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Ken Borland



Positive Klaasen makes a move into Test squad 0

Posted on March 04, 2017 by Ken

 

Titans wicketkeeper/batsman Heinrich Klaasen was celebrating a first call-up to the South Africa squad for their Test series against New Zealand on Friday, convenor of selectors Linda Zondi saying a “positive presence at the crease” had played a large part in his selection.

Klaasen has looked a top-class talent since his days with the dominant Tuks Varsity team and he now follows his skipper from his student days, Theunis de Bruyn, into the Test squad as one of the back-up players, having scored 635 runs in four-day cricket this season, at an average of 48.84.

Zondi confirmed that it was a close-run thing between Klaasen and Rudi Second of the Knights, who scored 684 runs at 52.61, with the 25-year-old Klaasen being considered a closer match in terms of approach to Quinton de Kock, the player he is understudying.

“It was a very close call and it could have gone either way. Rudi is a very experienced player and is definitely not out of our plans, but we just felt that Heinrich has a positive presence at the crease, he’s tidy behind the stumps and there’s something about him.

“He’s a good striker of the ball, a fearless cricketer. We’ve watched him a lot and we feel he can play the same role as Quinton de Kock,” Zondi told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

While the presence of players such as De Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, De Bruyn and Klaasen makes it a young squad, the selectors have also recalled veteran Morne Morkel, the 32-year-old who has not played a Test in more than a year.

Morkel is only two 50-over games into his comeback from serious back issues, but Zondi said they wanted some experience around to guide a young attack. Vernon Philander has played 40 Tests, but Keshav Maharaj (4), Wayne Parnell (5), Rabada (14), Olivier (1) and Chris Morris (2) have played just 26 Tests between them.

“We’ve been guided by our medical team with Morne and he’s 100% fit. We want him to play more games, but his extra experience is required, because we don’t want to be caught out if anything happens. We’re quite comfortable in terms of all-rounders, so Morne must just go there and compete, providing us with extra variety,” Zondi said.

Squad: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (Capt), JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Theunis de Bruyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

The Springboks still believe – Kriel 0

Posted on December 02, 2016 by Ken

 

Springbok utility back Jesse Kriel has implored the South African public to still believe in the national team because the squad themselves are still positive, despite their dreadful results on a torrid European tour.

“The mood is still good in the squad, I know people have been really hurt by the results, but the team has always been positive. They’re still putting their bodies on the line and there are just small things in terms of the game-plan and individual errors that we need to get right,” Kriel said at the Bulls player awards evening, having returned early from the Springbok tour due to a leg injury.

“No-one accepts losing but there have just been small things, little errors, that have led to the Springboks being up against it. For us, winning matches is our pride and joy, our bread and butter, so it’s been difficult for us. We’ve learnt a lot out of this, but there comes a point when you can’t learn anymore, you have to actually start winning.

“Allister has chosen a new-look side for this weekend and it’s a great opportunity for the younger guys who are really hungry, a great opportunity for them to go out and prove they belong there. And having the overseas players back was a massive positive as well, they bring experience and calm heads,” Kriel said.

And captain and Bulls team-mate Adriaan Strauss, who will be playing in his 66th and final Test against Wales, was singled out for special praise by the 22-year-old.

“I just wish people could see behind the scenes because Adriaan has done so much and he never wants any credit or recognition. He’s very humble and full of selflessness and always puts his body on the line, even though I know he has a very sore back at the moment. I can assure people he’s not just selected because he’s captain. I know it would be the last thing Adriaan wants for the team to make this weekend’s game about him, but everyone has so much respect for him that the guys will want to,” Kriel said.

Kriel has now played 16 Tests and 31 Super Rugby matches and is eager to play more of a leadership role himself next year.

“I spoke to Nollis Marais [Bulls coach] and I told him I want to be a big part of the team, I want to contribute a lot to the team. So I want to start the year with no niggles and be in top condition. I still have to chat to the coach about where he wants to play me, but I think it will be fullback, where I started two years ago. I don’t mind that and there’s a lot of competition in the backline, so I have to prove my worth.

“When I started playing for the Bulls, a guy like Victor Matfield was still around and there was a lot of experience in the side, guys you could look up to when things were not going well. I’ve got to be one of those players now when things don’t go well because I’ve got a bit of experience now.

“But it all comes down to performance, we’ve been building a good team and it’s time to get back the glory years. We all get sick of hearing the word ‘building’, we must get results now and trophies, that is what we all want. Talk is cheap and money buys the whiskey.”

 

A year of SuperRugby experience a major positive – Nollis 0

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said the experience gained from a year of SuperRugby was the major positive of a campaign that ended at the weekend with his team just missing out on a playoffs spot.

The Bulls ended on a high with a 43-17 romp over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, their ninth win from 15 games leaving them on 42 points, in ninth place overall and just one point behind the Sharks, who took the last quarterfinal place as the third South African qualifiers.

“At the end of the day, the Sharks finished with more points than us, but we had 14 players make their SuperRugby debuts this year and 12 of them went on their first tour to Australia. They all came through and guys like Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman and Warrick Gelant are 20/21. The guys now have one Super Rugby season behind them, but we can’t use inexperience as an excuse again next year, we will have to be much better especially since we’ll be playing against the New Zealand teams,” Marais said.

The lack of bonus points picked up by the Bulls was a key factor in their failure to make the playoffs, as they collected only four, all of them from the try-scoring bonus. Home games against the Reds – where they led 27-8 but won 41-22 – and the Rebels – where they led 42-3 but conceded four tries in the final quarter, have come back to haunt the Bulls.

“It actually makes me quite emotional because I remember after the Reds game saying that I hope missing the bonus point doesn’t come back to bite us. And every time we lost a game, we couldn’t get a bonus point either, which is very disappointing, especially when you finish just two points off the playoffs.

“I still believe our best wins were against the Stormers and the Western Force away, although a lot of guys played well against the Cheetahs, the guys pitched because a lot of them are leaving,” Marais said.

It was announced on Monday that Marais will now take the reins of the Currie Cup side, which will basically be the SuperRugby outfit minus Jesse Kriel, who once again showed how good he can be at fullback without his space being cramped like it is in midfield, Rudy Paige, Lappies Labuschagne, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh and Francois Brummer.

The qualifying campaign under Hendré Marnitz has been messy with seven defeats fouling their seven wins, but CEO Barend van Graan said the change was more to do with continuity seeing as though most of the SuperRugby side will be involved.

“With almost the whole Bulls squad now available for the Currie Cup competition that is starting soon, the call was made to extend the mandate of Marais, so he will now be coaching the Blue Bulls as well. It just makes sense for him to continue with the group of players that are developing so nicely under his guidance. The call to continue with Nollis in the Currie Cup was made for rugby reasons and is not a reflection on Hendré’s abilities. The progress and growth shown by the team under Nollis is something we want to expand and grow, hence the decision,” Van Graan said.

Fisher on fire in compelling Africa Open triumph 0

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Ken

 

Trevor Fisher Junior cruised to victory by five strokes in the Africa Open on Sunday, a brand of compelling, positive and precise golf netting him nine birdies in a fabulous eight-under-par 64 at East London Golf Club.

Fisher Junior’s victory maintained South Africa’s stranglehold on the tournament, the trophy staying at home for the eighth successive year as Englishman Matt Ford, who shot a worthy five-under-par 67, was kept in second place by the sheer brilliance of the winner.

“I only had three bogeys for the week which is quite an achievement, that’s how you win tournaments by keeping bogeys off your card. My mindset was great, I didn’t let anything faze me, and I hit my long irons very well. All you want to do is give yourself a chance,” Fisher Junior said after a remarkable round that took his weekend tally to 17-under-par after a 63 on the third day.

It was the 129th South African triumph on the European Tour, which will now have a new – and very popular, judging by all the congratulatory messages on social media – member as the victory gave Fisher Junior the card he has long been striving for.

Ford, who was in the lead for the first two rounds, did little wrong as he also went in search of his maiden European Tour win, with a bogey on the ninth, when he missed a six-footer for par, the only blemish on his card.

The European Tour rookie made birdies at the first and third holes, but these were matched by Fisher.

The Modderfontein golfer’s only dropped shot came at the short par-four fifth, when he was short of the green with his approach after his tee-shot stopped under the lip of the fairway bunker just before the crest of the hill. From there he three-putted, but he rebounded with birdies at the sixth and seventh holes, before making an excellent par save on eight when his drive was way left.

“I don’t want to define myself through my golf, so I tried to be myself whether I’d played a good shot or a bad shot, just be a happy guy. I actually felt very comfortable out there, although I was a bit nervous towards the end,” Fisher Junior said when explaining how he brushed off the adversities that inevitably come in a final round.

The back 10 at East London Golf Club features a zoo-full of wildlife that is astonishingly tame – including Nyala, Impala and Blue Duiker – and Fisher Junior has tamed the second half of the old-style course throughout the week, not dropping a single shot in his four rounds coming in.

The back 10 starts at the ninth at East London Golf Club and this was the key hole in deciding the Africa Open.

Fisher Junior, who was firing his long-irons at the flags with superb precision, stuck a four-iron 10 feet from the flag and drained the birdie putt; Ford made bogey after missing a six-footer for par.

“The ninth-hole was a nice swing, I was suddenly three ahead. I hit a two-iron off the tee and then the four-iron was probably my shot of the week,” Fisher Junior said.

Last year’s Chase to the Investec Cup champion then made swift work of the last nine holes, picking up four more birdies for an astonishingly easy win.

Fisher Junior said it was not the first time he has gone really low on this coastal links-type course.

“A few years ago I went seven-under and seven-under here to lead after the first two rounds, but Charl Schwartzel won. This year I thought it was my time and I had confidence because I’ve done it before on this course,” he said.

Third place was shared by two Spaniards – Eduardo de la Riva and Jorge Campillo – and Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen, who all shot 66s to finish on 16-under, while John Parry and Jaco van Zyl shared sixth on 14-under.

Van Zyl had started the day four strokes behind Fisher Junior, and also had high hopes of securing his first European Tour win. But he endured a mediocre day, especially with the putter, and could only post a two-under-par 70.

For Fisher Junior, the father of two daughters, the victory brings with it a European Tour exemption until the end of 2016.

“I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years. Obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” Fisher Junior said.

Even more success and glory could lie ahead for the ever-smiling golfer because the Investec Cup finale, with its R3.5 million bonus pool prize for the winner, is less than two weeks away and Fisher Junior is in pole position to win one of the biggest prizes in South African golf once again.

 

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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