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Ken Borland



The World Cup beckons for both the SA men’s & women’s hockey sides 0

Posted on November 06, 2017 by Ken

 

The World Cup beckons for both the South African women’s and men’s hockey teams after coach Sheldon Rostron pulled off the remarkable feat of steering both sides to the African Cup of Nations title in Ismailia, Egypt, at the weekend.

While the women, who went through the Africa Cup tournament without conceding a goal, had already qualified for the 2018 World Cup in London thanks to their fifth-place finish in the World League Semifinals, the men were under severe pressure, in the last-chance saloon, to beat hosts Egypt and win the continental crown which also gets them to the World Cup, the men’s event being held in India.

With just two minutes remaining in the final, Jethro Eustice scored from a penalty corner to give South Africa the 2-1 victory.

“It was quite a daunting task in the beginning, but with the right preparation and planning it became a lot more simpler. I was lucky to have really good support staff and I was really proud of both sets of players,” Rostron told The Citizen on Tuesday when asked how tough it was to coach two teams at the same tournament.

“The specific objective of the women’s side was to not have any goals scored against us, we were using a different structure, and I’m really pleased that worked out and that the ranking points we gained should lift us back to the 11th spot in the world.

“The men’s side had qualification for the World Cup hanging over us, but we implemented a very good process which the players bought into and it was very good to see it come to fruition. In the final though, our plans didn’t work out so well, we were 1-0 down after the first quarter and we had to be more aggressive,” Rostron said.

Competing in Africa, where there is a wide range of strengths when it comes to the opposition, also meant the teams had to at times rein themselves in so as not to become too loose. For the men, this was especially important as a daunting final against Egypt, who beat them in the World League in July, was always going to be lying ahead.

“We had to be very specific, it couldn’t just be about scoring goals and going crazy, every match we played was about using the tactics we were going to use in the final. African teams are so unconventional and forever changing. But now there is a lot of positivity going forward in South African hockey,” Rostron said.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-other-sport/1711538/smart-planning-key-in-sas-brilliant-hockey-double/

Bulls & Lions get their waggle on 0

Posted on August 03, 2016 by Ken

 

Social media was overflowing with praise for the Hurricanes and the Crusaders after their enthralling match in Wellington on Saturday morning, but the Bulls and Lions showed that evening at Loftus Versfeld that South African sides can also put on a show and both Victor Matfield and Johan Ackermann were waggling their metaphorical fingers at all the prophets of doom over the strength of local rugby.

The Bulls edged out the Lions 35-33 in a scintillating match in which seven tries were scored, several of them dazzling efforts using the width of the field and featuring superb offloading skills and vision.

“I saw the Hurricanes play the Crusaders this morning and I thought ‘what a great game’. But people must have enjoyed this game too, there was a lot of width and ball-in-hand rugby. New players are standing up in South African rugby and I’m sure the senior guys will start hitting their best form too towards the end of Super Rugby,” Bulls captain Matfield said after the win which returned his side to the top of the South African Conference.

“I think we have a different physicality when it comes to the rucks and scrums here in South Africa, whereas it’s more of a free-for-all when they play each other in New Zealand. They have a different mindset over there, the defences aren’t so tight. I still believe the best South African players compare to theirs and especially when you put them in a Springbok jersey,” Lions coach Ackermann said.

The Bulls started the game in exhilarating fashion playing the sort of rugby usually associated with the free-spirited Lions and coach Frans Ludeke said he was delighted with the first half, which ended with the home side 25-13 up.

“The first half was almost perfect and we had those attacking shapes Victor’s been chasing, we were accurate and really put them on the back foot. Getting momentum on the gain-line really helped and Victor has worked really hard on keeping the players on their feet and making good decisions,” Ludeke said.

But the Lions totally dominated the third quarter to snatch a 26-25 lead in the 54th minute and Matfield said the pressure was then really on his side.

“We started well, playing the way we wanted to – with width, but after the break we made mistakes and that put us under pressure. We showed great character to fight back and get the momentum back and I was very happy about the team’s will to win,” the veteran lock said.

Matfield mentioned “needing magic from someone” to get the Bulls out of their hole and that someone was replacement Pierre Spies, who sparked the move that ended with him powering through several tackles to score and regain the lead.

Ackermann bemoaned mistakes that cost his team but was pleased with their overall performance and contribution to a great game of rugby.

“All I ask is for them to play with their hearts and they did. I’m willing to lose if the passion and commitment are there and credit to the Bulls, especially for that first half. They punished every mistake we made,” Ackermann said.

 

Rugby uses its testosterone in the fight against rape 0

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Ken

 

Too much aggression and testosterone are often factors which get the blame for South Africa’s horrific rape statistics, but one brave survivor has teamed up with rugby sides to turn these integral parts of the game into something beneficial for the fight against violent sexual abuse.

The Jes Foord Cup, which is named after the founder of the Jes Foord Foundation, will be played for on Saturday in Durban between the first teams of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban Collegians. But the day is about so much more than just two rugby teams slugging it out for some silverware.

The University of KZN Rugby Club and Durban Collegians, in conjunction with the Jes Foord Foundation, have formed the Rugby Against Rape charity and the annual rugby day will see eight men’s teams from both the Durban and Pietermaritzburg campuses and four women’s teams in action as not only money but also tremendous awareness is raised about the scourge of rape.

In an incident which shocked KwaZulu-Natal in March 2008, the then 21-year-old Foord was gang-raped by four men at Shongweni Dam while walking with her father, who was forced to watch the awful assault at gunpoint.

But Foord vowed not to allow the terrible incident to destroy her and decided to speak out, forming the Jes Foord Foundation.

“I formed the foundation to help restore lives after rape by way of a number of initiatives and activities designed to change rape victims into rape survivors. I want to educate people and help them realise that there is life after rape,” Foord says.

Her rapists were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 and since then the Jes Foord Foundation has helped hundreds of rape survivors regain their dignity and self-esteem.

A bunch of young rugger buggers might seem an odd choice of partner for such a charity, but Foord said the varsity students were the ideal fit for her efforts to increase awareness around rape.

“I wanted to activate young adults and what better target than someone big and strong. When I tell the rugby players my story, I see their faces and they are absolutely silent for the whole talk, they want to be involved and they want to know how they can stop rape.

“I tell them that during one rugby match, in the 80 minutes excluding half-time, 282 people are raped. I tell them to play for them and it breaks their hearts that while they are having fun, running around, so many people suffer rape. I tell them to direct their anger towards helping the survivors and not towards the perpetrators,” Foord told The Daily Maverick.

“At this age, many of them are starting to think of settling down with a wife, but if not, it could be their daughters, sisters or mothers who get raped. In any case, it’s always someone’s daughter, sister or mother who is raped.”

Mark Schulze, a University of KZN Rugby Club executive committee member and former scrumhalf, said the players were thrilled to get the opportunity to help such a worthy cause.

“There’s been a very good response and the guys have jumped at the opportunity to help. They are tjoepstil when Jes talks and the fact that rugby is an aggressive sport fits in perfectly with the target market and the message she is trying to get across. Rape is happening to people left and right and there are a lot of vulnerable people on our campuses. She’s removed the taboo around speaking out about rape very successfully,” Schulze said.

Efforts to help rape survivors have often been marred by the shoddy, insensitive treatment they receive immediately after the attack and ensuring they get special care is a focus of the Jes Foord Foundation.

Because their body is literally a crime scene, rape victims are told not to shower or clean themselves by police, which they are understandably desperate to do.

“After my rape, I felt so dirty. But it’s not just that you have dirt or blood on you, it’s a whole new, deeper level of dirty. You have their smell on you, their sweat. You are desperate to scrub it off.

“I received a care package from a local pharmacy with so many special products in it to help feel clean again. And I thought, what about all those survivors who don’t get this, who just have a bar of soap and a bucket of water?” Foord said.

So Foord instituted the Handbag Project which distributes bags that contain an assortment of toiletry items, a scrubbing brush, sanitary towel, clean new underwear, a personal gift and an encouraging note to let a survivor know she is not alone.

Over 2,000 handbags were distributed by the foundation last year and members of the public can help them reach their target of 10,000 this year by donating supplies, handbags or funds to support the project; volunteering for a handbag-packing day; organising a drive for supplies or a volunteer bag-packing day in your area; or volunteering to become a depot for the Handbag Project in your area.

Read more:

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-05-15-rugby-against-rape/#.VhJf-_mqqkp

Fear-free changeroom all-important for Morkel 0

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Ken

For Albie Morkel, taking over the captaincy of the Titans’ limited-overs teams is a chance for him to provide the sort of encouraging, fear-free environment that he himself missed out on in so many changerooms during a career that has seen the all-rounder play for a dozen different sides.

The 34-year-old has played the second most T20 cricket out of anyone in the world with 271 matches (West Indian Kieron Pollard leads the way with 290 games), but apart from bringing plenty of tactical knowledge out on the field, Morkel also believes it is vital to make a difference in the changeroom.

“Captaincy is a new challenge and something I haven’t done since school, but I feel I’m ready. I’ve seen most things in cricket and I have lots of experience to fall back on, but I want to add my own flavour to the job as well. It’s about what happens off the field as well, as captain having an open-door policy. It’s about how to get the best out of the players, knowing them outside cricket, what makes them tick.

“There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the New Zealand way – being more aggressive, taking wickets – and with the squad we have we can play that sort of cricket. But the big challenge is to get the player buy-in. They can’t be scared that they’re playing for their place, they need to play with freedom and I will encourage them to do that,” Morkel told The Citizen.

Bitter experience has been  a good teacher for the hard-hitting seam bowler in this regard.

“I always felt when I was with the national team, rightly or wrongly, that I was playing under pressure and I didn’t necessarily have the backing, except when Mickey Arthur was coach and that’s when I played my best cricket for South Africa. I wrote a lot of thoughts down about what I didn’t like as a cricketer and I believe 90% of it applies to all players, we have the same worries and fears. I want to make them comfortable, eradicate the problems.

“Things like announcing the starting team two days before. Not knowing an hour before the game whether you’re playing or not just breaks you. I want to bring clarity, build trust with the players and be honest. In our environment, that’s the only way to get respect,” Morkel said.

The major benefit for the Titans is that it ensures Morkel, their match-winner in the Momentum One-Day Cup final last season, will be at the centre of the limited-overs campaigns next season, rather than on the periphery as he has been for various reasons in recent seasons.

“I don’t see myself playing international cricket anymore, so I want to put everything back into the Titans for the next couple of years,” Morkel said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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