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Ken Borland

Jake critical of budgetary imbalances & lucrative sale of SA players overseas 0

Posted on May 04, 2023 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White was critical on Tuesday of the sale of South African rugby players for lucrative amounts to overseas clubs, pointing out that it is budgetary imbalances that have forced him to send a largely second-string outfit to do battle against the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in their second Champions Cup match.

White had been expected to bring back his big guns for the trip to south-west England, especially after his back-up players did such a superb job in beating Lyon at Loftus Versfeld last weekend. But the fact that the Bulls have to travel to Cape Town next week for a crucial United Rugby Championship clash with the Stormers, and it is a short week because they will only arrive back on Monday for a Friday night game, has led the coach to stick with the bulk of the side from last week.

“We’re playing against teams who have a budget of R180 million compared to our R70 million. The list goes on-and-on of Saffers doing really well overseas and if we could find ways of bringing them into our regional squads then we would be fighting a gunfight with a gun,” White said on Tuesday.

“So I will choose the same sort of team as last week, because we have to travel back on economy class and then go to Cape Town to play the Stormers next Friday night. We will only arrive back midday Monday.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from an Exeter side we respect, but we have to make sure we’re at our best against the Stormers. I would like to do well in both competitions, but I am a realist.

“There’s no way we can beat Exeter away and then the Stormers away in less than a full week. We can only use the resources we have, if we were playing the Stormers in a different week then I would definitely take other guys,” White said.

Sending a second-string outfit to Exeter is perhaps a shrewd move because it means there is no pressure on the Bulls, and the home side will know any slip-up will echo through the league and leave them possibly needing to beat White’s men at Loftus Versfeld in mid-January, which will be a tough ask.

The Stormers are also under pressure to win at home this weekend, due to their loss in France, meaning their leading Springboks might have to front up twice in seven days.

“Exeter will be a big test for us, they’re a great team full of internationals, but they will also know that they have to get it right, there’s no way they’ll be thinking it will be an easy outing,” White said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us, in front of a massive crowd, to experience again what it’s like in a pressure situation, that’s where we’ll grow as a group.

“I expect the team to just give it a fair crack, give it as good a go as we can. You often talk about it ‘not getting tougher than this’, but this time it genuinely can’t get tougher.

“But I expect us to roll up our sleeves and embrace the fact that it is tough, give it as good a shot as we can. Every time this group has been challenged, they have accepted it, and often achieved it,” White said.

Bulls Squad:Dylan Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Sebastian Lombard, Reinhardt Ludwig, Janko Swanepoel, Nizaam Carr, Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp, Bernard van der Linde, Morne Steyn, Stravino Jacobs, Carlton Bannies, Stedman Gans, Sibongile Novuka, Lizo Gqoboka, Joe van Zyl, Jacques van Rooyen, Merwe Olivier, Cameron Hanekom, Phumzile Maqondwana, Tielman Nieuwoudt, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smit, Niel le Roux, Kabelo Mokoena, Juan Mostert, Wandisile Simelane, Tian Lange.

Munster missing couple of stars, but still have plenty momentum – McNamara 0

Posted on October 13, 2021 by Ken

Munster might be missing a couple of their star players for their United Rugby Championship opener on Saturday, but Sharks attack coach Noel McNamara says Johann van Graan’s outfit will still have plenty of momentum behind them at Thomond Park.

Springboks RG Snyman and Damian de Allende will obviously not be playing, but there has been speculation that British and Irish Lions tourists Tadhg Beirne and Conor Murray are also not available. But Munster have been one of the powerhouses of Irish rugby and they have looked sharp in their pre-season matches.

“Munster are a very settled and successful side with South African coaches in Johan van Graan and JP Ferreira. They have been really consistent in the Pro14 and they are a momentum team, when they get momentum they are very difficult to stop. They will present a lot of challenges to us, but there’s a lot of excitement in our squad and we are looking forward to the challenge.

“That’s what the best players are motivated by – playing against the best. Munster have a big squad with a number of internationals in various positions and some very good youngsters coming through. Maybe Tadhg and Conor and a couple of Springboks won’t be there, but we won’t have any false sense of security. A young Munster team ran out very easy winners over Exeter in a warm-up game last weekend,” McNamara, who knows Munster well from his time as Leinster Academy Manager, said on Tuesday.

McNamara said playing in Europe offers the Sharks a great opportunity to show how adaptable they are, especially when it comes to the crucial breakdown battle.

“We will certainly have to adapt to referees in the United Rugby Championship, because it is a competition featuring different countries and different referees from those countries. So you can’t say this or that will be the way the competition will be blown. On any given day, you start from zero and you have to adapt and show good pictures to the referee.

“Munster are very strong over the ball, they have a high rate of turnovers, and against a jackal-based team like that you have to be on-point. In the Rainbow Cup they made an average of seven turnovers per game, so we’ve got to be accurate. And they have a variety of kickers available to them, a number of kicking threats, so it’s not just about shutting them down in one area,” McNamara warned.

Rejigged Bulls know how tough it is to tame rough & ready Griquas 0

Posted on August 25, 2021 by Ken

Anyone who watches Griquas play rugby knows that they are a side that may be a little rough around the edges but they go all-in with everything they do, and their high-flying third position on the Currie Cup log is the reward for their determination. Bulls coach Jake White certainly knows how difficult they are to tame even though he will be fielding a rejigged outfit against them at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday afternoon.

Centre Lionel Mapoe, wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, flank Arno Botha and prop Gerhard Steenekamp all return to the starting line-up, while tighthead Jacques van Rooyen and the highly-rated utility forward Jacques du Plessis, who has returned to Pretoria from Montpellier, are on the bench.

“We’ve picked a strong team with a couple of guys coming back from injury, because Griquas are not easy to play against. Griquas are really enjoying their season, they’ve done phenomenally well and have had big wins away from home. Every contest on the field they go in with 100% commitment. They have good players who are playing well. My first game coaching the Bulls was against Griquas here at Loftus Versfeld and we were 10-0 down very quickly,” White said on Tuesday.

Both the Bulls and Griquas are coming off defeats last weekend, but the defending Currie Cup champions were probably more annoyed by the way they were ripped apart amidships by the Sharks in the third quarter, when they went from being 20-13 up to trailing 32-20.

“If you’re not on top of your game then you can be on the receiving end, that’s the fantastic thing about sport. If you’re not winning you’re learning, so that will be a learning curve for us. We need to understand pressure cycles better, we managed to build pressure but we didn’t seem to understand that we had the opposition by the throat. But you only learn to understand those things on the field,” White said.

Bulls team – David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Johan Goosen, Zak Burger, Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Schalk Erasmus, Gerhard Steenekamp. Bench:Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jacques van Rooyen, Janko Swanepoel, Jacques du Plessis, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans.

Sharks delighted to get 2nd chance against top-class Lions who inflicted pain on them before 0

Posted on August 03, 2021 by Ken

Even though the British and Irish Lions are a ruthless, top-class outfit that inflicted plenty of pain on them in midweek, Sharks coach Sean Everitt said on Friday that his team is delighted to get a second chance against them when they meet in a hastily-arranged rematch at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

With the Bulls having to postpone their scheduled match against the tourists on Saturday due to Covid cases in their squad, and the Sharks having been in a bio-bubble in Johannesburg since last Friday, the KwaZulu-Natalians have agreed to step up again and ensure the Lions don’t miss out on valuable game-time before their Test series against the Springboks.

Having been hammered 54-7 at Ellis Park, the Sharks are hopeful of putting on a better show, with Everitt naming a vastly-changed side thanks to them having 36 players up on the Highveld due to Covid precautions.

“There’s massive excitement in the team, we’ve only been playing against South African teams so it’s great to have fresh opposition, even though they are a world-class outfit. It’s an opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes and rectify those. When we did the review, we saw the opportunities we created, but also the errors and soft moments that ruined those.

“It was surprising to see how we put the Lions through their paces, normally it’s all doom and gloom when you take a 54-7 hiding, but there were actually lots of positives. I think we have a shot at redemption but we have to tidy up and cut down on the errors when we were in good positions. They were mostly unforced errors and a hard pill to swallow when they happen on the Lions’ tryline,” Everitt said.

Captain Phepsi Buthelezi retains his place at eighthman and he and scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse were two of the few players to show some fire in the first match against the Lions; together with the experienced Lionel Cronje, who has replaced the misfiring Curwin Bosch at flyhalf, they will provide the backbone of the Sharks’ effort.

The Sharks will certainly need strength of character to bounce back from their Ellis Park mauling, but they also need to lift their intensity.

“The Lions tour has taught us a lot, it has showed us where we are in terms of conditioning and we need to get our ball-in-play time higher to at least 35 minutes, that’s what it takes to withstand the intensity of a team like the Lions. It make sense to give everyone an opportunity to have a taste of that, it will be a great learning experience of international rugby.

“You can see the intensity of the Lions, but until you’ve experienced it on the field and tried to match it, you don’t really understand it. But it will make us better players to see how an international team punishes your mistakes. But we did manage to keep the ball through numerous phases, we had two passages of close to three minutes, we must just not turn over the ball,” Everitt said.

Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Marnus Potgieter, Werner Kok, Murray Koster, Thaakir Abrahams, Lionel Cronje, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi (c), Mpilo Gumede, Dylan Richardson, Reniel Hugo, Le Roux Roets, Wiehahn Herbst, Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. BenchDan Jooste, Mzamo Majola, Khutha Mchunu, Thembelani Bholi, Juandre Labuschagne, Cameron Wright, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward.

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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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