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Ken Borland

SA rugby needs decency more than anything else 0

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Ken


In terms of rugby, the New Year is all about finding answers to the question “What is wrong with South African rugby?”, but two incidents in the last month show that, perhaps more than anything else, some of our players and administrators have to ditch their self-serving attitudes and get back to the old values of the game that were rooted in common decency and humility.

The recent actions of the Western Province Rugby Football Union and current Springbok player Johan Goosen suggest the problems are more about individuals being rotten to the core rather than structural issues.

Let’s start with Goosen and I’m not going to say anything more about his on-field performance than my feeling he has flattered to deceive, although the fact that he never had a start at flyhalf is a mitigating factor.

But his tawdry actions in trying to get out of a lucrative contract with Racing Metro, that he only signed a few months ago and that netted him €500 000 a year until 2020, indicate this is a man of scant integrity and someone who clearly does not put team ahead of self.

A couple of weeks ago Goosen announced his retirement from rugby at the age of just 24, following one of his more injury-free years and his return to international rugby, saying he was going to become commercial director of a Free State based agricultural company.

Of course no one is really going to believe that and his name has since appeared on a Cheetahs training squad list and it has since been said that Goosen is ultimately going to Gloucester, once Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad becomes the English club’s majority shareholder.

With flagrant disregard for any ethical considerations, Goosen has taken advantage of a loophole in French labour law which makes all fixed-term rugby contracts temporary. Hence a player can be released from his contract without penalty if he finds fulltime employment – ostensibly Goosen’s dubious “commercial director” job.

The actions of Western Province rugby are just as cynical and what little faith their loyal supporters had in their administrators must now have almost totally dissipated.

They had applied for liquidation of the business arm of WP Rugby and then, just a day after that was granted by the Cape High Court, the Western Province Rugby Football Union announced that the insolvent company had been bought by one of their other companies.

Having put Western Province rugby into financial strife, the likes of president Thelo Wakefield and CEO Paul Zacks are glibly trying to slip through a loophole in thoroughly dishonourable fashion to evade their creditors, most notably with sponsorship company Aerios.

And these are the calibre of administrators that have been put in charge of one of the most legendary brands in rugby?!

Goosen has surely played his last game in the Green and Gold because people of such deviousness really should not be representing our country. He should also not be allowed to play Super Rugby and the Springbok coach must ensure his players will make the nation proud, not embarrass us on an international stage; the good of the game must come before the avaricious accumulation of individual wealth.

Wakefield must also surely fall on his sword. This is not some village rugby team he is mishandling, but one of the proudest rugby legacies in the world, whose fans should be feeling deeply humiliated.

Huge opportunity for club cricketers in Northerns Bash 0

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Ken

Club cricketers get a huge opportunity to increase their values in the Titans set-up as the Northerns Bash T20 tournament gets underway at SuperSport Park this morning.

The Northerns Bash involves four corporately-sponsored teams – the Nashua Phantoms, Global Gladiators, TMM Capital Investments Tornados and W.A.D. Holdings Pirates – in a round-robin competition that throws together the current Titans stars, provincial players from the Northerns team and the cream of club cricket in the province.

The attempts to include some of the biggest names in South African T20 cricket have soured slightly with the withdrawal of fast bowler Marchant de Lange and all-rounder Albie Morkel, but there is still the delightful prospect of Titans stars Roelof van der Merwe and Heino Kuhn, Shaun von Berg and Mangaliso Mosehle, and Ethy Mbhalati and David Wiese going head-to-head against each other.

The Phantoms, skippered by Van der Merwe, are the defending champions and the left-arm spinner said although losing De Lange and two other seamers in JP de Villiers and Wayne Scott was a disappointment, he was happy that he would still have an attack capable of winning the second edition of the Northerns Bash.

“Marchant has gone off to play in the Champions League for Kolkata, while JP is on honeymoon and Wayne is injured, but our strength is our three spinners – myself, Shaun von Berg and Eden Links. I think that could be a crucial factor because we know what the pitches are like this time of year,” Van der Merwe told The Pretoria News yesterday.

The experienced former international said the key to repeating their success would be how well they executed their skills both at the start of the innings and at the end.

“We want to repeat the way we started with the bat last time, with Blake Schraader up front just killing the bowling, which gave us good starts and then also be as good again with our death bowling. We want to be clinical in the last five overs when we’re bowling and in the first eight overs when we’re batting,” Van der Merwe said.

The left-handed Schraader, whose only representative cricket has been for the Mpumulanga U19s, is a prime example of a young talent that has a greater chance of reaching his potential thanks to the exposure he gains in the Northerns Bash.

Van der Merwe is not the sort of character to consume too much energy worrying about the opposition, but he did mention the Tornados as having an “unbelievable team on paper” and said even the Pirates, who will rely heavily on Wiese and Heinrich Klaasen in the absence of the injured Morkel, cannot be discounted.


Phantoms: Roelof van der Merwe, Shaun von Berg, Qaasim Adams, Aya Myoli, Eden Links, Rowan Richards, Jason Brooker, Henk Coetzee, Gerry Pike, Brandon le Roux, Niki Bouwer, Blake Schraader, Stefan Klopper, Danie Rossouw.

Gladiators: Lerato Kgoatle, Cobus Pienaar, Ethy Mbhalati, Bafana Mahlangu, Sean Dickson, Tertius Gouws, Murray Coetzee, Ryan Houbert, Farhaan Behardien, Sean Nowak, Ruan Sadler, Evan Jones, Ryk Eksteen, Sammy Mofokeng.

Tornados: Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Graeme van Buuren, Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Junior Dala, Aiden Markram, Corbin Bosch, Thomas Kaber, Jacques Snyman, Gerhard Linde, Sean Phillips, David Mogotlane, Tyler Easton.

Pirates: Heinrich Klaasen, Ruan Olivier, David Wiese, Eldred Hawken, Shershan Naidoo, Tian Koekemoer, Dean Foxcroft, Tom Khoza, Wian van Heerden, Ruben Claassen, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jeandre Jumat, Willem Britz, Schalk van Heerden.


Today: 10am Gladiators v Phantoms; 1.30pm Pirates v Tornados.

Tomorrow: 10am Gladiators v Pirates; 1.30pm Tornados v Phantoms.

Saturday: 10am Phantoms v Pirates; 1.30pm Gladiators v Tornados.

Sunday: 10am 3rd v 4th;  1.30pm Final.


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