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Ken Borland

Just how good are the Sharks? We’ll know this weekend v Stormers … 0

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Ken


For anyone who wonders just how good the new-look Sharks team is under Gary Gold and Robert du Preez, the answer could well be forthcoming this weekend as they take on the high-flying Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

Assistant coach Du Preez certainly believes the Stormers will pose the toughest test yet for the team who are one of only four unbeaten sides after the first two rounds of SuperRugby.

“We’ve had four out of four in terms of wins if you include the two friendlies in France, so that’s good and we take a lot of confidence from that. But the Stormers are going to pose a very different challenge in Cape Town. They’re quite similar to us in terms of how we both want to play, and they have a very respected pack. We’re under no illusions as to what is lying in wait for us, but we’re confident and we’ll give it our best shot,” Du Preez said.

The attacking play of the Sharks has certainly showed enormous promise, although there were obviously way too many handling errors in last weekend’s win over the Jaguares. The humidity of the Durban summer does provide some explanation.

“It was very difficult conditions and the ball was very slippery, but that’s what you get this time of year in Durban. The intent was there, but we obviously coughed up too many balls. We created quite a few opportunities, but we should have converted quite a few more.

“But we are a work in progress, we’re getting better as we go along and there’s still a long season ahead of us. There’s a good balance between youth and some really experienced players in the set-up and it’s quite special what Gary and the rest of the coaching staff have created at this stage, it’s a nice vibe from the camp,” Du Preez said.

Nollis looks to shield Bulls from public expectation 0

Posted on February 25, 2016 by Ken


Bulls coach Nollis Marais acknowledges that public expectation will be high when his new-look team start their SuperRugby campaign against the Stormers in Cape Town this weekend, but he wants to shield his team from those pressures.
“It’s time for the new blood to step up and they can learn from the guys who have played SuperRugby before. But I don’t want them to get caught up in the emotion of a Western Province versus Bulls game, we need to make sure that we are level-headed and don’t allow them to dictate how we play. I want the guys to just play, it’s going to be a big game but we must just look forward to it.
“As a coach, you always want to win trophies, but at the moment our aim is just to make the playoffs first,” Marais said.
And while most of the attention has been focused on the exciting Bulls backline and the major blow that is the loss of flyhalf Handre Pollard to injury, Marais said his attention has been on ensuring his team has a good set-piece.
“You need solid set-pieces to play any sort of attacking rugby. You have to at least win your own ball, to give yourself an attacking platform, sometimes it’s the only way to generate momentum.
“Handre is obviously a big loss because he brings a brand of attacking and physical play to flyhalf. But I used Tian Schoeman for the whole Currie Cup and he’s a good talent. Francois Brummer has been through the mill and they need to step up. But we can’t expect them to be Handre Pollard, they just need to be themselves,” Marais added.

Titans to give Mosehle more exposure with bat 0

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Ken


A new-look Titans batting line-up for the Momentum One-Day Cup will allow them to give wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle more exposure with the bat, stand-in captain Henry Davids has confirmed.

Mosehle has almost always batted around the number seven position for the Titans, but scored just 99 runs at an average of 24.75 last season.

“Mangi will have a new role this season, he’s showing a bit more form already after not having a great season last year. He’s going to bat in the top three or four because he’s an explosive batsman and one of the sweetest hitters of the ball. I often stand in awe of him when I bat next to him in the nets because he’s a small guy but he hits the ball so hard.

“He hasn’t had the chance to really showcase that talent down the order, it’s difficult batting down there and being expected to finish the innings. If you don’t come off in two or three games, you start worrying about it and he’ll have more opportunity this season,” Davids said.

The Titans are the defending champions and, even though they will start the competition without half-a-dozen players on tour with the Proteas in India, Davids said they have several players to keep an eye on this season.

“Theunis de Bruyn is mentally very strong, he showed that by scoring a double-hundred on debut for SA A, he handles himself very well and he’s very mature. Heinrich Klaasen is also a very good cricketer and Aiden Markram is waiting in the wings as well.

“In terms of bowlers, you have to take wickets up front because all teams have great hitters in the middle-order and if you give them a good platform then they’ll really hurt you. Marchant de Lange is a quality strike bowler and Junior Dala did really well last season as well. Ethy Mbhalati is still hungry to do well and he came back very strong at the back end of last season. You need experienced bowlers and he’s been the most successful Titans bowler ever,” Davids pointed out.

The Titans get the competition and new season underway on Friday when they host the Warriors at SuperSport Park in Centurion and they will be eyeing a good start to the competition, unlike in the last two seasons when they have scraped into the knockout rounds with incredible winning runs.

“We’ve tended to start slow, but we want to hit the ground running this season and not have to win five-in-a-row like in previous campaigns. We know we can play under pressure, but I think we can expect a lot more from the side if we can play with freedom,” Davids said.





De Villiers calls for fresh T20 faces 0

Posted on January 11, 2013 by Ken

South Africa limited-overs captain AB de Villiers on Wednesday expressed his support for a new-look T20 side to be chosen for the series against New Zealand later this month.

The Proteas squad for the three T20 internationals between December 21 and 26 will be announced in Cape Town on Thursday and De Villiers expects fresh faces after South Africa’s disappointing ICC World T20 exit before the semi-final stage.

“You’ve got to keep the T20 team fresh and exciting and it’s a great vehicle to get youngsters through into international cricket. We want to try fresh faces and there will definitely be a few new names because there are youngsters who have really performed at domestic level and we need to give them a chance,” De Villiers said at the Wanderers on Wednesday, where he attended the announcement of KFC as the title sponsors for both the New Zealand and Pakistan T20 series.

“These new players will bring different talents and skills, which is exciting.”

The general trend in international cricket has been for countries to use T20 specialists rather than relying on their Test players and De Villiers said it was clear South Africa would have to go further down that route.

“The Test players have played a big part in the T20 side, but that might change in future and you’ll probably see a team with a whole different look,” De Villiers said.

De Villiers, fresh off his thrilling hundred in the series-clinching Perth Test victory over Australia, returned to limited-overs action over the weekend with a century for the Titans, albeit in a losing cause against the Cape Cobras in their Momentum One-Day Cup eliminator.

“That was one of my better hundreds because it was against a really good attack. You can tell the standard of domestic cricket is very good from that match and I like to play domestic cricket when it’s like international cricket,” De Villiers said.

New Zealand have suffered two major blows with the loss of injured spinner Dan Vettori and the unavailability of former captain Ross Taylor, and De Villiers conceded South Africa should beat the Black Caps if they play to their full potential.

“New Zealand are always a dangerous side, they beat us in the World Cup and they’re really tough to beat when they get things right. But we know we’re the favourites and if we play good cricket, then we should win. We have a mental advantage over them because we beat them over there at the beginning of the year.

“They have had a lot of changes to their Test side, which is still trying to find its feet, but they’re definitely more dangerous in T20. They’re a very busy team, very good in the field,” De Villiers said.

But even if fresh faces such as Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Chris Morris, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Andrew Birch are included, South Africa’s T20 strategies are not going to undergo any dramatic change.

“We may have new players, but we’ll use the same strategy and follow the same game-plan,” De Villiers said.

Which means De Villiers will definitely retain the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

“Yes I’m glad I’m a wicketkeeper now, after 50 overs in the field against the Cobras I’m a bit stiff!” he joked.

Probable squad – Faf du Plessis, Richard Levi, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Roelof van der Merwe, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel, Andrew Birch, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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