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Ken Borland



Jake delighted by Carr’s man-of-the-match return to the Bulls 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

Coach Jake White was not only delighted by Nizaam Carr’s man-of-the-match return to the Bulls team because of the way it led them to a convincing 43-26 victory in their United Rugby Championship match against Ospreys, but also for the relief it brought after a very difficult time for the Springbok flanker and his wife and family.

Carr left the Bulls last year to rejoin Wasps, but the English club went into administration last month and the 31-year-old former Stormers star suffered the trauma of suddenly being without a job. But then the Bulls allowed him to be one of the dozen Wasps players who have found new clubs when they offered him a contract through to June 2024.

Carr has previously expressed his gratitude to White and Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone for coming to his rescue, and he rewarded their faith with an outstanding display against Ospreys, linking superbly with the backline on attack.

“I’m very happy for Nizaam after what happened at Wasps. He has told us he is very thankful to be here and said he would repay us on the field, and what better way to do that by being man of the match in his first game back?” White said.

“The way Nizaam was running in the backline with Harold Vorster and Lionel Mapoe, linking on the outside, was great. That’s why I sign these older players, guys who’ve got experience, who have played SuperRugby before.”

Apart from some soft moments in defence that did mar the win and the way the Bulls went off the boil in the second half, after leading 31-14 at the break, White was very pleased with the display. He said some of the second-half struggles were down to him bringing on the bench early, but then he did not want to sell the replacements short in terms of game-time.

“We played really well in the first half and we should’ve scored quickly again in the second half. But instead we allowed them to get more confidence,” White said.

“We were a bit soft on defence, but then attack has been our focus, we love having the ball. But we need the same intensity, energy and excitement in defence. We need to catch them at halfway rather than five metres from our line.

“But I made some substitutions and we lost some rhythm, but I wanted to give the guys on the bench decent game-time. If you’re not going to bring guys on when you’re 31-14 up, then when are you?

“We were far ahead and it would not have been fair to not give the subs a decent run. But we lost a bit of cohesion and we didn’t gel as much as we did in the first half,” White said.

Ngidi left out of previous game at SCG, but man-of-the-match in Perth, so who misses out v Pakistan? 0

Posted on January 27, 2023 by Ken

Lungi Ngidi was left out of the Proteas XI for their previous game at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but he is coming off a man-of-the-match performance against India in Perth, so South Africa’s selection team face something of a quandary for their crunch T20 World Cup meeting with Pakistan on Thursday.

The pitch for the comprehensive win over Bangladesh in Sydney was certainly slower than the one in Perth, where Ngidi absolutely revelled with figures of 4/29. But pace was still effective against Bangladesh, with Anrich Nortje taking 4/10. But spinner Tabraiz Shamsi also shone with 3/20, so conditions on the day could be the decider.

Ngidi admitted after his demolition job on India that he was by no means certain he would even be playing the match.

“I was a bit surprised, I’ve not played much in this World Cup, so to come in on the day and perform against India … I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Ngidi said.

“I’m very happy and it is probably one of my best performances. You could see there was pace in the pitch. The plan was to not give any width and try to keep it as tight as possible. Dig it into the wicket.”

South Africa will also be very happy with the way all-rounder Wayne Parnell is performing, and he also enjoyed himself against India with 3/15 in his four overs.

“It was about hitting good areas. Sometimes you can get carried away with bowling short. Personally, it was just trying to hit the top of the stumps and keep things simple.

“We have a group of bowlers who are all capable of winning games. Each of us believes that and we know someone can step up on any given day,” Parnell said.

South Africa also know that if they beat Pakistan, then their semifinal place is almost certainly secure because they will have seven points and only one of India or Bangladesh, who play each other on Wednesday, can get to eight points if they win both their remaining matches. Zimbabwe would have to beat both the Netherlands and India, and substantially improve their nett run-rate, to finish on seven points and edge out the Proteas.

Boucher praises Bavuma as an exemplar of good leadership 0

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Ken

Proteas coach Mark Boucher praised Temba Bavuma as an exemplar of good leadership at the weekend, following the captain’s man-of-the-match performance in South Africa’s 49-run win in the final T20 against Ireland in Belfast that secured a 3-0 series sweep.

Bavuma set up the winning total of 189/2 with his polished 72 off 51 balls, and Boucher expressed his delight at his skipper being back in the runs. Bavuma’s first half-century for the Proteas in 10 innings ticks another box for South Africa as they prepare for the T20 World Cup in October/November.

“I was very happy for Temba to get some runs at the end of the tour because he’s been putting in the hard work, he’s a tough character and he takes it personally if he doesn’t score runs. Those runs have come at the perfect time now and he will definitely take that confidence forward to Sri Lanka. It was really just a matter of time before he made runs.

“It’s always nice when your captain can lead with confidence because he has runs under his belt and I have to say Temba has been leading very well on and off the field. It’s very nice now that he has also ticked the scoring runs box,” Boucher said.

While Bavuma said he was aware of his shortage of runs, his focus had very much been on driving the Proteas chariot and ensuring the team came first.

“I have been a bit lean on runs, but I just put aside my personal ambitions and tried to execute for the team. From a batting point of view, our approach was a bit different in this match and we really wanted to lay a foundation up front. We haven’t been good in the powerplay in the previous games, we’ve been too aggressive and lost too many wickets,” Bavuma said.

Jack-in-the-box Grobbelaar leads Bulls to victory; red card too high an obstacle for gutsy WP 0

Posted on July 30, 2021 by Ken

Jack-in-the-box hooker Johan Grobbelaar won his second successive man of the match award as he spearheaded the Bulls’ 34-13 win over Western Province in their Currie Cup match at Newlands on Friday night.

Grobbelaar scored a fine individual try in the first half as the Bulls took the lead for the first time after 14 minutes and just generally popped up everywhere – excellent lineout throwing, winning turnovers, linking with his backs and defending stoutly.

The in-form 23-year-old’s try was accompanied by touchdowns by left wing Richard Kriel, scrumhalf Zak Burger and right wing Cornal Hendricks, as the Bulls were able to celebrate a bonus point win that takes them to the top of the log, where they will stay if the Sharks don’t beat Griquas in Durban on Saturday.

While the Bulls were slick in executing their skills, Western Province certainly pitched up for the game, but a red card to hooker Scarra Ntubeni in the 36th minute was too high an obstacle for them to get over. At that stage the hosts were only 13-17 down and had been highly competitive as they pushed the Bulls with aggressive defence, strong breakdown work and some excellent play with ball in hand.

Ntubeni was a little high on his tackle on Burger, but there was certainly no intent to target the head, the scrumhalf dipping down as he was tackled from behind and Ntubeni making contact with his neck. There were many who felt a yellow card would have been appropriate.

Western Province’s thoroughly workmanlike display in the first half and some entertaining rugby from the Bulls had made for intriguing rugby; sadly, the second half was to become a rather dull affair as the visitors dominated but could only add two more tries to their tally.

Western Province had put their cards on the table right from the start as, in the first minute, flyhalf Tim Swiel put Johan du Toit into a hole and the flank burst through on an impressive run, before passing inside for scrumhalf Paul de Wet to score.

The Bulls quickly rustled up a response though, courtesy of one of several clever variations they had at the lineout. A high tackle gave them a penalty which they kicked into the WP 22. Grobbelaar threw long, over the back of the lineout to flyhalf Johan Goosen, who made plenty of ground over the advantage line. He was then quickly back up on his feet to get the ball from the next ruck, throwing a long pass out wide to wing Kriel, who had acres of space to go over for the try.

Ironically, Grobbelaar scored his own try 10 minutes later when Western Province had a lineout throw go astray over the back, and the Paarl Gim product brilliantly gathered the ball and knifed through the defence to score.

Playing against 14 men in the second half, the Bulls made a bit of a meal of ramming home their advantage, but credit must go to Western Province for the staunch resistance they put up.

The bonus point try came with just five minutes remaining as replacement scrumhalf Keagan Johannes tried a cross kick that went horribly wrong. But outside centre Lionel Mapoe quickly tidied up and turned it into a great attacking opportunity, freeing up Hendricks on the wing, with the Springbok throwing the dummy and then showing plenty of pace to finish the try.

Scorers

Western Province: Try – Paul de Wet. Conversion – Tim Swiel. Penalties – Swiel (2).

Bulls: Tries – Richard Kriel, Johan Grobbelaar, Zak Burger, Cornal Hendricks. Conversions – Johan Goosen (3), Chris Smith. Penalties – Goosen (2).

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