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Ken Borland



Germany & Belgium confirmed as men’s finalists 0

Posted on July 21, 2017 by Ken

 

Germany and Belgium confirmed themselves as the men’s finalists for the Hockey World League at the Wits Astro on Friday night with thrilling semi-final wins.

Germany were 1-0 down to Spain as they entered the last five minutes of their semifinal, but they never lost their composure, never tried anything silly and barely looked like a side chasing the game for a spot in a  final.

Having just taken off their goalkeeper and with sterling defender Mathias Muller acting as a kicking back, captain Mats Grambusch then produced a superb run along the baseline before flipping the ball back for Ferdinand Weinke to slap in the equaliser.

Grambusch also marked himself out as a special player in the shootout, which went to sudden death, as he scored with both of his brilliant attempts.

Christopher Ruhr, firstly after Dieter-Enrique Linnekogel had won a penalty stroke, provided the other two goals in the shootout and goalkeeper Mark Appel also made some great saves for Germany to find their way through to the final.

In the other semifinal, Cedric Charlier and Amaury Keusters both scored for Belgium, before Australia pulled a goal back from a short-corner after the hooter for the end of the third quarter, through a fine flick by Jeremy Hayward.

Then, with just 19 seconds left in the match, Kiran Arunasalam thought he had scored the equaliser for Australia, but Kiwi umpire Gareth Greenfield called for a referral and a small foot was discovered, leading to the goal being disallowed.

The USA and Germany will meet in the women’s final on Sunday, while South Africa’s women’s side play in the fifth/sixth playoff against Japan on Saturday at 1.30pm.

Earlier on Friday, South Africa’s national men’s team beat Japan 4-2 in their playoff for ninth and 10th place with veteran former South African captain Austin Smith proving himself a jack of all trades as he scored two goals and led a determined defensive effort.

The hard-fought victory ensured the hosts not only didn’t finish last in the tournament, but it means they avoid relegation from the elite level of the event.

While the 32-year-old Smith twice rocketed superb short-corner drag-flicks into the right-hand corner of goal, the match was marked by a top-class display from the 18-year-old prodigy Dayaan Cassiem.

Cassiem was a constant threat running with the ball and he set up both the 29th-minute short-corner that saw South Africa go 2-1 up through Smith’s second goal, and the penalty-corner four minutes from full time that made sure of victory.

Cassiem pounced on a deflection and, spinning and shooting all in one motion, he fired the ball into goal to give the home side a two-goal cushion.

Coach Fabian Gregory said the performance left no doubt that Cassiem is a future superstar.

“Dayaan was fantastic today, I took huge flak for choosing him because he was just 18 years old and had not played in an IPT yet, but you could see today that it was a no-brainer. He’s the most exciting striker in the country, a real goal-scorer and he’s always just so focused on the rebounds.

“He’s had offers from all around the world, but first he must get his matric and study further. As a player, he’s really hard on himself and is extremely humble. He’s such an exciting prospect, but he’s really grounded,” Gregory told The Citizen on Friday.

Japan equalised just a minute after Smith had scored his first short-corner goal, but the defender put South Africa 2-1 up just before halftime. The Japanese dominated the third quarter, however, with Genki Mitani ramming home their second equaliser.

South Africa claimed a 3-2 lead though after a superb breakaway. Julian Hykes ran aggressively from midfield, combining with Rhett Halkett down the left, before Cassiem’s mis-hit shot hit a Japanese defender in the goalmouth, leading to a penalty stroke. Jonty Robinson’s flick was not his most confident effort, but it nevertheless went into the right-hand corner of the goal.

Gregory said he was pleased his team had won playing a more exciting brand of hockey.

“Playing the youngsters with their exuberance and their willingness to go out and play is exciting and they showed the way forward today, it was good for the team to show they can play attacking hockey. We want to try and score goals, we want to play with more speed, play with no fear. The ability to close out a game is also important and knowing when to put the knife in,” Gregory said.

Results: 9th-10th – South Africa 4 (Austin Smith 2, Jonathan Robinson, Dayaan Cassiem) Japan 2 (Koji Yamasaki, Genki Mitani); 5th-8th New Zealand 2 (Nick Haig, Kane Russell) Egypt 0, Ireland 1 (Shane O’Donoghue) France 1 (Hugo Genestet), Ireland won shootout 4-3 (Conor Harte, Eugene Magee, John Jackson, Chris Cargo vs Viktor Lockwood, Jean-Laurent Kieffer, Pieter van Straaten); Semi-finals – Germany 1 (Ferdinand Weinke) Spain 1 (Ricardo Sanchez), Germany won shootout 4-3 (Mats Grambusch 2, Dieter-Enrique Linnekogel/Christopher Ruhr 2 vs Sergi Enrique 2, Alvaro Iglesias); Belgium 2 (Cedric Charlier, Amaury Keusters) Australia 1 (Jeremy Hayward).

Saturday’s fixtures: Women’s 7th-8th – 11.15am India v Ireland; Women’s 5th-6th – 1.30pm South Africa v Japan; Men’s 7th-8th – 3.45pm Egypt v France; Men’s 5th-6th 6pm New Zealand v Ireland.

 

Springboks suffering due to lack of solid structure below them 5

Posted on October 17, 2016 by Ken

 

The Springboks’ humiliating defeat in Durban last weekend was a painful reminder of the gulf in quality that exists between the administration and structure of the game in New Zealand and back here in South Africa, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen making sure to mention the decision-makers in their rugby when he was asked for the reasons behind their world record equalling run of 17 successive wins.

A solid structure from schoolboys to the Springboks is what is needed for our rugby to remain amongst the best in the world, not yet another overhaul of the national team and their coaches; that’s just treating the symptom, shuffling people around, and does not address the root cause of our problems.

And, as great as next week’s Rugby Indaba sounds – except for the unfortunate two coaches who have their preparations for the Currie Cup final disrupted (another example of Saru’s awful treatment of their flagship competition) – it’s not going to address our real problems either. There might be some good ideas about game plans and what-not, but the coaches and the franchise CEOs do not have the power to change the structural failings in rugby, that lies with the South African Rugby Union and their turkeys who will steadfastly not vote for Christmas.

Below the national sides, there should just be six teams playing fully professional rugby based in the major cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. And those six unions should have the power in South African rugby, not the eight lesser unions, largely amateurish and as relevant as dinosaurs, which are currently the tail that wags the dog.

Below that, all 14 unions can have semi-professional teams, but the amount of money that can be saved by only having six fully professional teams and by eight economically unviable organisations no longer drawing over R20 million a year in Saru grants could go a long way towards keeping our players in the country.

Just like in New Zealand, talented rugby players must fight for a limited number of professional contracts through their performances at club level, that lead to them playing for their provinces and then being chosen for a Super Rugby deal.

The vast majority of schoolboy players in New Zealand don’t become professional rugby players when they finish their education. They go to university and play rugby there, or play for their local club side while working, which is why so many All Blacks have had interesting occupations like lumberjack, piano mover or, as in the case of Aaron Smith, apprentice hairdresser.

It’s a system that builds character and ensures only the fittest and hungriest players survive to reach the top.

Good schoolboy players in South Africa should be lauded in their school hall and with selection for provincial and national schoolboy teams; not with professional contracts and way too much exposure on television.

There is far too great an emphasis on schoolboy rugby in South Africa and that just creates entitled, spoilt players, wastes a lot of late-developing talent, kills our clubs and also gets in the way of transformation in many cases.

This is not to say that our current Springboks and their management are beyond blame. The All Blacks have a relentless drive to improve on and off the field every day, they see every challenge as a means of getting better.

Do our Springboks and their coaching staff have that same hunger? The same desire to do whatever it takes? Because it will also come down to that if they are going to close the gap with the All Blacks.

Any top professional sportsman worth his salt would turn a record 57-15 hammering at home into motivation to lift their conditioning and skills to new levels.

The South African cricket team has just completed an historic 5-0 series whitewash of world champions Australia, with captain Faf du Plessis saying a culture camp they held before the start of the summer has ensured that they are now playing as a team again and, most importantly, are really challenging each other to be better.

Now that’s the sort of indaba that could be useful for our rugby players and coaches, but the administrators still need to make the major, unselfish changes that will really benefit the game in this country.

 

Stellar second day for Southern Gauteng teams 0

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Ken

 

Hosts Southern Gauteng enjoyed a stellar second day in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Tuesday as both their men’s and women’s teams claimed pole position in their pools after posting their second successive wins.

The Southern Gauteng women’s team, the defending champions, produced a top-class 7-0 demolition of Free State, Lisa-Mari Deetlefs and Bernie Coston both scoring twice, while the men emerged with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Northerns in a fractious game that ended a day that was interrupted for over an hour by a thunderstorm.

They had to come back from a 1-0 deficit after a short-corner goal by Matthew Guise-Brown, and Brad Venter produced an equaliser on the stroke of halftime before Southern Gauteng won a penalty stroke as Guise-Brown hacked Julian Hykes’s stick from behind in the circle, allowing Gareth Heyns to flick high into the net for an excellent winner.

Last year’s finalists may yet be caught at the top of their pool if their B side, Wits, can beat Northerns on Wednesday and Southern Gauteng fail to see off Eastern Province.

Eastern Province, who beat Northerns 4-3 on the opening day, went down 1-2 to Wits on Tuesday as Nic Gonsalves scored a brace, the first coming via a field goal in the 19th minute and the second from a brilliantly-worked short-corner option in the 22nd.

The deficit was cut by a Cody van Wyk field goal, but his Eastern Province side were unable to find a way through again.

Pool A in the men’s A Section is developing into an epic contest as Tuffy Western Province, the defending champions, slipped down into third place after losing to the SA U21s, while the KZN Raiders, who drew with the junior internationals on the first day, joined them at the top of the standings with a comfortable 6-1 win over Free State.

Free State provided some anxious times early on for the KZN Raiders, but it was only a moment of brevity as the KwaZulu-Natalians roared to victory.

Free State started strongly and so nearly claimed the first goal when Dylan Swanepoel rocketed a short-corner drag-flick off the post in the second minute. But gradually the competitiveness of the Free Staters waned and the KZN Raiders in the end put together a very good performance.

They opened the scoring in the eighth minute when a fine cross by Mohammed Mea was expertly met and deflected into goal by Travis Hardnick.

The rest of the first half went well for KZN as they added two more impressive goals. Stephen Wiggett showed the talents of an ace goal-poacher as he seemed to have so much time to rob the ball off a defender’s stick and slam it into the goal all in one stroke for the Raiders’ second goal, and Jethro Eustice, who did invaluable work in midfield, then flicked home well from a short-corner to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.

Daniel Sibbald was inches away from scoring the goal of the tournament thus far when his reverse-sticks shot came off the post, the international having started the move just outside his own 25 with a superb run.

But the third quarter was a better one for Free State as they pulled a goal back through Darren Kamfer, before normal service was resumed in the final quarter and KZN Raiders scored three more goals.

Ross Hetem set up and finished the first with a fine overhead across the circle to Jarryd Jones, who cut back and then passed back to Hetem, who slotted home a good reverse-sticks finish.

Jones scored the last goal on the final hooter, with a slap high into the net after a short-corner, with Wiggett getting his second goal five minutes earlier with a well-struck angled shot.

The SA U21s had little respect for their heroes of yore in the Western Province side, denting their ambitions in a 3-2 victory.

Ryan Crowe handed SA U21 the lead with a field goal, before Western Province struck back thanks to an Austin Smith drag-flick from a penalty corner.

There was a break in play as thundershowers led to a waterlogged astroturf, pushing the remainder of the day’s games back, but play eventually resumed with the sides locked at 1-1.

Another field goal, this time by Khumo Mokale, helped SA U21 regain the lead, before a penalty stroke in the 40th minute from Kyle Lion-Cachet sealed the victory, although Western Province managed to close the gap with four minutes to play as Smith added another from a short corner.

The Tuffy Western Province women’s side provided more ill news for the Cape as they drew 1-1 with Northerns Blues.

The early exchanges were dominated by Northerns as they created a number of chances and pressured the Western Province defence. Had it not been for Nicole le Fleur they may have been down a goal early on with the goalkeeper keeping out a Jacinta Jubb effort from a penalty corner in the ninth minute.

But Jubb managed to break the deadlock two minutes before halftime with a powerful poke from a short corner hurtling into the backboard.

But the lead was short-lived as Western Province struck back through Anche Nortje, and while both sides fought hard for the lead in the third and fourth quarters, the goals never came. It was made worse by the fact that both sides were left to rue a number of missed short-corner opportunities.

The North-West women’s team showed that they will be coming hard at Southern Gauteng when they meet on Wednesday with a comfortable 4-1 win over the SA U21s, two of their goals coming from Lori Hyde.

Results

Men’s A Section: KZN Raiders 6 (Travis Hardnick, Stephen Wiggett [2], Jethro Eustice, Ross Hetem, Jarryd Jones) Free State 1 (Darren Kamfer); Eastern Province 1 (Cody van Wyk) Wits 2 (Nicolas Gonsalves [2]); Tuffy Western Province 2 (Austin Smith [2]) SA U21 3 (Ryan Crowe, Khumo Mokale, Kyle Lion-Cachet); Southern Gauteng 2 (Brad Venter, Gareth Heyns) Northerns Blues 1 (Matthew Guise-Brown).

Women’s A Section: North-West 4 (Sulette Damons, Lori Hyde [2], Sinalo Jafta) SA U21 1 (Nomnikelo Veto); Southern Gauteng 7 (Lisa-Mari Deetlefs [2], Robyn Johnson, Bernadette Coston [2], Taryn Mallett, Lisa Hawker) Free State 0; Tuffy Western Province 1 (Anche Nortje) Northerns Blues 1 (Jacinta Jubb); Spar KZN Raiders 3 (Chiree Coetzee, Sarah Bingham, Kara-Lee Stella) Wits 0.

Men’s B Section: Northerns B 2 (Michael Hesse, Michael Seal) Eastern Gauteng 2 (Grant Robins, Brandon Crockett); SA Country Districts 2 (Henry Cock, Keith Stainbank) Zimbabwe 3 (Phillip Machaya, Tendayi Maredza, Luckson Sikisa); KZN Inland 0 KZN Mynahs 5 (Dale van der Merwe [3], Richard Pentecost, Tanner Bottomley); WP Peninsula 4 (Warren McEwan [2], Luthando Jonas, Cameron Ryan) North-West 3 (Gertjie Lambrecht, Wayne Jeffery, Essex Mbekeni).

Women’s B Section: WP Peninsula 8 ( Nicole Bartsch [2], Georgia Moir, Simone Strydom, Rosanne Lombard, Georgia Grobler, Aimee Pote, Robyn Pinder) SA Country Districts 1 (Robyn Morgan); Southern Gauteng Nuggets 0 Northerns B 3 (Anneke Avent, Janie Porteous, Chanel Dippenaar); Mpumalanga 1 (Shannia-Lee Swart) Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Iman Johnson, Nicola Watson); KZN Mynahs 5 (Carla van Niekerk [2], Pamela Daniel [2], Jamie Chisholm) KZN Inland 2 (Silindile Mbhele, Tiffany Jones).



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