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Ken Borland

Jake resigned to the inevitable after Bulls loss at famous fortress written in the stars 0

Posted on February 17, 2022 by Ken

It may have just been written in the stars or it may have been because the Bulls were forced to use the away changeroom at Loftus Versfeld, but Jake White was almost resigned to the inevitability after he suffered his first defeat as the home coach at the famous fortress at the weekend as they were beaten 30-26 by the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship derby.

The Bulls started poorly, trailing 0-18 after half-an-hour, but then stormed into a 26-18 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Only to let the game slip as the Stormers scored two brilliant late tries.

“They are refurbishing our changeroom so we had to use the away changeroom, and the team in that room doesn’t usually win here,” White quipped after the defeat. “But it’s my first loss at Loftus Versfeld and it’s not great.

“I was hoping the crowd would be a catalyst, they were making such a noise that we could hear them on the field. It’s disappointing we did not do them justice.

“But to sum the game up – we found a way to lose. We didn’t show enough composure, which previously we’ve been really good at. After the fightback and then taking the lead, we conceded silly penalties which was disappointing.

“Usually we find ways to win, we squeeze and squeeze and generally then put the opposition away. But today there were just lapses of concentration. We were never going to win every game at Loftus Versfeld,” White said with more seriousness.

With the Bulls, considered the dominant force in South African rugby after winning successive Currie Cups and the Rainbow Cup, languishing second-from-bottom on the URC log, perhaps that is why their players performed with an air of frantic desperation at times. The Stormers were presented with plenty of turnover opportunities and were in clinical mood, taking their chances with aplomb.

“Despite losing our tighthead prop [Mornay Smith] to his first carry of the game and Deon Fourie being very good on the ground, we still created opportunities to get around them and scored four tries.

“But then we also knocked-on a metre from their line or gave away penalties there. We gave them a couple of 22-entries and they scored twice. We were a bit hasty at times when we had them on the ropes.

“But after being 18-0 down, to score 26 points from there shows we’ve got to have something as a team. I’m very proud of the comeback and we must just find a way to learn from the defeat.

“So we will dust ourselves off and go back to work on Monday. The only way to get things right is to work hard. Credit to the Stormers for sticking to it for 80 minutes and scoring a couple of long-range tries,” White said.

Air of inevitability as Schwartzel wins Tshwane Open 0

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Ken


There was an air of inevitability early in the final round that Charl Schwartzel would win the Tshwane Open, but the world number 43 impressed everybody with the sheer quality of his play to shoot a brilliant 63 and win the co-sanctioned title by a massive eight strokes at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

An eagle on the par-five ninth hole after a superb second shot from the semi-rough meant Schwartzel was four ahead of Zander Lombard at the turn and huge birdie putts of 40 and 35 feet respectively on the two par-threes coming in, the 14th and 16th, sealed the deal for the former Masters champion.

Young Lombard had started the day just one stroke behind Schwartzel, but wilted as the pressure of playing in the lead two-ball with one of South Africa’s best golfers began to weigh heavily on him, the wheels eventually coming off with double-bogeys on 16 and 17 as the Joburg Open runner-up crashed to a 74 and a share of seventh place.

“On the first three days I hit the ball well above standard but my putting was below standard. So it was very satisfying that the putting came right in the final round, today was a big step forward. I’ve played a lot here and it’s good to play on familiar ground, it makes your chances better. This has certainly boosted my confidence and I’m excited to get back to America,” Schwartzel said.

Schwartzel collected seven birdies and an eagle, offset by two bogeys, to finish on 16-under-par for the lowest score and biggest winning margin in the event’s four-year history. The 31-year-old once again relied on his superior ability with the long-irons to separate himself from the rest of the field to dramatic effect.

“I’ve always had the capability to hit my long-irons longer and more accurately than most golfers, which is a big advantage. It means I can hit a six-iron where others are taking a four-iron, which gives me more loft and allows me to eliminate a lot of unnecessary mistakes. From a young age I’ve been able to hit my long-irons very well,” Schwartzel said.

As Lombard tumbled down the leaderboard after his tee-shot on 16 strayed on to the edge of the moat next to the green, it allowed Denmark’s Jeff Winther to be the sole runner-up as he calmly soared up the leaderboard with a 64 to finish on eight-under-par.

Schwartzel’s other challengers were all washed away in the eddies of his brilliance, with Anthony Michael finishing third after a level-par 70 left him on six-under-par and Haydn Porteous slipped to a 73 and a share of 10th place on three-under-par with Brandon Stone (66) and Jaco van Zyl (67).

Justin Walters, Richard Sterne and Dean Burmester all climbed the leaderboard to finish in a tie for fourth on five-under-par, while Australian Brett Rumford and Scotland’s Jamie McLeary finished with Lombard in seventh on four-under-par.


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