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Ken Borland



Snyman & Bulls eager to avoid repeat of last year 0

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Ken

 

Listening to Western Province coach John Dobson talking about the Blue Bulls having all the pressure as favourites in this weekend’s Currie Cup semi-final, it reminds one of the same stage of the competition last year when the Capetonians came to Pretoria and upset the home side.

Bulls lock RG Snyman is well aware of the history and is eager to avoid the same painful result this time around.

“We were in the same situation last year playing against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld and we’d like to change what happened in that game. The way we do that is by not changing what we’ve been doing this season, we have to stick to what we’ve been doing. But the good thing is that this semi-final feels like nothing new, it’s quite a difference playing it now when we’ve all been through another whole Currie Cup season and a season of Super Rugby,” Snyman told The Citizen on Tuesday.

The Bulls have focused on an exciting brand of rugby, but they went down 23-18 to Western Province in last year’s semi-final thanks to the visitors not allowing them any platform or space to play the type of rugby they wanted to produce.

This year they come to Pretoria with a much-less hardened pack and the Bulls youngsters are all a year older and coming into their prime, most notably Snyman, who turned 21 only this year.

“Western Province have a good pack and it will definitely be a physical battle, especially in the set-pieces. But if we can dominate at forward then we should do really well. With the break we’ve had a bit more time to prepare and the team has clicked a bit better through the competition. Hopefully we’ll see that greater experience and better cohesion come through now at the end of the tournament,” Snyman said.

Springbok reserve hooker Bongi Mbonambi will be coming to Loftus, as should prop Oli Kebble and lock JD Schickerling, and the Bulls are going to have to show some real grunt up front to ensure they make the final.

How to make a star with KFC 0

Posted on July 05, 2016 by Ken

 

To make a star one needs enough heat and pressure to start nuclear fusion in a cloud of gas, but in a cricketing sense it’s all about CSA’s pipeline and KFC Mini-Cricket provides the masses of raw material that are necessary to find the ones that will glow brightly on fields around the country in the future.

KFC Marketing Director Thabisa Mkhwanazi says it is the biggest grassroots development program in the country, which is a big call, but the numbers back her up. More than 114 000 kids from 5584 schools were involved in the program last season, thanks to the dedication of nearly 9000 volunteer coaches and the excellent custodianship of CSA’s mass-participation manager, David Mokopanele.

Corrie van Zyl, CSA’s general manager of cricket, makes an even bigger call and says it is the best development program in the world. The fact that countries like Australia, India and England have been in contact wanting to know more about KFC Mini-Cricket, especially their marvellous Kids v Proteas Tour, suggests he may be correct.

I was privileged to attend the KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar held in Kruger Park this week, which is an incentive for the top coaches of the previous season, a celebration of what has been achieved and a focused look at their future targets.

It may surprise some to know that I don’t recall hearing the word “transformation” once over the two days and that’s simply because, at that level, both coaches and players are already predominantly Black. Colour is one thing, but fixing the socio-economic conditions that make it so hard for any talented boy or girl to make it from the vast rural areas of our country is another matter altogether and KFC Mini-Cricket is probably the best weapon we have when it comes to taking the game to greater portions of our population.

Van Zyl was one of the speakers who addressed the delegates drawn from all 16 affiliates of Cricket South Africa and he pointed out in no uncertain terms that excellence at the highest level was non-negotiable, but that it was also dependent on grassroots development and vice-versa.

The former international fast bowler and national coach used the example of The Oaks Cricket Club from a small village near Hoedspruit where Cavaan Moyakamela, a coach with an extraordinary love for the game, mentors 70 children on a concrete slab.

“Imagine if a guy from The Oaks is chosen for the Limpopo U13 side, he will bring great passion and we can use and enhance that. Our dream is that a kid from that area can become a Protea, but there will be performance gaps – socio-economic factors that affect his health, physical and psychological development and his lifestyle – that we need to close for him.

“We cannot change the benchmark of international cricket, we have to take the players to that standard, and the responsibility of our coaches is to get the player there. If we don’t maintain excellence at international level then the grassroots suffers because we need money to develop that. They both depend on each other because the grassroots is the base of our game.

“KFC Mini-Cricket is the biggest part of that base, it is strong and built on the passion and dedication of the coaches. If we are to maintain excellence then we need quality coaching, so we need to grow coaches so the kids can grow under them. The growth of the program has been so good that with that base, the cream will rise to the top,” Van Zyl said.

Temba Bavuma spoke movingly about how he was first introduced to cricket via the program, getting to run around on the same Newlands ground where he scored his historic maiden Test century last summer; AB de Villiers is also a product, while the program is going strong in the remote regions of the former Transkei and Limpopo. It’s reach will only increase thanks to the wonderful news that KFC have extended their sponsorship of the program for another 10 years.

When the Kids v Proteas Tour came to Umtata, it was like the world’s greatest bazaar had hit town, such was the reaction.

“It brought Umtata to a standstill! Their little school was playing against the Proteas and it was magical. Many of the communities we have stores in hunger for this sort of development and our dream is for young people to look back and remember ‘the day KFC came to my small town with cricket’,” Mkhwanazi says.

‘How Bulls pack react to pressure is crucial’ – Maku 0

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Ken

 

Blue Bulls hooker Bandise Maku knows that how the pack responds to the pressure the powerful Western Province forwards will put them under will go a long way to deciding who wins their Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Western Province will come to Pretoria with a SuperRugby-strength team featuring a powerful front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Wilco Louw, and two of the best young locks in the country in Ruan Botha and Jean Kleyn, while the combative Nizaam Carr, the intimidating Rynhardt Elstadt and the pacy Sikhumbuzo Notshe form a superbly well-balanced loose trio.

“As a pack, we’ve gone quite well and guys like Pierre Schoeman, Marvin Orie and RG Snyman have come through well. But Western Province have a very good set-piece and are strong on the drive as well, so we’re expecting a big clash up front. Myself, Deon Stegmann, Lappies Labuschagne and Arno Botha have the experience, we need to stay level-headed because there’s always going to be pressure in a semi-final. It’s how you react to it that’s crucial and the set-piece battle is going to be very important, lineouts and defending the drive as well,” Maku told The Citizen on Tuesday.

Western Province, with Kitshoff at the forefront, will no doubt see the Blue Bulls scrum as a potential area of weakness, but Maku said they have improved since being worked over in Cape Town a month ago when the Blue Bulls were beaten 29-14.

“It’s important to get the combinations right up front and we’ve been doing quite well in the scrums lately. It’s still a work in progress, it’s long-term, but we have improved. There’s been a change in personnel and now we want to scrum, plus we have Werner Kruger coming off the bench to add his experience,” Maku said.

The 29-year-old Springbok is one of the most experienced players in the Blue Bulls team with 74 Currie Cup and 53 SuperRugby caps, and he sees taking whatever points are on offer as being the key factor in whether they reach their first final since 2010.

“It’s all about taking your chances. If you have a lineout five metres out, then you have to make it count. You need to take your points so you create scoreboard pressure, so you also have to kick very well, kick when you have to and keep the pressure on them with the boot. We’ll also need to play with more discipline because that will put pressure on them as well,” Maku said.

 

Bulls will stay faithful to same plan despite pressure on them 0

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Ken

 

Despite the mounting pressure on them, the Bulls will remain faithful to the same plan they used in the opening two weeks of Vodacom SuperRugby when they take on the Sharks in a crunch local derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

“We believe what we are doing is right, we’re just not executing it well enough. Everybody can see where our mistakes are and we know that we haven’t performed as well as we can, not up to our standards,” captain Pierre Spies said.

The Bulls were just centimetres away – Grant Hattingh’s ‘try’ being disallowed by the TMO – from actually beating the Hurricanes last weekend and Spies believes this shows how close they are to turning their season around after opening with two defeats.

“It’s a game of inches and we need to keep perspective – if Grant had cut his fingernails the night before then we would have won and we wouldn’t be having this discussion, wouldn’t be looking at everything we’ve done wrong.

“We just have to graft it out, gel together and really stand up as a unit. We need to start converting pressure into points,” Spies said.

But it’s not just the Bulls’ results that have been disappointing: Against both the Stormers and the Hurricanes there was just no spark, no intensity, and a similar flatness against the Sharks will cost them dearly.

The Sharks responded to their opening defeat against the Cheetahs with a highly-impressive bonus-point win in sodden conditions over the Lions, a commanding performance in the scrum laying the platform.

The scrum has been a key area of concern for the Bulls so far this season, and if they don’t sort it out today, then it will surely also cost them dearly.

If the Sharks get front-foot ball then they can either attack through the middle with mobile, powerful ball-carrying forwards like Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marcell Coetzee and Ryan Kankowski, or they have finishing quality out wide in a backline that was superbly marshalled by Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach against the Lions, and features pace on the wings in Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane.

The return of Kankowski will also help the production of quality ball off the back of the lineout and it is in the set-pieces where the Bulls will find themselves under intense pressure.

“Obviously the Sharks have a very good set-piece set-up, we know they have a quality base there. So we need to make sure we put them under pressure there and make sure it’s a good base for us,” Spies said.

Under the circumstances currently at Loftus Versfeld, the words “misplaced optimism” spring to mind, but if the Bulls can regain the passion and pride that they normally possess at home, then they might just be able to dig themselves out of the hole they are currently in.

Teams

Bulls: 15-Jesse Kriel, 14-Bjorn Basson, 13-JJ Engelbrecht, 12-Jan Serfontein, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Handrè Pollard, 9-Rudy Paige, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Lappies Labuschagne, 6-Deon Stegmann, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Jacques du Plessis, 3-Trevor Nyakane, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Mornè Mellet. Replacements – 16-Callie Visagie, 17-Dean Greyling, 18-Marcel van der Merwe, 19-Grant Hattingh, 20-Hanro Liebenberg, 21-Tian Schoeman, 22-Travis Ismaiel, 23-Jurgen Visser.

Sharks: 15-SP Marais, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-Waylon Murray, 12-Andre Esterhuizen, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Cobus Reinach, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Renaldo Bothma, 6-Marcell Coetzee, 5-Pieter-Steph du Toit,
4-Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Dale Chadwick. Replacements – 16-Kyle Cooper, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Marco Wentzel, 20-Jean Deysel, 21-Conrad Hoffmann, 22-Fred Zeilinga/Lionel Cronje, 23-Jack Wilson.

 

 

 



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