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Proteas to carry Test series momentum into ODIs – Bavuma 0

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Ken

South Africa have not played a completed ODI in four months but captain Temba Bavuma says his team is going to carry the momentum from their Test series win over India into the 50-over matches that start in Paarl on Wednesday.

The Proteas, fielding a second-string side, had a washed out ODI against the Netherlands at the end of November, but before that their last proper action was a 2-1 series loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo at the beginning of September.

But confidence is running high in the Proteas camp after their tremendous Test series triumph over India, in which Bavuma played a key role with his second-innings heroics.

“Momentum is a real thing and in the Wanderers Test we managed to get some,” Bavuma said on Tuesday. “So we will lean on that, although it’s obviously a different format with different skill sets and pressures.

“There’s always going to be pressure, whether we played ODI cricket last month or not. We’re coming up against a very strong outfit and hopefully that inspires us to bring our best cricket.

“We need to make sure we pitch up and do what we need to do. We played a lot of T20 cricket last year and in one-day cricket we accept that there are improvements we need to make.

“This series is the perfect opportunity, against a very strong outfit, to test ourselves and see how our game needs to improve and whether we have the right personnel because the road to the 2023 World Cup has started,” Bavuma said.

In terms of selection, the skipper said the first thing he will look for is bowling options, making it likely that part-time off-spinner Aiden Markram will play. But he will not be opening the batting.

“As captain, I always like as many bowling resources I can get on the bowling front,” Bavuma explained. “You accept that one of your bowlers is not going to hit their straps on the day, and then to have a replacement is a luxury.

“I would like as many bowling options as I can get, considering the balance of the team. But Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan have done well up front, so I don’t see a change there and I come into the picture at No.3.

“But the middle-order is where the real conversation is – do we play another all-rounder at No.6 or a specialist batsman?

“Considering the Paarl conditions – the bounce is lower and more skiddy – we need pace bowlers who can exploit that with the new ball and it’s quite friendly to the slower bowlers,” Bavuma said.

Kagiso Rabada has been released from the team for the series due to high workloads over a sustained period of time and the need for him to recover before the Test tour to New Zealand in February.

Kolisi: Boks focused on rectifying anomaly of losing record in Australia 0

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Ken

The Springboks have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 2013 – a five-game streak – and captain Siya Kolisi said on Saturday that his team are fully focused on rectifying that anomaly when they meet the two-time world champions in a Rugby Championship Test on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

South Africa have beaten Australia in all seven matches back on home turf dating back to 2011, so it is just getting the better of them overseas that is the problem. Kolisi could not put his finger on why that is the case, but he left no doubt as to the current world champions’ desire to claim victory on Sunday.

“You have to give credit to the Wallabies, they don’t lose a lot in Australia, against most teams, especially in Queensland. I don’t know what they do to have that record, but we are 100% focused on what we have to do. Hopefully we will do better than we did in our last game here [the Springboks lost 18-23 in Brisbane in 2018]. This is an important match for us because our record is not good when it comes to winning in Australia.

“The most important thing is for us to stick to our process, we haven’t played in three weeks so we have to make sure we are focused. We take it game-by-game, make sure we pitch up every day and we have to give Australia the respect they deserve. It’s going to be our plan against their plan, bringing that intensity, who tackles the most and who carries the ball the most,” Kolisi said.

As much as the Wallabies will be trying to speed the game up and use their dangerous backline to crack open the Springbok defence, South Africa will also be wanting good, quick ball to make sure their hefty carriers are serviced well.

“Quick ball is important for any team and if we don’t get it then it’s going to be a long day for us,” attack coach Mzwandile Stick said on Saturday. “We want to make sure that we give our big forwards front-foot ball. It’s not only Michael Hooper who slows the ball down, the Wallabies have a lot of players who apply pressure at the breakdown and we know it’s going to be a massive battle, we need to be clinical there so our No.9 is able to give quick service.

“Australia rely on quick ball too, but they are world-class and on a good day they can really punish you. Samu Kerevi is back, they have wings like Marika Koriobete who have lots of pace, and we have to make sure we don’t give Quade Cooper lots of time and space to make decisions. So we have to respect them, make sure we pitch up and play according to our strengths,” Stick said.

Springboks nervous over how socialised they are to playing in front of a big crowd 0

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Ken

The Springboks are a little nervous over how socialised they are to playing in front of a big crowd supporting the opposition because many of the players have not done that for 18 months, giving them another factor to adapt to when they play Australia on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

While the Wallabies have been the whipping boys of the All Blacks of late, the Springboks are approaching their first away game in the Rugby Championship with great caution because Australia, especially at home, have always been a side that throws up different, awkward questions for them.

And more than 25 000 mostly pro-Australian spectators in the Super Stadium, with Rugby Australia implementing a ‘bring your mate for free’ campaign, will be another curve-ball for South Africa to handle.

“We’re really excited to be playing in front of a capacity crowd again, but it means we will have to adapt our on-field communication. But it will be fantastic to play in front of a big crowd and hopefully it will spur our players on to perform even better,” forwards coach Deon Davids said on Tuesday.

“To have fans out there is going to be unreal, I can’t even remember how it feels to play in a full stadium,” prop Ox Nche said. “I’m a bit nervous about it but also very excited.”

And the Wallabies will also bring a totally different threat to Argentina, who the Springboks beat twice, with Davids saying lineouts and the tempo of their play are the two areas the world champions will need to adapt.

“They have different philosophies. We had to be smart to keep Argentina at bay and play the way we wanted too. Australia are very competitive in the lineouts, they turned over a few New Zealand balls and put them under pressure. That’s an area we really want to improve, it let us down a bit in our last game. The set-pieces will be well-contested and we have to make sure we execute well so we have a solid base and top-quality ball.

“In my past experience coaching against Dave Rennie, when he was with the Glasgow Warriors, the Waikato Chiefs and now the Wallabies, an attacking philosophy is part of his approach. He likes to play with ball-in-hand, to build pressure with the ball. I’m sure they will bring the same approach but just try to do it better in certain areas. The tempo was very high in the matches between the Wallabies and All Blacks,” Davids said.

Sharks make 5 changes for a site of little success in recent years … 0

Posted on March 17, 2016 by Ken

 

Loftus Versfeld is a site where the Sharks have not seen much success in the last few years, so it may cause some surprise that coach Gary Gold has made five changes to the starting line-up that secured an impressive victory over the Stormers in Cape Town for Friday night’s SuperRugby derby against the Bulls.

But it is a short week for the Sharks – the Bulls are coming off a bye – and there are so many sore bodies after the titanic effort against the Stormers that a few fresher legs will be good for the visitors and, because they are all players promoted from the bench, there is not that much disruption.

One change has been injury-enforced with powerhouse flank Jean-Luc du Preez struggling with a foot injury and he is replaced by former Cheetahs star Philip van der Walt.

Lwazi Mvovo returns on the left wing, with JP Pietersen shifting to the right and Odwa Ndungane moving down to the bench; Michael Claassens swops with Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf; and two of the replacement front-rowers, tighthead Lourens Adriaanse and hooker Kyle Cooper, will get their first starts of the campaign as Coenie Oosthuizen and Franco Marais shift to the bench.

“When we do our planning, there are loads of factors we take into consideration and you can’t plan for injuries, which force you to rotate. It’s not that we’re resting players now, but we want to stop the rot for three or four guys and then there’ll be other guys rotated in three or four weeks time, so that by Week 12, when the tournament has become really rigorous, the players aren’t overloaded,” Gold explained on Wednesday.

“Every guy coming into the starting line-up has come off the bench every week so there’s no disruption. The same team that finished against the Stormers and the Jaguares is starting this week, we want to keep disruption to a minimum. There’s no question that 15 guys can’t win week in and week out, for any franchise. It has to be a group of 20 to 25 and you pray for a group of 30.”

Despite both teams having committed themselves to a new era in terms of the way they play, it will still be a huge physical battle in Pretoria and, even though they have chosen two second-choice front-rowers, the Sharks know they will be hit hard up front first. They will have to absorb those blows and it will also be useful having the accomplished boot of Claassens at a place like Loftus Versfeld where the ball travels for miles thanks to altitude, and territory is crucial.

“The Bulls are quite fresh and they will bring massive physicality. It’s always a set-piece battle at Loftus and the Bulls are very strong there with Adriaan Strauss leading from the front. Our record’s not all that great there and we want to make amends for the past, we’ve had a very disappointing run against them,” captain Tendai Mtawarira said of a streak of four successive defeats in Pretoria and three in a row to the Bulls home and away.

Sharks team: Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Joe Pietersen, Michael Claassens, Daniel du Preez, Philip van der Walt, Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira (C). Bench – Franco Marais, Juan Schoeman, Coenie Oosthuizen, Hyron Andrews, Keegan Daniel, Cobus Reinach, Garth April, Odwa Ndungane.

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