for quality writing

Ken Borland



Mosehle makes the honeymoon worthwhile for the Titans 0

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Ken

 

Mangaliso Mosehle has enjoyed an extended honeymoon phase in the Titans’ ranks and this weekend the 25-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman repaid the faith coach Rob Walter has shown in him with his extraordinary match-winning innings in the RamSlam T20 Challenge final against the Dolphins.

Mosehle has always been highly-rated by the Titans, his talent evident in how sweetly he strikes the ball, but he has struggled to convert his ability into consistent runs. Batting averages of 18.79 (FC), 24.47 (List A) and 11.60 (T20) for the Titans in the three different formats before his sensational 87 off just 39 balls against the Dolphins speak to an unfulfilled talent whose chances may have been running out.

“People only see the end product in the match, they don’t see the amount of work Mangi has done behind the scenes. I’m very chuffed for him and I hope he now believes in himself as much as I believe in him. There’s definitely no question about his skill, but it’s been a battle for him. Guys just need a defining moment in their careers and there’s no greater stage to have one on than in a final,” a delighted Walter said after the Titans’ seven-wicket victory with 19 balls to spare.

“It’s a relief because I’ve been getting starts and I needed to kick on. This innings will give me a lot of confidence because for me it’s most important to get past the 20s, and I really did what I needed to do tonight,” Mosehle said after his highest T20 score for the Titans and just his second half-century.

Mother Cricket is at her most fickle when it comes to the T20 game, but the Titans completed an exceptional campaign with their ninth victory in 11 games, eight of them achieved in comfortable fashion.

“It’s like a dream to win nine out of 11 matches, that’s a pretty decent campaign, and it’s been thanks to the right strategy based on the personnel we have. All 15 players in the squad offer something different and we use eight bowlers because we have them. We’ve tried to match the weaknesses of the opposition as we perceive them with the bowlers we have and it’s fantastic that we have guys who can offer all the options.

“You’ve got to hand it to the team, they’ve been able to step up under pressure. It’s been an outstanding season,” Walter said.

 

Four reasons for the Springboks to be optimistic 0

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Ken

1)      Their forwards can match anybody

While the backs stole much of the glory at Ellis Park, it was the hard workers up front who made the razzle-dazzle possible. The All Blacks had a tough time making much headway with ball-in-hand as their ball-carriers were suffocated by the physicality of the Springbok forwards. New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said after the game that the pressure exerted at close quarters by the South Africans caused many of the handling mistakes that robbed them of momentum.

The Springboks had a few problems in the lineouts in the second half, but that set-piece was generally solid and the scrum, which had been the focus of much concern earlier in the competition, ended the competition in impressive fashion by enjoying an edge over the All Blacks.

 

2)      They have two world-class, match-winning flyhalves

Flyhalf has been a position of almost perpetual uncertainty for coach Heyneke Meyer, but Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie were the heroes of their win over the All Blacks and have shown they have what it takes to perform against the best, under severe pressure.

Pollard has been touted as the next big thing ever since he was the player of the tournament as he led the South Africa U20s to the final of the IRB Junior World Cup in June, and he was given his first Test start at the end of that month against Scotland, playing with tremendous assurance in a 55-6 win for the Springboks.

Two more starts against Argentina followed, but with the forwards struggling, he did not set the world alight and Morne Steyn returned for the match against Australia in Perth. The veteran’s disastrous performance meant the number 10 jersey was given back to Pollard for the match against the All Blacks in Wellington, with the 20-year-old producing a composed display.

A solid outing against Australia in Cape Town followed, but this weekend at Ellis Park he was nothing sort of top-class.

A graceful runner with ball in hand, he is deceptively quick and very powerful, as he showed by scoring through McCaw.

A dangerous, direct runner, Pollard adds considerably to the Springbok attack, but his kicking is still a work in progress.

The presence on the bench of somebody as cool and composed under pressure as Lambie provides tremendous security for Meyer. The Sharks star played pivotal roles as a replacement in the wins over both Australia and New Zealand and, having spent many frustrating days injured and then waiting to get more game time, the 23-year-old can look forward to many more Test appearances.

The Steyn era may now have passed but the Springboks will be pleased to have his experience in the background, while the talents of Racing Metro flyhalf Johan Goosen are also on the radar.

 

3)      The midfield is gelling

The centre pairing for the Springboks has been the subject of much debate with Jan Serfontein moving to number 13 to partner Jean de Villiers. The critics have been calling for the more naturally attacking outside centre skills of a Juan de Jongh or a S’Bura Sithole, but the De Villiers/Serfontein partnership is certainly gelling judging by the ease with which they created space on the outside against the All Blacks. The marvellously quick hands of De Villiers were a major factor in this.

The goal will be for Serfontein to become totally defensively attuned to the number 13 position but the backs scoring three tries against the All Blacks suggests the attacking aspect is coming together.

 

4)      Confidence and belief will be sky-high

The Springboks will now believe that they can beat any other team in world rugby and that they can master a high-tempo, attacking brand of play, as well as a more forward-dominated, tighter strategy.

The pace at which they are able to perform – they have closed the gap on the All Blacks in this respect – will be a valuable weapon against Northern Hemisphere teams at the World Cup and there will no longer be the burden of a losing streak against a certain side.

 

Pietersen cuts short England comeback 0

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Ken

South Africa wing JP Pietersen started and ended the match-winning move as the Springboks cut short a stirring England revival and won the second Test 36-27 (half-time 25-10) at Ellis Park on Saturday.

South Africa dominated the first half and had stretched their lead to 28-10 after 47 minutes before England clawed their way back to 31-27 down with 15 minutes remaining. But their comeback was truncated when Pietersen set off from his own half on a mazy run, bumping off defenders, and putting the Springboks on attack. After several phases and a strong drive by eighthman Pierre Spies, the ball went quickly wide for Pietersen to dive over for the match-winning try.

The Springbok forwards had pounded England with their direct, powerful running in the first half, earning tries for bruising flank Willem Alberts, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard.

South Africa led 22-3 after the first quarter and, facing the sternest examination at a daunting Highveld venue, England showed their character by fighting back through two tries by scrumhalf Ben Youngs and one by flyhalf Toby Flood, who also scored three conversions and two penalties in a faultless goal-kicking display.

But the single moment of magic of Pietersen denied England the reward of a sensational comeback victory.

South Africa’s physical dominance was obvious from the outset as they held the ball through 12 phases after the kickoff, bashing their way to within a couple of metres from the tryline before the ball was knocked-on.

England dominated the resulting scrum, referee Alain Rolland failing to penalise the going-to-ground of the Springbok front row, and the lack of control of the ball led to it popping out, Alberts picking up and scoring the simplest of tries in the fourth minute.

The strong driving and direct running of the Springboks soon had them back on attack and Du Plessis was driven over from close range for the second try in the eighth minute.

England then showed some mettle with ball in hand as they stretched the Springbok defence, fullback Pat Lambie making a crucial tackle in the last line of defence to prevent a try, but the visitors did earn a penalty soon afterwards, which Flood kicked (3-12).

A great pass over the top from inside centre Francois Steyn to wing Pietersen, whose clever chip had England scrambling in their 22, forced Youngs to carry the ball over his own line as he could not escape from Springbok captain Jean de Villiers. From the five-metre scrum, South Africa earned a penalty, which Morne Steyn kicked in the 16th minute (15-3).

The Springboks earned a third try five minutes later after another spell of top-class driving by the forwards created a gap close to the line which scrumhalf Hougaard spotted.

England, 22-3 down, finally notched a try in the 24th minute after they were awarded a ruck penalty in midfield. The awareness of Young and wing Chris Ashton, bursting through to take the pass, created the space for Flood to run in the try, which he converted.

Morne Steyn added a well-taken drop goal in the 28th minute, but England were alive, only just, at 10-25 down at the break.

But South Africa lost some core players in the second half due to injury, most notably Alberts, who put his body on the line in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stop Youngs from scoring his first try, after Du Plessis had overthrown a lineout.

The Springboks will also be disappointed that basic mistakes crept into their game in the second half, and England were able to punish them.

Their scrum regained their pride by earning a couple of penalties, one of which was in range for Flood, and the lineout then got their rolling maul going to allow Youngs to dive over for his second try to close the gap to 22-31 with 16 minutes remaining.

Flood kicked the conversion and almost immediately followed up with a long-range penalty as England began playing with more and more confidence.

But Pietersen than came up with his game-changing run and England were left with more work still to do before next weekend’s final Test.

Scorers

South Africa – Tries: Willem Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, JP Pietersen. Conversions: Morne Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (3). Drop goal: Steyn.

England – Tries: Toby Flood, Ben Youngs (2). Conversions: Flood (3). Penalties: Flood (2).

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    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."

    The lessons Christ taught were intensely spiritual, but also extremely practical. For him, everything - every thought and deed - was an expression of his relationship with his heavenly Father. All of our life must be an expression of the spiritual.

    "I wait upon God to renew my mind, to make me creative, instead of becoming the clanging cymbal that Paul spoke of." - Paul Tournier

    "The spiritual life touches the realities of every day and enables you to look, to a certain extent, at people's problems as God does." - Solly Ozrovech



↑ Top