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Ken Borland

SA rugby needs decency more than anything else 0

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Ken


In terms of rugby, the New Year is all about finding answers to the question “What is wrong with South African rugby?”, but two incidents in the last month show that, perhaps more than anything else, some of our players and administrators have to ditch their self-serving attitudes and get back to the old values of the game that were rooted in common decency and humility.

The recent actions of the Western Province Rugby Football Union and current Springbok player Johan Goosen suggest the problems are more about individuals being rotten to the core rather than structural issues.

Let’s start with Goosen and I’m not going to say anything more about his on-field performance than my feeling he has flattered to deceive, although the fact that he never had a start at flyhalf is a mitigating factor.

But his tawdry actions in trying to get out of a lucrative contract with Racing Metro, that he only signed a few months ago and that netted him €500 000 a year until 2020, indicate this is a man of scant integrity and someone who clearly does not put team ahead of self.

A couple of weeks ago Goosen announced his retirement from rugby at the age of just 24, following one of his more injury-free years and his return to international rugby, saying he was going to become commercial director of a Free State based agricultural company.

Of course no one is really going to believe that and his name has since appeared on a Cheetahs training squad list and it has since been said that Goosen is ultimately going to Gloucester, once Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad becomes the English club’s majority shareholder.

With flagrant disregard for any ethical considerations, Goosen has taken advantage of a loophole in French labour law which makes all fixed-term rugby contracts temporary. Hence a player can be released from his contract without penalty if he finds fulltime employment – ostensibly Goosen’s dubious “commercial director” job.

The actions of Western Province rugby are just as cynical and what little faith their loyal supporters had in their administrators must now have almost totally dissipated.

They had applied for liquidation of the business arm of WP Rugby and then, just a day after that was granted by the Cape High Court, the Western Province Rugby Football Union announced that the insolvent company had been bought by one of their other companies.

Having put Western Province rugby into financial strife, the likes of president Thelo Wakefield and CEO Paul Zacks are glibly trying to slip through a loophole in thoroughly dishonourable fashion to evade their creditors, most notably with sponsorship company Aerios.

And these are the calibre of administrators that have been put in charge of one of the most legendary brands in rugby?!

Goosen has surely played his last game in the Green and Gold because people of such deviousness really should not be representing our country. He should also not be allowed to play Super Rugby and the Springbok coach must ensure his players will make the nation proud, not embarrass us on an international stage; the good of the game must come before the avaricious accumulation of individual wealth.

Wakefield must also surely fall on his sword. This is not some village rugby team he is mishandling, but one of the proudest rugby legacies in the world, whose fans should be feeling deeply humiliated.

Titans bowl & misfield their way into a massive ditch 0

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Ken


Never mind digging themselves into a hole, the Unlimited Titans managed to bowl and misfield their way into a massive ditch as they succumbed to a two-wicket defeat with a ball to spare at the hands of the Eastern Cape Warriors in the Momentum One-Day Cup season-opener at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday night.

The Titans had batted well enough after losing the toss, a late surge by Grant Thomson and Qaasim Adams taking them to 327 for four in their 50 overs. But the Warriors chased down a record 354 to win the corresponding fixture last season and the Titans were once again dreadful with the ball, conceding 24 extras, including 17 wides, during the innings.

History looked likely to repeat itself during the second-wicket stand of 133 off 126 balls between Jon-Jon Smuts and Yaseen Vallie, with opener Smuts in complete control as he blazed 101 off just 74 balls with 14 fours and two sixes.

But the game of cricket showed her tendency to turn things on their head as, from 160 for one in the 24th over, the Warriors slumped to 230 for six in the 41st as the Titans mounted Operation Fightback.

Smuts had been absolutely clinical in putting away the many loose offerings of the Titans bowlers, but when Ethy Mbhalati finally managed to find a good line just outside off stump, Smuts tried to cut too close to his body and edged through to wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle.

Leg-spinner Shaun von Berg removed Clyde Fortuin for eight and Junior Dala made two important incisions when he had a composed Vallie caught skying a hook for 52 and had Somila Seyibokwe caught at third man for 23.

Captain Henry Davids claimed an important wicket for the Titans when he had the dangerous Christiaan Jonker caught at deep square-leg for 15, Rowan Richards judging a steepler well, and the home side would have thought a required run-rate of 10.50 runs per over would be too much for Simon Harmer and Andrew Birch at number seven and eight in the order.

But both showed enough ability for them to be considered as all-rounders in the future as they lashed 89 off the next 50 balls, the Titans bowlers generally failing to go for the blockhole, as Harmer and Birch swung merrily at length deliveries. Several fielding errors also cost the home side crucial runs, exacerbating the two lives that Smuts had earlier been given on 25 and 55.

The Warriors needed just 14 off the last two overs for another sensational chase at SuperSport Park and victory seemed assured when Birch hit the first ball of the penultimate over, bowled by Dala, for four.

But the unconventional fast bowler provided some hope for the Titans as he trapped Harmer lbw for 42 off 35 balls, Mother Cricket playing her games again as he seemed to edge a delivery angled down the leg-side into his pads.

Only two more runs came off a superb over and left-armer Rowan Richards heightened the drama when he conceded only five runs off the first four balls of the final over, only for Basheer Walters to lash the penultimate ball through extra cover for the winning boundary.

Birch finished with 55 not out, needing only 28 balls for his remarkable innings, which included five fours and three sixes.

The Titans, having been sent in to bat, promoted Mosehle to open the innings with Davids, but the wicketkeeper was kept firmly in his shell by a superb opening spell by Walters, who had him dropped on one.

Birch removed Davids for 20 in the ninth over and Theunis de Bruyn looked in fine form as he breezed to 26 before edging Sisanda Magala into the gloves of wicketkeeper Fortuin.

Mosehle was just beginning to get into his stride when he was bowled by impressive off-spinner Harmer for 49 off 81 deliveries, but Dean Elgar showed fine intuition in terms of shot-selection and placement as he cruised to 57 off 59 balls.

Thomson, making his Momentum One-Day Cup debut at the age of 27, also showed great awareness of the match situation as he was positive from the outset, racing to 50 off 39 balls and finishing with a wonderful 98 not out off 71 balls.

Adams has become the remorseless finisher for the Titans and he did his job again, smashing 65 not out off 39 balls as he and Thomson plundered 119 runs from the last 11.4 overs.

But as well as the Titans batted, they really did not get with the programme in the field and coach Rob Walter will no doubt have cast a thoroughly disapproving eye on the dropped catches and misfields, as well as the bowlers’ tendency to bowl on both sides of the wicket and their poor lengths at the death.


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    James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

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