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Ken Borland

SA unable to marry stellar defence with attacking edge 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

South Africa were unable to marry their stellar defensive efforts with an attacking edge in the Women’s Hockey World Cup over the weekend, with defeats to Germany and Ireland in Amstelveen condemning them to the playoffs for 13th-16th spot.

Taking on powerhouses Germany for a place in the quarterfinals, goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande led an amazing defensive effort that saw South Africa miss out on a top-eight finish by just a single goal. They had kept the world’s fourth-ranked team goalless in the first half, but an early penalty corner strike in the second half proved the difference in a 1-0 defeat, that nevertheless made an impression on the world of hockey.

The defeat on Saturday evening meant South Africa had to play again less than 18 hours later against an enthusiastic Ireland team for a finish in the top-12.

Unfortunately, having put up such a stout effort in the previous game, the team’s lack of energy reserves caused them to sell themselves short in a 2-0 defeat.

After a bright start, South Africa gradually began falling off the pace, with ill-discipline and cards not helping their cause. Ireland began to take control of the match and it was only a heck of a defensive effort again which kept them to two goals. The Irish enjoyed 13 penalty corners to 1 and had 24 circle entries compared to South Africa’s 14.

“We’re disappointed with how we played,” Lilian du Plessis, who earned her 150th cap on Sunday, said. “We let ourselves down a bit technically, we knew what to do tactically and it worked when we executed it properly.

“It was tough playing so soon after the Germany match, but we can’t use that as an excuse because individually we were not good enough.

“We need to regroup and refocus now, put lots of prep into our next game and try to fix what we got wrong today,” Du Plessis said.

Sharks were utterly dominant in the scrums … but were still held to a draw 0

Posted on February 24, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks were utterly dominant in the scrums but failed to take full advantage of that edge and were held to a 22-22 draw by the gutsy Stormers as they conceded a final-minute penalty try in their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park on Saturday.

The Stormers, trailing 15-22, were hard on attack and had a two-man overlap against a 14-man Sharks team when fullback Aphelele Fassi’s deliberate knock-on killed the move and he was the last defender, leaving the officials with little choice but to award the penalty try which earned the visitors a share of the spoils.

The home side were also extremely wasteful in terms of their goalkicking, as they only succeeded with three out of their eight shots at goal. Starting flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain only kicked three out of seven, but he did at least slot an impressive 47m drop goal on the stroke of halftime, following a goal-line drop-out by the Stormers.

It put the Sharks 11-3 up at the break and was important as the home side were already struggling to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.

The Sharks started in superb fashion as they won a penalty, set the lineout and then, after a ruck deep inside the Stormers 22, wing Makazole Mapimpi joined the line, but instead of knifing through on his own as he usually does, he threw a long pass out wide for outside centre Lukhanyo Am to stroll over for the opening try after just four minutes.

The Sharks stayed on attack but were then penalised five times in a row by referee Marius van der Westhuizen and the first time they infringed inside their 22, Am was yellow-carded for offsides. Flyhalf Manie Libbok put the Stormers on the board from the resulting penalty.

A massive scrum by the Sharks earned Chamberlain a penalty (8-3), but three minutes later he took too long over taking another shot at goal and the penalty was overturned. He then missed another scrum penalty, so it was relief all round in the Sharks camp when he did slot his drop goal.

The Sharks also made a great start to the second half with a splendid try. Prop Ox Nche’s leg-drive got him half through a tackle, but his skill in throwing a long pass out wide to Fassi at the same time was the key factor. Fassi then put through the perfect grubber for Mapimpi to show why he is the Finisher Supreme.

Chamberlain missed the conversion but added a 51st-minute scrum penalty to lift the Sharks into a commanding 19-3 lead.

But the Stormers kept nipping at their heels and metaphorically kicking them in their shins as they staged another late charge after their impressive win over the Bulls last weekend at Loftus Versfeld.

Warrick Gelant once again sparked matters as his little shimmy and lovely offload in the tackle to Damian Willemse saw the fullback provide a great finish through two tackles for the try.

A Chamberlain penalty put the Sharks 22-8 ahead after 65 minutes but the Stormers thoroughly dominated the closing stages.

They got their rolling maul going well and earned their first penalty try in the 69th minute when replacement prop Khutha Mchunu came in on the side a couple of metres from the line to kill the momentum. Van der Westhuizen awarded a penalty try and a yellow card.

With three minutes remaining, the Sharks were actually down to 13 men as wing Sbu Nkosi clattered into the back of Seabelo Senatla, preventing him from following up his deft grubber, and was also sent off.

Mchunu returned for the final minute, but was not able to prevent the Sharks from suffering a draw that will hurt plenty.

Meanwhile the Stormers will be celebrating seven hard-earned points on the road in the last fortnight.


Sharks – Tries: Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi. Penalties: Boeta Chamberlain (3). Drop goal: Chamberlain.

Stormers – Tries: Damian Willemse, penalty tries (2). Penalty: Manie Libbok.

Can John & Co really stop cricket from being flushed down the toilet? 0

Posted on June 28, 2021 by Ken

John Mogodi of Limpopo, Daniel Govender of KZN, Craig Nel of Mpumalanga, Tebogo Siko of Northerns and Simphiwe Ndzundza of Border are the people elected by the Cricket South Africa Members Council, the body that pushed the sport in this country to the edge of the precipice before eventually seeing some sense, to the new Board that will run cricket.

Of those five, it is fair to say Nel and Siko are the only two who have not been opposed to the efforts of the Interim Board and, by extension, the sports minister, to rescue cricket from being flushed down the toilet. While that reflects on the embarrassing quality of leadership on the Members Council, it is a relief that the new Board appointed this week will be dominated by eight independent directors and there is plenty of leadership, financial and legal expertise and governance experience amongst that lot.

Andrew Hudson, whose post-playing career has been centred on the banking world, is the only director with top-level cricket experience and it perhaps would have been nice if more former players had been appointed.

And the lack of female representation is an even bigger blot on the Board. Independent director Ntambi Ravele and acting chief financial officer Christelle Janse van Rensburg are the only two women out of a board of 15, and that’s even after sports minister Nathi Mthethwa made it clear that he wanted to see a greater push towards gender equality.

It is typical of the double-speak nature of the Members Council that president Rihan Richards should speak of their full commitment to greater female representation and then, when the vote was tied for the fifth non-independent director’s post between Anne Vilas and Simphiwe Ndzundzu, they chose the man.

And Ndzundzu is not just any man. He is president of one of the most dysfunctional provinces on and off the field, and someone who is being investigated over a charge of assault involving the elderly mother of a colleague he had a dispute with as well as a broken arm for his rival’s sister.

And Vilas is not just any woman. Acknowledged as one of the best administrators in South African cricket and very successful in business, as president of Central Gauteng Lions she has overseen their rise to arguably the best team in the country.

So it is fair to say that there will still be small pockets of resistance to progress in South African cricket, but hopefully our cricketing family can start to heal. CSA has been a dysfunctional organisation and the events of the last few years have demoralised so many people involved in the game. Good leadership was replaced by an environment of suspicion.

Hopefully this new Board can bring some much-needed stability after their predecessors did so much to kill the hopes and dreams of young cricket fans. Critical to that becoming a reality is for the right person to be elected chair of the Board and also whoever represents CSA at the International Cricket Council requires much thought.

It’s been a depressing time for those cricket lovers looking for moral leadership as the CSA Board and incompetent Members Council were captured by vested interests and a downright crooked culture developed in the running of the game. But this new, majority independent board will hopefully ensure good governance.

Cricket’s governance issues have, without a doubt, affected the on-field performance of the men’s national team as well, but after a lean period, the victory in the first Test against the West Indies provided some encouraging signs that the Proteas might just be regaining their mojo.

So let the healing begin, and thank you to the six members of the Interim Board for their top-class work which saw their vital task through to completion, shouldering a massive burden in the process.

With Bulls having Springboks & experience on the bench and the Lions having inexperienced reserve forwards, Jake feels they have the edge 0

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Ken

With the Bulls having the experience of Arno Botha and Jacques van Rooyen on the bench, and a Springbok scrumhalf in Embrose Papier sitting alongside them, and the Lions fielding six forwards amongst their reserves, five of them relatively inexperienced, Bulls coach Jake White said on Thursday that he is confident his team will have the edge when it comes to the closing stages of their Currie Cup semi-final in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Lions will have a well-travelled reserve prop in Ruan Dreyer, but Jan-Henning Campher, Carlu Sadie, Reinhard Nothnagel, Wilhelm van der Sluys and Francke Horn are all still making their way at this level and White quickly seized on the composition of the visitors’ bench.

“When I look at the Lions, I see six forwards on the bench so that’s how they’re going to finish and I don’t think those guys have played a game together as a pack. They said they’re going to run the ball but they only have two backs on the bench. So it’s going to be hard for them to play from side-to-side and it’s a big risk with six forwards who haven’t played together before.

“So that will present opportunities for us as well, our preparation has been very good and we are full of confidence. We’ve won most second halves in the matches we’ve played, so by that measure we are a team that finishes well. We can change things around and not just be one-dimensional. We’ve beaten the Lions, Sharks and Western Province twice so there’s no reason for us not to be confident,” White said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Bulls starting line-up announced on Thursday is pretty much the first-choice team White would have had in mind a few weeks ago. The exceptions are at lock and hooker, where Sintu Manjezi and Schalk Erasmus have cracked the nod.

Promising 25-year-old second-rower Walt Steenkamp is still fighting his way through the Covid return-to-play protocols, while Erasmus is the heavier of the two hookers – 108kg to the 98kg of Johan Grobbelaar – and thus will start to bolster the scrum, where the Bulls will have to weather an early onslaught from the Lions.

“Walt is still not 100% in terms of the return-to-play protocols. Our medical team is very proactive and has lots of concern for the players, so his welfare comes first, we won’t take a chance and they are 100% sure that he’s not quite back where he should be. Schalk scrummed with Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane last game and I just thought it was easier to keep them together.

“With Grobbies, Jacques and Arno on the bench we have a bit more senior, experienced heads to finish. We have the luxury of having Jacques on the bench, who is a great asset, but Lizo is a Springbok and has played many times with Trevor. They’ve been working with scrum coach Daan Human and the feeling was they are a settled combination,” White said.

Bulls: David Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Stedman Gans, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs, Morné Steyn, Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen (C), Elrigh Louw, Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje, Sintu Manjezi, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Erasmus, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench – Johan Grobbelaar, Jacques van Rooyen, Mornay Smith, Jan Uys, Arno Botha, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Marco Jansen van Vuren.

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