Vinyl masters DJ Christos, Vinny Da Vinci , Bob Mabena, DJ Kanunu DJ Jazzy D for Cape Town this weekend

Vinyl masters DJ Christos and Vinny Da Vinci will be joined on the decks by fellow pack leaders Bob Mabena, DJ Kanunu and DJ Jazzy D for two nights of pure music ecstasy.

These legends led the music revolution back in the days when entertainment in the township was still a novelty; and Club Gemini was their playground.

This weekend, Cape Town will get a taste of that era when the DJs put together a mind-blowing music experience at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice in Tamboerskloof over the 1st and 2nd of April.

Tickets start from R200 per night with VIP Lounge packages @ R3000 for 6 and are available from Ticketpro. There are a limited number of tickets, so get yours quickly.

Doors open 7pm.

• For more information

Media Accreditation and Inquiries: martin

In rugby the All Blacks are sweeping all before them

It was Napoleon who was first recorded as saying he that he knew a battle would be won or lost by the degree of resolve shown by his troops in the periods of the fray when they had to defend, as opposed to when they were ordered to attack.

Rugby, we know, is war without guns and cannons. It is physical confrontation, first and foremost, and he who is not resolute in the physical showdowns is lost. A willingness to attack and the skill to offload in the tackle is what scores you tries and in the long run makes you a winner of competitions as opposed to also-rans, but deadly attack cannot happen if it is not underpinned by steadfastness on defence.

It is not being negative to say that in sport you first and foremost have to shore up your defence, you have to become a fortress and, quite literally, have the mindset of refusing to let the opposition score. It is as much a basic premise of soccer than it is of rugby. The trouble with both sports is when a team does not embrace the need to attack once they have sorted out their defence.

English soccer, and indeed the national team of that country, for too many years were too conservative in focusing solely on defence and hoping that the odd breakaway attack would win them the game.

It is why soccer teams such as Argentina, Germany and Spain have won the trophies in recent years while a team like England seldom advances beyond the quarter-finals.

And in rugby it is why the All Blacks are sweeping all before them. You can’t score against them and then once they have absorbed your pressure, they cut loose in the last 15 minutes with ruthlessly efficient attack and annihilate you. Because they can … How many games in recent years, especially against the Boks at Ellis Park, have the Kiwis been behind only to win emphatically with a brace of tries in the dying minutes…?

It is not being negative to say that defence must be the initial priority. It is the foundation. And, in fact, you cannot attack with long-term ambition if you do not have the springboard provided by a solid defence.

Over the two decades of Super Rugby, there is ample evidence to support this contention.

The Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs of New Zealand have historically illustrated the point. Those Kiwi teams for some 15 years of this competition naively believed that their maverick attacking play made them above the basic dictum that defence separates the men from the boys.

The Hurricanes, probably more than any other team, have illustrate that profligacy on attack and a secondary commitment to defence adds up to also-ran status.

Going back to the days of superstars such as Christian Cullen and Tana Umaga, the Hurricanes revelled in scoring memorable tries emanating from deep within their half with their devil-may-care approach.

And they were hugely entertaining, as were the Highlanders, Chiefs and also the Blues. But the bottom line was that those teams ultimately lost more games than they won while their more pragmatic countrymen, the Crusaders, monotonously won titles.

Which brings us to the Sharks … The Crusaders won 19-14 at Kings Park last week, their relentless attack ultimately prevailing over the magnificent defence and scrambled attack of the home team.

Almost a year to the day, the Crusaders had been back in Durban and hoping to emulate their 42 point win in 2015.

In that year, the Sharks were hopeless on attack and quite obviously the same on defence. This year the attack had not advanced, but the fortitude in the tackle mean that the result was in question going into the final ten minutes.

As coach Gary Gold said as the dust was settling on the result: “I am extremely positive because I know I have a team that is exuding character. As a coaching staff we can work with that. The players have the right attitude and that means we have the principle ingredient with which to craft something special. It was not like that last year.”

By Mike Greenaway

A music experience on Tuesday the 5th of April at the Company’s Gardens, Cape Town

This unique musical garden tour will allow music fans to be the first in the county to taste one of the most talked about gin brands to come out of London all while listening to some incredible talent.
MAJOZI, FARRYL PURKISS, SHENFM & FRANCESCA BIANCOLI will all be paying tribute to their chosen artist from The 27 Club, the colloquial name given to a group of influential musicians that left us at the young age of 27.

Set against the lush trees and plants of one of Cape Town’s oldest gardens, this is one of our most exciting musical collaborations yet.

So if you consider yourself a maverick, a forward thinker or someone who thinks different, then this is just for you.

Event details :

Studio 7 Sessions Presents: Best of The Buskers – The Gin + Music Session

Tuesday, April 5 at 6 PM – 10 PM

Company’s Garden19 Queen Victoria Street, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa

Tickets :

http://www.webtickets.co.za

An absorbing match Sharks vs Crusaders

For just over 70 minutes the Sharks suggested that a game of rugby can indeed be won without the ball, particularly in sticky March in Durban when you would rather let the opposition handle the bar of soap, but nobody can argue that in the final analysis, the Crusaders deserved to end the Durbanites’ unbeaten Super Rugby run.

For so long in this absorbing match, the Sharks were a metaphor for the defenders at the Alamo, at Isandlwana even. Heroics indeed, but you had an inkling that they would eventually be overran, but then as the match wound up to its climax, with the home side in an unlikely 14-12 lead, an ever more believing home crowd would have been forgiven in thinking that it might be a Battle of Britain outcome, when the defending Brits somehow held out against the overwhelming odds of the Luftwaffe.

Last week, the unremitting talk from the Sharks was that they had to get more possession than they did the previous week against the Bulls and start asking questions on attack rather than rely on their hugely improved defence to win games.

Dare we mention that this time last year the Crusaders smashed the Sharks 52-10, even thouhg at one stage they had just 12 players on the field in a game in which cards were scattered by the referee like confetti.

We know that defence coach Omar Mouneimne has made a massive difference, and so too has the fact that coach Gary Gold was present for the pre-season this time, and let’s be frank, the Sharks have a significantly improved team spirit this year.

The match was billed as one of the highlights of the weekend, with both sides alluding to a Test match like build up, and for the opening 20 minutes the sides nervously grappled with each other, mostly in the half of the Sharks, but the Crusaders could not force a break.

There was a missed penalty by their flyhalf Richie Mo’unga after ten minutes as a result of that territorial advantage, with the Sharks resolutely defending and fullback Willie Le Roux superb in fielding the high ball and returning it to the Crusaders’ half with precision kicking, and it was only in the 24th minute that the New Zealanders eventually found a hole out wide, after a penalty kick to the corner then saw the ball spun quickly out wide for fullback David Havili to burrow over.

It was relentless trench warfare, with No Man’s Land being around the Sharks’ 10m line. The Sharks could not break out of their half and while the Crusaders patiently traversed the width of the field with their endless possession, they had just that one score for their efforts.

And then in the 35th minute, the Sharks dramatically drew level. Yet another probing Crusaders backline movement had seen an exploratory pass sent out wide but it found the wrong wing, Lwazi Mvovo, instead of Johnny McNicholl, and Mvovo scampered home for a try converted by Joe Pietersen.

That evened the scores up at half time, and the home side would have been delighted considering they had barely had a sniff of the ball, plus Mo’unga missed his second shot at goal just as the hooter sounded.

Mo-unga then missed again three minutes into the second half, and then Mvovo spectacularly capitalised on a dropped backline pass and once more sped to the try-line, with Pietersen converting to give the Sharks a 14-7 lead that nobody could quite comprehend.

And it all became a little more incomprehensible for the Crusaders when, eight minutes into the half, an altercation involving Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen and McNicholl culminated in fullback Havili throwing himself unnecessarily into the squabble and after a TMO consultation, referee Jaco Peyper binned Havili.

But within minutes, the Crusaders had shrugged off the setback and it was the runaway express train Nemani Nadolo that blasted through JP Pietersen and the cover defence to score at the corner flag.

Mo’unga missed with the conversion, and for about a minute it seemed that it would not matter when McNicholl raced down the openside touchline for what seemed like a try only for the TMO to be called in to rule that he had put an errant stud on the touchline.

Amazingly, the Sharks were 14-12 ahead after 55 minutes when they could well have been substantially behind.

Still the Crusaders pressed on, enjoying their banquet of possession but the black and white wall would not break, and it seemed another unlikely counter-attacking try had been scored, this time by Willie le Roux in the 65th minute, but he was adjudged to have been ahead of kicker Cobus Reinach in his chase for the ball.

And in the 70th minute the Sharks’ luck eventually ran out. A clinical build-up of phase play eventually propelled captain and No 8 Kieran Read over the line, and the converted try put his team 19-14 in front, and this time the Sharks had no get-out-jail-free cards.

Sharks: Tries: Lwazi Mvovo (2). Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2).

Crusaders: Try: David Havili, Nemani Nadolo, Kieran Read. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga, Nadolo.

SHARKS (7) 14

CRUSADERS (7) 19

by Mike Greenaway at Kings Park

Press love the poet Siphokazi Jonas book now for her show on Thurs 31 March at Artscape 8pm

INTERNATIONAL ONE-WOMAN THEATRE PRODUCTION TO SHOWCASE AT ALEXANDER BAR, CAFÉ AND THEATRE IN CAPE T OWN NEXT MONTH

South African theatre audiences are in for a treat next month, as the renowned one-woman international play, The Woman Who Would Be King, is set to make it South African début in Cape Town.

The Woman Who Would Be King, a fictional one-woman play written and performed by Nigerian-American actress and producer, Esosa E., will showcase at Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre for the very first time this April, and is set to captivate audiences with it’s rich African history story telling – inspired by the life of Hatshepsut, the first female Pharaoh and her journey to the throne.

According to Egyptologists, Hatshepsut is known as one of the first great women in history. Research into Egyptian history sees Hatshepsut regarded as one of the most successful Pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an Egyptian dynasty. Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt, and came to the throne of Egypt after ruling jointly with Thutmose III who had ascended to the throne as a child one year earlier.

During this 65-minute one-woman play, audiences will see first hand why Hatshepsut was known for establishing prosperous trade routes, and launching elaborate building projects, but toward the end of the reign of her successor Thutmose III an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from pharaonic records. Her images were literally chiselled off many stone walls, leaving very obvious gaps in the artwork.

Working back-and-forth between Los Angeles and Cape Town, Esosa E says she’s excited to finally showcase The Woman Who Would Be King in Cape Town next month.

“When I came to work in Cape Town and discovered the gem that is Alexander Bar & Cafe, I saw how people within the Cape Town community still respect and appreciate live theatre. I knew that this was the perfect place to début my one woman show,” she says.

“I’ve always had a deep personal connection to ancient Egypt, and a desire to be a part of reshaping how it is portrayed in popular culture.”

While the show is written and performed by Esosa E, Seattle writer and educator Paul Adolphsen serves as the show’s dramaturg. Paul’s interests as a dramaturg and educator include trauma, testimony, and memory in the South African theatre, as well as methods of theatrical adaptation and new play development. He is currently conducting research in Cape Town as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of the Western Cape. As a dramaturg he has worked with Book-It Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA), Vashon Opera (WA), Hartford Stage Company (CT), Silverthorne Theatre Company (MA), and Five College Opera (MA), UMass Mew Play Lab (MA).

The Woman Who Would Be King is directed by Michael Kirch, who’s most recent stage offerings include: Bench(2012-2013) which was performed at Kalk Bay Theatre, Fugard Theatre, Alexander Upstairs, and the Grahamstown National Arts Festival; and Cock and Bull Story (2014) staged at Galloway Theatre and Alexander Upstairs. For his work he has been nominated for the Fleur du Cap (Rosalie van der Gucht Prize), Best New Director. Michael completed his MA in Stage Directing and Theatrical Production at UCT in 2008.

Previews for The Woman Who Would Be King take place on Wednesday 20 April and Thursday 21 April. The show officially opens on Monday 25 April and runs until Saturday 30 April. Tickets for the Cape Town leg of The Woman Who Would Be King tour in 2016 are now on sale at R100 each.

Visit https://alexanderbar.co.za to purchase tickets online for R90 each (a R10 discount) or call 021 300 1088 to book your seat and not miss this dazzling theatre production.

ABOUT ESOSA E
Esosa E. is an award winning producer, writer, actress, health expert, and fashion designer who was named a “Young African Visionary” by Obaseema Magazine and included in Applause Africa’s list of “30 Most Intriguing Africans in NY.” Currently she plays the role of Ngozi on the hit international TV and web series An African City, which has been featured on the BBC, NPR, CNN, Vogue, EBONY, ELLE Magazine (France, South Africa, & Sweden), Glamour Magazine (France), International Business Times, Madame Noire, Forbes Africa and more. She is currently attached to star in a number of different film and television projects with acclaimed filmmakers worldwide including Rise of the Orisha, a superhero movie inspired by African mythology. For more information visit: www.esosae.com .

Around the Fire: palpable originality

Around The Fire

Around The Fire

This event excites me, no end! I know the cast, and I know how hard they work. The success of the Wrestling With Dawn production, last December, had and has led to the much-applauded producer, playwright, performer, English literature and Bachelor of Arts major, Siphokazi Jonas, returning on 31 March with Around The Fire, at Artscape. The 90-minute stage production is set to rewrite a good few rulebooks, as each of her previous three works did before it.

The entirely original South African work unfolds within a unique fusion of theatre, poetry and lives music. Two of the performers are currently on The Voice SA. All of the highly talented band members feed concepts into the melting point, and herein lies the genesis of the work called Around the Fire.

Four women, all from very different backgrounds, Mbali, Faiza, Amber and Angel, find themselves sharing a makeshift fire on a rainy Cape Town evening. Brought together by unexpected circumstances, the four form a bond as fierce and fleeting as the fire. Mbali, the homeless guardian of the fire, and Eastern Cape ‘refugee’, liberates the stories that brought them together in an effort to understand her newfound place in a city that renders her invisible.

The production takes place as part of this year’s Artscape Spiritual Festival themed Healing Self – Healing Society.  The cast is made up of a Stella line-up of talent

 

Nolan Africa, a Drama graduate from UCT, dabbled in theatre and television, briefly, before joining the educational theatre world, delivers director and set design. In 2013, he completed an honours degree in Drama Therapy at WITS.  

Music composition and direction for Around The Fire falls to Sikhumbuzo Ndebele. As a Durban University of Technology jazz scholar, the songwriter, music composer and arranger has worked with the likes of Mthunzi Namba, Lindelani Mkhize, Nqubeko Mbatha and Sibongile Khumalo, amongst many others.

The balance of the cast sees UCT-trained guitarist Germaine Leonard, who was privileged enough to have Alvin Dyers as his mentor, in the mix too.

Vocalist and much-applauded multi-instrumentalist Keanu Harker joins the powerhouse collective, having recently wrapped up performing as part of the Adam Small Be Jazzed production.

The classically-trained pianist, jazz vocalist student and SAMRO Overseas Scholarship winner and The Voice SA 2016 contestant Zoe Modiga adds her voice to the ensemble, having performed and shared stages with the likes of Gloria Bosman, Matthew Gold and Marcus Wyatt.

Keys and vocal support comes in the form of Josh Prinsloo, the 2014 Music Experience’s Cape Town Folk and Acoustic Music Festival competition winner. Singled-out and commended by David Kramer for possessing a “fresh sound” as an artist whose work contains a good balance between serious and comedic subject matter.

Bass guitar duty is the responsibility to actor, dancer, model and musician Rosco Roman. Besides representing South Africa for Hip-hop dancing in Germany, the film actor and accomplished Jazz Studies graduate from UCT Roman recently performed at the Mother City Live Music Festival 2015

Jason Skippers is the collective’s beat keeper. Drummer, composer, producer and songwriter too, Skippers cut his musical teeth more than a decade ago, playing music in His People Church, and he’s been playing there ever since. He’s kept time with Judith Sepuma, Louie Brtitz, Elvis Blue and many more.

More keys and also a The Voice SA 2016 Contestant is what Eden Myrrh Toohey brings to Around The Fire, feeding the eclectic mix with her alternative pop sensibility. The teacher and mentor completed an Access Certificate in Jazz Piano at Howard University, Durban, and is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, as well as working towards completing her Classical Piano Teaching Diploma with the Royal Schools of London.

Not shy then on gifted players, this production shouldn’t be missed by those curious to sample palpable originality and entertainment worthy of proud export.

 

Gig of the weekend

 

 

Woodstock Live, Sunday 20 March 2016Trafalgar Park, Woodstock. 

 

Trafalgar Park (Corner of Searle Street and Victoria Road.)   

Gates open at 13h00

Concert from 14h00 to 24h00. 

 

GoodLuck

GoodLuck

The line up includes the following popular South African artists, who all in their own way have fascinating stories to tell in terms of their musical journeys:

 

  • Goodluck
  • Das Kapital
  • Tresor
  • Mix n Blend 
  • Los Tacos
  • DJ InviZAble feat. Computer General
  • Manny Walters
  • Ben Dey & the Concrete Lions
  • The Liminals

 

Tickets are available at http://www.ticketpro.co.za/ 

 

Children under 12 (accompanied by adult)       FREE

Learners under 18 (accompanied by adult) R80.00

Pre-Sale                                                            R120.00

At the Gate                                                        R130.00

Not an April fools joke -Bok coach to be hopefully unveiled on 1 April

IN what is apparently not an April Fool’s joke, SA Rugby will announce the new Springbok coach on April 1 following a meeting of the general council on that date, with the issue of Springbok coach top of the agenda.

Yesterday the national governing body released a statement confirming that they have identified a successor to Heyneke Meyer and it is now a case of the council ratifying the choice.

It will almost certainly be Allister Coetzee, the assistant to Jake White between 2004 and 2007, the year the Boks won the Rugby World Cup in Paris. Coetzee was overlooked for the job in 2008, with Peter de Villiers a controversial choice. Coetzee went on to coach the Stormers until last year when he was pretty much given the elbow after failing to add an attacking edge to a Stormers side that ultimately stagnated in Super Rugby under his coaching.

Coetzee, now coaching in Japan, has said that he is available and hungry to coach the Boks.

(Pic -Coetzee with OTC team on Heart 104.9fm every Sat 9-10am}

But it is possible, but unlikely, that Coetzee might have been pipped by outsider Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbok flank, Cheetahs coach, and current Saru High Performance manager.

Nothing is ever clear when Erasmus is concerned and there have been conflicting reports in the media about his availability for the job. At one stage it seemed fait accompli that Erasmus would at least be caretaker coach of the Boks for the June series against touring Ireland, only for him to then say he was unavailable. But then last week Rapport newspaper quoted a Saru source as saying Erasmus had already started planning for Ireland …

Whether it is Coetzee or Erasmus, SA Rugby has made their choice.

“The high performance committee examined a list of potential coaches and identified their preferred candidate against a set of pre-determined criteria,” SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins commented,” probably in response to growing media criticism that SA Rugby is vacillating on vital issues.

Indeed, South African rugby has been besmirched with controversy this year, notably the alleged tussle between Hoskins and his CEO, Jurie Roux.

“In broad terms we were looking for someone with a proven track record at an elite level, someone who would embrace the objectives of our strategic transformation plan, and someone who would understand the public demands of the job and what that entails,” SA Rugby said.

And that just about precludes Erasmus, who has just two years as coach of the Cheetahs in his coaching CV.

“The executive council accepted the high performance committee’s recommendation some time ago and the preferred candidate’s name will now be set before the general council.”

by Mike Greenaway

Sharks vs Stormers match preview for today 5.10pm kick off

This week it has been something of a mutual admiration society between the coaches of the Sharks and Stormers but nobody is under any illusion that it will be all-out war at Newlands come 5.15pm this evening.

In the best traditions of derbies between the sides, Gary Gold and Robbie Fleck have been talking up the opposition while behind closed doors the teams are preparing to rip each other’s heads off.

The bookies have the unbeaten Stormers as favourites, mostly by virtue of being at home and that their combinations are better known while a number of Sharks are still finding their feet in Super Rugby.

The bookies are probably spot on. The Stormers were emphatic in beating the Bulls at Newlands in round one and showed character to outmuscle the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein while the Sharks struggled to subdue the Kings in the first half of their round-one match but then showed admirable courage in seeing off the Jaguares in Durban last week.

“We have a lot of respect for a Stormers team that is probably a few years ahead of us in terms of progression and continuity from (outgoing coach) Alistair Coetzee to (his long-time assistant) Robbie Fleck. They are a tight unit and we will show them the respect they reserve by the urgency with which we will play. We are not just going to pitch up in Cape Town and see how it goes …!”

The Sharks are in a good place, psychologically-speaking. They know they are not world beaters just yet but have taken confidence out of their wins over Toulon, Toulouse, the Kings and the Jaguares. The Argentineans did not score a point in the second half at Kings Park because of tenacious defence from the home side.

“We are making incremental progress and recognise that what has gone before this season for us will not be good enough against the Stormers, who will pose very tough questions at a packed Newlands,” Gold said.

“Fleckie is taking their game to a new level,” Gold continued. “He has had his own influence on how he would like to see things done. He has taken the strengths built by Allistair, the set pieces and defence, and added his attacking mindset to that foundation. We hear from guys in their squad that they are very happy under Fleckie and as a South African I am ecstatic that the Stormers went that route. Fleckie is a very smart guy and certainly did his apprenticeship. He was a great Springbok player and then an assistant coach for six years. I am very happy for him and for SA rugby that he has been recognised and I think he is doing an outstanding job.”

Fleck, in turn, has heaped praise on the Sharks, in particular their vastly improved defence following last season’s pitiful effort in this regard. They conceded a whopping 43 tries, and in the off-season recruited defence guru Omar Mouneimne.

“We know Omar from the time he spent coaching at the Stormers between 2008 and 2010, he’s a very good defence coach and you can see a big difference in the Sharks’ defensive system,” Fleck said.

“The Sharks are looking good, and appear to be a well-rounded side. There are some clear changes from last season, they’re very organised defensively and have a well-balanced kicking game, with good kickers in Joe Pietersen and Willie le Roux. But I also think they’re looking to keep the ball in hand a bit more. We’re actually two quite similar teams.”

Pietersen has been a steady influence at 10 in taking over from injured Patrick Lambie and his experience has been preferred to the flair of youngster Garth April. Fleck knows Pietersen inside out having coached him when he was the Stormers’ fullback for a number of seasons.

“Joe’s a really good rugby player, and when he has time on the ball he can be very dangerous. He generally makes good decisions, so we can’t just let him have it all his own way, we have to put him under a bit of pressure. He’s a point-scoring machine, and he’s got a nice flow into the Sharks’ attack and he’s running things smoothly. I like the way the Sharks are playing, they’ve got some big strong backs and a mobile pack.”

So it is pats on the back all round from the respective coaches but the phoney war is just about at and end and this evening’s game will not be for the faint at heart.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: Scarra Ntubeni, Oli Kebble, Vincent Koch, JD Schickerling, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Huw Jones.

Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira (capt).

Substitutes: Kyle Cooper, Juan Schoeman, Lourens Adriaanse, Hyron Andrews, Philip van der Walt, Michael Claassens, Garth April, S’bura Sithole.

By Mike Greenaway

ENDS

The biggest pest in World Rugby plays for the Sharks and he will be at Newlands on Saturday

IT was a mark of respect towards Springbok fullback Willie le Roux that he was just about marked out of the Springbok World Cup campaign last year but the former Cheetah is determined to defy kamkikazi defenders zoning in on him in this year’s Super Rugby.

Willem Jacobus, originally from the Western Cape and a Boland player before moving to Griquas, exploded onto the international scene in 2013 and by 2014 was described by Wales coach Warren Gatland as “the biggest pest in rugby”.

Le Roux was a big name signing for the Sharks this year and at 26 he still has the world at his dancing feet. He has just had to choose the right ball with which to attack, he says.

“The Sharks coaching staff have given me a license to attack from the back, I guess that is why they signed me,” Le Roux smiled yesterday ahead of the Sharks’ trip to Newlands on Saturday to play the Stormers.

Both sides are unbeaten after two rounds and the match is the first of a fortnight of massive derbies against South African opposition – next week the KZN team play the Bulls at Loftus.

“The coaches leave it to me to attack as I see fit,” he said. “If I see space I must go for it otherwise it is about sticking to the structures, backing our defence, and waiting until turnover ball arises. That is what I thrive on, that is when the whole backline knows to switch on because it is time to play!”

Last year, Le Roux was part of a Cheetahs team that was one of the most attacking in the competition but which also leaked the most tries, by some margin. That is why they finished bottom of the log.

“The Sharks play a similar style to the Cheetahs but then all the South African teams are playing attacking rugby this year. It is always first and foremost a physical battle up front and then everyone wants that turnover ball because that is the best possession with which to attack. It is when you can be most dangerous.”

Le Roux has arrived in Durban from a Cheetahs team that was atrocious on defence last year and he has run into the Sharks’ new defence coach, the uncompromising Omar Mouneimne.

“We call Tuesdays ‘Test match Tuesday’ here at the Sharks because we know we are going to have tackle each other to a standstill,” Le Roux said with a mixture of a grimace and a smile. “There is a huge focus on defence and that will also have its benefits on attack because often that is where you get that turnover ball.

“We saw that intensity on defence in France and in the first two games of Super Rugby,” he added.“We mostly kept out the Jaguares apart from those two tries they got from, well, turnovers but otherwise we defended really well against a very dangerous team.”

Le Roux has already notched up 34 Test caps for the Boks, with nine tries and many more try assists, but he is insistent that he not a senior at the Sharks.

“I don’t know that I qualify to call the shots just yet,” he said with some embarrassment. “When we are on the field, it is rugby mode, we play what we see, and if something is on I call it and the guys do listen to me and appreciate my input, but really I don’t see myself as a senior Shark.”

By Mike Greenaway

%d bloggers like this: