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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.

URC 1st phase positives & negatives for Bulls & Sharks 0

Posted on November 26, 2021 by Ken


Positives – Although they lost three of their four games in the UK, there was no doubting the effort the Bulls put in or their desire to learn. From not learning much back home as they dominated all-comers, the Bulls now have a better idea of what works in Europe. The victory over Cardiff and the unfortunate loss to Edinburgh showed they are on the right track. Their only major injury worry is flyhalf Johan Goosen, and Chris Smith or Morne Steyn will adequately fill the breach.

Failures – Their opponents shone a bright light on the Bulls’ breakdown work and they were found wanting at both defensive and attacking rucks. They were caught out by the pace and accuracy which the European teams bringing to the ruck; the Bulls were too often slow to react and also prone to going off their feet or not allowing the half-back clear access by getting caught on the wrong side. They will hope for a slight easing of the tempo under the hot Pretoria sun. Their scrum was also creaking in the last game against Edinburgh.

Stand-out players – Wings Madosh Tambwe and Kurt-Lee Arendse proved a handful for their opponents whenever they were given some space to work their magic. Tambwe has been based in Johannesburg and Durban before Pretoria, but the consistent excellence of his performances on tour suggest the 24-year-old could be settling down with the Bulls.

Arendse is accustomed to playing in cities all over the world through his time with the Springbok Sevens, and he handled European conditions with aplomb, producing slick attacking play whenever he got the chance.

What’s next? – Luck’s been against them so far, but the Bulls face a crunch must-win home game against mighty Munster on November 27 and will also be targeting a bonus point win the following weekend against Scarlets. The match against Munster will be particularly appetising because they are now steered by Johann van Graan, who left the Bulls in 2012 as a highly promising young coach.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, the European teams come to South Africa now and historically we have done really well at home. We look forward to playing in the sun at Loftus Versfeld again and we can now put the overseas sides under pressure now that they have to travel,” coach Jake White said.


Positives – The Celtic teams are known for their emphasis on forward play and the Sharks pack were hard-working and generally stood up well to the challenge in the tight. Ruan Pienaar is really growing into his role as the team’s new general, Boeta Chamberlain is steadily improving at flyhalf, and, when the Sharks execute their game-plan properly, they remain very difficult to play against.

Failures – The Sharks had their problems at the breakdown – join the club say the Bulls, Stormers and Lions – and it is a vital part of the game-plan the Sharks want to use. Putting aside the vagaries of law interpretations, the Sharks need a more cohesive, focused effort at the rucks. They also need more cohesion in defence, a couple of early blunders that led to soft tries costing them dearly against Cardiff.

Stand-out players – The doors have opened for young Dylan Richardson to represent Scotland, the country of his father’s birth, and little wonder because the flank cum hooker has been a potent force for the Sharks. Defensively stout, he has been their leading tackler, he is tough to keep out at the breakdown and he smashes through players with ball-in-hand.

What’s next? – The Sharks will see their next two games, against 13th-placed Scarlets and bottom side Zebre Parma, as a direct route into the top half of the URC table. Playing at Kings Park, nothing less than two bonus point wins will do. Coach Sean Everitt was almost licking his lips when he said last weekend “we are really looking forward to November 27 and playing in front of our home fans.”

Nkosi a top-class wing; but he is up against a pair of rising stars in Jacobs & Arendse 0

Posted on February 01, 2021 by Ken

Sharks star Sbu Nkosi is a top-class wing, a current Springbok and World Cup winner. He will be coming up against two young rising stars in Bulls wings Kurt-Lee Arendse and Stravino Jacobs.

“They are both very good players or Jake White would not have selected them. We all have a lot to learn but I guess I’m a bit further down the road in my journey so there are probably a couple things more that I have picked up. But they are both very exciting players and they will bring energy. I will bring my best game as if I’m playing against the best in the world,” is what Nkosi said about Arendse and Jacobs.

So what will Nkosi be up against in the Currie Cup final on Saturday? Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers runs the rule over Jacobs and Arendse.

Stravino Jacobs

“I’m extremely proud of how he has really stepped up to another level, especially since he comes from my alma mater Paarl Gim. So I’ve watched him for a while, he was already a beast at school and Jake White is always good at giving those sort of talents opportunity. He’s a big, physical guy but he doesn’t lack pace either,” De Villiers told The Citizen on Wednesday.

Kurt-Lee Arendse

“He also comes from Paarl even though he did not take the traditional route to the top. But he has all the skills and I have been so impressed by his all-round performance. He’s smaller than Stravino but he doesn’t shy away from defence and he has a good eye for every opportunity. It’s very exciting to see the way he’s playing and the influence of Sevens on XVs, so credit to Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and his work and guys like Cornal Hendricks and Stedman Gans who are also in the Bulls team.

“As a combination, both of the Bulls wings have speed and they’re a bit like a Julian Savea and Cheslin Kolbe combo – those are the two extremes when it comes to wings, but it’s complete package,” De Villiers said.

Nkosi, who is not lacking in power, will be marking Jacobs so that could be a titanic clash out near the tramlines on Saturday.

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