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Ken Borland



Life in France is good for Nyakane 0

Posted on August 08, 2022 by Ken

Life in France is good (although he complained the biltong is not the same as at home) judging by the sparkle in Trevor Nyakane’s eye and his lean and mean look at the Springbok hotel in Pretoria on Thursday.

The former Bulls prop joined Racing 92 at the beginning of the year and will be a useful source of information on next year’s Rugby World Cup hosts. Nyakane picked up an injury towards the end of the French season which prevented him from playing in Racing’s unsuccessful Champions Cup semi-final and Top 14 quarterfinal.

But the 33-year-old was thrilled to be able to watch the charge of the South African teams in the United Rugby Championship.

“Being in France has given me a different perspective on rugby, and I’ll be giving that information to the Springbok team. It’s lovely coming back, I feel at home, you can get biltong over there but it’s not the same!

“I was really amazed watching the URC. At the start of the competition, you had to scroll to the second page of the log to find any of the South African teams, and then we ended up with three teams in the playoffs!

“Racing play Champions Cup rugby against Leinster, so we know what they are capable of and it was really amazing for the Bulls to go there and win. It shows that there are only greener pastures for our teams,” Nyakane said.

The versatile frontranker’s focus is now on the Tests against Wales and he says the never-say-die attitude of Wayne Pivac’s side is their strongest attribute.

“Wales have a lot of experience and they never let go. Some teams you can just beat into submission, but Wales keep coming until the final whistle blows.

“They will try and impose themselves in the game, but as South Africans we are never shy of a challenge,” Nyakane said.

While Thursday’s function was to introduce the new Springbok squad to the media, who coach Jacques Nienaber described as the brokers between the team and the fans/sponsors, who he said were ultimately their employers, it was unsurprising that the players were more excited about the prospect of playing in full stadiums again.

“We’ve really missed the fans, they mean a lot to us,” Nyakane said. “We went through the Lions tour last year without any crowds, it was a good tour but we really missed the guys out there keying us up.

“I would urge all fans to purchase tickets and come out and support us, and I can assure them we will give of our best.”

Moreeng finding innovative ways to prepare in bubble 0

Posted on January 19, 2021 by Ken

South Africa Women’s coach Hilton Moreeng says he and his technical staff are having to find innovative ways to prepare the team properly as the Proteas ladies eye their return to action on January 20 when their ODI series against Pakistan starts at Kingsmead in Durban.

The three-match ODI series is followed by three T20s, with all of the matches being played at Kingsmead, as the Proteas Women play their first competitive cricket since their nailbiting ICC World T20 semifinal loss to Australia on March 5 last year.

“Being in a bubble is a challenging environment and we have to follow a new normal which is very strange for everyone, training with masks and everything. But it is an opportunity to play cricket and we are just educating the players, this is a new experience for them. Our last three days of training have been very good and our preparations are on track, I’m very happy with how things are proceeding.

“The most important thing is that the team has had a year out of action with no competitive cricket, so just to get out on the park is a big thing. We have had a lot of camps, which went well, but you can only see so much in those. I’m looking forward to a lot of youngsters now getting the opportunity to actually play. And at the end of the day we’re just playing to win,” Moreeng said on Monday.

There are at least two spots available in the batting line-up due to the absence through back injuries of captain Dane van Niekerk and the hard-hitting Chloe Tryon, even if those players coming in are just leasing their spots from two world-class performers who will be missed.

“It’s a big loss but mostly for the individual players because we don’t know when their next opportunity to play will come. But their absence does give an opportunity to others to play and that only makes the team stronger. A couple of youngsters have put their hands up in our camps. Of course competitive cricket will always be another level and rustiness will be there.

“We wanted to take our momentum from the T20 World Cup and keep improving while we build for the next World Cup [the 50-over edition in New Zealand next year], so not playing for a year has been a blow for everyone, but we can only control what we can and that’s the attitude we want the players to have. At the end of the day, safety must come first and we are just thankful for the opportunity to play,” Moreeng said.

CSA need to put their faith in building the base, not quick riches 0

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Ken

 

Two not entirely unconnected happenings in the world of cricket caught my eye this week: The first was an article (http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/1098043.html) on CricInfo about the looming player strike in Australia and how the relationship between their administration and their players has almost entirely broken down; the second was that Cricket Australia’s executive manager of broadcast, digital and commercial, Ben Amarfio, had come to South Africa and briefed local cricket stakeholders on their successes, in particular the Big Bash League.

The irony of the situation is that although the Big Bash League has been an enormous success in terms of crowds and television revenue, the damage it is doing to all other aspects of Australian cricket reminds one of the south Indian proverb that “nothing grows under the shade of the Banyan tree”.

The T20 competition might be going through the roof, but the rest of Australian cricket is not exactly excelling: results have been indifferent and the players are about to go on strike! The temptation to copy what they are doing should be resisted.

The dollar signs are already rolling in the eyes of Cricket South Africa when it comes to the new Global Destination T20 League that will debut on our shores next summer, but the actual economics of the event have been poorly communicated to many of the stakeholders who will hand over control of their stadia and players for the duration of the competition.

The state of the game in this country is currently strong, and CEO Haroon Lorgat was a well-deserved winner of the Leadership in Sport Business award at this week’s Sports Industry Awards, but the danger still exists that the lower levels of the sport, the foundation, will be ignored in favour of the riches that could suddenly become available.

We all know the immense damage done to the reputation of Cricket South Africa following the hosting of the IPL in 2009 and the money-grabbing associated with it, but our administrators seem to have short memories; how else can one explain the presence of disgraced former CEO Gerald Majola as an honoured guest, seated in the front row, at their own awards ceremony last week?

At the same awards dinner, it was noticeable that the prize for the best scorers association, previously included in the professional operations section along with the umpires, had been demoted to the amateur awards given out at the breakfast earlier on the same day. It may seem like a trivial matter – but it was certainly a slight felt by the scorers, who are an integral part of the game, just like umpires. It points to a lingering suspicion that CSA might just be undervaluing their foundations, the domestic base.

It is a fact that the best organisations look after the interests of all their people – their employees and stakeholders – and a prime example of this is the Northerns Cricket Union, who also held their awards luncheon this week.

Their Titans team is the best in the country, winning two trophies last season and narrowly missing out on the third, and that is partly because of the superb administrative structures that support the on-field performance. The Northerns team is also the dominant force in senior provincial competitions.

The administration is happy and productive because every person is treated well and with enormous respect; they are made to feel part of the success of the union and franchise. There is no greater measure of this than the fact that all the grounds staff, dressed in their Sunday best, were invited to the luncheon and the hug and kiss CEO Jacques Faul received from one of the housekeeping staff when she received her certificate.

Faul is an outstanding CEO who makes every one of his staff feel valued, and that is the secret to getting the best out of people, and the strong relationship between him and president John Wright, a true servant of sport, is also vital.

Cricket South Africa need to be warned that there is a danger of prioritising money over people and the overall well-being of the game of which they are trustees; when things are going well is probably the right time for this reminder.

*Altaaf Kazi, CSA’s head of media and communications, has pointed out, however, in response to this column that the scorers were never previously honoured during the live TV broadcast segment of the awards, whereas this year their award presentation from the breakfast was shown live on SuperSport. The reshuffling was due to the pleasing inclusion of three extra awards for women’s cricket.

Titans have beady eye on finishing second 0

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Ken

 

With the Highveld Lions having already clinched the Sunfoil Series title, the focus has now shifted to who will finish second in the four-day competition and the Titans have their beady eye on overtaking the Dolphins in the last round of matches starting today.

The Dolphins lost to the Lions last weekend in the title decider, but the Titans, having drawn against the Cape Cobras, find themselves 12.16 points behind the KwaZulu-Natalians as they host the Knights at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Experienced all-rounder Albie Morkel has been included in the Titans squad, while batsman Dean Elgar, fresh off a double-hundred, has been rested due to concussion.

The Knights will be boosted by the return of pacemen Quinton Friend and Malusi Siboto and, if they beat the Titans, they could overtake them and claim third place on the log.

The Highveld Lions will want to complete their superb campaign by beating the Warriors at the Wanderers and are likely to name their strongest XI even though nobody can catch them at the top of the standings.

Dominic Hendricks will replace wicketkeeper/batsman Thami Tsolekile, who is being troubled by a finger injury, while the batting will be further strengthened by the return of Alviro Petersen.

The Cobras travel to Pietermaritzburg to take on the Dolphins and the defending champions are motivated by the desire not to finish last in this season’s competition. They will be given a fresh look by the introduction of batsman and part-time off-spinner Matthew Kleinveldt, who replaces his rested cousin Rory, and wrist-spinner George Linde, who fills in for Robin Peterson.

 

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