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Ken Borland



Bordeaux-Begles may be languishing, but they are no mugs – Powell 0

Posted on May 23, 2023 by Ken

Bordeaux-Begles may have lost to Gloucester last weekend and may be languishing mid-table in the French Top 14 league, but they are no mugs and Sharks coach Neil Powell knows his team have to improve on their impressive display against Harlequins if they are to win their second Champions Cup match at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Friday night.

Although Powell rated the 39-31 victory last weekend against Quins as the Sharks’ “best performance so far this season”, taking on a French team, who can pack more than half of their side with internationals, at home, is going to require something even better in order to get the victory.

“It was our best performance so far this season, we were fully in control at 32-14, but then the cards made it challenging,” Powell said on Thursday. “We showed amazing character to hold on with 13 men for 10 minutes and for seven minutes with 14 players.

“But we do want to improve. Maybe we could be a bit more physical and dominant in the tackle area, that’s definitely going to be important against Bordeaux.

“We kicked pretty well last weekend, but we have to make sure we stick to our plan in terms of the kicking game, we will have to adapt the plan against Harlequins a bit because Bordeaux kick more long balls than contestables.

“It’s about looking at who the opposition are and the weather forecast, and working out how we want to play. We need to adapt week-to-week, but it’s not about changing the whole game-plan, just doing one or two things a bit differently,” Powell said.

Much of the Sharks’ strategy will once again be about disrupting the opposition set-pieces, and although loosehead Ox Nche is out due to the three-week suspension he received for his red card against Quins, tighthead Thomas du Toit is back after his ban picked up on Springbok duty.

“It’s going to be important that we have a strong scrum against Bordeaux, that could be one area for us to target,” Powell smiled.

“It’s a pity Ox is not available because he adds a lot, but we all believe in Ntuthuko Mchunu and it’s a great opportunity for him.”

If the Sharks do get dominance up front, then the last quarter could see some attacking flair being sparked by none other than World Player of the Year nominee Lukhanyo Am, who will return to play off the bench after knee surgery in early September.

“It’s important to get Luke back on the field and give him a fair bit of time off the bench. He’s a quality player with x-factor who can create opportunities out of nothing.

“He might be a bit rusty, but I am keen to see what sort of form he is in and hopefully he enjoys his 20 minutes or so off the bench,” Powell said.

Sharks Boeta Chamberlain, Werner Kok, Francois Venter, Ben Tapuai, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Vincent Tshituka, Siya Kolisi (c), Gerbrandt Grobler, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Hanro Jacobs, Hyron Andrews, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Lionel Cronje, Lukhanyo Am.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.



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