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Ken Borland

Germany get the tolerance & the only goal 0

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Ken



South Africa went down 1-0 to Germany in their Hockey World League women’s quarterfinal at the Wits Astro on Tuesday night, in a game marred by the officials’ tolerance of the Germans’ over-robust play and their bumbling use of the video referral system.

After an evenly-contested first quarter, in which there were chances at both ends but SA goalkeeper Nicole la Fleur’s double-save at a short-corner was a highlight, the home side launched a promising attack which led to a short-corner as Sulette Damons’ good cross was met by Jade Mayne, whose reverse-sticks shot was saved but not without a penalty corner being conceded.

Bernie Coston was then barged over as she went for the deflection from the set-piece, an infringement missed by New Zealand umpire Kelly Hudson. But South Africa called for the video referral and Russian TV umpire Elena Eskina agreed that there had been an off-the-ball body tackle, but called for a card and a short-corner. Ordinarily, a card would be given for a deliberate offence and, being in the circle, that should lead to a penalty stroke.

Umpire Hudson then awarded the short-corner but did not issue the card, leading to confusion all round.

“We asked about the card and what the video umpire said, but the umpire just waved us away and said we must play on,” South Africa captain Nicolene Terblanche, who was celebrating her 200th cap, said afterwards.

The Germans were also extremely physical, often shouldering South African players off the ball, but the home side maintained their composure exceptionally well and certainly ensured the world’s seventh-ranked side were in a fierce contest.

“Germany are always physical and they won a lot of 50/50 balls, which are about who fights hardest. But we were very composed and stuck to our guns, I was very happy with how we reacted. We had control of the game in general and had enough chances to get a win out of it, but we just couldn’t turn them into goals,” South Africa coach Sheldon Rostron said.

Germany brought their typical measured, controlled approach to the game, but South Africa more than held their own as they too played mature, impressive hockey. Their build-up work was at times brilliant, but sadly the finishing touches were lacking.

With two minutes to go to halftime, Camille Nobis received the ball close to goal, swivelled and easily took La Fleur out of the game before flipping the ball into the empty goal to give Germany their 1-0 lead.

South Africa had more than enough chances to equalise, starting with one just a minute later when German goalkeeper Julia Ciupka dived to keep out the impressive Ilse Davids’ reverse-sticks shot from the top of the circle.

In the 41st minute, Damons just had the goalkeeper to beat, but lost control of the ball and was tackled by Ciupka, but the best chance of all fell to Candice Manuel, the heroine of the thrilling win over the USA that put South Africa into the quarterfinals.

Davids intercepted the ball in the German defence and passed to Manuel, who flicked over the advancing goalkeeper only to see the ball bounce wide of the open goal.

The German goalkeeper conceded another short-corner in the 54th minute, but with the ball bobbling about the goalmouth, the home side were just unable to scramble the ball into goal.

The Germans had a goal disallowed on review, umpire Hudson missing that the ball had come off the leg of an attacker, and the South Africans forced one last short-corner in the 59th minute and should have been awarded another but the ball was cleared.

The home side will now chase fifth spot and automatic qualification for the World Cup in London next year, with the gutsy Irish side the first hurdle to get over in that regard. The match will be played on Thursday, before the semi-finals between Germany and Argentina, and England and the United States.

Results: USA 1 (Michelle Vittese) Japan 0; Argentina 2 (Delfina Merino, Julia Gomes) Ireland 1 (Roisin Upton); England 4 (Giselle Ansley, Alex Danson, Susannah Townsend, Hannah Martin) India 1 (Gurjit Kaur); South Africa 0 Germany 1 (Camille Nobis).

Wednesday’s fixtures (men’s quarterfinals): 11.15am Australia v Egypt; 1.30pm Spain v Ireland; 3.45pm Germany v France; 6pm Belgium v New Zealand.


SA rugby’s archaic structure marring the game 0

Posted on September 09, 2012 by Ken

Suspended Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola may or may not have committed a crime when he marred that sport’s reputation so badly, but in a way the whole bonus scandal did the game a favour; it has ensured a revamp of its administrative structure, belatedly dragging it into the professional era.

Cricket South Africa have announced they intend to restructure their board to comprise five independent directors and five drawn from their Members Forum (the 11 provinces), which had me thinking the pressure is now firmly on the South African Rugby Union to do the same.

The whole shameful handling of the Southern Kings vs. Lions Super Rugby situation is a direct consequence of the archaic structure of South African rugby. The General Council, comprising representatives of the 14 provinces (CSA don’t include Northern Free State, Mpumalanga and South-Western districts), watches over the game in this country and they had the final say when it came to next year’s participation in the Sanzar tournament.

But many of these 14 gentlemen are tin-pot dictators and, almost without exception, they all concentrate on the individual interests of their province rather than the broader good of South African rugby. And then there is the anomaly that the smaller unions (those in the Currie Cup First Division) have the same power as Western Province or the Sharks and consequently have been known to sell their loyalty/vote to the highest bidder.

Lions President Kevin de Klerk inherited a union that was in an absolute mess and on the verge of bankruptcy. De Klerk, the former Springbok lock, is a thoroughly decent man but his battle to keep the Lions in Super Rugby was doomed to fail because he based it on good old amateur rugby principles of “fair play”, “what’s good for the game” and a handshake being a firm agreement.

His problem was that the other unions – even those that had pledged their support – were only ever going to look after themselves. De Klerk had hinted at the five Super Rugby unions banding together to save the Lions, but in the end the Gautengers have been banished.

They’re singing a sad old song at Ellis Park these days, but their own naivety and desperately poor results have been partly to blame. They now find themselves in the mud at the bottom of the pond but, just like the Natal Rugby Union did in the 1980s when they were relegated to the Currie Cup B Section. The Lions have to find a way to rise like a Lotus flower and restore their reputation as one of the finest teams in the country.

And what of the Kings’ chances in Super Rugby?

Cheeky Watson, the president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (Epru), admits that there is still plenty to do.

“The important thing for us is to deliver a professional team that attracts attention, which we have succeeded in doing, and now it’s time to build the foundational structures: our academy, a working relationship with the (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan) university, and to put structures in place at the bottom.

“With 120 clubs spread all across the region and wonderful schools, this is a sustainable franchise. A lot of building still has to be done, but that cannot negate the fact that the foundation is unbelievably strong. It’s just to get the two to meet: the professional team and the foundational structures,” Watson told SA Sports Illustrated.

Much has been made of the Southern Kings’ transformation credentials, that they will provide a lot of black rugby players to the national cause.

But scratching beneath the surface, transformation does not seem to have been a roaring success in the Eastern Cape either.

Ithembelihle High School in New Brighton Township is probably the most successful black schoolboy rugby team in the country. But despite beating the likes of Framesby, Newton, Despatch, Muir College and Daniel Pienaar Technical High, and proving themselves to be competitive in the Grey High Easter Festival, Ithembelihle complain that Port Elizabeth’s white schools no longer want to play against them and that they have received precious little support from the Epru.

One look at their facilities seems to prove the point. Sports Illustrated reported they did not have a scrum machine and that their field resembled “a stony sandpit in summer, a lake in winter and a subtropical grassland in between”.

And why is this river of black talent not flowing into their provincial teams?

Last weekend, the EP Kings fielded just three Black Africans – Mpho Mbiyozo, Jongi Nokwe and Siyanda Grey – in their 22-man squad for the match against the Valke.

The Border Bulldogs were marginally better with four, while the combined figures for the two teams at U19 (8/44) and U21 (10/44) level suggest the Kings need to concentrate on transformation as much as anyone else.

Of course, the big five unions have relied on Eastern Cape talent, especially to boost their player-of-colour numbers, for many years. But they clearly figured out that if they turned their back on the Lions, another source of players, with more top-level experience, would suddenly become available.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies has been on a mini-tour of the country in recent days to check out where he should sign on the dotted line and the likes of Pat Cilliers, Franco van der Merwe, Jaco Taute, JC Janse van Rensburg and Derick Minnie will surely soon be on their way too.

And, in a competition where the local derbies have been notoriously tough, who is more likely to beat the Bulls – the Lions or the Southern Kings?

I know who my money would be on.

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