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Ken Borland

Lions series will be as tightly wound as bobbins so Boks will be Sticking to experience 0

Posted on July 01, 2021 by Ken

Test rugby is always a high-stakes endeavour, but the series against the British and Irish Lions is going to be as tightly wound as the bobbins on the machines that used to stitch together the four panels that comprised a rugby ball, which is why the Springboks will be relying on the tried and tested experience within their squad, according to backline coach Mzwandile Stick.

The Lions’ last two Tests were a 15-15 draw and a three-point win over the All Blacks in 2017, and South Africa won the 2009 series through a five-point win in Durban and then the 28-25 thriller in Pretoria. So while there is much excitement over the likes of Aphelele Fassi, Damian Willemse, Rosko Specman, Yaw Penxe or Sanele Nohamba pulling on the Green and Gold next month, Stick preached caution on Thursday.

“There’s going to be massive pressure and we have to make sure we build the confidence of the youngsters. We can’t just throw Aphelele, Rosko and Yaw in together. We’ve still got a guy like Willie le Roux, who has massive experience and understands what it takes at Test level. We want Aphelele to feed off Willie and not wait until he retires to be able to learn that stuff.

“The new guys are all asking good questions, interacting and training with the experienced guys, and seeing what stuff they do off the field to prepare as well. If Willie can help Aphelele now, then it means he won’t take seven years to learn those things. We really want to build our depth and start from scratch at scrumhalf when someone like Faf de Klerk decides to move on,” Stick said.

The curse of the Covid pandemic, and South Africa’s hard lockdown, means the Springbok management has also had to focus strictly on the conditioning of the locally-based players in order to make sure they will be up to the intensity of Test rugby when they step on to the field at the Cape Town Stadium on July 24.

“As coaches we were never lectured in a pandemic and I think the last one was in 1918! But it’s been a tough challenge for the players as well and we had to improve our ball-in-play time. We know at Test level that it’s close to 38-40 minutes, but in our Currie Cup we were averaging 26 minutes. So we needed to control the stoppages and what happens off the ball.

“Fortunately the standard has really improved, skills-wise too. We know the last time we played together was in the World Cup final in 2019, but the last time the Lions played together was in 2017, so both teams are in the same situation. Luckily our overseas players have had tough, physical competition week in and week out. And no-one is interested in excuses anymore,” Stick said.

Members Council now looking for fit replacements as entire CSA Board resigns 0

Posted on October 27, 2020 by Ken

Following the resignation of the rest of the Cricket South Africa Board on Monday morning, the Members Council will now focus their efforts on setting up an interim board comprised of fit individuals to steer the federation to their AGM on December 5 and also formulate a new Memorandum of Incorporation for the election of directors.

The three remaining independent directors and the last non-independent director, Free State president Zola Thamae, all stood down on Monday morning, following the weekend resignations of five of the non-independent directors on the Board.

With no Board now in place, the 14-strong Members Council is currently in charge of CSA and their first order of business is to set up an interim board, none of whom will be directors from the last four years and none of whom will be eligible for the new permanent Board once it is in place.

The Members Council will present their plans to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa later on Monday, ahead of their scheduled meeting with him on Tuesday, and they will also consult with Sascoc over the composition of the interim board.

While ensuring independent directors are a majority on the board is one of the major recommendations of the Nicholson Commission, a big focus of the Members Council will be in ensuring these independents are fit to serve cricket, because they have been disappointed with the level of contribution made by the independent directors in recent years.

“Everyone on the Board has now gone and we will now move forward with our interim board plan. We want to send the Minister a response before our meeting on Tuesday. We’ve opened communication with Sascoc, but we need to nominate people who will add value to cricket, we need to guard against people coming in who are not going to help CSA.

“We want to get that interim board as clean as possible and you can’t serve on that body and then be a Board member afterwards because that would be a conflict of interest and we don’t want people to be persuaded into doing things that are not for the benefit of the game. Knowledge of cricket is going to be key and the biggest question facing us is whether we want totally independent figures or cricket people,” a provincial president who sits on the Members Council told The Citizen on Monday.

The administrator confirmed that they were trying to convince a recently retired Protea of high standing to swop his whites for a tie and sit on that interim board.

Much of the blame for CSA’s mess can be laid on the shoulders of previous independent directors, on whom the Board depends for expert corporate governance advice, who did not ensure those running the organisation stayed on the straight and narrow.

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