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Ken Borland

Some of Jake’s selection strategies hearsed by Bok & SA A squads 0

Posted on January 20, 2023 by Ken

Jake White has always leaned on plenty of planning in his selection strategies but the announcement of the Springbok and SA A squads to tour Europe on Friday hearsed some of his intentions for Sunday’s United Rugby Championship derby against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld.

The most obvious surprise in the national squads was the omission of Johan Goosen from the main Springbok squad, although he is in the SA A party. White certainly expected his ace flyhalf to be pushing for selection for the Test against Ireland on November 5. To be fair to the national selectors though, Goosen has taken longer than expected to hit top form after a serious knee injury, and his progress was also disrupted by an untimely concussion.

“Johan Goosen is back and will play at fullback. I really wanted him to play at flyhalf, but I thought he would be away with the Springboks this weekend and I told Chris Smith a long time ago that he maybe won’t play much for us at the start of the season, but when Goosen goes I will need him,” White revealed on Friday.

“But it’s worked out nicely with the way we want to play; the Sharks kick a lot, so they’ll be kicking to Johan and he has the same sort of skill set in some ways as Kurt-Lee Arendse. So it’s a bit of a like-for-like swop.

“We have an incredible couple of months ahead – flying and coming back and flying again, playing on Christmas Eve and Old Year’s Eve – so there’s a lot of juggling and planning.

“And there are still national team call-ups and the World Cup build-up to consider. And then you get two or three injuries and the whole thing changes,” White said.

The Sharks are shorn of all their frontline Springboks – with the Bulls actually having eight Test caps in their squad compared to the six of the visitors – but White made a point of stressing that they are still a top-class outfit.

“It doesn’t matter who the Sharks come with, they are still a marquee team worth R450 million,” White chirped. “It’s going to be a massive game, they’re bringing six forwards on the bench, which is a wonderful place to be for a Bulls coach, it’s like the old days.

“The Sharks are an unbelievable team, but the pressure is on them. They haven’t been favourites at Loftus for a long time, but now they apparently are.

“It’s always a big game against the Sharks because all the big names play for them. So I hope buses fuill of our supporters come and we can give them a good game.

“The only way we can make Loftus a fortress is if everyone comes. It’s a Sunday afternoon and I want to see all the pink for cancer jerseys, or the blue ones, but no black jerseys,” White said.

Bulls: Johan Goosen, David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Sbu Nkosi, Chris Smith, Zak Burger, WJ Steenkamp, Marco van Staden, Marcell Coetzee (C), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Francois Klopper, Bismarck du Plessis, Gerhard Steenekamp. Impact – Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Ruan Vermaak, Embrose Papier, Stravino Jacobs, Wandisile Simelane.

Those who remember Houghton GC as a regular venue for major events will be pleased Joburg Open is moving there 0

Posted on January 04, 2023 by Ken

If you are a golf fan of a certain age then you will remember the Houghton Golf Club as being the regular venue for major South African golf tournaments, and the announcement that the Joburg Open will be moving there from November 24-27 will be a pleasing one.

Established in 1926, Houghton Golf Club was considered one of the best parkland courses in Johannesburg and hosted the South African Open eight times between 1951 and 1992, and the club hosted the Alfred Dunhill Championship between 1996 and 2004, after which it moved to Leopard Creek. Eight-time SA Open champion Sid Brews, South Africa’s leading golfing hero before Bobby Locke, was the pro at Houghton for 35 years.

But now, 18 years after Marcel Siem won the Alfred Dunhill Championship there in 2004, a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour will return to the course that underwent a complete redesign in 2009, becoming a Jack Nicklaus signature layout.

“We have staged Big Easy and IGT tour events since we closed in 2007 and reopened in 2019 with basically a new golf course,” CEO Robby Richardson said at the announcement on Tuesday at Houghton Golf Club.

“The greens are typical Jack Nicklaus designs and exceptionally undulating. If we can get their speed up to 12 or 13 then that will the major part of the course’s protection.

“We will try to harden and speed them up a bit, and we have also narrowed the fairways between 260 and 290 metres from the tee. It’s going to be nice to see how the pros play it,” Richardson said of a course that is by no means long, but still plays 6708 metres from the back tees, compared to the 6899 of Glendower and 7105 of Gary Player Country Club.

The course uses almost entirely it’s own water from grey sources as well as boreholes, so Richardson added that he is hoping the summer rains arrive soon.

Thriston Lawrence, ninth on the DP World Tour order of merit, is confirmed to be defending his Joburg Open title won at Randpark last November, while Dean Burmester and Oliver Bekker have also signed up, so there will be plenty of quality golf for local fans as well as the expected broadcast audience of 300 million viewers.

Boucher will be okay as lucrative IPL gig beckons; but who could take over? 0

Posted on October 27, 2022 by Ken

Following the announcement that Mark Boucher will be stepping down as Proteas coach after the T20 World Cup next month, it has emerged that the record-breaking wicketkeeper is lining up a lucrative Indian Premier League gig as the next step in his coaching career.

Boucher’s success with the South African T20 team – they are currently ranked third in the format – has attracted the attention of IPL franchises, who will also remember the stint he served as an assistant with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2016.

It is believed though that Mumbai Indians are after his services to lead the Cape Town franchise in the new SA T20 competition early next year. This could provide Boucher with a stepping stone into becoming their coach for the IPL, which would be one of the best-paid jobs in cricket.

Mumbai finished 10th and last in this year’s IPL under Mahela Jayawardene, a massively disappointing performance considering they won the tournament five times between 2013 and 2020.

CSA could announce an interim coach to take over from Boucher in the coming summer, before making a permanent appointment.

So who does South African cricket have who could take over the Proteas’ reins?

Robin Peterson

The spin-bowling all-rounder is probably the perfect candidate to succeed Boucher. Peterson has considerable international experience, having represented South Africa in 15 Tests, 79 ODIs and 21 T20s between 2002 and 2014. He has also done a wonderful job as coach of the Warriors, considering their limited resources, and they were pipped to the four-day title by the Northerns Titans last season. They are currently fourth in the overall Division One standings, ahead of teams like Western Province, KZN Dolphins and the Free State Knights.

Peterson also favours an extremely positive brand of cricket, his ability to empower the players being perfectly suited to the direction in which the modern game is going.

Malibongwe Maketa

The current owner of the SA A coaching job, the 41-year-old is next in line in terms of the pipeline. Maketa was also the assistant coach of the Proteas under Ottis Gibson from 2017-2019, but the outbreak of the Covid pandemic has meant the SA A team has hardly played in recent times and his coaching aspirations have been set back. But his tactical acumen and player management are both excellent. He represented Border in his playing days and is a former head coach of the Warriors.

Wandile Gwavu

Gwavu has enjoyed great success coaching the Lions and has won five trophies since 2019 when he took over from CSA’s current director of cricket, Enoch Nkwe, as head coach. And that will also be in his favour because he is almost a protégé of Nkwe’s and believes in the same principles of good structures and empowering the players. They are certainly on the same wavelength.

Counting against Gwavu is that he is still very young in coaching terms – just 35 years old – and he has no international experience.

Mandla Mashimbyi

Mashimbyi took over as Titans coach in the middle of the 2019/20 season when Boucher took over the Proteas role, managing to rebuild a team that dominated the second decade of the 21st Century but was in need of new blood.

Leading Northerns to the four-day title last season, as well as runner-up finishes in both the white-ball tournaments, was an outstanding achievement with a new-look side.

But the 41-year-old would also be taking a step into the unknown at international level, having never been there before.

Smith did not need to be beeped out once so preparations are going smoothly 0

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Ken

Despite technological difficulties meaning the video for their big name reveal of the new SA 20 could not be played, the commissioner of the T20 franchise league, Graeme Smith, did not need to be beeped out once at the announcement on Wednesday, suggesting preparations are going relatively smoothly for the basket that is seemingly holding all Cricket South Africa’s eggs in the coming years.

Smith is under enormous pressure to deliver a successful T20 franchise league at CSA’s third attempt, but it seems the former Proteas captain is bringing the same cool, unruffled head as he did at the crease. In terms of time-frames, it is a bit of a T20 dash, and now that the name – SA 20 – has been unveiled, the player auction in Cape Town on September 19 will be the next big landmark.

“It’s a simple name, but something we can really own and bring to life,” Smith said. “We’re very excited by what can be done with it and what we can create. One of our taglines is For Everyone.

“Hopefully it will bring people together and new fans to the game, give them the opportunity to love cricket. Hopefully the highly-competitive cricket will stand out.

“To see it come to life is very exciting and hopefully there will be full stadiums and great excitement. We’ve had very tight timelines, just five months to get the league going, so we’ve had to be agile,” Smith said.

While there has been some debate over how star players like Rashid Khan (BBL), Moeen Ali (UAE) and Liam Livingstone (BBL) are going to meet their commitments to both the SA 20 and the other leagues they have signed for over the festive season, Smith said he is pleased with the players available for his league.

“We’ve attracted some high-quality players. Our league is South African focused – 60-70 of them playing on a global platform – but we do have extensive overseas interest, an immense number of players have registered for the auction.

“The Big Bash League will have a different structure this season and they’ve allowed players to play in Australia for a portion of the tournament. So from early January, those Big Bash players who have signed for the South African league will be fully available.

“There are a few players who have also signed for the Emirates league. I was in the UAE last week and met with the league and we’ve agreed a way to handle it – we’ve allowed the players to feel comfortable to choose where they play. There needs to be a way we both co-exist,” Smith said.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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