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Ken Borland



Gold keeps faith with ‘special group of players’ 0

Posted on June 09, 2016 by Ken

 

Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold has largely kept faith with the same team that lost to the Lions last weekend for Saturday’s vital SuperRugby clash with the Bulls at Kings Park, calling them a special group of players.

Although the Sharks desperately need a change in fortunes to resuscitate their season, the only changes Gold has made are the returns of Springbok veterans Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira to the front row.

“It’s nice to be able to strengthen our front row because it will be a very tough game up front, but I’m really happy with this team and I’m massively optimistic that if we replicate the effort of last week and rectify a couple of system errors, then we can get the result because this is a special group of players and they are hurting as much as we are,” Gold said after announcing his team in Durban on Thursday.

Gold acknowledged that the defence, which has enjoyed a strong heritage in recent Sharks teams, has been woefully lacking this season.

“We should be proud of our defence, but I’m not happy with it at all, it’s not nearly been good enough and it didn’t improve at all against the Lions. There were system errors, which was very disappointing, and, as the coaching staff, we all take responsibility for that.

“We neglected spending time on that out in the middle, the players didn’t do it over and over again enough, because they were a great defensive unit last year. I guess we have to be like the golfer who hits thousands of seven-irons in practice even though that’s his strength. But I have a lot of faith in this special group of players and I believe we can fix it,” Gold said.

Team: Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Waylon Murray, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Fred Zeilinga, Cobus Reinach, Renaldo Bothma, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel, Mouritz Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Franco Marais, Tendai Mtawarira. Bench – Monde Hadebe, Thomas du Toit, Lourens Adriaanse, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Etienne Oosthuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronje, SP Marais.

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.

 

Despite talk, Sharks put faith in tight five 0

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Ken

 

Despite all the talk about scoring tries, the Cell C Sharks will be putting their faith in the expertise of their tight five, judging by the team announced yesterday for their opening Vodacom SuperRugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday.

Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Mouritz Botha and Pieter-Steph du Toit will all be bringing international experience to the field and coach Gary Gold will be hoping they will be laying the most solid of foundations.

Marcell Coetzee is the senior loose forward, with Pumas import Renaldo Bothma getting a SuperRugby debut and Tera Mtembu slotting in at eighthman. Willem Alberts and lock Stephan Lewies are still out with injury.

Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach form an outstanding halfback pairing, but Gold has a less settled combination at centre. Waylon Murray was born in Durban and schooled at Westville, but has played most of his recent rugby outside the province and he returns to the outside centre berth, with young Heimar Williams alongside him, preferred to exciting young powerhouse Andre Esterhuizen.

SP Marais will be at fullback, but perhaps the Sharks’ greatest attacking threat will be from wings Lwazi Mvovo and S’bura Sithole.

Jean Deysel is on the bench and is the only one of the Japanese-based players to make the match-day squad, with the return of Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen keenly awaited as they will give the backline the experience that is currently lacking in comparison to the tight five.

Matt Stevens, the former British Lions prop, is also on the bench, as is the veteran wing Odwa Ndungane.

The match will be refereed by the Australian, Andrew Lees, and the kick-off is at 5.05pm.

 

 

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