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Ken Borland

Keeping expanded squad keen and still ensuring success a balancing act for Everitt 0

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Ken

Keeping an expanded squad keen with regular game-time and still ensuring success on the field is a balancing act Sean Everitt has mostly succeeded with during his tenure as Sharks coach and on Thursday he named another eight changes to his squad for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match against the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

It is the last fixture in what has been a long and daunting first foray into Europe, with injuries to wings Yaw Penxe and Thaakir Abrahams, and the return home of scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba due to a family bereavement, complicating matters. But a strong starting line-up has still been named, and the likes of prop Wiehahn Herbst, lock Reniel Hugo and scrumhalf Tian Meyer will get some opportunity off the bench.

“On a four-week tour it’s important to give as many guys as possible an opportunity,” Everitt said on Thursday. “We’ve used 33 out of the 34 players with us here without weakening the team. But it’s important to get the balance right.

“You need to be strategic in mixing it up, for example when Boeta Chamberlain started at flyhalf we paired him with Ruan Pienaar, so he had experience around him.

“It has certainly kept the players motivated and I am quite comfortable that they can all cope at this level. So there are a couple of rotational changes this week with captain Phepsi Buthelezi having rested lasted week.

“There are also a couple of injuries and unfortunately Thaakir has a significant injury. He has gone to have scans at home and will have to see a surgeon,” Everitt said.

Centre Rynhardt Jonker is the unfortunate lone player who has not seen any action on tour, but at 21-years-old, just travelling and training with the team would have been a great experience and his time will come.

Having secured the morale-boosting win last weekend over the Ospreys, Everitt is confident that there will be no sliding of standards in their last game in the United Kingdom before flying home.

“The win definitely did us good from a psychological point of view and the guys are in a really good space and excited for the Cardiff game.

“The win has certainly lifted morale and the team is really motivated to win two out of four games, although it has been a long tour. We never set a goal for the tour, but the coaches spoke about getting 8-12 points.

“If we can get two wins then that would be a good tour. That was normally the benchmark on Super Rugby tours that were four weeks long. The third week on tour was always challenging, but we got the win last weekend,” Everitt said.

Sharks teamCurwin Bosch, Marnus Potgieter, Jeremy Ward, Murray Koster, Anthony Volmink, Boeta Chamberlain, Ruan Pienaar, Phepsi Buthelezi (Capt), Henco Venter, Dylan Richardson, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit (v/c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Dan Jooste, Khwezi Mona, Wiehahn Herbst, Reniel Hugo, Gerbrandt Grobler, James Venter, Tian Meyer, Werner Kok.

Elgar trying to market his new leadership style 0

Posted on June 07, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas are off to the Caribbean on Monday and, having gathered on Friday, new captain Dean Elgar has spent the weekend almost trying to market his new leadership style to an expanded squad of 19 players.

Elgar is one of the characters of the changeroom, and is often considered a joker, but he has shown he has strong leadership credentials at the Titans and certainly commands the respect of the players. But a new era begins next week, post the captaincy tenures of Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, and Elgar has been making sure everyone is on the same page as to the way things are going to be done now.

“We had a great chat on our first night together, when I mapped out how I see things going forward and we had a conversation around that. It was very constructive and those conversations will be ongoing over the next few weeks. I want to try and change the mindsets going forward, it’s a challenge with 18 different individuals who all have different opinions.

“So I’m trying to get buy-in, get the guys to trust the process. Hopefully some of what I’ve done in the past can rub off on the players, they need to know they can rely on me and follow me. We haven’t played much Test cricket lately, so it’s been difficult to get a process going that would make us competitive. I had a lot of quality conversations with Graeme Smith through the years and I would be letting the team down if I didn’t use that,” Elgar said at the weekend.

The 33-year-old Elgar said he would be leaning on other players who have been part of the Test squad for more than five years like Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada, because their experience will be vital for a rebuilding side.

“Those players are so valuable and there is a great demand for them around the world of cricket, you can’t replicate their knowledge. There’s not a lot of experience floating around at the moment, so their presence is massive for the environment. It was a totally different era when I started playing Test cricket under Graeme Smith, we had a lot more caps around then.

“But I would like to try and use my learnings from back then, use the knowledge I gained. That time moulded me and taught me a lot of good lessons, so I would like to bring that into this side. We need to get back to scoring big hundreds, bowlers taking five-fors and taking 20 wickets to win a Test. There used to be that rich culture of success and with extended squads now we have all the options we need,” Elgar said.

Pro14 expansion & no more talent-hogging in the pipeline for SA Rugby 0

Posted on December 04, 2018 by Ken


A new contracting model that stops certain unions from hogging all the talent as well as expanded South African participation in the Pro14 are both in the pipeline for SA Rugby, president Mark Alexander said on Wednesday.

The two initiatives are certainly linked as the success of South African teams playing in the Pro14 will depend on them performing well on the field, and there is little doubt the Southern Kings and Free State Cheetahs need to improve their depth to be competitive this year and beyond. Adding two more franchises to the mix will also put more of a premium on player resources.

“We are going to have more South African teams involved in the Pro14, possibly from 2020, we’re in negotiations about it and we are excited about it. We will then have four teams in the southern hemisphere and four in the north, which gives our players more opportunity. The Pro14 works financially for us, especially when we become full members in 2019/20.

“Griquas and Mpumalanga are now part of our franchise system and we are preparing them to play in Europe. We ignored the north for too long, it’s a very strong competition. Sanzaar is also a great competition for us, but the biggest problem is the distances you have to travel. Playing in the Pro14 helps with player welfare and being in the same time zone helps the broadcasters,” Alexander said at the tournament launch at SuperSport studios on Wednesday.

Alexander said that there had also been broad support for a new contracting model that limits the number of senior players each union can have on their books, as well as providing for a loan system that will help all the franchises.

“The new contracting system will allow for a draft. We cannot sustain a system with 990 professional players, but I believe we have enough players. But some franchises are sitting with six locks they have signed from Craven Week and a lot of them are sitting in the storeroom and not playing. They need to be playing instead of sitting around waiting for someone to get injured.

“The new player contracting model is vital in this regard, it will limit the number of players a union can sign to around 45-50 senior players, but there won’t be any pay limit in terms of budgets. This new model has come from the players’ association and it is a very good document. We have created a false market in this country and we need to be responsible because the first thing junior players do when they get signed is stop studying,” Alexander said.


Expanded field, points & prizemoney for NGC 0

Posted on February 25, 2016 by Ken


This year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge will feature an expanded field of 30 golfers and Official World Golf Ranking and Ryder Cup qualifying points, as well as the increased prizemoney counting for both the European and Sunshine tour orders of merit as insurance against the weakening quality of the entrants.

The selection criteria for the invitational tournament will now cover all the world’s tours. The top 10 willing players from the top 30 of the PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup rankings, the top 10 from the top 30 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, the winners of the Asian, Japanese and Australasian tour orders of merit and the best of the Sunshine Tour all qualify for the tournament at Sun City.

But it is with the European Tour that the Nedbank Golf Challenge has specifically thrown in its lot, gaining co-sanctioned status from the powerful tour that now rivals America’s PGA Tour.

The European Tour has for a long time enviously eyed the Nedbank Golf Challenge in early December as their golfers go into hibernation in the freezing, dark northern winter.

“This is a great opportunity for the European Tour to finally be involved in and sanction this event,” said Keith Waters, European Tour chief operating officer and director of international policy. He was talking at the launch of the new-look Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sandton on Thursday. “It really resonates with those of us in northern Europe because at that time of year, the weather is grim and nobody’s playing golf, so we always look forward to watching the event on TV. Now we’re officially part of it, which is great.”

The revamped Challenge will also prove to be of greater service to local golf, with at least five South Africans now guaranteed entry into the event.

While the previous year’s winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit is still automatically invited, the opportunity to play at Sun City will now be extended to the winner of the South African Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the top two on the 2013 money-list. To ensure a minimum of five South African golfers, the local invitations will then go according to the Official World Golf Rankings.

“These are very exciting times for us and we now have another co-sanctioned event in South Africa. The Nedbank Golf Challenge is the eighth. I don’t know of any other place that has so many,” said Selwyn Nathan, the executive director of the Sunshine Tour.

“We spoke so much about the Tournament of Hope [which is no longer happening], but the Nedbank Golf Challenge, in its 33rd year, is now our hope for a better future for South African golf. The increased opportunity for our players is a major asset for the Sunshine Tour in terms of inspiring our current stars. We’ve always prided ourselves on being able to open doors for a player to compete in some of the biggest tournaments in world golf and the Nedbank Golf Challenge will bring about an exciting conclusion to our season.”

The 2013 event will take place a week later than usual – from 5 to 8 December – and will have an increased prizemoney pool of $6.5-million, a 30% increase from the $5-million the 12-man field shared last year. The winner will still take away $1.25-million and the 30th place finisher will collect $100,000.

“We wanted to ensure we could still compete with events on all the other tours and not just in South Africa, and the prizemoney is still lucrative enough to attract any golfer,” tournament director Alastair Roper said.

“And we’ve gone a week later in the year and that will give us some protection. That weekend will be ours going forward and there won’t be any other rival European Tour events. Most schools are breaking up later these days and it’s important that the youth come and watch. The Nedbank Golf Challenge is what young golfers aspire to play and they want to emulate the stars they see at Sun City.

“With the prizemoney counting for both the Sunshine and European tour orders of merit and Ryder Cup and Official World Golf Ranking points on offer, it makes it extremely attractive for golfers to travel here for the event. This year the Race to Dubai final will end on 17 November, followed by the South African Open finishing on the 24th and the Alfred Dunhill Championship on 1 December, and we hope our event will also encourage golfers to play in those tournaments,” Roper added.

There had earlier been speculation that the field might be increased to as many as 50 golfers, but Roper said this was not only unaffordable for Sun City but would also dilute the quality of the event.

“We were always a bit nervous about increasing the size of the field, because then you can lose exclusivity and the tournament becomes too big. We discussed this with Keith Waters as far back as 2001 and we thought about 36, but we were never ever going to go bigger than that. The bigger you grow, the more questions you have over quality,” Roper said.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge is certainly now positioned as one of the premium events on the European Tour calendar. Apart from the World Golf Championship events and majors, there are only three tournaments that offer greater prizemoney, and all of them are at the end of the season in the weeks preceding the Sun City carnival – the BMW Masters in China, the Turkish Airlines Open and the World Tour Championship finale in Dubai.

But it seems the European Tour may well want their pound of flesh in return for their backing and Waters, in contradiction to Roper, said they envisioned an increase in the size of the field going forward.

“The Dubai finale has a 60-man field and the three events preceding that, two in China and one in Turkey, are 78-man events. Twelve is definitely too few for us and, as the Nedbank Golf Challenge develops, there is the opportunity to increase the field even further from 30. We hope we can find that balance between what people are used to and what the European Tour needs,” Waters told The Daily Maverick.

Where the Nedbank Golf Challenge has admirably succeeded is in finding a balance between an invitational, exhibition tournament and a regular tour event. There had been speculation that some sort of gimmick such as women’s golfers joining the seniors’ Champions Challenge would be added but, even though Roper said these facets could still be introduced in future, Sun International have gone for quality.

This is surely the better option and, with more South Africans in the field as well, one hopes the public will flock to a rejuvenated Nedbank Golf Challenge at the end of the year.

Qualifying criteria

(a) Defending Champion – Martin Kaymer.

(b) The winner of the 2012 Sunshine Tour Official Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above – Branden Grace.

(c) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a) or (b) above from within the top 30 only of the Final 2013 Fedex Cup.

(d) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a), (b) or (c) above from within the top 30 only of the Final 2013 Race to Dubai.

(e) South African players to be selected in order of their position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of Monday 18 November 2013, such that the total number of South African players qualifying through (a) to (d) combined as at the conclusion of the 2013 Race to Dubai is 5* in total.

(f) The winner of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above. – Thaworn Wiratchant

(g) The winner of the 2012 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above. – Hiroyuki Fujita

(h) The winner of the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above. – Peter Senior

(i) The winner of the 2013 South African Open if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).

(j) The winner of the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Championship if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).

(k) The balance of the field will be completed as follows:

(i) The player ranked number one on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.

(ii) The player ranked second on the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.

(iii) Players selected in ranking order from the OWGR as of Monday 18 November 2013.

After close of entries, should a player in Categories (c) or (d) withdraw, they will be replaced by the next eligible player from within their category, up until 18:00 (local time in Sun City) on Sunday 1 December. Thereafter a withdrawal from these categories will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above. A withdrawal from any other category after close of entries will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above.

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