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Ken Borland

Etzebeth up from the Cape & Sharks expect superhero stuff from him 0

Posted on December 30, 2022 by Ken

Eben Etzebeth is up from the Cape and excited to be making his Sharks debut against Glasgow Warriors at Kings Park on Saturday, with coach Sean Everitt expecting some superhero stuff from the Springbok legend as the home side look to lay down the law up front from the start against their Scottish opposition.

Etzebeth is joining his fellow former Stormers legends Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi, both of whom will come off the bench and give Glasgow no respite from the physical onslaught.

“Eben is the best lock in the world and we are starting with him because we want to improve our lineout and our ball-carrying ability,” Everitt said on Friday. “A good start is going to be crucial for us.

“He is very excited to be part of the Sharks, he’s settled in well and made Durban his home. He’s in a good place and looks at home. Eben will bring a wealth of experience and leadership, and the younger guys can really learn from him.

“Glasgow have an extremely good lineout, they have some tall timber, and we learnt that the hard way last season. They like to speed the game up and they blew the Bulls away with that pace last weekend.

“They’ll be aggressive at the breakdown too and they like to love the ball around, but a 4G pitch is a lot quicker than grass and I’m sure playing at Kings Park will be a challenge for them,” Everitt said.

With the Sharks now back in town after they began their United Rugby Championship campaign on tour, Etzebeth is one of six current Springboks that will unleashed in Durban on Saturday.

Jaden Hendrikse is back to drive things from scrumhalf, and prop Ox Nche and wing Makazole Mapimpi are also on the bench, so the Sharks will be targeting high-intensity play for 80 minutes, if not high-speed.

“It makes for a very strong match-day 23,” Everitt said. “We are blessed with our front row resources and we have Ox, Bongi and Carlu Sadie to call on off the bench, which will certainly help our cause.

“It’s also better to get Vincent Tshituka back into the mix at flank sooner rather than later after injury. He was the top flank in the URC last season and having him and Eben will certainly improve our lineout options.”

SharksAphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Marnus Potgieter, Ben Tapuai, Anthony Volmink, Boeta Chamberlain, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Vincent Tshituka, Dylan Richardson, Hyron Andrews, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit (c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Carlu Sadie, Reniel Hugo, Siya Kolisi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Cameron Wright, Makazole Mapimpi.

Stransky: Flamboyant flyhalf who kicks with either foot v unassuming No.10, with weather to decide? 0

Posted on July 25, 2022 by Ken

A flamboyant flyhalf who can kick well with either foot versus an unassuming No.10 who makes few mistakes: This will be the matchup on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship final between the Stormers and Bulls, and Springbok legend Joel Stransky believes the weather in Cape Town could decide who comes away with the spoils.

Manie Libbok is the adventurous Stormers flyhalf who overcame a poor semi-final to throw the pass for the equalising try and then slotted the touchline conversion.

Chris Smith was his typically consistent self in the Bulls’ shock win over Leinster, bringing a maturity and calmness under pressure to the flyhalf position.

“Both flyhalves control the game well,” Stransky said on Tuesday, “but in very contrasting ways. What they both do very well is manage space.

“Chris is rock-solid, brings nothing special, no scintillating breaks, but he defends well, he’s a bit bigger, and he frees up the talent outside him. The Bulls have actually scored seven more tries than the Stormers.

“Chris kicks very well and he doesn’t make mistakes, which will be quite important if it is wet, because errors can cost you in a final. He could be the difference if there is parity up front.

“Manie kicks well with either foot, he runs well and defends his channel. That last pass over the top was because he is confident due to the faith put in him and the liberty he’s been given to play what’s in front of him,” Stransky, a celebrated flyhalf who scored all South Africa’s points in the 1995 World Cup final, said.

While Stransky, who brought an appealing mix of skilful kicking and exciting attacking play to the Springbok team, would love to see a dry evening in Cape Town on Saturday, the weather forecast does not look good and he believes rain will favour the Stormers.

“I hope rain does not put a dampener on the final. Rain would suit the Stormers with their big, strong front row and bench. The Bulls will have to move the ball around a bit because of the Stormers’ strong pack and midfield.

“But as much as we backs would like to think differently, the game will be won and lost up front. The scrum plays such a massive part and if it’s wet then you would expect more mistakes and more scrums.

“You would expect Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe to have a bit more dominance, so you have to look at the Stormers if it’s a tighter game.

“But if it’s looser, then the likes of Marcell Coetzee, Elrigh Louw and Arno Botha are more dynamic ball-carriers. The Stormers do have the outstanding Evan Roos, but Hacjivah Dayimani is not so much a hard carrier and Deon Fourie is a proper openside,” Stransky said.

Sharks advised to concentrate more on coaching than who’s at flyhalf 0

Posted on April 11, 2022 by Ken

Springbok legend Joel Stransky has advised the Sharks to concentrate more on their coaching structure than who they actually play at flyhalf as they head into a crucial phase of the United Rugby Championship.

The Sharks host the Scarlets at Kings Park on Friday night and are leading the South African Shield, sitting inside the playoff places in eighth spot. But the Stormers and Bulls are within striking distance and the Sharks need to get bonus point wins against both the Welshmen and then Zebre Parma the following weekend to capitalise on home games against teams in the bottom half of the log.

But to do that, the Sharks will need to score tries and they seem unsure of who to play in the pivotal flyhalf role – Curwin Bosch, Boeta Chamberlian or Tito Bonilla?

“Whenever a team does not click on attack then people blame the flyhalf, but more often than not one should look at the coaching structure,” Stransky told The Citizen.

“Is the team getting good ball, go-forward possession, quick ball? Are they creating the space to attack and what are their running lines, are there dummy runners?

“The flyhalf plays a big part in all of that because he is first-receiver more often than not. If you have a forward as first-receiver than your whole game-plan changes.

“But if your flyhalf is first receiver then he must understand space and have the ability to carry the ball into that space with speed. He needs to understand if he needs to play flat or be in the pocket,” Stransky said.

The 1995 World Cup hero was part of the Natal Sharks’ Currie Cup winning teams of the early 1990s, and while his most famous moment came with the boot, Stransky was also an authoritative figure on attack, with silky skills. The Sharks then moved on to an iron-bodied, gain-line dominating flyhalf in Henry Honiball.

None of their current trio of No.10s are in that mould, but Stransky said he would back Chamberlain as his first-choice. The 23-year-old wrought a tough 24-10 win over the Pumas last weekend in the Currie Cup, kicking eight penalties as the Sharks failed to score a try.

“It’s a tough one but I would probably go for Boeta because he brings a bit more flow and rhythm to their game,” Stransky said. “He plays a bit flatter and understands when he needs to take the ball flat.

“Curwin is a great kicker and has other attributes, but he does hang back a bit in the pocket. The Sharks have got issues scoring tries, but when Boeta played URC five or six weeks ago, he wasn’t too bad.”

From bankruptcy to a thriving concern, this is the scope of Ernie’s off-course commitments 0

Posted on July 24, 2019 by Ken


The revitalisation of a bankrupt clothing factory in Durban would not seem to have any obvious links to South African golfing legend Ernie Els, but such is the scope of the four-time Major champion’s commitments these days that he can take part of the credit for the Royal Green Clothing Company now being a thriving concern.

While the South African clothing industry has been ravaged by cheap overseas imports, Royal Green now makes 2000 garments a day for the Ernie Els Collection, which is run by Global Golf and for which Els himself launched a new distribution deal this week with Barron, who describe themselves as “the largest and most trusted corporate and promotional brand in Africa”.

The involvement of Els in his range of golf attire extends to him having a say in the designs, with The Big Easy saying he wanted the shirts to be “as comfortable when you’re swinging a golf club as when you’re drinking a beer”.

The 49-year-old is also involved in the wine industry and course design business, and is also the current President’s Cup captain, preparing for their biennial contest with the United States in Melbourne in a year’s time. He also devotes plenty of his time to the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation to assist young golfers and his Els for Autism charity he started in the wake of his son, Ben, being diagnosed with the condition. And the father of two is also still playing regular top-level golf and finished inside the top-15 in the prestigious South African Open last December at Randpark Golf Club.

So how does Els juggle all these commitments?

“It’s fun and I still love the game we play, it has never felt like a job to me, whether I’m six-putting a green or being a champion seventy times around the world. I’ve forged some nice partnerships and friendships through golf and these other commitments are just an extension of my golf. I’ve forged friendships around the world but I always wanted to do something with South Africans.

“This clothing factory, Royal Green, is the perfect way to do that and I first met Langley Perrins of Global Golf when we spent my 21st birthday together in a foreign city when we were both young golfers trying to make it. I met my wife, Liezl, at a wine farm and for nearly 20 years we’ve been making wine out of Stellenbosch. Autism touched my family and Liezl has been the driving force of that work, she’s made it very prominent,” Els said.

The fact that The Big Easy is able to combine such a laidback demeanour with an undiluted passion for the game is probably what makes him so popular with the public, even after all these years. Even though there are players in the top-50 of the world rankings like Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Wallace and Branden Grace in the field, Els has still boasted some of the biggest galleries following him around Randpark.

Apart from holding events for the Ernie Els Collection and Els for Autism, the former world number one, now 591st in the rankings, also hosted the prizegiving for the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation which funds the education and golf instruction of youths from underprivileged backgrounds.

“The foundation started 20 years ago and we’re trying to support the education of these boys and girls and their endeavours in golf. It has evolved quite a bit since then and I feel very proud when I see professionals who have come through the foundation. I was privileged enough, because of the great backing from my Dad, Neels, and my mother, Hettie, to be able to elevate my game to higher levels, but I knew some of my mates at the time couldn’t do that.

“So the foundation looks to make that process easier, to give these youngsters a better chance of becoming what they want to be. It all starts with junior golf, there is no other way, no shortcut to the top. You need hard work, a love for the sport and you need to get a few breaks. And you have to show character to come back from disaster,” Els said at the prizegiving.

The five-time SA Open champion, while delighted to still be mixing it with the youngsters out on the course, is also using this week’s tournament as a reconnaissance mission. As part of his duties as President’s Cup captain, he has to keep an eye on all the contenders for the International team, players like Charl Schwartzel, Justin Harding, Grace and Brandon Stone.

“It’s important for me to play with the youngsters as President’s Cup captain, I need to be relevant. I’m really looking forward to next December in Melbourne and I want to get it right. I think I know what the players need because I’m playing quite a bit just to see them in action. I won a couple of times in Melbourne as well, so I can give them some local knowledge.

“So I need to stay close to the players, to stay relevant to captain them properly. It’s fun and I’m excited about it. Even if I’m not competing day by day, I’m quietly going about playing good golf still. Shooting 60s at my age is really nice and I would obviously love to win again, but my consistency is not what it should be,” Els said.

But there is no doubt that the World Golf Hall of Fame member since 2010 remains consistently relevant to the game all around the world.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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