for quality writing

Ken Borland



A fresh comeback for a mint talent who has lost his shine 0

Posted on February 25, 2022 by Ken

Curwin Bosch was considered a mint talent when he arrived at Kings Park in 2016, but is almost a forgotten Springbok these days. The 24-year-old’s latest comeback will happen on Wednesday night as he has been named as the Sharks’ starting flyhalf for their Currie Cup match against Western Province in Durban.

The Eastern Cape prodigy has played two Tests for South Africa, but the last of those was in June 2018. Bosch has not appeared in the United Rugby Championship since the Sharks’ match in Cardiff on October 16.

The rumour mill has been rife with speculation that the Sharks want to offload the bright and still young talent, despite their five-year investment in him, but CEO Eduard Coetzee has denied this.

“Curwin has had a bit of an unfortunate run, he had a hip flexor injury, but he’s back this week,” Coetzee said at the Sharks’ media weekend. “With the British and Irish Lions defeat and the Currie Cup final, he lost a bit of confidence.

“But we are looking to get him back in the team, even though he thinks his future may lie outside of the Sharks. We’ve given him time to get his head right and if he wants to stay with us then that would be cool.

“Curwin is an unbelievable rugby player who has won games for us. But sport is cruel. He’s a great kid though and it’s important that we look after him,” Coetzee said.

The presence of one Elton Jantjies at Kings Park over the weekend – ostensibly to visit his nephew who is at the Sharks Academy – could indicate there is further pressure, however, on Bosch’s future in Durban.

Adding the skills and trickery of Jantjies, all of it done flat to the gainline, to the powerful Sharks backline would be a mouthwatering prospect.

And Coetzee has admitted that they need to bolster their squad in order to challenge for URC honours and beyond.

“We gave away the most penalties at scrum time of any team – 3.8 per game – hence our signing of Globis [Georgian scrum coach Akvsenti Giorgadze] and Bongi Mbonambi.

“We had to ask ourselves, if Thomas du Toit goes down, we have another tighthead? So we are looking to bolster our tight five. I don’t think we’ll be signing any wings …

“It’s a balancing act because there are also transfer fees to consider and we have to wait for the right guy to come up. But by July 1, I’m confident we will have a squad that can win the URC.

“We are a global competitor and we are ambitious. We want to enter the Heineken Champions Cup and win it. We need older heads for that because age is the big difference between our teams and the overseas ones,” Coetzee said.

One of the country’s most-liked coaches gets the chop 0

Posted on May 04, 2020 by Ken

Pote Human is one of the most well-liked coaches in the country but it was not enough to save him from the changes sweeping through Loftus Versfeld in the wake of former Springbok coach Jake White’s appointment at the helm of Bulls rugby.

White had already made it clear that even though his designation is director of rugby, he sees himself having a very hands-on, on-field coaching role. That means there is no room for Human when it comes to guiding the SuperRugby side and the Blue Bulls Company announced on Friday that there would be an amicable parting of the ways.

Human joins a raft of changes at Loftus Versfeld, with chief executive Alfonso Meyer also standing down at the end of the month and 17 players reportedly set to get the chop, including captain Burger Odendaal and Springboks Cornal Hendricks and Juandre Kruger.

“The Blue Bulls Company would like to confirm that it has come to a mutual agreement with Super Rugby head coach Pote Human regarding the early termination of his current contract, which was due to end in October 2020. The BBCo were open and transparent in informing Human that the contract would not be extended. Given the current situation, with no rugby expected to be played in the near future, both parties mutually agreed on exiting with immediate effect, thus also allowing Human extra time with his future planning,” the union said in their statement on Friday.

And just to prove what a nice guy he is, Human expressed his gratitude to the Bulls and went on to call for all involved with the Bulls to support White.

“My time at Loftus has been amazing to say the least. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, with many highs and lows. But through it all I have made friendships and memories that I will treasure forever. I have dedicated my life to this beautiful game and trust me there is no better place to do that than at Loftus Versfeld.

“I would sincerely like to thank the BBCo for giving me the opportunity to live my dreams and for affording me the privilege to work with some truly amazing people. I’d like to wish them every success going forward and it is important for Jake to get the backing and support from all stakeholders. He certainly has my support and I wish him all of the best,” Human said.

History will record that Human did not win any trophies with the Bulls, making the SuperRugby playoffs last year and the Currie Cup semi-finals in 2018, but his coaching prowess should obviously be measured by the resources at his disposal, especially a glaring lack of playing quality due to the extremely poor recruitment that took place at Loftus Versfeld before his stint as head coach.

Meyer praised the influence Human has had on the lives of both players and staff.

“Pote is known as more than a coach at Loftus and has influenced the lives and careers of players and staff alike. He is a nurturer and a mentor, and has made a lasting impact on many great players. Pote is an absolute gentleman of the game and has been an asset to the Bulls Family. However, it is time for us to part ways, and we wish him everything of the best with his journey ahead,” Meyer said.

Meyer in the mood for a big victory 0

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Ken

 

Although the Springboks trounced Italy convincingly, Scotland has traditionally not been an easy opponent to destroy. Heyneke Meyer’s reluctance to add to the 852 players in the index of South Africa’s capped internationals for Saturday’s Test against a depleted Scottish side has many people baffled, but the Springbok coach perhaps let slip his motivation with a throwaway line during the team announcement.

“Our past results against Scotland are nothing to be proud of,” he said in midweek.

He obviously meant results in the recent past because Meyer would have grown up hearing stories of how the Springboks set the world record score against Scotland in Edinburgh in 1951 when they walloped them 44-0. Tries were only worth three points back then, so South Africa’s tally of nine, plus seven conversions from Okey Geffin and a drop goal from Hannes Brewis would have been equivalent to a 62-0 drubbing in today’s terms.

But since 2002, the Springboks have struggled to really put the Scots away. They lost 21-6 that year in Edinburgh and again 21-17 in 2010, but even their victories, with a couple of exceptions, have not been by much – 29-25 (Durban, 2003); 28-19 (Johannesburg, 2003); 45-10 (Edinburgh 2004); 36-16 (Durban, 2006); 29-15 (Port Elizabeth, 2006); 27-3 (Edinburgh, 2007); 14-10 (Edinburgh, 2008) and 21-10 (Edinburgh 2012).

So Meyer is clearly hoping for something more along the lines of 62-0 as he calls into service the bulk of the team that put Italy away in impressive fashion last weekend.

With South Africa set to play Scotland in a potential pool decider in their own conditions in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Meyer will also be keen on scoring some psychological points through a big victory.

With another week of training together hopefully providing even more continuity, and those first Test nerves a thing of the past for a handful of players, Meyer is confident that the Springboks will build on their King’s Park performance when they play the first Test to be hosted by the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

And the home side certainly has numerous weapons with which to really hurt the Scots.

Bryan Habana won the Man of the Match award for his dazzling display of pacy counter-attacking and new Scotland flyhalf Ruaridh Jackson and debutant fullback Peter Murchie are warned that aimless kicking will be punished.

Saturday also provides another opportunity for Willie le Roux and JJ Engelbrecht to shine, while if left wing Bjorn Basson continues to look for work, he could well add to his maiden Test try last weekend.

Scotland suffered a terrible injury toll after their loss to the physical Samoans. Coach Scott Johnson said he was “hard-pressed to remember so many injuries from the one Test match” – and unfortunately for them they can expect more of the same from the Springboks.

The loose trio of Pierre Spies, Arno Botha and Marcell Coetzee are renowned for their physicality, as is lock Eben Etzebeth, while Meyer can turn to the likes of Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe and, of course, Bismarck du Plessis, for even more punching power off the bench.

The ferocious Du Plessis is likely to only be on the field for a short period, but Scotland could well learn the meaning of vasbyt in that time.

“I’ve never been out this long before, I’ve missed six Sharks games in eight years before the knee operation, so frustration doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling. Even if you miss one game, you can never get it back again and even if I just get one minute on Saturday, I’m going to try and fit 80 minutes of rugby into it,” Du Plessis vowed this week.

Siya Kolisi, who at 1.86m is shorter than the loose forwards Meyer usually favours, is another who should get a stint off the bench and the debutant will want to make his presence count at the breakdowns.

Meyer has identified the breakdowns as one of the key areas he is looking to improve in the second year of his term and, with Francois Louw the first-choice open-side flank, Kolisi will want to make the most of his chance while the Bath man is away getting married this weekend.

The scrums are another area where the Springboks can improve, but in the unlikely event of Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira struggling, Meyer does have the insurance of in-form Cheetahs props Oosthuizen and Trevor Nyakane on the bench.

Scotland will have an experienced tighthead in British Lions tourist Euan Murray to test the Springbok scrum, but the visitors will be hard-pressed to match the lineout skills of the hosts.

The fact that an already depleted Scotland team have now been battered and bruised to such an extent that coach Johnson had to make seven more changes, does not inspire much confidence that they can upset a Springbok team that has their coach calling for blood.

“We still have to put in the hard work against Scotland. It’s like SuperRugby, any team can beat you on their day. We played some great rugby last weekend, but we’re still far from our best. We still need to improve and for us it’s about putting in 100%, 100% of the time,” Meyer said.

For the Springboks to slacken now would totally expose their coach’s about-turn on using this quadrangular series to try a bunch of players.

With a Nelspruit crowd eager to see the Springboks in action for the first time in their city, we can surely expect the Springboks to improve further on their start to the season in Durban by putting Scotland to the sword.

Teams

South Africa – Willie le Roux; Bryan Habana, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers, Bjorn Basson; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Pierre Spies, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee; Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Piet van Zyl, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.

Scotland – Peter Murchie; Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont; Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Johnnie Beattie, Ryan Wilson, Alasdair Strokosch; Jim Hamilton, Tim Swinson; Euan Murray, Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson. Replacements: Steven Lawrie, Jon Welsh, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Duncan Taylor.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-06-14-springboks-vs-scotland-meyer-hoping-for-repeat-performance/#.VnAFHEp97IU

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