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Ken Borland

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.

Proteas do the country proud with another gutsy win 0

Posted on February 17, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas once again did the country proud with another gutsy win as they sealed an incredible 3-0 ODI series win over India, following the remarkable triumph in the Tests, by winning the third and final match by four runs at Newlands on Sunday.

Despite Quinton de Kock’s thrilling century, South Africa were left defending a moderate total of 287 and there were times when India looked well on track for victory. But the Proteas attack, without Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, kept fighting back and ultimately clinched the game in the final over. Defending just six runs, Dwaine Pretorius conceded a single and then dismissed last man Yuzvendra Chahal (2), skying a cutter into the covers.

Although Lungi Ngidi removed Indian captain Lokesh Rahul for 9 in the fifth over, Shikhar Dhawan, with a free-scoring, uncomplicated 61 off 73 balls, and Virat Kohli, with a typically feisty 65 off 84 deliveries, provided a great platform for the chase with their second-wicket partnership of 98 off 112 balls.

Andile Phehlukwayo’s golden arm turned the game, however, when he removed both Dhawan and Rishabh Pant, who charged down the pitch to his first ball and sliced it to deep cover, in the same over.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled a superb spell of 10 overs for 39 runs in the middle overs and, in his last over, he gained reward with the massive wicket of Kohli, who was undone by sharp turn and bounce.

Shreyas Iyer (26) and Suryakumar Yadav (39 off 32) threatened, but the admirable Proteas attack kept chipping away. Iyer was very well caught by Phehlukwayo at deep backward square-leg as Sisanda Magala dug the ball hard into the pitch, and Yadav was fooled by a cutter from Dwaine Pretorius.

But Deepak Chahar blasted 54 off just 34 deliveries and South Africa really had to show their mettle at the death.

Some calamitous late overs left India needing just 21 off the last four overs. The explosive Chahar eventually fell when an Ngidi (10-0-58-3) slower ball saw him skying a catch into the covers, Pretorius taking the tester very well. Phehlukwayo (7-0-40-3) removed Jasprit Bumrah (12) in the next over and the experienced Pretorius then ensured South Africa kept their cool in the final over.

De Kock, returning to international action after missing the Test series, was scratchy in the first ODI and batted fluently in the second game, but he was sublime on Sunday. Continuing his wonderful record both at Newlands and against India, he stroked 124 off 130 balls and there were plenty of gorgeous shots to drool over. Today was the day the true genius of the left-hander came out and he was supreme in both the straight-bat and the cross-batted strokes.

India had won the toss and a bit of early moisture provided them with some swing and South Africa slipped to 70/3 in the 13th over. But De Kock found the perfect partner in the unflustered and in-form Rassie van der Dussen (52).

The pair added 144 at just about a run-a-ball as Van der Dussen notched another determined half-century, marked by excellent shot-selection and composure under pressure.

But both in batsman fell in successive overs and the Proteas needed a solid partnership of 40 between David Miller (39) and Pretorius (20) to get them a total which they were able to defend thanks to a never-say-die attitude they showed in the field.

SA A provide a little pocket of cheer by beating the Lions 0

Posted on August 03, 2021 by Ken

The SA A team – surely the Springbok shadow side – provided a little pocket of cheer for South Africans in these miserable times as they produced a superbly gutsy performance to beat the British and Irish Lions 17-13 in their match at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.

The SA A side made a fantastic start to the game as their counter-attacking ability gave them a 17-3 lead in the first half-hour, but they then had to dig incredibly deep to hang on to that lead. They took it into halftime despite both scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, for a clumsy defensive effort on the line, and ubiquitous flank Marco van Staden (repeat team infringements) being yellow-carded. The Lions bashed away on the line with pick-and-goes instead of the more obvious option of a scrum, and they were kept out by magnificent defence.

Lock Eben Etzebeth was constantly in the Lions’ faces, and it was his charge-down of a strange attempted chip inside the SA A 22 by Owen Farrell that led to the opening try. The rebound was regathered by classy centre Damian de Allende, who soon passed to wing Sbu Nkosi to speed away to the tryline in the 13th minute.

The second try was down to the astonishing magic of wing Cheslin Kolbe, who fielded a kick just inside his own half, five metres from touch. He jogged at first, but hen exploded, wonderful footwork taking him through the smallest of gaps before his superb offload to outside centre Lukhanyo Am, running a great supporting line, sent his skipper over for the try.

The Lions scored the only points of the second half as powerful loosehead prop Wyn Jones, who was denied a try on the stroke of halftime, went over from close range when SA A still only had 13 men on the field. Farrell kicked the conversion and a penalty for the tourists to close within four points.

The Lions dominated the second half, but when coach Warren Gatland rewatches the second half, even he will surely be impressed by the incredible courage and determination shown by the SA A side. Even though their physical dominance began to fade as their lack of match fitness told – as predicted by stand-in coach Rassie Erasmus – they just kept putting their bodies on the line to deny their opponents.

Gatland’s men overdid the crosskick, but it might have been a plan to fit into their preparations for the first Test, but they certainly showed what a threat they can be in the wider channels. Their kicking game outside of the 22 was also excellent, and they often put the home side under severe pressure by kicking into the corners.

But SA A closed out an enthralling game in solid fashion, using their rolling maul to earn penalties and count down the clock. The tour has now well and truly kicked off and, after a thrilling dress rehearsal, in nine days time many of these players will be out on the same field for what is now sure to be a real spectacle in the first Test.


SA ATries: Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am. Conversions: Morne Steyn (2). Penalty: Steyn.

British and Irish LionsTry: Wyn Jones. Conversion: Owen Farrell. Penalties: Farrell (2).

Zondo using this T20 Challenge to remind everyone of his quality 0

Posted on February 22, 2021 by Ken

Khaya Zondo is using this T20 Challenge competition to remind everyone of his quality as he produced his second successive matchwinning innings for the Dolphins as they battled past a gutsy Knights side by four wickets at Kingsmead on Saturday.

The Dolphins were set a target of just 145 for victory – and this was only possible due to an extraordinary unbroken partnership of 75 off 39 balls by Knights captain Pite van Biljon and Migael Pretorius – but this proved challenging to the hosts as they slipped to 86 for five after 12 overs.

But Zondo, who top-scored with 59 in the Dolphins win over the Cape Cobras, showed great composure and determination as he made 35 not out off 31 balls to usher his team to victory with 11 balls to spare. He received superb support from reliable finisher Robbie Frylinck, who scored a powerful 24 off 15 deliveries with a couple of hard-struck sixes, as they added a matchturning 55 off 41 balls for the sixth wicket.

The Dolphins, who lost the toss, began the match in spectacular fashion as ace spinner and captain Keshav Maharaj took two wickets with the first three balls of the match, trapping both Patrick Kruger and Andries Gous lbw for ducks.

The Knights crashed even further from 0 for two as they were then 21 for four when Frylinck removed Jacques Snyman, well caught by a diving Zondo at slip for 6, and Farhaan Behardien, lbw for five.

That the Knights managed to fight their way back from that dreadful start can only be respected and it was their skipper, Van Biljon who led the way.

The Proteas T20 player counterpunched his way to an heroic 72 not out off 54 balls, a tremendous effort considering he was physically ailing due to some heatstroke. Van Biljon did not take the field when the Dolphins batted, wicketkeeper Wandile Makwetu taking over the reins, and said after the match that he was feeling dizzy and had goosebumps all over his body during his 90 minutes at the crease.

Ferisco Adams (18) helped Van Biljon stabilise the innings as they added 48 for the fifth wicket, but fast bowler Pretorius, bumped up the order, then showed his batting credentials. Coming in at 69 for five in the 15th over, Pretorius feasted on some loose bowling as he bashed 38 not out off 23 deliveries.

Maharaj finished with two for 18 in his four overs and fellow spinner Prenelan Subrayen was also impressive, conceding just 25 runs in his stint. Frylinck took two for 11 but only bowled three overs, which was surprising considering how both Eathan Bosch and Kerwin Mungroo were punished at the death.

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