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Ken Borland

Rapid recycles & direct rugby sees Sharks motor into early lead, before splutter & then running rampant again 0

Posted on July 17, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks motored into a 12-0 lead after just 16 minutes, thanks to rapid recycles of the ball and tremendous direct rugby, but they then spluttered and allowed the Lions back into the game before eventually running rampant from the hour mark to win 37-10 in their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park on Friday evening.

It was all smooth sailing for the Sharks at the start of the derby and, in the ninth minute, they kept possession through nine phases, after a strong carry by eighthman Phepsi Buthelezi, going right and then left before inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg broke the defensive line and passed inside for wing Makazole Mapimpi to score.

With 67% possession in the first half, the Sharks were soon back on attack and, after bashing away on the line against the stout Lions defence, they went wide, two short loop passes being followed by fullback Boeta Chamberlain knifing through for the try.

But the shift in momentum perhaps came straight afterwards as flank Jeandre Labuschagne misjudged the restart, dropping the ball, and Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe was on hand to kick through and score the try.

The Lions gained belief to go with their tireless efforts on defence, and despite making just 35 tackles to the visitors’ 105 in the first half, the Sharks went into halftime just 12-7 up.

Flyhalves Curwin Bosch and Jordan Hendrikse traded scrum penalties in the first six minutes of the second half, but the Sharks eventually showed why they were top of the log in southern hemisphere competition when SuperRugby was killed by Covid and remain one of the most highly-rated teams in Europe.

The turnaround came out of the blue as Chamberlain charged down a clearance by Lions fullback Andries Coetzee, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg gathered and his pop pass found just the right player in scrumhalf Grant Williams, whose sheer speed from just outside the 22 made his try impossible to stop.

Having defended so much, perhaps fatigue set in for the Lions in the final quarter and they began to make basic errors. Centre Marius Louw strayed in front of the kicker, Jaden Hendrikse took a quick tap for the Sharks, Sikhumbuzo Notshe burst clear and Siya Kolisi rounded off the try.

The ever-busy Mapimpi then kicked through a dropped ball in the Lions backline, his second kick being a touch of Messi-like class, as he grabbed his second try at the death.


SharksTries: Makazole Mapimpi (2), Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams, Siya Kolisi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2), Jaden Hendrikse. Penalties: Bosch, Lionel Cronje.

LionsTry: Edwill van der Merwe. Conversion: Jordan Hendrikse. Penalty: Hendrikse.

Ospreys have top scrum, Bulls have intel from someone who scaled heights of Welsh rugby 0

Posted on June 20, 2022 by Ken

The Ospreys showed at Ellis Park recently that they have a top scrum, but the Bulls are confident of handling them in their United Rugby Championship match in Swansea on Friday night thanks to the intel provided to them by someone who scaled the heights of Welsh rugby.

Former Springbok tighthead prop Werner Kruger is the Bulls scrum consultant and he also played 122 times for Scarlets, being a key figure in their 2016/17 side that won the Pro12, the Celtic league that was the precursor to the URC.

“It really helps having Werner Kruger in our camp, he is someone who recently played in Wales, so he knows their mindset,” Bulls prop Gerhard Steenekamp said on Tuesday.

“All that information helps and our scrum is something we have really worked on. Now that we have played longer together as a tight five, we’ve got our rhythm.

“Ospreys have a good pack, but we’ve done our prep and we can only give our best. And in terms of adapting to the referee, if we don’t do anything wrong then he can’t penalise us,” Steenekamp said.

Ospreys are looking to win the Welsh Shield in the URC and a place in the lucrative Champions Cup, and are currently level with Scarlets on 44 points, so Friday night’s clash is a massive match for them as well.

They have lost to all three of the other South African franchises, with their heaviest defeat coming against the Lions at Ellis Park. They were beaten 45-15 at the end of March, but the one aspect of the game where Ospreys did come out on top was in the scrum, against a powerful Lions set-piece.

Since then there has been a far more celebratory mood in the Swansea Stadium offices as Ospreys have enjoyed putting 50 points on the board in back-to-back matches against the Dragons and Scarlets and they held their annual awards evening during the last week as well.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are just happy that the weather along the south-west coast of Wales is good.

“The weather is not bad at all,” Steenekamp said. “It’s nearly the same temperature as Pretoria was when we left. The last time we played in Europe it was in midwinter compared to coming from our midsummer.

“We haven’t really changed our touring plans since then, but we have grown a lot as a squad – both in our game and as players,” Steenekamp said.

Kolisi manned up on the field, in touch with his emotions after still losing 0

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Ken

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi manned up to the recent problems his team have been having on the field with an heroic individual effort against the All Blacks on Saturday, so it was little surprise that he was very much in touch with his emotions after a match in which he gave so much but still ended on the losing side, thanks to a late New Zealand penalty.

The flanker dashed around the field with focused intensity on Saturday and was particularly useful at the breakdowns, doing a lot of the dirty work as he and Kwagga Smith formed a great partnership. But as much as he led from the front, Kolisi was not able to drag his team across the line as they went down 17-19.

“It definitely hurts. We prepared as well as we could, we were focused on the right now. I felt on the field that we were in there with a good chance, our set-pieces dominated. So it is really hard to lose a game like that, but we know that if we stick to our processes then the results will come.

“We wanted to stand up and fight today. We knew as a team what we are capable of and it was about making sure we played properly. New Zealand brought high speed and physicality, but I can’t fault my team – our plan worked, our structures were really good. So I don’t really know what went wrong,” Kolisi said after the match.

Many critics have pointed to the Springboks’ decision, after they had taken a 17-16 lead into the last 10 minutes, to kick front-foot ball away, including two up-and-unders from the All Blacks’ 22, as the reason for their defeat. Kolisi said this was the choice of the players and he stood by the tactic.

“The players made that call, we decided to stick to the game-plan. That’s how we know how to play and we will never change from that. And it had been working all day,” Kolisi said.

Malan says his brilliant century was thanks to a little help from his friends 0

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Ken

Proteas opener Janneman Malan said his success in scoring a brilliant century against Sri Lanka at the weekend was thanks to a little help from his friends.

Malan’s brilliantly composed 121 off 135 balls led South Africa to a series-levelling 67-run win in Colombo, with the visitors posting a commanding 283 for six as their top-order dovetailed superbly, supporting him in successive partnerships of 43, 96, 38 and 86. Heinrich Klaasen then provided the explosive finish with his impressive 43 off 27 balls.

“The batting unit did really well, the coaches have set us realistic goals and expectations and we know that if we hit those then we have a good chance of winning. Reeza Hendricks’ 51 was very valuable, he scored at a run-a-ball, and Heinrich deserves credit as well. And just watching Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen with the way they go about things, our batting is in a good space.

“Particularly against spin, we’ve seen the sweep is very effective, you can trust the bounce here and the straight bat tends to get beaten by the turn. And we also bowled really well. The bowlers didn’t do too badly in the first game, but maybe we underestimated how full we can go and the Sri Lankan batsmen like to go square,” Malan said after his man of the match performance.

The arrival of the 25-year-od in the ODI team has been nothing short of incredible. Malan has now scored three hundreds and two fifties n his eight ODI innings. He has scored a world-record 627 runs in his first eight innings, and that includes a first-ball duck on debut!

It is obvious that Malan’s uncomplicated style and unfazed approach has stood him in good stead.

“You never know how many chances you’re going to get and these are new conditions and you have to try and adapt and trust your skills. I try not to think about my batting too hard, I just break it down and take it game by game. I don’t really know what to make of my start, I’m just trying to score runs. I feel fortunate to have made such a good start to my career,” Malan said.

The third and decisive ODI will be played at the same Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday.

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