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Ken Borland

Test rugby like a drug for Siya, while Stick says chase memories 0

Posted on July 19, 2021 by Ken

For Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, Test rugby is like a drug that he cannot get enough of, while for backline coach Mzwandile Stick, the forthcoming series against the British and Irish Lions is the chance to chase memories for the players.

Kolisi’s gratification will finally come on Friday evening when he leads the Springboks out against Georgia in their warm-up Test at Loftus Versfeld, ending a 20-month wait since he last donned the Green and Gold and lifted the greatest prize of them all – the World Cup trophy.

“Once you’ve tasted it you don’t want to stop. It’s the best in South Africa against the best from elsewhere in the world. Just the intensity in training as well, it’s double what you experience back at your union and you just know that you cannot switch off or get a big head otherwise you will get left behind. You learn a lot about yourself in this environment,” Kolisi said on the eve of his return to the international stage.

The excitement ahead of taking on Georgia, ranked No.12 in the world, is going to at least double when the Springboks approach the main course: three Tests against the British and Irish Lions that only come along every 12 years.

Stick, a former Springbok Sevens captain who won the World Series, knows what it feels like just to play against the Lions in a tour game, having appeared for the Southern Kings against the famous tourists in Port Elizabeth in 2009.

“It’s a chance to build new memories. The Lions are a massive challenge and we are really excited. The players have one opportunity to create something special. I played against the Lions in 2009 and it was a challenge every second. I came on at blindside wing and I just wanted to get in the game so badly that I tried to stand in the defensive line at flyhalf.

“But Ronan O’Gara was so smart and he just kicked the ball over my head. I was stupid and the players mustn’t be like me. They have to play together as a team. Like against Georgia who we respect as a tough side – we will be punished if we don’t pitch up,” Stick said.

The two teams also always have a chat with the referee before a Test match and in this case Stick was reunited with an old opponent from his Sevens days in Scotland’s Mike Adamson.

Adamson will be blowing just his second Test match after officiating in the England versus Italy Six Nations match earlier this year. He has also taken the whistle in Currie Cup games before.

A flyhalf in XVs, he was a top-class Sevens exponent who was Scotland’s Sevens Player of the Season in 2006/7.

Petersen giving other kids the chance to repeat his unlikely story 0

Posted on December 29, 2014 by Ken

A young boy raised by a single mother in an impoverished Port Elizabeth community beset by drug and alcohol abuse is an unlikely candidate to become an opening batsman with five centuries for the world’s number one Test side, but that’s the story of Alviro Petersen.

And the 33-year-old is making sure that other young kids in Gelvandale now have the opportunity to enjoy the same success story through the Alviro Petersen Foundation, which celebrated its first birthday at a fundraising dinner at Randpark Golf Club this week.

It was an elite gathering of three excellent Test opening batsmen in Petersen, Barry Richards and Chris Gayle.

The West Indian has always shown an acute appreciation for the fact that his job as a sportsman is to entertain and he certainly did that in his own inimitable Caribbean style.

But beyond the often raucous humour lay the serious business of changing lives, which the Foundation is certainly already doing.

Their efforts have so far focused on four schools in the northern suburbs of Port Elizabeth – Fontein Primary School, Otto du Plessis and Gelvandale high schools and St Thomas School. Apart from donating cricket kit, the Foundation have also made arrangements for two-dozen children to have their school fees paid and they have contracted Second Chance to deliver substance abuse and life skills programmes.

Petersen himself spoke with great meaning and passion to the couple of hundred supporters and friends of his foundation at the dinner.

“I was a young boy growing up in a poor community, raised by a single mother after my parents split when I was two. It was a community rife with drugs, alcohol and gangsterism and it was never going to be likely that I was going to get to where I am today,” he said.

“But South Africa is a country of the unlikely and when I was eight I said I wanted to play for South Africa. When I was 18, I hopped on a bus for a 20-hour trip to Pretoria, where I had a small contract with a club,” Petersen recalled of his humble beginnings.

“It’s been one year since our launch and we’ve been very busy. We’ve done so much already, but there’s so much more to do. You can find potential in every person and we just want to make sure kids get an adequate education and it’s safe for them to play. Women and children must be safe from abuse and we’re going to focus on that in 2015.

“There are kids who drop out of school because of circumstances beyond their control and we hope we can make their dreams come true as well,” Petersen said.

Perhaps the pick of the stories told, however, was of Ashton Frodsham, a Grade 7 pupil at Beaulieu Prep School, who raised R15 000 in two weeks for KES lightning strike victim Mpheto Bidili and then donated R10 000 to the Alviro Petersen Foundation to buy cricket kit, having asked for donations rather than presents for his 13th birthday.

It is rare that someone who is still active at international level – and is surely also focused on dealing with the pressure to keep his place – is already giving back to such an extent. Having survived all the early blows that life dished up to him, it is a further mark of Petersen’s character.

For cricketing wisdom, the dinner had Richards, who in his day was up there with Gayle when it came to destroying bowling attacks. The former opening batsman turned commentator said he was puzzled by AB de Villiers not batting higher up the order for South Africa and was concerned about the Proteas’ suspect death bowling.





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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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