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Ken Borland



John McFarland Column – Stormers’ turn to show they can bounce back 0

Posted on April 25, 2017 by Ken

 

SuperRugby is such a tough competition that every team at some stage will experience a crisis and it’s now the Stormers’ turn to face a test of character as to how they bounce back from their heavy defeat at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Stormers were fortunate to get out of jail a bit in their previous games with things like intercept tries from their own goal-line, but their luck ran out in Christchurch. Things they got away with in the first few weeks were punished by the Crusaders, who have a much more accurate passing game than most teams, and that exposed the Stormers. They struggled to deal with the width of the Crusaders’ game, they were up against a two-four-two set-up and the likes of Codie Taylor and Kieran Read in the tramlines proved too much for them.

The Stormers’ wings were continually being pressured by the poor defensive spacing on the inside; the main Stormers problem was their spacing around the ruck, there were too many players close to the breakdown inside their own 22. They need to get more players out wide, they were much too compressed in defence at the ruck. They were caught cold by the width of the Crusaders attack.

But for a lot of the Stormers players it was their first time in New Zealand and it takes some time to adjust. Plus the Crusaders are obviously on fire at the moment under new coach Scott Robertson and they were just too good for the Stormers.

I spent time with the Stormers in pre-season and coach Robbie Fleck is determined to play a hugely exciting brand of rugby, which has been successful, but now they’ve just hit a blip.

But the Stormers played quite well in the second half, with two of the Crusaders’ tries coming from intercepts, and they will draw some positivity from that. They obviously need to regroup against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday and having the roof closed will suit their game.

It was encouraging the way they came back against the Crusaders and now they are in Queenstown in a very pleasant part of the world where they can walk to training, so hopefully they will be in a better frame of mind come Friday.

It was a weekend of contrasting emotions with the excitement coming from the Southern Kings. For them to come through the way they did, for their forwards to play so well as they came back from 17-0 down after half-an-hour, and to win so convincingly really takes some doing. Plus any away win is super, so it really was a sensational result in Sydney, to win there without any Springboks (Waylon Murray being injured) was truly remarkable.

The Kings forwards certainly outmauled the Waratahs and the visitors took their chances, a charge-down try getting them back into the game. It was certainly a comprehensive win with the Waratahs scoring on the final hooter and one of their tries was also from an intercept.

The win shows that South Africa still has forwards that are well-drilled and marshalled and you have to credit coach Deon Davids. Sometimes on the third game on tour the players are thinking of going home, especially since you have to leave Sydney very early the next morning so you’re packing and getting ready for the game all at the same time!

You could tell how much it meant to the Kings players at the end of the game and it was the sort of win to resurrect some careers. Someone like Lionel Cronje has played at practically every union and although there is respect for his play, he hasn’t really fulfilled the promise of his SA U20 days. But time out of the game forced him to re-evaluate his priorities and he has come back a renewed guy.

The Lions against the Jaguares was a good game with Harold Vorster once again shining, the try he scored, running the same line as he did against the Stormers, got the home side back in the game.

The variety of plays the Lions have from five metres away from the tryline is impressive and it shows they want seven-pointers instead of three – they have front-peels, back-peels, shift-drives and normal drives.

It was also pleasing to see Elton Jantjies kicking a pressure goal. He’s certainly in the running to be the Springboks’ starting flyhalf, especially with both Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie injured at the moment, and it’s good to see him so composed.

Lionel Mapoe is also hitting some form and his dummy-and-go and finish for his try was first-class and he also put away Andries Coetzee for the final try.

So it will please Allister Coetzee to see those two coming back into form.

Two of the Tests against France will be on the Highveld so they will be quick games, with the Springboks also surely trying to up the pace because the matches are at the end of the French season and there will obviously be some tiredness. For that Allister should choose quick, Lions-type players – those Tests should really suit guys like Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel.

At the end of the day, the Lions are our flagship franchise and that should be reflected in selection.

The SuperRugby quarterfinals will probably be contested by four New Zealand teams, three from South Africa and one from Australia, so the likelihood is that the Lions will play a New Zealand side in the quarterfinal. So it’s important that they keep winning and now that they are overseas, they need to get on a roll. So it was good for them to come through the Jaguares game with a win.

The Hurricanes have still got to tour and the Crusaders are now in South Africa, so let’s hope the Cheetahs and Bulls can do something against them.

 

John McFarland is the assistant coach of the Kubota Spears in Japan and was the Springbok defence coach from 2012 through to the 2015 World Cup, where they conceded the least line-breaks in the tournament and an average of just one try per game. Before that, McFarland won three SuperRugby titles (2007, 09, 10) with the Bulls and five Currie Cup crowns with the Blue Bulls. In all, he won 28 trophies during his 12 years at Loftus Versfeld.

Boks fail to make the country proud, says moer in Frik 0

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Ken

 

“They say they want to make the country proud but at the moment they just make us the moer in!” was Springbok legend Frik du Preez’s reaction to South Africa’s shock World Cup defeat at the hands of Japan over the weekend.

Japan beat the Springboks 34-32 in Brighton to register arguably the biggest upset in rugby history and cast into serious doubt the two-time champions’ ability to even make the knockout stages.

“We are all shocked and bleeding. Never mind the biggest shock in World Cup history, this is the biggest shock in rugby history, in my personal opinion. You have to look at the players – they were selected to represent South Africa but they were up to kak. When your senior players are getting 3/10 rankings then you’re in serious trouble. But you also have to blame the people who select them,” Du Preez, who was named as the Springboks’ player of the 21st century, told The Citizen from BelaBela on Sunday.

“Japan played wonderful rugby, but our Golden Lions team would beat them. Rugby is a simple game and there’s a simple truth in all sport and that’s that you have to qualify to play in a World Cup or the Olympics. You can’t just send anybody to a World Cup. We should have identified players from Super Rugby and sent them instead of a whole lot of injured players. They were brilliant in their day, but you can’t select on past form, you must select on current form,” Du Preez added.

Mark Andrews, another great Springbok lock and a 1995 World Cup winner, said he feared that every international rugby team now knows how to beat the Springboks.

“Teams have worked out how to beat us and that’s by stopping our momentum. They dominate our forwards, make sure we get slow ball and get quick ball for themselves. It’s because we don’t have players like Bakkies Botha or Os du Randt making the big hits. There were no significant big-hitters in the team against Japan and so we couldn’t get momentum.

“The pack is meant to be focusing on the breakdown, but every time they’re all standing in the backline, there’s nobody smashing guys on the gain-line anymore. We didn’t dominate the shortest team in the world either up front or in the aerial game. There are certain fundamentals of the game and the guys need to climb in up front,” Andrews said.

The performance of the senior players was also slammed by Andrews.

“Heyneke Meyer mentions all the experience in the side every time, but if you look at the senior players against Japan, they looked shellshocked! In 1995, we played Australia with about 40 caps between us compared to them having over 600 and we won; the number of caps really doesn’t matter unless those players are on form,” Andrews said.

http://citizen.co.za/780886/boks-make-us-mad-frik-du-preez/

 

Last 10 overs with bat & ball the downfall for Proteas 0

Posted on January 01, 2015 by Ken

The last 10 overs with bat and ball were the downfall of the Proteas as they succumbed to a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Australia and lost the series in the fourth one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

The batting was once again too dependent on AB de Villiers, who top-scored with 91 off 88 balls, with the lower middle-order fading away after his dismissal, a meagre 51 runs being scored in the last 10 overs as they finished on 267 for eight.

Nevertheless, the South African bowlers started strongly and reduced Australia to 98 for five midway through their innings before centurion Steven Smith and Matthew Wade added 121 in 20 overs.

The dismissal of Wade, beautifully caught by Ryan McLaren rushing in from deep backward square-leg off Wayne Parnell, for an invaluable hand of 52 off 59 balls, left Australia needing 49 off 34 balls with four wickets in hand.

The plan in those death overs was not always obvious, but there was no denying the awful execution of the South African bowlers as length deliveries, leg-stump full tosses, wides and even a no-ball were delivered, leaving captain De Villiers exposed.

Dale Steyn is obviously still the go-to man in terms of skill and experience, while Kyle Abbott (10-0-43-1) showed that he is capable of challenging for a 1st XI place, but the back-up seamers, McLaren and Parnell, were unable to stick to the plan.

The warning signs that another horrible World Cup choke is on the cards are there after the way South Africa unravelled in the crucial death overs both when batting and bowling.

Much credit must also go to Smith for a wonderful century, the 25-year-old eventually being bowled by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson when the scores were tied for 104 off 112 balls. His star is clearly on the rise and it was an innings of great composure and skill under pressure.

Smith’s ability to manipulate the ball around the cavernous MCG and his speed between the wickets meant he kept a brisk run-rate going throughout his innings despite only scoring seven fours.

Wicketkeeper Wade came in with Australia looking down and out and first had to tame a rampant Steyn. His eagerness to get on the front foot and play positively enabled him to build a match-winning partnership with Smith.

James Faulkner then came in and was allowed to target his favoured areas as he belted 34 not out off 19 balls to finish the chase.

The South African bowlers managed to put the Australians under severe pressure in the first half of their innings.

Abbott showed the depth of new-ball bowlers South Africa have – both Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were on the sidelines on Friday – with a superb opening spell of one for five in four overs, his wicket being that of David Warner, trapped lbw for four as the paceman straightened a delivery back into the left-hander.

McLaren did not have a happy start to his bowling stint, conceding 17 runs in his first two overs, but he did claim a key wicket when a full, wide away-swinger found the edge of Shane Watson’s bat and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was presented with a simple catch.

That brought Smith to the crease and he produced a top-class knock even as wickets continued to fall at the other end.

Aaron Finch (22) gave Parnell a bonus wicket by pulling to deep square-leg and skipper George Bailey was resident at the crease for half-an-hour before his old problem of flashing outside off stump at length deliveries presented itself and he was caught behind off Steyn for 16.

Glenn Maxwell can be devastating on his day, but his poor footwork was exposed by Steyn in his next over, finding another edge for him to be caught by Hashim Amla at slip for just two. De Villiers can feel well-pleased that his positive field-placing brought reward.

But Australia can seemingly always rely on runs from their wicketkeeper (whoever they choose) and Wade stepped up to support Smith, who showed that he can be a world-beater.

Earlier, De Villiers had once again dazzled and David Miller can book his ticket to the World Cup, but the rest of the South African batting once again disappointed as they faded away to 267 for eight.

The Proteas are fortunate that they can call on De Villiers, already established as one of the all-time greats, as he was once again the mainstay of the innings, scoring 91 off 88 balls in another great display of skill and exquisite placement of the ball.

Miller was the one batsman to provide sturdy support to De Villiers, playing a fine knock of 45 off 61 balls as they set up the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 122 in 20 overs.

But unlike South Africa, whose problems extend from the batting relying too heavily on De Villiers to dodgy death bowling, Australia can rely on their bowlers in the last 10 overs to really turn the screw. Once they removed Miller, caught in the covers in an attempt to hit over the top in the powerplay, they restricted the Proteas to a meagre 51 runs in the last 10 overs, while claiming four more wickets.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was outstanding with his mix of yorkers and slower balls as he finished with one for 40 in 10 overs – figures that don’t do justice to his performance. Fellow paceman Pat Cummins also bowled better than his figures of two for 61, being a threat throughout, while Faulkner was also brilliant at the death with his back-of-the-hand deliveries, finishing with two for 45.

South Africa will be concerned that De Kock continues to struggle at the top of the order, scratching his way to 17 off 38 balls before popping a lame return catch to off-spinner Maxwell, who had had him dropped at slip in his first over.

Fellow opener Amla was looking good, however, as he cruised to 18 off 20 balls. He had identified the balls to go after well, collecting three fours, and was quite within his rights to pull the shortish delivery Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled to him in the sixth over, but unfortunately he hit it straight to midwicket, where Cummins hung on to a sharp, dipping catch.

Faf du Plessis also looked in good touch as he scored 28 off 37 balls as South Africa reached 70 for one in the 16th over. But Cummins, returning after Du Plessis had hit him for two fours in his previous over in the first powerplay, got some extra bounce outside off stump and found the edge of an attempted steer, the ball nestling safely in wicketkeeper Wade’s gloves.

De Kock had fallen in the previous over and South Africa were in some strife on 79 for three.

But De Villiers once again showed that he is in a different league, improvising brilliantly, while still playing off the basis of a sound technique, and hardly ever seeming to take a risk. He only collected six boundaries, but scored at better than a run-a-ball on a slowish pitch without breaking a sweat.

With the bowlers at their mercy – Australia’s attack was also one short when Coulter-Nile limped off with a hamstring strain – both set batsmen found ways to get out. Miller was trying to hit over the top in the powerplay, but could only skew Faulkner high into the covers, while De Villiers charged down the pitch to Cummins and was reaching for a slower-ball bouncer, a tennis-like shot going to deep midwicket.

After that, the remaining batsmen could not find ways to dominate the impressive Australian attack, with Farhaan Behardien managing just 22 off 23 balls.

 http://citizen.co.za/278833/australia-v-sa-mcg-sa-innings/

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    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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