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Ken Borland



Ackers deserves enormous credit & support 0

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Ken

 

Johan Ackermann deserves enormous credit for the way he has transformed the Lions team over the last five years but he also deserves the public’s support for the tough decision he has made to further his career overseas with Gloucester.

Coaches always have a shelf-life with a team and guys like Alex Ferguson or Ian McIntosh staying for many years at one club are the exception rather than the rule. Ackermann has been the provider of so much to the Lions – rebuilding their culture after their morale was shattered during the John Mitchell years; up-skilling them such that they now lead the way in South Africa when it comes to the most progressive brand of rugby; helping to build Springboks who will surely do the country proud if trusted by Allister Coetzee in future; and giving them steel, not only up front amongst their highly impressive pack but also in the way they are now able to win the tight games, as they did against the Sharks last weekend.

So who can begrudge Ackers the chance to advance his own career a bit?

There is no doubt the 46-year-old would never be wrenching himself away from his Lions family and the Ellis Park supporters – the way he broke down while making the announcement of his departure makes this clear – unless he believed a move was essential to further his own highly-promising coaching career.

Ackermann has rightly been spoken of as a future Springbok coach, but there is no top-level international coach at the moment who has been employed in just one country. Steve Hansen coached Wales before joining the All Blacks staff; Eddie Jones was involved with the Australian, Japanese and South African sides before rejuvenating England; Michael Cheika coached Leinster and Stade Francais before getting the Wallabies job; Joe Schmidt is a Kiwi who coached in France before taking over Ireland, and Scotland coach Vern Cotter has the same story.

As brilliant as Ackermann has been, he has no real experience outside of coaching the Lions to a Super Rugby final and one Currie Cup crown. It can only be good for South African rugby that one of its most promising coaches spreads his wings and enjoys new horizons.

There also should be no panic at Ellis Park with the departure of their much-loved coach. As far as a replacement goes – the successor will take charge for the Currie Cup later this year – there is no need for the Lions to look further than what they already have.

The fact that the Lions have someone like the highly-rated Swys de Bruin – who has done well as a head coach before with Griquas and will undoubtedly build on the legacy of the last five years, providing great continuity – means president Kevin de Klerk and CEO Rudolf Straeuli, who have both also played key roles in the Lions’ resurgence, can kip easy when it comes to Ackermann’s successor.

Their structures are clearly in good nick – part of the wonderful legacy Ackermann has left – with both their U19 and U21 teams winning their respective provincial championships last year, so if someone has to move up from that level it should not be so high an elevation as to cause a ricked neck.

In fact, Straeuli used the terms “continuity” and “stability” several times while responding to questions about the road forward for the Lions, so it is not unreasonable to expect De Bruin, JP Ferreira (defence) and Ivan van Rooyen (conditioning) will continue in their roles and have more responsibility.

For those who believe Ackermann has turned his back on the Springbok coaching job, it seems clear that both Allister Coetzee and Rassie Erasmus are in his way for the foreseeable future.

The SA A job is an indication that he is somewhere on Saru’s radar, and he is still willing to coach the second-stringers when SuperRugby breaks for the mid-year internationals, but new challenges and experiences await overseas and it is exciting to think just how good a coach Ackermann will be when he returns to these shores.

http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170408/282621737571662

Deysel recovers quicker than expected & will lead Sharks 0

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Ken

 

Loose forward Jean Deysel will be leading the Sharks out into battle against the Western Force in their SuperRugby match in Durban on Saturday, the Springbok having made a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury.

Although Francois Steyn will be playing – and replaces the resting Pat Lambie at flyhalf – because Sanzar’s appeal against his exoneration on a tip-tackle charge will now only take place on Tuesday, coach Gary Gold felt the captaincy would just be an additional burden on a player who has had a troubled start to the season.

Deysel will be no stranger to the captaincy, having captained the Sharks in numerous Currie Cup games as well as in some SuperRugby encounters.

“The captaincy was an interesting debate, and if Jean hadn’t come through well this week we would have gone with Marco Wentzel as our captain. The other guys in the mix were Frans Steyn and Ryan Kankowski. I am sure Frans will lead the side again at some stage soon, but given the controversy around him this week we felt it was the wrong time to shoulder him with the extra burden of captaincy,” Gold said.

There was advance notification of Lambie, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and flank Marcell Coetzee being rested this weekend and their replacements are Steyn, who will bring just as much presence to the number 10 jersey, Conrad Hoffman and Deysel.

The powerful Andre Esterhuizen comes in for Steyn at inside centre.

Deysel will be playing blindside flank with Renaldo Bothma shifting to openside.

With so many first-choice players out, the back-up players now have the chance to state their worth.

“Having to make so many changes is challenging, there is no doubt about that, but at the same time it is exciting as we have a lot of depth to our squad and this is a chance for us to see what the players who might not usually get an opportunity do in a big game. This is a chance for us to look at our depth, to assess what we have available,” Gold said.

Team: 15-SP Marais, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-JP Pietersen, 12-Andre Esterhuizen, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 10-Francois Steyn, 9-Conrad Hoffmann, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Jean Deysel, 6-Renaldo Bothma, 5-Marco Wentzel, 4-Mouritz Botha, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Kyle Cooper, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements – 16-Monde Hadebe, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20-Daniel du Preez, 21-Stefan Ungerer, 22-Fred Zeilinga, 23-Waylon Murray.

Van Wyk enters & steers Dolphins through tricky times to handy lead 0

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Ken

 

Captain Morne van Wyk made his entrance at a tricky time for the Dolphins and steered them to a handy first-innings lead on the second day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Unlimited Titans at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

Van Wyk came to the crease midway through the second session with the Dolphins on 149 for four replying to the Titans’ first innings of 267. The veteran wicketkeeper/batsman batted through to the close of a day shortened by a thunderstorm, reaching 76 not out and taking the visitors to 314 for six, a lead of 47.

Van Wyk and his younger brother Divan were the two Dolphins batsmen who really played like adults, getting in and making it count, and their partnership of 70 for the fifth wicket was key.

Opener Divan van Wyk, blossoming this season after only sporadic previous Sunfoil Series appearances, batted for just over five hours in scoring 87, while Morne has been at the crease for three-and-a-quarter hours.

Having leaked 51 runs in nine overs at the end of the first day, the Titans bowlers came roaring back on the second morning through Ethy Mbhalati.

Imraan Khan had looked in superb touch as he raced to 32 not out overnight, but to the visitors’ frustration he then chased a delivery outside off stump from Mbhalati and was caught behind in the second over of the day for 36.

Mbhalati then bowled Khaya Zondo for one and a fired-up Marchant de Lange cleaned up Cody Chetty for 16.

The lanky Mbhalati added a third wicket after lunch when he had Daryn Smit caught behind for 16, while left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe bowled both Divan van Wyk and Andile Phehlukwayo (10). But the Titans could not dissimulate their frustrations at the end of the day as Morne van Wyk and Calvin Savage (36*) then added an unbeaten 81 for the seventh wicket against the second new ball.

*An excellent batting display by the bizhub Highveld Lions has put them in control of their match against the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein, with the visitors scoring 320 for four to already lead by 72 runs.

Neil McKenzie was on 72 not out, playing a wonderful innings and having stroked 12 gorgeous fours, while Dominic Hendricks belied his tender years with 71, Rassie van der Dussen raced to 70 and Temba Bavuma just added to the Knights’ frustration with 57.

*At Newlands, Richard Levi and Justin Ontong roared to half-centuries as the Nashua Cape Cobras took control of their match against the Chevrolet Warriors, reaching 316 for three at stumps, in reply to the visitors’ 288 all out.

While Levi belted 79 with 14 fours and Ontong had raced to 75 not out off 98 balls at stumps, Omphile Ramela was the baking powder that allowed the Cobras to produce such a good cake, batting for four-and-a-half hours and reaching 81 not out at stumps.

The Warriors had started the second day on 274 for eight, but Rory Kleinveldt reduced them to 288 all out by blowing away the last two wickets and finishing with four for 59, the same figures as Dane Paterson.

 

My question for Heyneke Meyer 0

Posted on November 06, 2015 by Ken

 

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer returns to South Africa this morning and will face the press after a disappointing end to their World Cup campaign; my question to him would be “Why do you think you deserve to continue in your post, what progress has been made over the last four years?”

In my opinion, there has been no real progress. There is no meaningful silverware to show, the good results have been cancelled out by some truly awful results, a world ranking of three is nothing to shout about, and, as clearly shown in the dour win over Argentina in the third-place playoff, Meyer cannot even say the game plan has evolved under his watch. And he continues to cause outrage when it comes to transformation – his treatment of Rudi Paige, Lwazi Mvovo and Siya Kolisi showing that he just doesn’t get it when it comes to that vital issue.

Meyer is an honourable man, as passionate as anyone when it comes to Springbok rugby, and he says he wants to be part of the solution that will fix the problems. But in my eyes he is part of the problem; his emotional excesses and fear of losing rub off on the team. The Springboks have not shown the ability to adapt to what is happening on the field, they are too stuck in a rigid game plan.

Watching New Zealand deservedly win the World Cup final clearly showed the direction the Springboks should be going. The All Blacks are peerless when it comes to vision and adaptability on the rugby field and it was surely destiny that Dan Carter would be man of the match in winning the World Cup final.

Meyer seemed to be heading in the right direction in 2013 and 2014 when he tried a more up-tempo, ball-in-hand approach; two epic Tests against the All Blacks resulted and Ellis Park was sold out as she hosted two of the best games of rugby I have witnessed.

But the coach failed to build on those performances, losing his nerve in this World Cup year and retreating back into a conservative, unambitious game plan that was easy to counter. Losing to Japan was bad enough, but the Springboks had the added ignominy of being called “anti-rugby” and being as boring as Argentina were when they first joined the Rugby Championship in 2012.

The fact that his team struggled to beat an Argentina side missing nine first-choice players last weekend rams home that Meyer has not added anything to the Springboks. Replacing him at the helm of a team that clearly needs renewing, especially in terms of strategy, is the only sensible option because Meyer has shown that he cannot take the team forward.

On a positive note, a big high-five to the England Rugby Union for hosting a top-class World Cup. A pleasing feature of the tournament was the improvement shown by the minnows: apart from Japan’s incredible heroics, there were also no massive hidings as rugby showed it is a truly global game.

Even the referees, who are under the harshest lens, stepped up and, barring one or two mishaps, the officiating was of a high standard, helped by a greater reliance on the TMO.

 

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    James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

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