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Ken Borland



Sipamla at the start of the chain, slick & consistent deliveries what he brings 0

Posted on August 25, 2022 by Ken

The Central Gauteng Lions did their bit for Mandela Day this week by packing boxes of food and hygiene products to be distributed by humanitarian aid organisations. A chain of players then relayed them from the field to the stands by throwing the boxes to each other. At the start of this chain was Lutho Sipamla, showing the sort of slick, consistent delivery that is demanded of Springbok scrumhalves.

Consistency is also what the 24-year-old paceman brings in his bowling; in his three Test appearances so far he has taken 11 wickets at an average of just 22.27. But he has also impressed with his ability to bowl regularly in a channel, which Sipamla believes is going to be important re the upcoming Test series against England, who have revitalised their fortunes with an aggressive approach to batting.

“Watching their past few games, whoever the bowlers, England have really come after them,” Sipamla told The Citizen. “Their brand of cricket has been a lot more attacking.

“So line-and-length is going to be really important and controlling your channel for as long as possible. It’s going to be about patience and sticking to simple plans.

“I think if we can do that, with our attack, then we can come out on top. Either way, I know I would have really learnt a lot by the end of the tour,” Sipamla said.

Given his inexperience at international level, there is little doubt England’s aggressive batsmen will target Sipamla, but the Port Elizabeth product says he is happy to carry the fight to the batsmen if they do go after him.

“If the batsmen do show a lot of intent, then you have your zone as a bowler and if the batsman makes a mistake then he gets out; that’s my game-plan,” Sipamla said.

“I like the challenge of it being you against the batsman, that contest in the moment, I want to own and win the battle.”

The other thing Sipamla wants is to enjoy a proper cricket tour to one of the great homes of the game.

“Grey High School went on a tour of England in 2016, my matric year, but this will be my first proper international experience and I’m really looking forward to it,” Sipamla said.

“Just to see England and explore it and the touring side of life, I’m just going to enjoy it because it’s going to be great to be back. There’s a lot to do in England.

“And the Tests are at such historic grounds [Lord’s, Old Trafford and the Oval] and to be at Lord’s is going to be unbelievable. I know our pace attack and what they have in the bag, and what better place to show it,” Sipamla said.

Given opportunity by Jake, Gans has become a Bulls star 0

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Ken

Given an opportunity at outside centre by coach Jake White, Springbok Sevens stalwart Stedman Gans has become one of the Bulls’ star players in their successful 2020/21 campaign and while he achieves some goals, he says there are more boxes he wants to tick in the future.

The 23-year-old Gans, born in Vredenburg on the Cape West Coast but educated at Waterkloof and Tuks, played three Currie Cup games off the bench for the Blue Bulls in 2019, but it was a major surprise when White entrusted him in SuperRugby Unlocked with the No.13 jersey. And it was a masterstroke as Gans has brought considerable flair, skill and defensive nous to the midfield alongside another former Sevens star in Cornal Hendricks.

“The plan was always to come back to XVs and I’ve really enjoyed the last year with the Bulls, I’m definitely happy with the way things have gone. I’m not surprised that us Sevens guys have done so well because the way XVs is going, it definitely suits the Sevens guys more these days. More speed and skill are coming in, power still plays a big role but skill has a big influence now.

“Because I play at No.13, a big motivation for moving to Sevens was to sharpen my defence, my tracking ability, and that’s a big focus in Sevens. I think we’ve shown that Sevens players can come in and make a big difference in the 15-man game. A guy like Cornal is a Springbok, he has played for a long time, at a few places, and you get a lot from the experience and calmness that he brings,” Gans, who represented the Blitzbokke from 2016 to 2019, said.

Looking ahead to the Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld next weekend, Gans said the do-or-die nature of the Sevens circuit will certainly help him prepare for the nerves and the pressure of knockout rugby.

“There are certain things I’ve learned from Sevens for if you’re in these situations, these pressure positions, I’m fortunate to have been in those a few times. So I will just focus on the processes and not the outcome, and there are certain mental triggers and I will use those in the next week.

“We are very aware that the Lions will bring their A-game in the semi-final, so we must prepare well and be at our best as well. We expect their best game of the season from the Lions, they’re definitely going to bring their A-game so we have to too if we are going to play in the final,” Gans said.

As for the rest of 2021, it is an Olympic year and Gans would like to be in the mix for a return to the Springbok Sevens squad.

“The Olympic Games are a definite goal, but closer to the time those details will be tightened up. But I have spoken to coach Jake White and it is his intention and mine to give me the opportunity to go to Japan if the Blitzbokke want me. It will be a very difficult decision if the Springboks want me at the same time, I will have to make that if we get there,” Gans said.

Proteas have ticked these boxes 2

Posted on January 13, 2021 by Ken

While an injury-depleted Sri Lankan side beaten 2-0 on the Highveld is not going to provide the best measure of the Proteas’ progress as a Test side, South Africa have nevertheless ticked some boxes in the recent series. These are the positives coach Mark Boucher can carry forward to the tour of Pakistan and then the home series against Australia.

  • The Proteas have a pair of veteran batsmen in Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis that the rest of the batting line-up can bat around.

The gritty, tenacious qualities of Elgar at the top of the order have always been apparent, but the 33-year-old is now also leading from the front with a more positive, aggressive mindset. Good starts are crucial for a batting line-up to consistently produce the goods and Elgar’s reliability is undimmed.

Du Plessis has brushed aside any suggestions his Test days may be numbered through his sheer hunger to still be playing, to still improve and still be scoring big runs. To have him in the crucial No.4 position, looking as good as he ever has, is a massive boon for the Proteas.

  • Lutho Sipamla’s successful introduction to Test cricket has increased South Africa’s pool of quality fast bowlers.

Sipamla suffered a nervy first day in Test cricket when he bowled his first 12 overs for 66 runs, going maiden and wicket-less. But he ended the series with highly creditable stats of 10 wickets for 167 runs; in other words, after his tough start, he bowled 27.5 overs and took 10 for 101. Although obviously still raw, the 22-year-old showed he certainly has something. The spells where he was able to find a consistent line and length were especially probing.

With Kagiso Rabada making his way back from injury, Beuran Hendricks also in the picture and much excitement over the potential of Glenton Stuurman, the Proteas have half-a-dozen quicks to choose from.

  • Wiaan Mulder has the potential to do a similar all-round job to Jacques Kallis.

Mulder is ostensibly a batting all-rounder, but we only saw glimpses of his talent with the bat during his useful innings of 36 in the first Test. But his bowling was a revelation as he finished the series with nine wickets at an average of just 20.55. The 22-year-old has wonderful skill with the ball and is clearly a thinking bowler. His control was also very good and, as Boucher said, he is not just a holding bowler but he also has a reputation for having a golden arm so he makes timely breakthroughs, as he did in both Tests. Which makes him an ideal fourth seamer, much like Kallis was. They are both bustling, strong bowlers and while Mulder will surely never touch the same heights of batting greatness as Kallis, he certainly has the ability to be an important run-scorer in the top six even.

  • Rassie van der Dussen has made an encouraging start to life at No.3

Replacing the great Hashim Amla was always going to be massive boots to fill, but Van der Dussen has performed creditably at one-down in the batting order, averaging 45 there in four innings, with two half-centuries. His slow start at the Wanderers drew an unnecessary amount of criticism and the fact that his approach was perfect for the match situation was borne out by the collapse of nine wickets for 84 runs that happened after his matchwinning partnership of 184 with Elgar.

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  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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