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Ken Borland



Sharks sing the blues once again 0

Posted on November 03, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks sung the blues once again on their overseas tour as they were unable to overcome their own first-half mistakes, a fired-up Waratahs side and one of the most disgracefully one-eyed officiating performances in Sanzar history in losing 33-18 in their Vodacom SuperRugby match in Sydney on Saturday.

Referee Rohan Hoffman, TMO George Ayoub and the assistant referees were so determined to sing the home side’s tune that the Sharks never had a chance, despite turning in an excellent second-half performance against a team that surely does not have it in them to be repeat SuperRugby champions unless other forces are at play. The fact that Sanzar are based in Sydney does not ease the speculation that was running rampant on social media on Saturday nor the genuine fears that rugby is totally naïve when it comes to matchfixing, much as cricket was.

The decisions to award wing Taqele Naiyaravoro’s 53rd-minute try, although he lost control of the ball and there was absolutely no evidence of grounding, and the TMO’s call to disallow opposite number S’bura Sithole’s touchdown in the 70th minute, were particularly damaging to the Sharks.

Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley was also able to kick four penalties as Hoffman punished the Sharks for a high tackle when the ball-carrier had clearly slipped and fallen into an arm that was at a perfectly legal height and for ruck offences when the home team were clearly not supporting their own body weight.

As outrage grew on South African social media, Sharks CEO John Smit told The Citizen: “I’m sure Sanzar leadership is strong enough to do something before we need to enquire … I hope”.

It looked like it was going to be a miserable day for the Sharks right from the outset as centre Adam Ashley-Cooper scored after 55 seconds, but that was entirely down to the visitors’ lacklustre defence and the brilliance of the Waratahs in exploiting the gaps.

The Sharks kicked out on halfway from the opening kickoff, and scrumhalf Nick Phipps passed inside after the lineout tap to livewire flank Michael Hooper, who burst through a huge gap the visitors were shockingly slow to close, before passing out to Ashley-Cooper, who powered over the line.

Sharks centre Francois Steyn pulled back a penalty from a scrum in the 17th minute, but Foley was able to stretch the lead to 10-3 at the end of the first quarter after captain Marco Wentzel, in a bid to turnover a loose ball, held on under pressure from Ashley-Cooper and conceded a penalty after another Waratahs attack sparked by Hooper.

The Sharks would have begun to feel Hoffman was screwing them over in the 28th minute when he made a ridiculous forward-pass call against Bismarck du Plessis, the Waratahs then being given another penalty as the scrum went down, Foley making the score 13-3.

Steyn narrowed the gap to 6-13 five minutes before the break after a sneaky hand in the ruck by the Waratahs was penalised. They then managed to win a Waratahs lineout throw on their own line after brilliant scramble defence stopped fullback Israel Folau from scoring and won a penalty. Hoffman told the Sharks it was halftime, so they kicked the ball straight out only for the disgraceful referee to give the Waratahs the lineout!

The Sharks were certainly in the game after the shock of conceding that first-minute try, but a shaky defence – six tackles were missed in the first 10 minutes and 15 in the first half alone – and their own basic mistakes were really hurting them as their promising attacks lacked the finishing touches.

Consultant Brendan Venter was seen addressing them during the break and the Sharks dished up some impressive fare in the second half.

They claimed the vital first score of the second half when they closed the gap to 11-13 thanks to flyhalf Lionel Cronje’s brilliant crosskick from a penalty, that was well-finished by wing Odwa Ndungane.

But three minutes later, it became clear that the officials would ensure the Sharks could say farewell to any chance of a morale-boosting win against the defending champions.

Massive wing Taqele Naiyaravoro powered down the right but lost control of the ball in the tackle by Sithole on the goal-line. With two pairs of legs rolling over and the ball seemingly stuck in between them, TMO Ayoub, (the whole of South Africa rejoiced when he was no longer an on-field referee), awarded the try despite there being absolutely no evidence of grounding.

Foley’s conversion gave the Waratahs a crucial 20-11 lead after 53 minutes but the Sharks lifted themselves when veterans Du Plessis and Steyn showed that they are not rugby oupas by slickly combining for the centre to score, Cronje also providing some vital touches in the build-up.

Steyn’s conversion made it a two-point game (18-20), but the Sharks were knocked back to the mat as Hoffman awarded two more controversial penalties against the Sharks – the ridiculous high-tackle call against Cronje when centre Kurtley Beale slipped and fell over into the tackle and a harsh deliberate knock-on call against JP Pietersen.

There was much to enthuse about the Sharks’ second-half display on attack, none more so than when they got the ball wide to Sithole and he powered down the left in a thrilling run, but the fun for the visitors was soon ended when Beale shoulder-charged the wing into the corner flag. That does not mean he is in touch, of course, but Ayoub decided he was and Beale escaped punishment for his no-arms tackle.

Any chance of even taking a point out of a game that they could well have won given decent officiating disappeared in the 79th minute when a poor pass from the otherwise good scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer was fumbled by Cronje and Foley pounced, kicking the ball through and re-gathering to score.

These days, any referee appointed by Sanzar could be incompetent, but this game seemed different in that there weren’t any bad calls against the Waratahs.

Whether any action will be taken by Sanzar remains to be seen, but past experience suggests the carpet in their Sydney headquarters will merely have more swept underneath it.

Scorers

Waratahs: Tries – Adam Ashley-Cooper, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley. Conversions –Foley (3). Penalties – Foley (4).

Sharks: Try – Odwa Ndungane, Francois Steyn. Conversion – Steyn. Penalties – Steyn (2).

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/383666/sharks-sing-the-blues-once-again/

Ireland unable to handle entry of Boks’ big weapons – Schmidt 0

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Ken

 

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said the entry of South Africa’s big weapons in the second half had delivered an onslaught that the tourists were unable to handle as the Springboks turned a 19-3 halftime deficit into a thrilling 32-26 victory in the second Test at Ellis Park at the weekend.

“We said at halftime that we can’t sit on the lead with the weaponry South Africa have, and that was in full evidence in the second half. They delivered an onslaught that we couldn’t match up to, the result was earned by the Springbok ball-carriers.

“The way the Springboks came back was relatively irrepressible – Damian de Allende is a devastating carrier, Ruan Combrinck is unbelievably tough to put down, once he got the ball in his hands he was a real handful, and Warren Whiteley scored a really well-taken try,” Schmidt said after the game.

Ireland captain Rory Best said his team still believed they could go to Port Elizabeth and win the series in the third Test next weekend.

“Obviously this defeat is very hard to take, for large parts of the first two-thirds of the game we did all the things we talked about – we were physical, we got off the line quickly and we held on to the ball. But we couldn’t defend that lead because once the Springboks started to come around the corner we began to slip tackles. If you don’t compete around the fringes against the Springboks then you’re going to lose.

“But we’ll take this loss on the chin and come out stronger on the other side. We still have a chance to win the Test series and we have to make sure that if we’re in this position again, we don’t make the same errors. We must improve on the last quarter,” hooker Best said.

 

Ford unable to keep up with dazzling Fisher Jnr 0

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Ken

Overnight leader Matt Ford was unable to keep up with a dazzling Trevor Fisher Junior, who shot a superb nine-under-par 63, on the third day of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Saturday.

Fisher Junior’s magnificent round, which featured seven birdies and an eagle, saw him finish the penultimate round on 16-under-par.

Ford posted a solid three-under-par 69 to go into the final round on 14-under, while the Englishman was joined in contention for the co-sanctioned title by South African Jaco van Zyl, who shot a 68 and is on 12-under-par.

The other golfers in the top six after the second round faded, with John Parry shooting a 69 to be 10-under, Mark Tullo posting a 70 to be on nine-under and South African Erik van Rooyen slipped all the way back to six-under after a 74.

Fisher Junior tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and for fourth in the 2010 Africa Open, and has five other top-10 finishes in co-sanctioned events, but he says he has learnt how to win after he overtook George Coetzee to win the Investec Cup last year and claim the R3.5 million bonus pool.

“You learn from every experience, but the Investec Cup was invaluable and I now know how to handle the pressure of trying to win on the final day. It’s about managing your game, where to be and where not to be. But you also have to hit the ball well and putt well,” Fisher Junior said.

While Fisher Junior was rolling in putts from everywhere – including an extraordinary 65-foot effort for birdie on the 13th – his compatriot, Van Zyl, was nonplussed by the greens. Despite playing beautifully from tee to green, he could only collect three birdies and an eagle.

“I got off to a flying start, but then I battled to see the lines from 13 on. I was rolling the ball nicely and I gave myself lots of opportunities, but I was always wondering about the lines. Anyway, I’m really enjoying being in the mix,” Van Zyl said.

Van Zyl’s only bogey came on the ninth hole when he missed a short putt for par, while Ford made his mistakes on the par-four eighth and 13th holes.

Ford was three-under-par for his round and comfortably holding on to the lead when he stepped on to the eighth tee and took on the short dogleg to the right. The Englishman put his second into the bunker, went over the green with his third, was short of the putting surface with his fourth, on for five and then putted for double-bogey.

But the man who finally won his European Tour card on his 10th visit to Qualifying School is still on track for a maiden title.

“It was a roller-coaster round, there were quite a few emotions and I’m a bit drained now,” Ford said after his round. “I would have taken three-under at the beginning of the round and there were more good shots than bad. Like a swan, it might look calm on the outside, but the feet are going mad underneath. But I try not to get too involved in the emotional side because you can’t play good golf with too much emotion,” Ford said.

Fisher Junior has led before going into the final round of a co-sanctioned event but failed to seal the deal, but he said he now has a fresh perspective and golf is no longer a daily grind for the 35-year-old.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to have a smile on my face. When you’re younger, you tend to try too hard, but now that I’m more mature I realise that it’s just a game and I’m lucky to be playing it. Having kids also gives you a whole new perspective, and I’m just going to enjoy the view tomorrow,” Fisher Junior said.

Ford, who would have been delivering mail as a postman if he hadn’t finally gained his tour card last November, is similarly philosophical heading into the biggest day of his career.

“Tomorrow is going to be a lot of learning. What I’ve learnt today will hopefully put me in good stead for the final round,” the mellow 36-year-old said.

http://www.citizen.co.za/339956/ford-prepares-to-face-biggest-day-of-his-life/

Molinari unable to eat away at Grace’s lead despite good start 0

Posted on February 13, 2015 by Ken

Francesco Molinari was unable to eat away at Branden Grace’s lead despite a good start to the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in Malelane on Saturday.

Grace began the penultimate round with a five-shot lead on 16-under-par, but that was cut to four as Molinari birdied the par-four first hole.

But by the end of the front nine, Grace had restored the status quo as he birdied the third, fourth and seventh holes to make up for bogeys at the second and sixth.

The South African had some portions of pressure served to him by Molinari, with the Italian twice closing to within three strokes, after Grace’s bogey at the second and his own birdie at six.

But the par-three seventh saw a two-stroke swing as Molinari’s tee-shot found the bunker and his poor chip saw the ball run 25 feet past the hole and he was unable to make the par putt. Grace, meanwhile, drained his birdie putt from 15 feet.

It made up for the dropped shot on six when Grace’s drive went under a thorn tree and he was forced to punch the ball out back on to the fairway.

Danny Willett, the winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City last weekend, was alone in third place on 11-under-par, the Englishman joining Molinari on 12-under before a double-bogey on the par-four ninth hole pushed him back.

Shaun Norris was the next best South African, going through 10 holes one-under-par to go to 10-under overall, tied for fourth with the Dane, Lucas Bjerregaard.

Tjaart van der Walt, who was in third place after the second round, dropped four strokes on the front nine to tumble down the leaderboard.

http://citizen.co.za/292806/grace-remains-lead-alfred-dunhill-championship/

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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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