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Ken Borland

Snyman & Bulls eager to avoid repeat of last year 0

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Ken


Listening to Western Province coach John Dobson talking about the Blue Bulls having all the pressure as favourites in this weekend’s Currie Cup semi-final, it reminds one of the same stage of the competition last year when the Capetonians came to Pretoria and upset the home side.

Bulls lock RG Snyman is well aware of the history and is eager to avoid the same painful result this time around.

“We were in the same situation last year playing against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld and we’d like to change what happened in that game. The way we do that is by not changing what we’ve been doing this season, we have to stick to what we’ve been doing. But the good thing is that this semi-final feels like nothing new, it’s quite a difference playing it now when we’ve all been through another whole Currie Cup season and a season of Super Rugby,” Snyman told The Citizen on Tuesday.

The Bulls have focused on an exciting brand of rugby, but they went down 23-18 to Western Province in last year’s semi-final thanks to the visitors not allowing them any platform or space to play the type of rugby they wanted to produce.

This year they come to Pretoria with a much-less hardened pack and the Bulls youngsters are all a year older and coming into their prime, most notably Snyman, who turned 21 only this year.

“Western Province have a good pack and it will definitely be a physical battle, especially in the set-pieces. But if we can dominate at forward then we should do really well. With the break we’ve had a bit more time to prepare and the team has clicked a bit better through the competition. Hopefully we’ll see that greater experience and better cohesion come through now at the end of the tournament,” Snyman said.

Springbok reserve hooker Bongi Mbonambi will be coming to Loftus, as should prop Oli Kebble and lock JD Schickerling, and the Bulls are going to have to show some real grunt up front to ensure they make the final.

Elgar stars but not enough to prevent Dolphins being favourites 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Dean Elgar was the star of the third day of the Sunfoil Series match between the Unlimited Titans and the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday, but his heroic century was not enough to prevent the visitors going into the final day as favourites.

Elgar scored a defiant 122 that carried the Titans to 261 all out in their second innings, but that leaves the Dolphins with just 177 to score on the final day for a win that would keep their title hopes alive but will all but eliminate the North-Eastern Gauteng side from contention.

The national opener and fellow left-hander Qaasim Adams added 138 for the fifth wicket and seemed to have given the Titans a good chance of setting the Dolphins a daunting target on a pitch that is offering both steep bounce from a length and some deliveries keeping low.

But the lanky Calvin Savage ended Adams’ brilliant counter-attacking 72 when he had him caught behind in the eighth over after tea and then added the important scalp of David Wiese, also caught by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, for a duck.

Mangaliso Mosehle also failed to score, Mathew Pillans bowling him fourth ball, and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj trapped Marchant de Lange lbw for six.

The Dolphins pacemen are all tall, strong lads who hit the deck hard, which is ideal for a pitch with inconsistent bounce, but it was leg-spinner Daryn Smit who eventually removed Elgar, trapping him lbw after a 343-minute stay that just proved the mental strength of the 27-year-old.

*The bizhub Highveld Lions, who lead the competition by 17.24 points with two rounds left after this weekend, are in a strong position heading into the final day of their match against the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein.

The Knights are 76 without loss in their second innings, but they still trail by 117 runs after the Lions scored 441 in their first innings.

The Lions were unable to separate openers Gihahn Cloete (33*) and Reeza Hendricks (38*) in the 27 overs before stumps, but the Knights will nevertheless be up against it in trying to survive against the attack that has earned the most bowling bonus points this season.

The Lions total was built around a punchy century by Neil McKenzie (108), with Thami Tsolekile scoring 48 as they took their fifth-wicket partnership to 85, before off-spinner Werner Coetsee (five for 78) and paceman Duanne Olivier (four for 94) counter-punched for the Knights.

*In Cape Town, Omphile Ramela celebrated his 27th birthday by batting for 403 minutes and posting his first Sunfoil Series century, his monumental 129 leading the Nashua Cape Cobras to 545 all out against the Chevrolet Warriors.

The visitors are in serious trouble with a first-innings deficit of 257, but openers David White (20*) and Michael Price (58*) played with a gravitas suiting the situation as they took the Warriors to 88 without loss at stumps.

Justin Ontong (82) and Justin Kemp (73) were the other main run-getters for the Cobras on the third day.

Eric Series – the man behind Singapore’s SuperRugby bid 0

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Ken


The man behind the favourites to become SuperRugby’s 18th franchise is French-born, studied in Paris and has citizenship in Mauritius.

Eric Series is the brains and financial muscle behind Singapore’s bid to host one of SuperRugby’s expansion franchises from 2016 and will be in South Africa this week to have discussions with SARU chief executive Jurie Roux.

The 18th franchise – debuting in 2016 alongside the Southern Kings and an Argentinian team – will be playing in the South African Conference and Singapore’s bid is the favourite because the Republic is firmly in their corner.

Sanzar have confirmed that Singapore and Japan are the two bidders remaining in contention, having rejected proposals from South Africa’s Mpumalanga Pumas, Namibia, Kenya, three interested parties from the United Kingdom and two from North America.

The main reason for South Africa to favour Singapore ahead of Japan is that the city-state is only a 10-and-a-half hour flight away, while the 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts are a further eight hours north-east. Flying to Australia and New Zealand from Singapore is also much easier than from Japan.

Series, a businessman who studied law and economics, has been heavily involved in rugby for the last three years through his ownership of the Asia Pacific Dragons, a Barbarians-style invitational team that showcases the talent outside of Australasia. Getting strong Pacific Islanders representation into SuperRugby would be another big attraction for Sanzar.

The 37-year-old also has major business interests in New Zealand – Sealegs, the makers of amphibious vehicles, are the “Marine” sponsors of the All Blacks and last year Series became an investor in the Chiefs. He is also the chairman of Samoa Water.

Counting against Singapore is the fact that Japan has much more of a rugby culture, the IRB (who have no say in the Sanzar decision) would obviously favour the 2019 World Cup hosts and they have much better local players and a thriving league.

But Singapore’s team would be built around Pacific Islanders, who have the physicality to survive in the most gruelling competition on earth (largely because of the travel), and Series has pointed out that there is already a precedent for getting other players in Asia involved through the Asia Pacific Dragons.

“We firmly believe that the Pacific Islands players must be strongly represented in the expanded format in 2016 and the composition of our Asia Pacific Dragons side is the ideal platform to include these players and also to capitalise on the growth in Asia,” Series told The Sunday Samoan.

“The issue has always been where the Pacific Islands team could play and how it could work commercially. This is where the Asia Pacific Dragons provides the perfect platform. Pacific Islands players are the heart of our squads, with other players being selected from the whole region.

“Sanzar have already publically stated that any new team must be competitive. That would be a given with Islanders being at the core of our squad, but we would also see the option for more Japanese players having opportunities to gain SuperRugby experience as well and create a meaningful pathway for Asian players in the future.”

Cherry Blossoms coach Eddie Jones has revealed himself as the president of the Japanese bid’s fan club and Australia are also favouring them.

The former Wallabies coach has been an eager basher of Singapore’s bid, describing it as “a joke”.

“Sanzar will lose all credibility if Singapore is selected to serve South African interests with a less demanding travel load. If travel is the deciding factor, then Dubai should be selected and rugby ethos and history ignored altogether,” Jones said.

But Sanzar have shown they are not asses when it comes to spotting the best financial deal and the deep pockets of Series, and the answer he provides to the Islander “problem”, could well see Australia isolated.

The strong support of the Singapore government, who are driving large sums of money into sports development, adds further lustre to the Series bid.

Ultimately, however, the three founding nations – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia – have to agree or else the decision will have to go to mediation, as was the case in 2009 when the Melbourne Rebels won a franchise ahead of the Southern Kings.



Van Zyl one of the favourites for Tshwane Open 0

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Ken


A shaky back nine in the wind cost Jaco van Zyl victory in the Africa Open two weeks ago, but the in-form South African will be one of the favourites at the European Tour co-sanctioned Tshwane Open which starts at Copperleaf Golf Estate on Thursday.

Van Zyl is chasing his first European Tour victory, which is a long-awaited event seeing as though he has had five top-three finishes in the last three years, as well as seven other top-10s and 11 Sunshine Tour victories.

The 34-year-old will need to improve his form off the tee, however, with Copperleaf being a lengthy 7,123m monster, but he does have the confidence of coming off a win in last weekend’s Sunshine Tour event, the Dimension Data Pro-Am in George.

“The course is really long but the greens are receptive, so I’m sure the scoring will be low,” Van Zyl said of the Copperleaf course formerly known as Gardener Ross.

“My short game is still sharp and my ball-striking was really good last week, I hit the ball nicely and it’s a bit better every week. You have to know what to hit off the tee here and what sort of lie you want to hit your second from,” Van Zyl, who is 82nd in driving distance on the European Tour this year and 37th in accuracy, said.

There is no doubt Van Zyl is a major threat in the final co-sanctioned event of the 2012/13 summer, sitting in first place in the Investec Cup standings, third on the Sunshine Tour order of merit, 33rd on the Race to Dubai and up to 104th on the world rankings after starting the year in 146th. His last three finishes have been tied 11th, tied second and last week’s victory in George.

But the field is a useful one and there are many dangers lurking, much like the numerous large bunkers that are a feature of the Ernie Els-designed course at Copperleaf.

Steve Webster of England is perhaps the most consistent performer on the European Tour thus far this season with four top-10 finishes in six starts, while South Africans Garth Mulroy and Thomas Aiken are also in fine form.

Africa Open winner Darren Fichardt is in the field and there is no lack of experienced worldwide winners either, with Michael Campbell, Jeev Milkha Singh, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Simon Dyson and Darren Clarke all teeing it up on Thursday.

Other participants who have shown top-class form lately include James Kingston, Adilson da Silva, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Danie van Tonder.

Olazabal is a golfing legend, a 31-time winner worldwide, including two Masters crowns, and a triumphant Ryder Cup as captain last year.

But the Spaniard admitted that he is going through a tough time with the driver, which is a major drawback on this particular course.

“Last weekend when I left home we had snow, so I didn’t have much practice over the last week because of the weather. But my last tournament was good [tied 17th at the Dubai Desert Classic four weeks ago], although I’m having a tough time with my driver. It’s still my Achilles heel and with the course as long as it is, you need to hit it solid off the tee,” Olazabal said.

Campbell, a New Zealander, is also a major champion having won the 2005 US Open as a qualifier. He suffered a missed cut in his last tournament – the Dubai Desert Classic – but was in good form in the Middle East before that with top-20 finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Qatar.

A Maori, Campbell seems to have a healthy outlook on a game that catapulted him to stardom in 2005 before sending him back into anonymity.

“It’s only a game. My results reflect that I’ve turned around again, but I’ve always been up and down like a yo-yo, some very big highs and very big lows. I accept that and I’ve always had them. That’s golf,” Campbell said.

Dyson is a regular visitor to South Africa, having played in 13 co-sanctioned events and finished in the top-20 four times.

And he is a wary admirer of the talent in this country.

“Without a doubt I’ll be watching a few South Africans. They seem to come off the conveyor belt every year and you’ve got some really, really good talent. They all hit it a mile, which sickens me. Every single one of them seems to bomb it, even Sterne who must be 5-foot-one and Schwartzel who could hide behind the pin! It’s just ridiculous, it must be something in the water… or the biltong!” the Englishman joked.

Though the fairways are generally wide, there is a host of bunkers, and golfers who are not accurate run the risk of becoming mired in these sandy expanses.

“It’s brutally long in places, but some of the short holes are typical Ernie – lots of run-offs. A good short game is going to come to the fore if you do miss the short holes. It’s going to be a tough test, because every par-five feels like 650 yards, so it’s not the usual where everyone is going to be hammering it in two. The course is good and it’s in great condition,” the veteran Clarke said.

Milkha Singh is another who has been coming to South Africa for a long time, since 1998, and he is looking forward to a bit of wind blowing around the Highveld grassland course outside Centurion, the Indian having won the Scottish Open last year at the blustery links of Castle Stuart.

“It’s long but bearable. But I hope the wind picks up, that would make it interesting and I’m really happy in the wind,” he 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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