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Ken Borland



Powell stays at Kings Park base but optimistic Sharks stand-ins will return from Galway with the points 0

Posted on November 08, 2023 by Ken

Sharks head coach Neil Powell has stayed behind at the team’s Kings Park base but is optimistic that his stand-in, Currie Cup mentor Joey Mongalo, will be able to return from Galway with the points although they are taking on tricky Connacht with a second-string side.

While Powell and most of the first-choice stars in the Sharks squad are focusing on the crucial Champions Cup match against Bordeaux-Begles next week, just three Springboks are in the squad to play Connacht, with three potential URC debutants on the bench.

Ntuthuko Mchunu will anchor the scrum (with Carlu Sadie), Rohan Janse van Rensburg will bring plenty of punch to the midfield, and scrumhalf Grant Williams is a potentially lethal substitute.

Former Free State Cheetahs lock Ockie Barnard, Currie Cup utility forward Corne Rahl and former Westville Boys High centre Ethan Hooker could be thrown into the deep end, with The Sports Ground being a daunting venue to play, especially in midwinter. Young Nevaldo Fleurs is the starting flyhalf, with Lionel Cronje on the bench.

“We see this as an all-round opportunity to develop and Joey has the chance to show what he is capable of. He’s been at that level before as the Bulls’ defence coach,” director of rugby Powell said on Friday.

“Joey is a great person and coach, he’s full of energy and I know he will definitely motivate and fire up the guys. We have tasked them with coming back with the points.

“It’s important for us to manage our squad well, this selection is part of our rotation policy. If I look at our travel schedule over the next few weeks then I cannot imagine one team playing all those games.

“We want as much as energy as possible when we get to games 10 and 11 of this block, this is number seven, so we’re in the middle of it. We also want to create squad depth,” Powell said.

Before the Sharks eventually disband on February 4 for a one-week break, they host Bordeaux in the Champions Cup in Durban next weekend, and then travel to Harlequins. They return to URC action against Edinburgh on January 28, before returning home for a vital home derby against the Stormers on February 3.

Connacht are up first though and they are a difficult team to break down, especially at home.

“It’s a tough place to play, a lot of teams go there with strong teams, hoping for a win, but they don’t get it,” Powell said. “You have to battle it out for the full 80 minutes against Connacht.

“In a lot of games they have come back to win in the last 20 minutes, so we have to make sure we don’t tap out before the final whistle.

“They are very physical and really direct and they don’t go away. They manage the game well, especially with their kicking, and they are familiar with their own conditions and play towards that.”

Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Yaw Penxe, Murray Koster, Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, Marnus Pogieter, Nevaldo Fleurs, Cameron Wright, Celimpilo Gumede, Henco Venter, James Venter, Reniel Hugo (c), Thembelani Bholi, Carlu Sadie, Fez Mbatha, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench – Kerron van Vuuren, Dian Bleuler, Khutha Mchunu, Ockie Barnard, Corne Rahl, Grant Williams, Lionel Cronje, Ethan Hooker.

Kolisi ditching his 5yr Sharks contract is all kosher – Eduard 0

Posted on October 13, 2023 by Ken

Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.

Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said he was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.

“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement, which also said the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”

Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.

“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level of performance,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.

“His winning ambition and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.

Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.

Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.

Sharks have become hot property in dramatic turnaround 0

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Ken

One of the great characteristics of rugby is how quickly a team’s fortunes can turn around and the Sharks have gone, in the space of a month, from being a beleaguered team on the defensive to hot property that looks capable of challenging for silverware.

At the beginning of December, the Sharks had just axed coach Sean Everitt and were retreating into a laager as director of rugby Neil Powell tried to fend off questions about the decision and even refused to talk about Siya Kolisi apparently being injured.

But they have started January with a thumping over the Bulls, their nemeses for the last couple of years, and they have charged up into the top five of the United Rugby Championship log, with games in hand on everyone above them, as well as winning their opening two Champions Cup matches.

The strong run has coincided with Kolisi finding the sort of rampaging form that he regularly brings to the Springboks, and Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Makazole Mapimpi have also lived up to their billing as world-class internationals.

The amount of power the Sharks have when at full-strength is enough to make electricians beam with joy and Bulls coach Jake White pinpointed this as the key factor when his side was overwhelmed at Kings Park at the weekend.

But the Sharks’ biggest challenge might well be coming up. Because of the hectic schedule involving two European competitions, Powell is going to have to unplug and recharge some of those Springboks due to their workloads. Can the Sharks still maintain a push for at least one title after shedding their star players?

They have two crucial matches coming up against the Stormers in February and March, and those thrilling encounters will go a long way to deciding who wins the South African Shield in the URC.

It has also been wonderful to see the reception the Sharks’ resurgence has received from their supporters, with especially large crowds at Kings Park over the last two weekends, with around 50 000 spectators in total over the two matches against the Lions and Bulls over the festive season.

Powell not happy with untidy 1st quarter, but Sharks immaculate thereafter 0

Posted on September 21, 2023 by Ken

Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell was not happy with an untidy first quarter from his team, but thereafter they were immaculate as they cleaned up the Bulls 47-20 in their United Rugby Championship derby at Kings Park at the weekend.

The Sharks were trailing 6-13 after 20 minutes, but then they focused themselves, they lifted the intensity of their game and they were ruthless in punishing the Bulls’ ill-discipline. By halftime they were leading 30-13.

“We hurt ourselves in the first 20 minutes, we weren’t clinical enough in our exits and we conceded silly penalties, we did some things that were out of character,” Powell said.

“But we definitely stepped things up in the last 10 minutes of the first half, we were more clinical and played in the right areas. A lot of credit must go to our forwards for the way they scrummed and mauled them.

“We could have managed the game better in the first quarter, but in the last 10 minutes of the first half we played really well. We don’t want to be predictable and we took quick-taps and played.

“It is a big win for us, if you look at the log, we needed those five points. This will go a long way for us and it’s especially important winning your home games,” Powell said.

While such a good win would certainly not have warranted the players copping a spray from their coach, Powell pointed out that the continued challenge for the Sharks is consistency – both within the game and from match-to-match.

“As the season goes on, hopefully we will perform like we did at the end of the first half for the whole 80 minutes. We’re trying to get consistent performance right through the 80 minutes,” he said.

One thing in common with all the local URC coaches is how they are painting a picture of how tough January is going to be, and Powell stressed the importance of player-management.

“It’s going to be very important to manage the squad so they are fresh for the knockouts at the end of the season. We will have to give players opportunity and squad rotation will be crucial.

“One player cannot play the whole 11 games in this block of fixtures,” Powell said.

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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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