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Ken Borland



Stellar second day for Southern Gauteng teams 0

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Ken

 

Hosts Southern Gauteng enjoyed a stellar second day in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Tuesday as both their men’s and women’s teams claimed pole position in their pools after posting their second successive wins.

The Southern Gauteng women’s team, the defending champions, produced a top-class 7-0 demolition of Free State, Lisa-Mari Deetlefs and Bernie Coston both scoring twice, while the men emerged with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Northerns in a fractious game that ended a day that was interrupted for over an hour by a thunderstorm.

They had to come back from a 1-0 deficit after a short-corner goal by Matthew Guise-Brown, and Brad Venter produced an equaliser on the stroke of halftime before Southern Gauteng won a penalty stroke as Guise-Brown hacked Julian Hykes’s stick from behind in the circle, allowing Gareth Heyns to flick high into the net for an excellent winner.

Last year’s finalists may yet be caught at the top of their pool if their B side, Wits, can beat Northerns on Wednesday and Southern Gauteng fail to see off Eastern Province.

Eastern Province, who beat Northerns 4-3 on the opening day, went down 1-2 to Wits on Tuesday as Nic Gonsalves scored a brace, the first coming via a field goal in the 19th minute and the second from a brilliantly-worked short-corner option in the 22nd.

The deficit was cut by a Cody van Wyk field goal, but his Eastern Province side were unable to find a way through again.

Pool A in the men’s A Section is developing into an epic contest as Tuffy Western Province, the defending champions, slipped down into third place after losing to the SA U21s, while the KZN Raiders, who drew with the junior internationals on the first day, joined them at the top of the standings with a comfortable 6-1 win over Free State.

Free State provided some anxious times early on for the KZN Raiders, but it was only a moment of brevity as the KwaZulu-Natalians roared to victory.

Free State started strongly and so nearly claimed the first goal when Dylan Swanepoel rocketed a short-corner drag-flick off the post in the second minute. But gradually the competitiveness of the Free Staters waned and the KZN Raiders in the end put together a very good performance.

They opened the scoring in the eighth minute when a fine cross by Mohammed Mea was expertly met and deflected into goal by Travis Hardnick.

The rest of the first half went well for KZN as they added two more impressive goals. Stephen Wiggett showed the talents of an ace goal-poacher as he seemed to have so much time to rob the ball off a defender’s stick and slam it into the goal all in one stroke for the Raiders’ second goal, and Jethro Eustice, who did invaluable work in midfield, then flicked home well from a short-corner to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.

Daniel Sibbald was inches away from scoring the goal of the tournament thus far when his reverse-sticks shot came off the post, the international having started the move just outside his own 25 with a superb run.

But the third quarter was a better one for Free State as they pulled a goal back through Darren Kamfer, before normal service was resumed in the final quarter and KZN Raiders scored three more goals.

Ross Hetem set up and finished the first with a fine overhead across the circle to Jarryd Jones, who cut back and then passed back to Hetem, who slotted home a good reverse-sticks finish.

Jones scored the last goal on the final hooter, with a slap high into the net after a short-corner, with Wiggett getting his second goal five minutes earlier with a well-struck angled shot.

The SA U21s had little respect for their heroes of yore in the Western Province side, denting their ambitions in a 3-2 victory.

Ryan Crowe handed SA U21 the lead with a field goal, before Western Province struck back thanks to an Austin Smith drag-flick from a penalty corner.

There was a break in play as thundershowers led to a waterlogged astroturf, pushing the remainder of the day’s games back, but play eventually resumed with the sides locked at 1-1.

Another field goal, this time by Khumo Mokale, helped SA U21 regain the lead, before a penalty stroke in the 40th minute from Kyle Lion-Cachet sealed the victory, although Western Province managed to close the gap with four minutes to play as Smith added another from a short corner.

The Tuffy Western Province women’s side provided more ill news for the Cape as they drew 1-1 with Northerns Blues.

The early exchanges were dominated by Northerns as they created a number of chances and pressured the Western Province defence. Had it not been for Nicole le Fleur they may have been down a goal early on with the goalkeeper keeping out a Jacinta Jubb effort from a penalty corner in the ninth minute.

But Jubb managed to break the deadlock two minutes before halftime with a powerful poke from a short corner hurtling into the backboard.

But the lead was short-lived as Western Province struck back through Anche Nortje, and while both sides fought hard for the lead in the third and fourth quarters, the goals never came. It was made worse by the fact that both sides were left to rue a number of missed short-corner opportunities.

The North-West women’s team showed that they will be coming hard at Southern Gauteng when they meet on Wednesday with a comfortable 4-1 win over the SA U21s, two of their goals coming from Lori Hyde.

Results

Men’s A Section: KZN Raiders 6 (Travis Hardnick, Stephen Wiggett [2], Jethro Eustice, Ross Hetem, Jarryd Jones) Free State 1 (Darren Kamfer); Eastern Province 1 (Cody van Wyk) Wits 2 (Nicolas Gonsalves [2]); Tuffy Western Province 2 (Austin Smith [2]) SA U21 3 (Ryan Crowe, Khumo Mokale, Kyle Lion-Cachet); Southern Gauteng 2 (Brad Venter, Gareth Heyns) Northerns Blues 1 (Matthew Guise-Brown).

Women’s A Section: North-West 4 (Sulette Damons, Lori Hyde [2], Sinalo Jafta) SA U21 1 (Nomnikelo Veto); Southern Gauteng 7 (Lisa-Mari Deetlefs [2], Robyn Johnson, Bernadette Coston [2], Taryn Mallett, Lisa Hawker) Free State 0; Tuffy Western Province 1 (Anche Nortje) Northerns Blues 1 (Jacinta Jubb); Spar KZN Raiders 3 (Chiree Coetzee, Sarah Bingham, Kara-Lee Stella) Wits 0.

Men’s B Section: Northerns B 2 (Michael Hesse, Michael Seal) Eastern Gauteng 2 (Grant Robins, Brandon Crockett); SA Country Districts 2 (Henry Cock, Keith Stainbank) Zimbabwe 3 (Phillip Machaya, Tendayi Maredza, Luckson Sikisa); KZN Inland 0 KZN Mynahs 5 (Dale van der Merwe [3], Richard Pentecost, Tanner Bottomley); WP Peninsula 4 (Warren McEwan [2], Luthando Jonas, Cameron Ryan) North-West 3 (Gertjie Lambrecht, Wayne Jeffery, Essex Mbekeni).

Women’s B Section: WP Peninsula 8 ( Nicole Bartsch [2], Georgia Moir, Simone Strydom, Rosanne Lombard, Georgia Grobler, Aimee Pote, Robyn Pinder) SA Country Districts 1 (Robyn Morgan); Southern Gauteng Nuggets 0 Northerns B 3 (Anneke Avent, Janie Porteous, Chanel Dippenaar); Mpumalanga 1 (Shannia-Lee Swart) Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Iman Johnson, Nicola Watson); KZN Mynahs 5 (Carla van Niekerk [2], Pamela Daniel [2], Jamie Chisholm) KZN Inland 2 (Silindile Mbhele, Tiffany Jones).

Southern Kings not to be underestimated after Rassie consulting – Gold 0

Posted on February 25, 2016 by Ken

 

The Sharks may have enjoyed an impressive pre-season tour to France while the Southern Kings, their opening opponents in SuperRugby this weekend, endured shambolic preparation, but the KwaZulu-Natal side’s director of rugby, Gary Gold, has warned that the Eastern Cape team should not be taken for granted, especially with Rassie Erasmus consulting for them.

Erasmus and his mobi-unit of top specialists were in Port Elizabeth in January to help Kings coach Deon Davids fast-track their preparations and the word from their camp is that they feel ready to compete. The Sharks will be the first team to test that readiness and Gold said they would be cautious.

“It’s exactly the same situation we had with the Cheetahs last year in our first game, so we do not take the Southern Kings lightly as a team. Deon Davids is a good coach and he would have got great help from Rassie and the mobi-unit. And they’ll be desperate to prove their detractors wrong.

“We have to make sure we don’t slip up like we did against the Cheetahs last year. We’re just trying to stay away from expectations and focus on what we do well. The two games in France have shown us how far we’ve come in certain areas. We had a very clear strategy in our pre-season in terms of how we prepared: We really put time and energy into four or five areas which we hope will have the most effect on the game,” Gold told The Citizen.

The Sharks beat Toulon 29-21 and Toulouse 31-17, but Gold said the results were only of secondary importance to how they played and he was very satisfied with their performance. With the time now available before their first SuperRugby game on Saturday, they will brush up on the areas that have not received as much attention.

“It’s not about the results but the performance and I was very satisfied with the things we worked on, we got reward for those, we’ll bank those, but now it’s time to sharpen the pencil. It’s now time to focus on other areas and we know that if we don’t put time and energy into those then we’ll come a cropper, so those areas will develop.

“We scored five tries and three tries in the two games, so I’m happy with that. Toulon could only score through driving mauls against us, three times, but we hadn’t worked on that yet.

“People ask how we want to play, well, first and foremost we want to win and the foundation for winning is a solid defence. That’s one of the areas where I feel we’ve made good progress, it was a helluva lot more consistent. Defence is where a team shows its camaraderie, whether they’re willing to fight for each other. As a coaching staff, we’re very excited because we’ve put our faith in this young group and they’ve repaid us,” Gold said.

 

 

Mosehle makes the honeymoon worthwhile for the Titans 0

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Ken

 

Mangaliso Mosehle has enjoyed an extended honeymoon phase in the Titans’ ranks and this weekend the 25-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman repaid the faith coach Rob Walter has shown in him with his extraordinary match-winning innings in the RamSlam T20 Challenge final against the Dolphins.

Mosehle has always been highly-rated by the Titans, his talent evident in how sweetly he strikes the ball, but he has struggled to convert his ability into consistent runs. Batting averages of 18.79 (FC), 24.47 (List A) and 11.60 (T20) for the Titans in the three different formats before his sensational 87 off just 39 balls against the Dolphins speak to an unfulfilled talent whose chances may have been running out.

“People only see the end product in the match, they don’t see the amount of work Mangi has done behind the scenes. I’m very chuffed for him and I hope he now believes in himself as much as I believe in him. There’s definitely no question about his skill, but it’s been a battle for him. Guys just need a defining moment in their careers and there’s no greater stage to have one on than in a final,” a delighted Walter said after the Titans’ seven-wicket victory with 19 balls to spare.

“It’s a relief because I’ve been getting starts and I needed to kick on. This innings will give me a lot of confidence because for me it’s most important to get past the 20s, and I really did what I needed to do tonight,” Mosehle said after his highest T20 score for the Titans and just his second half-century.

Mother Cricket is at her most fickle when it comes to the T20 game, but the Titans completed an exceptional campaign with their ninth victory in 11 games, eight of them achieved in comfortable fashion.

“It’s like a dream to win nine out of 11 matches, that’s a pretty decent campaign, and it’s been thanks to the right strategy based on the personnel we have. All 15 players in the squad offer something different and we use eight bowlers because we have them. We’ve tried to match the weaknesses of the opposition as we perceive them with the bowlers we have and it’s fantastic that we have guys who can offer all the options.

“You’ve got to hand it to the team, they’ve been able to step up under pressure. It’s been an outstanding season,” Walter said.

 

Boks could not have hoped for better workout at start of season 0

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Ken

 

You could not have hoped for a much better workout at the start of the season than the Springboks enjoyed in their 44-10 victory over Italy at Kings Park in Durban.

Some top-class attacking play led to five tries and even the defence was subjected to a stern examination in the second and third quarters, with the Italians only managing to score one try despite enjoying the vast majority of possession.

While a handful of debutants made exciting starts to their international careers, it was a veteran in the form of Bryan Habana who stole the limelight with a magnificent performance.

He scored a great individual try in the 67th minute as the Springboks, unusually for them, threw turnover ball wide more in hope than expectation, but Habana turned on the afterburners and raced through half the Italian side as the hosts finally shifted the momentum after half an hour of defending.

While Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer rightfully pointed to a slackening in the intensity of the defence, credit must also be given to Italy for finally putting a premium on possession and hanging on to the ball for long periods.

They enjoyed an astonishing 97% of possession in the first nine minutes of the second half but, even with Bjorn Basson in the sin-bin for a high tackle, they could only cross the tryline once, through centre Alberto Sgarbi from close range.

But the Springboks had attacking firepower aplenty in their backline, with debutant scrumhalf Jano Vermaak providing crisp service, JJ Engelbrecht impressing with his pace and direct running at outside centre and new fullback Willie le Roux showing some lovely touches.

But as Meyer said afterwards, it was the pace – displayed especially by wings Habana and Basson – that had most pleased him.

“I was very happy with the guys and thought they played well. Willie le Roux showed a lot of pace, and so did JJ and Bjorn Basson. It’s great to have extra pace out wide, and I think Bryan Habana fed off that,” Meyer said.

As the Rugby Championship looms, it is encouraging to see the Springboks fielding a back three that can match the All Blacks, who are always the benchmark when it comes to counter-attacking rugby.

Habana was particularly potent as a counter-attacking force off several stupid kicks by the Italians, and it was his sheer pace after fielding an errant kick that set up Engelbrecht for his 23rd-minute try.

It also helps when your flyhalf has as prodigious a boot as Morné Steyn, who kicked immaculately to collect 19 points through five conversions and three penalties. The massive clearing kick he unleashed in the 64th minute also broke the shackles and led directly to the penalty that captain Jean de Villiers said had been the turning point of the second half.

Meyer wants to give game time to as many of his squad as possible in this quadrangular series, but he also has to ensure the momentum gained in Durban is not disrupted.

“I want to try a few guys so there will be a few changes for next week but I will try and keep the core of the team together,” said Meyer.

The loss of Vermaak with a torn hamstring is a blow after his encouraging start, and Piet van Zyl, one of the stars of the Cheetahs team, has been called up. Ruan Pienaar, who came off the bench in Durban, is the obvious man to start against Scotland in Nelspruit next weekend, but whether Meyer will utilise the game-breaking skills of Francois Hougaard as the replacement scrumhalf remains to be seen. The media speculation about his role in the Oscar Pistorius case must be weighing heavily on the young man’s mind.

Scotland succumbed to the huge physicality of the Samoans in losing 17-27 in the early game at King’s Park and the bad news for them is that they can expect more of the same from the Springboks.

With the added threat of clinical finishing, thanks to all that pace out wide to make use of the front-foot ball.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-06-10-boks-vs-italy-wrap-meyers-defence-tested-in-5-try-romp-to-victory/#.VmsCLkp97IU

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