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Ken Borland



Gold not hiding his disappointment even after Sharks win 0

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Ken

 

Despite the Sharks keeping their SuperRugby playoff hopes alive with their 26-10 win over the Cheetahs in Durban, coach Gary Gold did not try to hide his disappointment with the quality of their performance, with many feeling it was a fortuitous escape for the home side.

“I was disappointed in the performance, especially in two areas – the number of errors and our discipline. We kept the Cheetahs in the game by doing things like dropping the kick-off or kicking straight into touch, and we also wasted a couple of try-scoring opportunities.

“We didn’t get our territory game going, our set-piece struggled, our maul was penalised and our kicking game wasn’t good enough. We also conceded quite a soft try from our perspective. We said before the match that we didn’t want to get into a game of touch rugby with them, but that’s what happened,” Gold said after the win, which leaves the Sharks with a two-point lead over the Bulls as the hunt for the third South African qualifying place enters its final weekend.

Gold did, however, praise the character of his team, especially during the middle of the first half when captain Tendai Mtawarira was yellow-carded for slapping an opponent and they conceded three scrum penalties in a row on their own line.

“It was a test of character today and it was critically important the way we defended, especially during that period when we were already 7-3 down. If the Cheetahs had gone to 14, we would have had a real dog-fight on our hands. It’s not the glamorous part of rugby, but we had to really dig deep in the face of a potential penalty try. We defended really nicely then and I thought Andre Esterhuizen did particularly well. It would have been very difficult to have come back from conceding another try then,” Gold conceded.

While the Sharks, who play the lowly Sunwolves in Durban next weekend, are the favourites to claim the third SA qualifying berth, Gold said they really needed to up their game and produce a carbon-copy of the efficient performances they produced in New Zealand.

“We’ve been stuttering since the break and we need a properly good performance just to get our confidence going. To just win against the Sunwolves won’t be good enough, we need a clinical performance, like we had in New Zealand, and to really put them to the sword.”

Gold said the team was disregarding what the Bulls did and were focusing on their own game.

“We thought the Bulls would win, but we were focusing on this game because it was a potential banana skin. If we’d lost, everything we’d done in the last 13 weeks would have been in tatters. The fan would have been really dirty … ”

Abbott & Phangiso, victims of CSA’s transformation failures 0

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Ken

 

The tears and recriminations are flowing after yet another premature World Cup exit for South Africa’s cricketers, but spare a thought for Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso, who all have good reason to feel angry on top of the brutal disappointment they must be suffering after the semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Nobody selects himself to play for the Proteas, and while it was undeniably a poor decision to play Philander ahead of Abbott, the Cape Cobras man has been a wonderful bowler for South Africa, even if his ODI skills on flat pitches don’t match his Test brilliance, and he certainly deserves way better than to be scornfully dismissed as a “quota” selection.

There were so many good cricketing reasons to play Abbott – his superb form in the quarterfinal against Sri Lanka, the doubts over Philander’s fitness (made worse by Dale Steyn’s own niggles and the ridiculously arrogant decision to only play four frontline bowlers), and the fact that the strategy against Brendon McCullum and some of the other NZ batsmen revolved around digging the ball in short and targeting the ribcage, for which Abbott is suited and Philander, who bowls at a very hittable pace if there is no movement, is not.

There has been speculation that Abbott was left out in order to play another player of colour, with rumours coming from people close to the camp that the Dolphins fast bowler was extremely angry ahead of the semi-final.

Which begs the question – when will Cricket South Africa get transformation right?

For me, it is just as much of a disgrace that Phangiso did not play a single game at the World Cup as it is if Abbott was left out for political reasons.

Will young Black Africans believe CSA when they say the Proteas are for everyone or will they look at Phangiso’s treatment and say his selection in the squad was all just window-dressing of the worst kind?

Instead of bowing to political demands before a semi-final that will now leave fresh scars on the South African psyche, why did CSA not insist Phangiso play at least against the UAE?

South Africa have not bowled skilfully enough in limited-overs cricket for a while now and this is ultimately where the World Cup campaign was lost; the only good all-round bowling performance they produced was against Sri Lanka. And to think they thought going into a semi-final with just five bowlers was a wise move.

All AB de Villiers’ statements about the Proteas being “the best team in the tournament” now sounds like empty chest-beating, designed to cover their own doubts.

If Russell Domingo did not have any misgivings about his side, why did he say they could not play Phangiso against the UAE because it was vital they finish second in their pool? An SA A side should have no trouble beating the UAE!

Yes, the Proteas have given their all and played with tremendous courage in the semi-final. But they also seem to have had an over-inflated opinion of how good they were throughout the World Cup, only for the doubts that have so blighted them in previous tournaments to come back once that bubble was burst.

De Villiers praises Boks for standing up after twin defeats 0

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Ken

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers praised his team for standing up in the last 10 minutes and beating Australia in their Rugby Championship Test in Cape Town, putting aside the disappointment of two narrow defeats overseas.

South Africa lost 23-24 in Perth against Australia and 10-14 to New Zealand in Wellington, and looked on their way to another close loss when they trailed 8-10 going into the last 10 minutes at Newlands.

But a scintillating finish saw the Springboks score three tries to complete a 28-10 victory that was flattering if one considered how they struggled in the first hour to make headway against a brave Australian team.

“You will have disappointments along the way, as in life, but the important thing is the way you respond to it. We didn’t play badly abroad, a couple of things went against us and we lost. But part of the process is working on our mistakes; the goal is the World Cup next year, but we want to see if we can improve every week.

“The way we stuck together in the last 10 minutes, we showed intent and that’s how we want to play. All 23 players put their hands up and it was probably in the top 10 of best games I’ve played in, it was a special performance,” De Villiers, who scored two of the three late tries, said.

That the Springboks were able to up the tempo at the end of the match, with the Wallabies visibly tiring, was down to the massive impact made by their bench and the squad’s improved conditioning.

“The bench were brilliant, they were able to up the tempo. Sometimes I get criticised for choosing older guys, but I think it was the right decision to go for more experience on the bench. Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Lambie and JP Pietersen were all very good and they made an unbelievably big difference,” coach Heyneke Meyer said.

“I always put an unbelievable emphasis on fitness because you just don’t have the time with the Springboks, but we’re almost there. This result was great for the fitness because there was no way we could have come back at the end without it. The Wallabies had flown to Cape Town and we threw the ball around in the last 10 minutes and it worked.”

Outstanding eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who was the Springboks’ best player before injuring his ribs, and veteran wing Bryan Habana (blow to the head) are the two injury concerns for the Test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this weekend.

“if we play like we did tonight – exactly how we planned, sticking to our structures in the first 60/70 minutes and then breaking them down in the last 10 – then we’ll have a good shot next week. We were close against the All Blacks in Wellington and we just didn’t get there, but we just need to make sure we prepare well and put the hard work in this week,” De Villiers said.

 

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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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