analogy, having more Queens would be better that having just Pawns that can only play in certain ways,” White said.

Bulls team:Canan Moodie, James Verity-Amm, Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks, Madosh Tambwe, Morne Steyn, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. IMPACT-Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dylan Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Harold Vorster.

Bothma returns in one of four changes for Sharks 0

Posted on December 10, 2015 by Ken

Ex-Pumas loose forward Renaldo Bothma returns to the Cell C Sharks starting line-up in place of the injured Willem Alberts for their Vodacom SuperRugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday after director of rugby Gary Gold announced a team with four changes on Thursday.

Alberts, who returned to action last weekend against the Stormers after a lengthy rehabilitation following a back operation, is now suffering from a tight hamstring and a po-faced Gold said he hoped the Springbok battering ram would only be out for a couple of weeks.

The Sharks scrum has been the centre of attention following their convincing defeat by the Stormers and Gold has responded to the threat the Cheetahs pose in that set-piece by choosing his first-choice front row, Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira returning to join fellow Springbok Bismarck du Plessis.

Hard-working lock Mouritz Botha also returns to the starting line-up, displacing Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda.

After losing three of their first four games, now’s the time for the Sharks to finally click and start playing like the Springbok-laden team they are, and Gold believes their strategy has been right, but the execution has let them down.

“It’s been a disappointing start, not what we expected, and the team is learning some harsh lessons. But there’s been no lack of effort, I have a lot of confidence in the players, they badly want to put it right and they just have to man-up and fight again.

“You always question where you went wrong, was it the plan or was it the execution? We’ve seen that the plan can work, but when you lose, it gets put under even more of a microscope. It’s fine to question the plan, but you don’t want to panic and just start changing it. We want to play ball-in-hand rugby, we want to attack more, in the right areas of the field,” Gold said on Thursday.

The Sharks and Cheetahs played against each other in the opening weekend of SuperRugby action in Durban, and the Central franchise wrecked the KwaZulu-Natalians’ set-piece, something that Gold acknowledges cannot happen again on Saturday if the Sharks are to win.

“The set-piece wasn’t good enough last time we played the Cheetahs and we can’t take them lightly. They’re a good team with ball-in-hand, and they have dangerous broken-field runners, especially their back three. And they play with a lot of width, especially in Bloemfontein. But we need to concentrate on what we do best and not worry about trends,” Gold said.

Team: 15-SP Marais, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-JP Pietersen, 12-Francois Steyn, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Cobus Reinach, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Renaldo Bothma, 6-Marcell Coetzee, 5-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4-Mouritz Botha, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements – 16-Kyle Cooper, 17-Dale Chadwick/Thomas du Toit, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Marco Wentzel, 20-Tera Mtembu, 21-Conrad Hoffmann, 22-Andre Esterhuizen, 23-Jack Wilson.

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