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Ken Borland



Long shot Nips in at end of T20GL draft 0

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Ken

 

Kyle Nipper, the 29-year-old Dolphins all-rounder, was watching the closing stages of the T20 Global League draft on Sunday, thinking that it was becoming an increasingly long shot that he would be involved in the much-anticipated new tournament that starts on November 3.

Nipper, slow left-arm orthodox and a left-handed batsman, lives in Pietermaritzburg and, just like the famous last runner to beat the clock in the Comrades Marathon that ends every second year in the KwaZulu-Natal capital, he was the focus of sporting drama on Sunday as he was the last of the 144 players chosen in the draft in Cape Town, picked by outgoing Proteas coach Russell Domingo for the Pretoria Mavericks.

“I had been out on the golf course during the day and once I got home I started streaming the draft. It was quite nerve-wracking and I thought it wasn’t going to happen for me, so it was a pleasant surprise to be the last guy chosen. I’m extremely excited about this tournament,” Nipper said on Sunday evening.

Nipper has spent a long time on the fringes of the Dolphins squad, having made his debut for them back in 2009/10, but has never made a fool of himself at franchise level, with an economy rate of 7.88 with the ball in the dozen T20 Challenge matches he has played.

And now he is part of a squad that includes global superstars like AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo and Morne Morkel, as well as fellow spinners Keshav Maharaj and Johan Botha, the veteran former Proteas captain now based in Australia.

“I have no concerns about being in Pretoria, I would have taken anywhere. I feel like I am part of KZN and I’ve tried to be loyal as a homegrown player, although I am a bit disappointed that I haven’t played more because I believe I’ve proven myself more than I had to.

“But it’s awesome to be chosen by the Proteas coach, hopefully he’s seen a bit of potential in me. Obviously they know what they want and it’s nice to be involved in their plans. I hope I get to play a couple of games, but I’m very happy for Kesh, he’s taken to the international stage so well, he’s got that experience now and someone like Johan Botha has been around the world. So I’m very keen just to learn a bit more from them,” Nipper said.

 

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1629755/the-long-shot-that-nipped-in-last-in-the-t20-global-league-draft/

John McFarland Column: Boks are in a dark space & I know how that feels 0

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Ken

 

It was obviously a big shock for the Springboks to have lost to Italy at the weekend and everybody involved will feel that they have let the country down. But it’s now about going forward and getting things right for this weekend’s game against Wales.

The key is the coach, the wolf pack follows the pace of the leader and if he’s energised and shows how hard he wants to fight, then the rest will follow.

The nice thing about sport is that you get the chance to turn things around the next week and a good win against Wales will maybe show that the players have settled in better into the new game-plan.

In any coach’s life, they will go through a crisis, they will have a bad loss, because nobody wins 100% of the time. Every coach has their time under pressure, even the best coaches – for example Jose’ Mourinho at Chelsea or Eddie Jones at the Reds.

They’ve got to know what to do and how to put it right the following week.

In my time with the Springboks, I was part of the squad that lost to Japan at the World Cup. That was also a big blow to all our careers and I remember the day itself very well.

During the week everyone was filled with euphoria, we had landed in London, had the World Cup welcome, and we were really over-confident.

Japan certainly deserved their win, as did Italy last weekend.

On that Saturday evening in Brighton, it felt like being in a dark hole, certainly the players were feeling that. We had a very short meeting, some of the senior guys stood up and said it wasn’t good enough and we had to make sure we came back. We were still in the World Cup, so we were lucky that we had the chance to turn it around.

When you lose like that, everyone goes in different directions, especially when it’s the national team. Nobody looks anyone in the eyes, everyone feels a huge responsibility for their role in the disaster.

As part of the coaching staff, you pore through the video, looking at what was good and what was bad, preparing yourself for a really critical review of exactly what went wrong and how to better it. You deal with the team and also individuals in one-on-one situations.

After that game we had a long trip to Birmingham, five hours on a bus, and not one word was spoken. We stopped for lunch and there was still very little chat.

We kept the physical routine the same that week, but we made some key changes in other areas of our schedule.

On the Monday morning the players had their usual gym and recovery sessions, but then instead of a review of the game, we had an inquest. Every player got up and took responsibility for their part in the defeat, and said what they were going to get right and bring to the table for the next weekend.

Believe me, tears were shed because it’s pretty galling that the game you played with such joy as a child can put you in such a dark space.

Responsibility was taken by the whole group. Heyneke Meyer stood at the front and said this is the way we are going to do it from now on.

With all that cleaned out of the way, I remember there was a new focus from the players, everyone made a tremendous shift. Jean de Villiers led from the front, he said we will fix this, we will put it right, as did all the senior players. Training was very physical and intense that week as you’d expect from a wounded Springbok team.

Then they put on a real performance of pride and passion in beating Samoa 46-6, allowing them zero tries as we absolutely smashed them backwards. Duane Vermeulen was only meant to play about 50 minutes, but he played the full 80 and put in a real shift at the coalface.

Unfortunately Jean de Villiers was injured in that match and had to return home, but we won all our games after losing to Japan and pushed the All Blacks to within two points in the World Cup semifinal, the difference being a Dan Carter drop goal and an overturned penalty.

We were all really proud at the fact that we had come back and pushed New Zealand really close, putting on a far better performance against them than Australia did in the final, and then we took the bronze medal from Argentina in convincing fashion.

Heyneke Meyer pulled the team together with his staff and senior players, the core group pushed the boat in the right direction. From the Monday after the Japan loss, we were one team and we knew that one more defeat would put us out of the World Cup.

Some of the squad have been involved in both defeats to Japan and Italy and hopefully they can turn it around now like they did in the World Cup.

It’s always a battle of the gainline against Wales, with Jamie Roberts, Alex Cuthbert and Dan Biggar, and the Springboks will need to be really defensively solid in the backs … and obviously take their opportunities much better than they did against Italy.

 

 

John McFarland is the assistant coach of the Kubota Spears in Japan and was the Springbok defence coach from 2012-15, having 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 narrow gap on All Blacks as World Cup looms 0

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Ken

Next year’s World Cup may only be in the corner of their minds, but all the players and coaches involved in the epic Ellis Park Test between South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday night agree that the Springboks have largely narrowed the gap between themselves and the world champions.
The Springboks squeaked home 27-25 to end a five-game losing streak against the All Blacks, but recent matches between the two sides have been desperately close with, as New Zealand coach Steve Hansen acknowledged, the scoreboard not always reflecting the toughness of the battle.

“There’s very little between the sides, as seen today. There’s still a wee way to go until the World Cup, but we’ll just have to get better. Playing the Springboks at Ellis Park is always hard and tough, and you have to be spot-on to get the result. But we didn’t start as well as we would have liked, and that made it a hard old day,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said after the defeat.

“It came down to a 55m penalty under pressure but my heart says the Springboks probably deserved to shade it,” Hansen said magnanimously. “Our team hates losing, but the right team won although I’m bloody proud of the way we nearly snuck it at the end. The last ruck penalty could have gone either way, and then we’d be sitting here happy chappy.”

“I always wanted to know what it feels like to beat the All Blacks!” satisfied Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said.

“I’m very proud of the team, these are the sort of games you have to pull through, and I’m very relieved. The game could have gone either way, the All Blacks came back brilliantly and they really are a quality side. The last game between us was the same.

“I’m humbled to have been involved in such a great Test, I’ve seen a lot of great games, but this was against the best in the world. It was on a knife’s edge and the win showed the team has developed. I’m very proud of the depth because we’ve had a lot of injuries,” Meyer said.

“The last couple of games against the All Blacks have been colossal, the others could have gone our way and this one could have gone their way. But it was important for us to win tonight, the whole year I’ve believed we are good enough to beat them but it was a box we hadn’t ticked, the one thing we hadn’t done. I know it means a lot to the players and the coaches,” Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said.

Both Meyer and De Villiers were on the same page that Lambie had to kick for poles rather than set up a lineout when the crucial match-winning penalty was awarded to the Springboks in the 79th minute. That was despite there being real doubt that the replacement flyhalf had the length of boot to succeed.

“Pat has a very cool head but I wasn’t sure if he could kick that far. Handre was kicking them over from 65m in the warm-up so I asked Pat how far he could kick,” Meyer recounted. “He said he’d tell me after the warm-up, but he never came back to me! But it was a great kick under massive pressure.”

“There was no doubt, I asked Pat if it was in range and he said ‘definitely’. We have a saying in the squad, ‘Know your job, Do your job’ and Pat did exactly that. He had another 10m on the kick!” De Villiers said.

http://citizen.co.za/252618/world-cup-awaits-boks-kiwis-epic-clash/



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