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Ken Borland

‘You can’t ask for much better’ – Gibson 0

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Ken


“When you come in as a new coach, you can’t ask for much better,” Proteas mentor Ottis Gibson said on Monday when asked how he rated South Africa’s performance in their triple-series sweep over Bangladesh that was completed over the weekend.

“When you consider the way we played, I’d like to give the team more than 10/10. It’s gone really well. I know there’s been a lot of talk about the opposition, but we were able to play dominating, front-foot cricket, while also unearthing some new talent like Aiden Markram and Wiaan Mulder.

“We played the way we wanted to play, we were able to go out and do that, and there’s been a very positive and relaxed vibe in the changeroom. I’ve built up a really nice relationship with Faf du Plessis, he’s honest and very passionate about representing and leading his country. We speak with the same voice and he’s been a very good sounding board,” Gibson said.

The former West Indies fast bowler confirmed that he will be looking after the specialist pace bowling coaching from now on, and he can rest easy that the batsmen are back on the right track given how well they have started the summer with runs aplenty.

“The batting was a huge positive, because there were a lot of questions asked about it in England, they had a tough time in tough conditions that they weren’t accustomed to. I would hope that their confidence is back now because we have scored 10 hundreds across the different formats. It says a lot for the ability and talent of the batsmen that they’ve been able to go out and dominate.”

Gibson said he would still be employing four other back-up coaches – an assistant, and specialist batting, field and spin-bowling consultants.

“It’s quite likely that there will be new faces, I will do the fast bowling myself and I’ve spoken to Charl Langeveldt about that. I’ve given Cricket South Africa my wish-list, guys who I believe can add value, and they now have to make that happen.

“I want to make more use of guys who are working in South Africa, I want to use the franchise system so that those guys can continue with the work if I leave. So there will be four guys plus myself, some key positions that I hope can make a real difference to the country. But I also want to set up a lead bowling and batting coach for the country as a whole, a person who can tell me who the next best fast bowler is, for instance,” Gibson said.

Nkumane says SA Conference is impossible to pick 0

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Ken

Former Springbok hooker Owen Nkumane is probably one of the better people to ask for SuperRugby tips because he spends much of his life snooping around the franchises in his role as a SuperSport analyst and commentator.

But even someone as knowledgeable as Nkumane believes tipping the winner – even of just the South African Conference – would require calling into service a crystal ball. Typically for a front-ranker, Nkumane has little time for things as flighty as guessing games and prefers to concentrate on the reality of the different franchises’ strengths and weaknesses.

And as a former Lions star, the 1998 UK tourist has most to say about his former team and is particularly interested to see whether they will employ the same brand of expansive rugby that took them to the Currie Cup final.

“I think it’s an exciting season for the Lions because they’ve got the money and the players now, so in a way there can be no excuses and that brings pressure. The element of surprise has gone and I think they’ll need to be a bit more structured and not try and force the issue with ball-in-hand. In a way they might have to be more conservative, they need to get the right balance in their play.

“They’ve got what it takes to break defences so they mustn’t chance it on attack. If they have a three-versus-two, they know how to convert it, whereas other teams will maybe try and force it,” Nkumane cautioned.

Another crucial factor in determining how successful the Lions are will be how coach Johan Ackermann uses flyhalves Marnitz Boshoff and Elton Jantjies.

“That’s going to be crucial and he needs to get the balance right there, like when it comes to running the ball or not. And conditioning and when to peak will also be vital. The Lions play for nine straight weeks and you don’t want the players hitting the wall in April and May. If you do too much now, then the guys will be gatvol in four weeks time,” Nkumane said.

The Bulls and Cheetahs were both major disappointments for Nkumane last season and he sees only one of those franchises having a chance this year.

“The Bulls lost games they should have won and couldn’t get any points away from home last year. But I think they are dark horses.

“The Cheetahs had a wonderful season in 2013 but didn’t come close to competing last year, and their defence is their Achilles heel,” Nkumane said.

The Sharks kissed their SuperRugby chances goodbye last year by not qualifying for a home semi-final and Nkumane says they have to see the season through to its completion and nail down top spot because they have the depth in the squad to do that.

Nkumane believes the Stormers will bring confidence from being Currie Cup champions to the Southern Hemisphere competition, but saying goodbye to long-serving coach Allister Coetzee, who is bound for Japan at the end of the campaign, might serve to motivate them even more.

“The Stormers have a good mix, but winning the Currie Cup does not guarantee success in SuperRugby. Fortunately they found out early about Allister Coetzee leaving and if they have a good start, then that might give them something to play for,” Nkumane said.

Looking to the overseas teams, Nkumane tipped the usual strongholds of the Crusaders, Blues, Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies and Chiefs to be most competitive.

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