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Ken Borland



Ex-national coaches the finished article: Heyneke 0

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Ken

 

Heyneke Meyer returned to Loftus Versfeld on Thursday and bemoaned the irony that former Springbok coaches, who can be considered close to the finished article, are excluded from the local game at a time when South African rugby is in crisis and needs as much experienced help as it can get.

Meyer was at his former stamping ground to launch the Beachcomber World Club 10s to be played in Mauritius next month, but his passion for top-level rugby is still there.

“Ex national coaches learn so much, they’re at their best, and then they get moved sideways. The perception here is that I’m in the rugby wilderness, but I’m getting offers from all over the world. But I want to be in South Africa, I believe I can make a difference, even though I’m currently very happy working for Carinat.

“You look at Eddie Jones, who lost eight-in-a-row with Australia and was fired, but then he helped the Springboks and now with England you can see how much he has learnt. Most South African coaches are just gone, though; Rassie Erasmus and Jake White have been really successful overseas and someone like John Plumtree was not seen as a great coach here, but I always rated him, and now he’s won SuperRugby in New Zealand. So it’s not the lack of coaches that is our problem, it’s the system,” Meyer said.

The coach of the first South African team to win Super Rugby, back in 2007, said local franchises were severely hampered by the overseas exodus, fitness issues and the push to play like New Zealand teams.

“You know we’re in trouble when we want to follow New Zealand, if you do that then you’ll never be the best in the world. There’s an over-fixation to play like the All Blacks, it will take us 10 years to get there and then they’ll be another 10 years ahead! We have to find out what we stand for and play the South African way.

“It’s very concerning all the players going to Japan because they can’t play for 12 months and players need to be uninjured and fresh in order to do proper fitness work. And if you’re tired you can’t execute your skills, you can’t press in defence, or scrum or drive. Teams win because of superior fitness and with guys going overseas it’s very difficult.

“Plus it’s impossible to keep the same side together for five years, you just start building and guys leave by the time they’re 25. We’ve got the right coaches and players but we need a better system to keep the players,” Meyer said.

 

Kosi Bay 0

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Ken

 

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

 

The KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife camping site at Kosi Bay is situated in thick coastal forest close to the edge of the kuNhlange lake, the biggest of the four that make up the estuarine wonder at the remote north-eastern border of Natal.

Each camp site is secluded away amongst the mangroves, thereby providing ideal habitat – one of their favourite trees and close to water – for the special gem that is Blackthroated Wattle-Eye.

These busy little birds, that are somewhere between a flycatcher and a batis, are uncommon and easily overlooked, but they’re easier to spot when they pass through the trees in your campsite, as they did at Kosi Bay!

Other birds seen without having to venture far from the comfort of my camping chair were Pygmy Kingfisher (a pair had taken up residence on the road to the ablutions and were seen every day), Natal Robin, which was resident at my site and put on a superb performance of all its many calls, imitating tchagras, cuckoos, nightjars and even African Fish Eagle; Olive Sunbird, Squaretailed Drongo, Terrestrial Bulbul, whose presence I was alerted to by a loud tapping noise as it thumped a caterpillar on a branch; Goldentailed Woodpecker and Blackbellied Starling. I was also surprised to see African Hoopoe in such thick forest.

Kosi Bay is also home to an isolated population of the Red Bush Squirrel and there was an endearing family at my campsite, full of cuteness and a penchant for nibbling at my soap! Samango Monkeys kept to the treetops and were far more pleasant to live next to than their Vervet cousins.

Red Bush Squirrel

Red Bush Squirrel

One of the main attractions at Kosi Bay is the marvellous snorkelling that can be done at the Sanctuary Reef inside the mouth of the estuary. Unfortunately the tide was going out when I dived, meaning there was a strong current and with snorkellers encouraged not to put their feet down on the bottom due to the presence of Stonefish, it was hard work and not able to be maintained for very long.

Kosi Bay estuary - the mouth

Kosi Bay estuary – the mouth

Fortunately there is always birding to be done and there were several Common Tern on the bank of the estuary and the impressive Whimbrel was spotted coming over the sand dune as one approaches Sanctuary Reef. Even a Caspian Tern came flying over the aquarium-like waters.

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove were seen on the way down to the parking area.

Back at camp, a gentle stroll along the Samango Trail produced a pair of elegant Tambourine Dove and a pair of Brown Robin were also seen on a particularly thick, jungle-like portion of the trail, on the actual path. They are obviously not welcome in camp, presumably out-competed by the Natal Robin. Just to ram home the point, a Natal Robin pooed on the picture of a Brown Robin in the bird book I had left open in camp!

The trail also provides lovely elevated viewsites above the lake, with Purplecrested Lourie flying amongst the tall trees and Whitebreasted Cormorant flying, landing, diving and catching fish.

KuNhlange Lake itself boasted plenty of Pied Kingfisher, their lives made easier by the crystal-clear water, Yellow Weavers and African Pied Wagtail. A pair of Trumpeter Hornbill were seen in the morning flying over the 24.6km long lake and then again back across the water in the late afternoon, leading me to wonder if they were the same pair returning to the same perch?

The attractions at Kosi Bay are spread out over a large area, linked by confusing sandy tracks, and 4×4 and a local guide are essential.

The drive out to Black Rock, a promontory jutting out to sea, provided a pair of Whitefronted Plover on the landmark itself, while Gymnogene and Rufousnaped Lark were seen on the way there, along with Fantailed Widowbirds fluttering slowly about, in the grasslands that are around the Kosi Bay area.

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

 

map_kzn_zululand

Kosi Bay is at the north-eastern border of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

Sightings List

Pygmy Kingfisher

Natal Robin

Olive Sunbird

Red Bush Squirrel

Blackthroated Wattle-Eye

African Hoopoe

Pied Kingfisher

Trumpeter Hornbill

Yellow Weaver

Squaretailed Drongo

Tambourine Dove

Purplecrested Lourie

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Terrestrial Bulbul

Southern Boubou

Goldentailed Woodpecker

Little Bee-Eater

Blackeyed Bulbul

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Common Tern

Fiscal Shrike

House Sparrow

Spectacled Weaver

Pied Crow

African Pied Wagtail

Blackbellied Starling

Samango Monkey

Familiar Chat

Lesser Striped Swallow

Common Myna

Blackheaded Heron

Gymnogene

Hadeda Ibis

Rufousnaped Lark

Whitefronted Plover

Vervet Monkey

European Swallow

Redeyed Dove

Eastern Coastal Skink

Brown Robin

Whimbrel

Caspian Tern

Yellowbilled Kite

Fantailed Widowbird

 

Lions fix their defence & cut through WP’s to win final 0

Posted on October 24, 2015 by Ken

 

The Golden Lions said before the Currie Cup final that they would have to fix the defensive errors that made things close in the semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs, and they did that to great effect while consistently breaking through the Western Province lines on their way to a 32-24 victory and the title at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The scoreboard was a one-sided 29-10 two minutes into the second half, but the lopsided score masked how well the Lions had defended and how soft a couple of their tries had been.

There were nerves all around at the start as both kickers made mistakes, Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff missing two early penalties, but the home side were looking dangerous, making inroads as Western Province tended to tackle around the chest and were also quick to fan out in defence, making them vulnerable to the inside-pass.

These two factors came together perfectly for the Lions in the 14th minute as exciting new outside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg muscled through the too-high tackles of Juan de Jongh and Sikhumbuzo Notshe in midfield and broke clear into Western Province territory.

He held on to the ball too long and it was knocked loose by the tackler, but livewire fullback Andries Coetzee was on hand to pick up and continue the attack. From the next ruck, Warren Whiteley passed out to Boshoff, who immediately passed back inside for the eighthman to burst through a big gap and score the opening try.

Six minutes later, another crucial missed tackle by the visitors saw Coetzee go around the outside without much trouble. Western Province again ignored the close-in channels at the ruck and scrumhalf Ross Cronje threw a short pass and then got the ball immediately back on the inside, dashing over for a try without a hand being laid on him.

Western Province were missing tackles and making basic errors like not finding touch on penalty kicks, losing their own lineouts and kicking turnover ball like tightheads from their powerful scrum straight into touch.

Flyhalf Robert du Preez did kick a 27th-minute penalty to get Western Province on the board, but the Lions threatened to make the final one of the less thrilling spectacles of the season when they scored their third try to claim a 19-3 lead.

Scrumhalf Cronje might not be one of the most highly-rated players in this impressive Lions outfit, but he is an important cog in their fluent attacking play and he will always remember the 2015 Currie Cup final as he scored his second try on his way to winning the man of the match award.

Cronje threw a lovely dummy from the base of a ruck and fought his way through another high and ineffectual tackle to score.

Boshoff then kicked a 38th-minute penalty and the Lions were in firm control with a 22-3 lead and threatening to run away with the final.

Western Province badly needed a way back into the match and it came via their powerful scrum, providing the perfect platform close to the line for Du Preez to knife through for a much-needed try and then convert to bring them back into the game at 10-22 at the break.

The Fat Lady had certainly not sung yet, but she did begin warming up again as the Lions scored two minutes into the second half.

Janse van Rensburg was again a muscular presence in forcing his way between two poor tackle attempts to dot down and round off a strong attack that featured a mini-break by flank Kwagga Smith.

Boshoff converted and the Lions’ lead was back to 19 points (29-10) and the situation was desperate for Western Province.

Once they managed to hang on to the ball for a while, they were able to bring their lethal back three into the game and fullback Cheslin Kolbe was able to scythe through an outside gap to put WP in the red zone, from where eighthman Nizaam Carr’s pace, power and nifty stepping was too much for even the Lions’ defence.

Du Preez converted and suddenly the visitors were two tries away (17-29) with half-an-hour remaining.

Boshoff, however, slotted a crucial long-range penalty from 51 metres after replacement prop Oli Kebble had been penalised for a dangerous tackle, which forced Western Province to score three times.

Their powerful scrum forced a penalty, which was kicked to touch, allowing Western Province’s rolling maul to surge over the tryline, Notshe getting the try.

Coleman converted to make it 24-32, but Western Province continued to lose lineout and breakdown ball to stymie their comeback, and a harsh yellow card to replacement lock Chris van Zyl, for not using his arms in clearing out a ruck, was the final blow.

To go through a Currie Cup season unbeaten is a remarkable achievement, not seen since the Natal Sharks did it in 1996, and the Lions and their coaches deserve enormous credit.

Johan Ackermann has honed their pack into a tremendous unit, but locks Franco Mostert and Lourens Erasmus stood out on Saturday in their efforts to ensure momentum for the Lions.

Their hard-working loose trio brings tremendous presence to the breakdowns and Janse van Rensburg and Coetzee took the attack to the opposition most effectively.

Sharks close to full-strength for trip to Toulon 0

Posted on March 15, 2015 by Ken

The Sharks are expecting to go to France in a month’s time with a close-to-full-strength squad for their challenge match against European champions Toulon, according to assistant coach Brad Macleod-Henderson.

The mouth-watering clash against the Heineken Cup powerhouses will take place on Thursday, February 5 at the Stade Mayol, with the Sharks leaving for France on January 31. Barring any injury concerns, it will be the final SuperRugby squad that goes on tour, and Macleod-Henderson said the period of team-building during the week in France would be as important as the actual game.

“Toulon are the best team in Europe, so obviously it’s going to be a good test for us, but it’s also a time when we can strengthen the relationships within the team,” Macleod-Henderson told The Citizen.

The current Springboks in the squad will start training on Monday and most of them will be available for the Toulon match, while the likes of Willem Alberts and Pieter-Steph du Toit are online with their rehabilitation to play in the Sharks’ opening SuperRugby fixture on February 14 against the Cheetahs in Durban.

This year’s SuperRugby competition will be slightly different, with no break in June for international rugby and the World Cup in September providing plenty of motivation for the players.

The focus for the Sharks in their pre-season preparations has been on their attack, with Macleod-Henderson saying they need to score more tries.

“The World Cup is definitely going to up the ante this year and we need to score more tries to win the competition, the Waratahs showed that last year. We’re working on it, we’re spending quite a bit of time on our attack,” he said.

But the 2013 Currie Cup-winning coach said there was still plenty of work going into the details of defence and the breakdown.

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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