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Ken Borland

Nella says he won’t be roaring off the field as new Easterns coach 0

Posted on February 02, 2017 by Ken


Former Proteas pace bowler Andre Nel is the new coach of the Easterns team and says you’re not nearly as likely to hear him roaring from off the field as you were likely to hear him on the field during his playing days.

“It’s hard not being as fiery, but my job is to understand and manage the players, look after them well and get the best out of them. I’m pretty laid back, but discipline, respect and never giving up are things I won’t compromise on. I want them to be fiery,” Nel says.

The 37-year-old, who played 36 Tests and 79 ODIs for South Africa, has been coaching at school and academy level and sees the Easterns appointment as his breakthrough first job at senior level.

“When you’ve played with that much passion, it’s hard to just take yourself out of competition. For me it was more about passion than aggression and so once I stopped playing I started coaching at schools and the academy. My biggest advantage is that I know and understand how the players think and what their needs are. And they respect me too because they know I’ve done it myself, I know how cricket works,” Nel says.


Nel said his long-time mentor, Ray Jennings, would be helping him at Easterns, especially in terms of setting up structures and improving the discipline.

“The big thing at Easterns is that there’s no special schools identified, we need to pick three or four feeders and try and develop those. Plus we need tertiary institutions to keep players in the system and create an academy that works.

“It will take time, but it’s a lot more than just coaching, we’ve got to get the structures right. We’ve also already spoken about club facilities, which are poor and don’t give players the best opportunity to show what they can do. And we need to make Willowmoore Park somewhere where we can proud of too. Others hate coming there, but we must be proud of our office,” Nel says.

And, in terms of on-the-field action and his own area of expertise – bowling, Nel says for him the yorker is a much under-utilised skill.

“Batting skill has moved so far forward with guys playing reverse-sweeps and laps, but bowling skill seems to be standing still. The slower-ball bouncer and slower yorker are both old news and we need to try and figure out what we can do to bring a different dimension to bowling.

“We need to be able to nail the yorker, but nobody in South Africa seems able to bowl it on demand. We’re a bit predictable; yes, the yorker is hard to bowl, but it’s a dying art.

“The laws are all conducive to batting, so maybe in the powerplay the bowlers should be able to choose whether they want to bowl with a new or an old ball … ” Nel says.


Lambie injures shoulder & out for 6-10 weeks 0

Posted on February 08, 2016 by Ken


Sharks flyhalf Pat Lambie injured his shoulder in his team’s impressive 29-21 win over Toulon and is likely to be out of action for six to 10 weeks, according to coach Gary Gold.

Lambie bravely dived to secure a loose ball in the build-up to the Sharks’ third try, just before halftime, and injured the AC joint in his shoulder, forcing him off the field and into a sling.

The captain is undergoing further scans and the Sharks are hoping that what is basically a ligament injury in the shoulder is between a Grade II and Grade III tear and does not require surgery.

But that would still rule the Springbok star out of SuperRugby until April and the start of their tour to Australasia.

The Sharks led 24-0 early in the second half of their match against Toulon and displayed a great attitude on defence and pleasing intent and ruthlessness on attack.

Busy scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, incisive centre Paul Jordaan, the Du Preez twins, Daniel and Jean-Luc, and wing Lwazi Mvovo got the Sharks’ tries, while Toulon’s two tries and a penalty try all came from driving mauls.

Loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez, closely followed by his eighthman brother, got through a mountain of work and was the most impressive player on the field as the Sharks made an encouraging start to a year in which they have to improve on a disappointing 2015.


Right attitude crucial in blustery East London 0

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Ken


A strong north-easterly wind was buffeting East London Golf Club yesterday on the eve of the Africa Open, with today’s first round of the European/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event likely to separate those golfers with the right attitude from those who approach the blustery conditions in negative fashion.

The wind is forecast to switch to a 35km/h south-westerly today, making much of the work done in the practice rounds irrelevant because the direction of the wind plays such a big part in how this short, old-style course plays.

But Keith Horne, one of South Africa’s best players in the wind having grown up on the coast, says the right attitude will be crucial at East London Golf Club.

“I’m not as good in the wind as I used to be because I’ve lived in Joburg for the last 13 years, but I grew up on the coast and I have the technique and mindset to play in the wind. It’s mostly about mental preparation, if you come in with the wrong attitude and try and fight the wind, then you’re not going to do well. You’ve got to use it and accept it,” Horne said yesterday.

The 43-year-old Horne is a consistent performer in the Africa Open, but one poor round has normally let him down.

But he remains one of the strong local hopes in a tournament that has never been won by a foreigner: since 2008 the champions have been Shaun Norris, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen (twice), Darren Fichardt and Thomas Aiken.

Norris and Fichardt are the only former winners in this week’s field, however, and it’s been an age since South African golfers found themselves so dominated at co-sanctioned events. Just two of the last six European Tour tournaments in this country have been won by locals, with Branden Grace’s cruise to victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek adding to Aiken’s win in last year’s Africa Open.

And it is English golfers who have been leading the charge: Andy Sullivan is one of the favourites in East London after claiming back-to-back titles at the SA and Joburg Opens, Ross Fisher won the Tshwane Open and Danny Willett triumphed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

Oliver Fisher is back at the Africa Open after losing to Aiken in a playoff last year, while David Howell and Simon Dyson bring considerable pedigree to the tournament as well.

Howell spoke about hanging on to Sullivan’s coat-tails and the 28-year-old is certainly the man of the moment.

“It’s been like a fairytale winning two so quickly, but I still have a lot to prove. I’m in a pretty good place, 58th in the world and the top 50 is obviously a nice carrot with qualification for the Masters,” Sullivan said yesterday.

Perhaps the best bet to maintain South Africa’s dominance at the Africa Open is Jaco van Zyl, who has previously chosen the tournament as his favourite summer event.

“I fell in love with this course because it offers a lot of risk and reward and a lot of options, but it punishes any wayward shots. When the wind is up, it tests every shot in the game and strategy is key,” Van Zyl said.


Bok scrum fade had much to do with captaincy issues 0

Posted on July 20, 2015 by Ken


Much of the blame for South Africa’s late defeat in Brisbane has been laid on the scrum, but what hasn’t been mentioned is the effect losing captain Victor Matfield had on the set-piece. And now the Springboks are set to name an interim captain on Tuesday afternoon, with Schalk Burger also injured, leaving Francois Louw as the likely new leader.

The Springbok scrum had been dominant for the first hour against the Wallabies, the Sharks front-row of Jannie du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis producing a much-improved display, but with the whole front row controversially replaced, the home side ended the match in charge of that set-piece, providing them with a priceless platform for their late charge.

Captain Matfield had of course left the field in the first half with a hamstring strain and, although the lanky lock does not contribute a huge amount in terms of scrummaging, his absence from the tight five was nevertheless keenly felt as the Wallabies stole control in that facet.

That’s because the Australians were allowed to close the gap at set-up and engage early, something an experienced member of the tight five like Matfield would no doubt have brought to the attention of referee Nigel Owens. Instead, Burger was leading the side from the back of the scrum and the Wallabies got away with their clever tactic.

“The Australians changed their set-up, they came a bit closer which gave them more shoulder contact before the engagement. It disrupted us and we found it very difficult to set the scrum. Sometimes it is difficult to adapt and they were able to come at us early in the scrums in the second half,” scrum coach Pieter de Villiers said on Monday.

Much has been written about Louw’s leadership qualities, the 30-year-old having done a marvellous job as captain of Bath. He was another experienced old head who was sorely missed in the final quarter in Brisbane, not least of all because of his work at the breakdown, especially since the Wallabies brought on David Pocock to partner Michael Hooper and turn the tide in another area of previous Springbok dominance.

Louw left the field because of a bad gash to his cheek, but doctor Craig Roberts said on Monday that he will be fine to play against the All Blacks this weekend.

A less-obvious facial blow was suffered by Burger, whose cheekbone apparently popped out when he blew his nose after the game. The veteran loose forward went for a scan on Monday and the news is apparently not good, given the hurried announcement from the Springbok camp on Monday night that an interim captain will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.

If Burger is ruled out, then it seems Louw, his former Western Province team-mate, will beat him to become the Springboks’ 55th Test captain.

Amidst all the injury negativity, one of the most positive aspects of the Rugby Championship opener was the return to top form of the two Du Plessis brothers and Mtawarira. Hard, experienced men such as them will be needed at the World Cup.

“We’re very happy with the way the scrums started off. Heyneke had faith in the Sharks front row and we’re very happy they came through because they were under pressure.

“Jannie had a very good game, his work-rate was good and in the previous game too. He scrummed very well, so we’re very happy with that. No player is ever in top shape for the whole year.

“Beast also scrummed very well and I thought Heinke van der Merwe, for someone who hasn’t played for the Springboks for a long time, did very well too,” De Villiers said.

The match against Australia provided the opportunity for some fringe players to stake their claim for the World Cup squad and nobody took their chance better than Lood de Jager, who replaced Matfield after 20 minutes.

“We wanted to use the match for rotation, for guys to get game time. Some players got a bit of experience and that will be great for the World Cup.

“The plan was always to rotate guys up front because it’s in the best interests of the team for players to get game time and enough match fitness.

“Lood gave a great little performance, he was strong in the scrum and great overall, making several tackles. He had a very high work-rate,” De Villiers said.

Doctor Roberts also announced that flank Marcell Coetzee is likely to miss Saturday’s game due to a big contusion to the muscles around the knee, while he confirmed that Jean de Villiers, who came through 60 minutes for Western Province at the weekend “fairly well”, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit will all continue their rehab with the Springbok squad but are not ready to play yet.

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