for quality writing

Ken Borland



Between AB & Atta, all we need is just a little patience 0

Posted on September 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Between them, Adriaan Strauss and AB de Villiers have generated numerous headlines and many words of copy over the last couple of days, but whatever one thinks of their sporting achievements, what is more important is that they are both fine men who enjoy enormous respect from everyone who works with them.
Unfortunately, South African sports fans being what they are, both have also had to face enormous vitriol and unfair denigration on social media, especially Strauss in the last couple of weeks.

Of course we are all disappointed with how the Springboks have been performing lately and Strauss’s own form has not exactly been inspirational, but so much of the criticism is uninformed and ignores the core roles he performs in the scrums and lineouts. As for his leadership, the players go out of their way to say what a good captain he is.

With so many veteran Springboks departing the scene in between the Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee eras, this is a new-look team that is going to take time to settle, especially since they are trying to forge a new game plan. The side that started in Salta had only six players with more than 40 caps in the 23.

Even the Lions took three years to settle into their new style of play, so the most important thing the Springboks need right now is patience. They are in a transitional period, which is perhaps why Coetzee chose someone like Strauss to be the captain for the first year, seeing as though he knew at the time of the appointment that the hooker would be retiring from Test rugby at the end of 2016.

By the end of this year, Warren Whiteley could have made himself a definite starter at eighthman plus Pat Lambie could well have returned.

I know patience is not something South African sports fans are particularly known for, but there are very few successful teams who don’t go through bad patches. Before they won the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks were no great shakes either and Jake White nearly lost his job in 2006, a year before lifting the biggest prize in rugby.

Removing Coetzee from his post anytime soon will serve absolutely no purpose and should not even be considered.

Such bad patches also happen on an individual level as De Villiers, now considered by many to be the best batsman in the world, himself described at the launch of his autobiography this week. Between 2005 and 2008, he played 17 Tests without scoring a century and made just six half-centuries.

“I’m always very scared of failing before I go out to bat and there used to be ducks at international level and I’d be in tears in the shower. One of the low points came in 2006 at SuperSport Park, my home ground, when coach Mickey Arthur told me I was running out of chances after another soft dismissal, and in 2007 I was just surviving, I probably should have been dropped.

“I’d had a taste of the dream and I was going to throw it away. But then came a huge moment in 2007 when Jacques Kallis approached me and told me that to earn his respect I have to find some consistency. He was willing to work with me, especially on my defence,” De Villiers said.

Even the most naturally gifted, world-conquering sports stars have their dips in form. The Proteas have seen their patience with De Villiers rewarded many, many times over, never mind how many spectators he has thrilled beyond measure in that time.

Similarly, Allister Coetzee and the Springboks need to be allowed time to find their groove together. Hysteria and short-term thinking will do their cause no good at all.

New Springbok captain one of the most admired SA leaders 0

Posted on June 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Adriaan Strauss has been confirmed as the new Springbok captain and it’s difficult to find a current player whose leadership skills and personality are more admired across the board in South African rugby.

The 30-year-old is one of those people for whom leadership comes naturally, even though he is softly-spoken and rarely demonstrative, a classic example of someone who leads from the front through actions, rather than words. He is currently doing a fine job as the captain of a young Bulls side, having previously led the Cheetahs, and has been a member of the Springbok leadership group for some time, having already played 55 Tests and been a vice-captain on several occasions.

Former Springbok eighthman Anton Leonard, who is working closely with Strauss as the Bulls’ forwards coach, is well-placed to speak about the hooker’s leadership skills, having led the Loftus Versfeld outfit himself to two Currie Cup crowns.

“Atta is a great person before he’s a rugby player and I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of players have a lot of respect for him as well. He’s not a big-talker, he’s more of a doer, but when he speaks, people listen. He’s done a tremendous job at the Bulls, especially with a young side, showing them the ropes of life and rugby. He’s personally earmarked and is growing some other leaders in the squad,” Leonard told Saturday Citizen.

There is little flashy about Springbok captain number 57 – although he is rather adept at stealing balls in the ruck – but he will be bringing technical excellence to his core role as a hooker and that is in solidifying the set-pieces. Leonard said these will be exciting times under the stocky Billy Bunter-like figure of Strauss, who did his schooling at Grey College in Bloemfontein like so many other Springboks.

“His appointment is very satisfying for us who work with him and I’m very glad for him. Firstly, he deserves to be the number one hooker, he’s number one in SuperRugby in that position if you look at the stats for the lineout. His hard work has paid off and he will bring fighting spirit to the Springboks in what is obviously going to be an exciting new era.

“He will have a lot of leaders around him, helping, respected guys like Warren Whiteley and the experienced Pat Lambie. But Atta’s strengths are that he is very good at summing up the game and he looks first at himself. He’s very humble and straightforward, every player knows where he stands with him. He handles pressure well, he shifts it on to himself and takes responsibility,” Leonard said.

Adriaan Strauss is living proof that not saying much does not mean you cannot have an amazing impact on those around you.

LAST 20 SPRINGBOK CAPTAINS

 

NAME              DATE          VERSUS      WHERE   RESULT    AGE   TEST No.      PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
Wynand Claassen  30/5/81    Ireland                  Cape Town          23-15          30           Debut                       Natal captain
Divan Serfontein    20/10/84  S America & Spain   Pretoria    32-15          30           18th                         Led WP to 3 Currie Cup titles
Naas Botha               10/5/86        New Zealand         Cape Town      21-15       28            18th                        NT captain 4 previous seasons
Jannie Breedt        26/8/89      World XV            Cape Town            20-19        30           5th                    Tvl captain in 2 Currie Cup finals
Francois Pienaar   26/6/93     France                   Durban                 20-20         26           Debut          Captained Tvl Super 10 title 1992
Tiaan Strauss           9/7/94       New Zealand       Dunedin      14-22        29           12th             WP capt, close contender when Pienaar appointed
Adriaan Richter        30/5/95     Romania           Cape Town             21-8        29           8th            Midweek captain on Boks’ 93 tour of Australia; NT captain
Gary Teichmann         17/8/96      New Zealand   Durban            19-23              29        7th         Captained Natal to ’95 Currie Cup title
Corne Krige               19/6/99                Italy              Durban       101-0            24          Debut         Captain Paarl BHS, SA Schools & WP
Rassie Erasmus        17/7/99        Australia      Brisbane      6-32        26                21st      Turned down captaincy earlier when Krige appointed
Joost van der Westhuizen   7/8/99    New Zealand      Pretoria  18-34    28           52nd                   Led Blue Bulls to ’98 Currie Cup title, inspired confidence
Andre Vos                        10/10/99           Spain                    Edinburgh   47-3  24           7th                 Lions captain ’98 & former Bok midweek captain
Bobby Skinstad                  30/6/01           Italy                Port Elizabeth    60-14    24           18th                Maties, WP & Stormers capt
John Smit                             24/10/03          Georgia               Sydney      46-19        25           24th     Led SA U21 to Sanzar title & Natal ’01 CC final
Victor Matfield                  23/6/07      New Zealand        Durban        21-26    30         58th       Bulls Super 14-winning captain, highly respected
Johan Muller                 14/7/07           New Zealand            Christchurch   6-33    27           16th            Sharks Currie Cup captain
Jean de Villiers             9/6/2012           England                 Durban           22-17       31           73rd    Stormers capt & long-term leader in Bok team
Schalk Burger                    25/7/15       New Zealand       Johannesburg  20-27    32           78th         SA U21 & Stormers captain
Fourie du Preez              3/10/15         Scotland                   Newcastle       34-16     33        72nd         2008 Bulls Super Rugby captain, had to turn down Bok captaincy in 2012
Adriaan Strauss            11/6/16          Ireland                 Cape Town       ??-??    30         56th                Previously Bok vice-captain, Cheetahs & Bulls SR capt
 
 

Bulls pack have to produce another mighty display – Strauss 0

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss says his pack are going to have to produce another mighty display if they are to beat the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday in the second game of their SuperRugby tour.

The Brumbies will have their all-Wallaby front row of Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Scott Sio back, while they possess two tremendous loose forwards in David Pocock and Scott Fardy.

“Their pack is definitely one of their strengths so it’s going to be a massive challenge for us,” Strauss agreed. “The Brumbies have got an excellent lineout and scrum, they have a very strong maul and their first-phase play is exceptional.

“It will be tough for us, but I’m very proud of our pack, they’ve really put up their hands and we have to do it again against the Brumbies.”

Strauss, as captain, can’t just focus on the forward battle though and, in terms of tactics, he hopes the Bulls can get the balance right between attack and defence, territory and possession, as they did last weekend against the Force.

“At stages we’ve played some great rugby and we want to play an all-round game and do it for 80 minutes. We want more artillery than just being a one-dimensional team, we want to be great at counter-attack and in the set-pieces, it’s all about playing decision-making rugby,” Strauss said.

The Brumbies will be desperate to get back on the winning trail after losing four of their last six games, including two in a row against the Crusaders and Highlanders. They are currently sixth in the Australasian Conference, two points behind the Rebels.

The Waratahs are level with the Brumbies on 21 points, but have a game in hand and are getting some good momentum after two successive wins.

No secret that Bulls are vulnerable in scrum, but still disappointing for Strauss 0

Posted on March 01, 2016 by Ken

 

It was hardly confidential that the Bulls were vulnerable in the scrums when they opened their SuperRugby campaign against the Stormers at Newlands, but captain Adriaan Strauss was nevertheless disappointed that his team gave their hosts so much opportunity to dominate that set-piece as they romped to an impressive 33-9 victory.

“The Stormers scrummed well in the second half and we also struggled against the Lions in the latter part of that warm-up game. There are technical things we need to work on and improve, but the coach said before the game that scrummaging would be our challenge and that’s precisely where the Stormers took us on and they won that battle.

“But we didn’t give them that opportunity in the first half, it was a tactical game, there wasn’t much space, a typical, hard South African derby. The Stormers took their opportunities in the second half but we gave them some of those. It’s frustrating because I know the side has got potential, like we showed in the first half, but then we didn’t play to our ability in the second half. Credit to the Stormers for playing very well, but we made silly mistakes at the lineouts and we didn’t apply pressure, giving them easy exits,” hooker Strauss said after the game.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais hinted that the true valuation of his side will only come further down the line, perhaps not even during this year’s SuperRugby competition.

“The match showed how young and inexperienced we are in certain positions. But we need to play these youngsters, they’ll get better every week and will be ready down the line. Otherwise two years from now we will have the same problem. It’s not nice, but we have to stick with it and the guys have to learn. A match like that is not fun, but it’s a good way to learn and the team will grow every week,” Marais said.

“The big question mark was always going to be whether we were under pressure in the set-pieces and the Stormers did that to us in the second half. Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit showed their class in the lineouts and they had very good substitutions in the scrum. If you don’t win your set-pieces, you can have thousands of plans, but without good scrum or lineout ball, you can’t attack,” the coach added.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech



↑ Top