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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.

Janse van Rensburg & Richardson tasked with laying down the law for Sharks 0

Posted on November 04, 2022 by Ken

Springbok centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Scottish international Dylan Richardson will be the two main ball-carriers tasked with laying down the law for the Sharks in their opening United Rugby Championship match against Zebre in Parma on Friday night.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt named his first URC team of the season on Wednesday, following their first-round bye, and rushed Janse van Rensburg, one of his major signings in the off-season, straight into the No.12 jersey. Capped for the Springboks in 2016, Janse van Rensburg made his name with the Lions as a fan-favourite who was explosive on the crash-ball but also slick in terms of his all-round game-management. The 28-year-old moved to Durban after four successful years with the Sale Sharks in Manchester.

Richardson, who often plays hooker, made his debut for Scotland last year and will play blindside flank in a mobile, pacey loose trio against Zebre. The 23-year-old is more accustomed to being openside flank whenever he has played loose forward.

“Rohan has been a revelation and he brings lot of experience, being an international,” Everitt said. “With Ben Tapuai, we have two very experienced centres to guide Boeta Chamberlain at flyhalf.

“Rohan has settled in very well, he brings leadership and has been a strong voice in team meetings. His knowledge and assistance in developing the youngsters will be vitally important.

“Dylan normally plays at No.6, but he is also known for his very strong ball-carrying. We’ve played him and James Venter together in the Currie Cup with a lot of success.

“Together with Phepsi Buthelezi, they will get through a lot of work and they have been the form loose forwards in training,” Everitt said.

The northern city of Parma is one of the prime gastronomical districts of Italy, and a long injury list has given Everitt plenty of food for thought. Especially in the pivotal flyhalf position.

“We have a long list of injuries so this is a young team,” Everitt said. “It is getting shorter though and we expect a full complement of players soon, and then it will be great to have more selection headaches.

“Except for the flyhalves, who we only expect back at the end of October. Lionel Cronje has a fractured arm and Curwin Bosch underwent surgery on a fractured thumb. You would never bet on two flyhalves getting injured, but that’s the nature of rugby.

“We’re fortunate to have Boeta step in, he really took his opportunity this time last year and performed admirably overseas. He is full of confidence at the moment,” Everitt said.

Sharks team: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Thaakir Abrahams, Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams, Phepsi Buthelezi, Dylan Richardson, James Venter, Reniel Hugo, Gerbrandt Grobler, Thomas du Toit (c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Replacements – Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Justin Basson, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Cameron Wright, Fred Zeilinga, Marnus Potgieter.

Scrum could be effective versus Glasgow, but Jake also wants to use lineout 0

Posted on May 27, 2022 by Ken

The Stormers showed last weekend just how effective a powerful scrum is against the Glasgow Warriors, but Bulls coach Jake White also wants to use the lineout to attack the Scottish playoff contenders in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

The Glasgow scrum struggled to take the heat put on them by Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff in Cape Town, but White said on Thursday that the Bulls don’t have the luxury of Springbok props, so they will be looking to the lineout to also put the Warriors under pressure.

The visitors’ lineout is, however, led by the lighthouse-like figure of veteran lock Richie Gray, who has played 67 Tests for Scotland.

“We don’t have the luxury of a great scrum with incumbent Test props, but we need to find a way to use it as an attacking platform, be clever with it and not just use it to bail us out and get a penalty,” White said.

“It’s a significant difference between how rugby is played locally and overseas, where the scrum is used as an attacking platform, compared to being used here as a way to get a penalty and territory.

“But the lineout can also be used as a different form of attack, like the Canterbury Crusaders or Leicester Tigers do – you can maul, go off the top, come round the front or the back, or use overthrows.

“It’s an area of the game that has changed a lot because the referees are strict on the backs not coming in too soon. So you can have changes of tempo there, you can play quickly if you want,” White said.

While the selection of a counter-attacker like Canan Moodie to replace the injured Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback shows that the Bulls will still want to give the ball plenty of air, especially if Glasgow – who like to kick for territory – are inaccurate with the boot, White said he had chosen Morne Steyn as his starting flyhalf for a specific reason he did not want to divulge.

Perhaps Steyn’s ability to mail monster kicks deep into opposition territory and then putting the Warriors lineout under pressure is the reason.

And then when the visitors are ailing from altitude in the second half, impact players like Chris Smith, Cyle Brink and Harold Vorster can come off the bench and play some exciting rugby.

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.

Uys returns to starting team & his pace will be important for Bulls 0

Posted on November 11, 2021 by Ken

Young loose forward Muller Uys returns to the Bulls starting line-up at eighthman for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match against Edinburgh, and coach Jake White said his extra pace will be important as South Africa’s champions run out on to another artificial pitch in the Scottish capital.

Elrigh Louw is having a breather and will play off the bench against Edinburgh, but such has been his outstanding form that Uys has not started for the Bulls since August 18, against the Pumas in the penultimate round of Currie Cup fixtures before the semi-finals.

“Elrigh has played lots of rugby, he’s gone 80 minutes three times over here,” White explained on Friday. “Muller has trained well and been a part of our group for a long time. He’s a good athlete and quick, which is what you need on a 4G pitch. You can get stuck a bit in defence if you’re not athletic.

“Hopefully Muller brings energy and a spark to the team. He probably hasn’t played as much as we would have liked, but that’s because of the standard of play our loose forwards have produced, not just Elrigh, but also Marco van Staden, Marcell Coetzee and Arno Botha.

“Edinburgh have changed the way they play a bit, their shackles are off and they try to express themselves, and our ability to adapt again to the pace of the game will be important,” White said.

Edinburgh made a flying start to last weekend’s game against the Stormers, scoring twice in the first six minutes, but thereafter they were strangled by some incredibly physical defence by the visitors.

While White said he wants the Bulls to not just defend but also attack, there is no doubt he will be looking to his big men to dominate the contact points.

“I think our defence will be asked some questions and it was very encouraging last weekend, our tackle success being far below standard in the first two games.

“So we’ve got to be consistent and try and grow from last week. But I don’t want us just to defend the whole time, we want to attack as well. Hopefully we can produce a more balanced 80 minutes and not have all-or-nothing at the beginning or end.

“We started well against Connacht, we were seven points up, but then we lost badly. Last weekend we were behind by 13 points early on, so we had to attack and we came back.

“This week’s challenge is a good side with a lot of South Africans involved, which is unique in itself. They will understand the way we play, so it will be a difficult game,” White said.

Bulls team: David Kriel, Madosh Tambwe, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Chris Smith, Embrose Papier; Muller Uys, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Mornay Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench -Schalk Erasmus, Simphiwe Matanzima, Robert Hunt, Walt Steenkamp, Elrigh Louw, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe.

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