for quality writing

Ken Borland



If you are a Bulls fan of old, you would not believe this fullback selection 0

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Ken

If you are used to some of the Bulls sides of old, you would not believe it but current coach Jake White has prioritised a counter-attacking fullback, which is why he has shifted wing Canan Moodie to No.15, in place of the injured Kurt-Lee Arendse, for their United Rugby Championship clash with Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

Arendse, who has shown marvellous ball skills and the ability to regularly ghost past defenders on his way to seven tries in this season’s tournament, fractured his thumb last weekend against Benetton Treviso. White described it on Thursday as a relatively minor injury similar to the one that kept Stormers star Warrick Gelant out for a few weeks.

“Kurt-Lee got injured in the 60th minute and then after the game he felt his hand was a bit sore after the adrenalin wore off. He came to training on Monday and the hand was a bit bruised,” White explained.

“The scans showed a little hairline fracture at the bottom of the thumb and he had a screw put in which should help the bone heal quicker, hopefully it gets him back on the field sooner.

“It’s an injury like Warrick had, with the associated ligament damage, which could take four-to-six weeks, but hopefully sooner because Kurt-Lee is very important to us.

“The way we attack requires a different kind of fullback to say a David Kriel, Kurt-Lee’s type of fullback has worked well for us. And the competition as a whole has shown that a fullback that can attack from the back works – for example Warrick,” White said.

The well-travelled World Cup winning coach likes the idea of backs who can play in several different positions, and the versatile James Verity-Amm comes in on the right wing to replace Moodie, while former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks will continue his midfield partnership with Lionel Mapoe, with specialist inside centre Harold Vorster on the bench upon his return from a positive Covid test.

“Canan has run a few times at fullback in training and James can play both fullback and wing. It’s a good opportunity to see how Canan goes at fullback with mature and older wings around him in James and Madosh Tambwe,” White said.

“In the 2003 World Cup, Australia played Latham, Roff, Rogers, Larkham and Burke, who were all fullbacks. If you’re good enough, you should be able to play anywhere.

“It’s just about balancing the combinations, and the number on your back is not important in multi-phase attack. Jonah Lomu played eighthman at school and was one of the greatest wings ever.

“Tiaan Strauss and Morne du Plessis both played fullback and centre before moving into the pack; Danie Craven played in a handful of positions for South Africa. So it’s nothing new.

“It’s the way the game is going now, the more versatile you are the better. To use a chess analogy, having more Queens would be better that having just Pawns that can only play in certain ways,” White said.

Bulls team:Canan Moodie, James Verity-Amm, Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks, Madosh Tambwe, Morne Steyn, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. IMPACT-Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dylan Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Harold Vorster.

One of the toughest days for Bavuma as the Proteas’ mental preparation is rocked 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma described it as one of the toughest days he has had as a captain as the mental preparation of his team for the crucial T20 World Cup match against the West Indies in Dubai was rocked by the CSA Board’s directive that all players must take the knee in support of BLM and the subsequent withdrawal from the side of key batsman Quinton de Kock because he chose not to do so.

It took South Africa a good 10 overs to get their mental focus back on track, in which time Evin Lewis had given the West Indies a blazing start, but the Proteas deserve enormous credit for the clinical display they produced thereafter in winning by eight wickets with 10 balls to spare.

“It was one of the toughest days I’ve had as the captain, but I’m just ecstatic that we were able to get into the right frame of mind and play the way we did against a powerhouse West Indies team,” Bavuma said after the impressive victory.

“We should not take this win lightly and I’m just very glad that we’ve now got our campaign started. We knew our batting in particular needed to improve and the way we were so clinical with the bat was a big step in the right direction.

“The bowlers have been fantastic the last while and they again showed their skill and class, it was a good day in the field in the end. What happened with the directive and Quinny pulling out was not ideal, but they were the cards we were dealt as a team and it was good that the guys were able to represent the country as well as they did today,” Bavuma said.

While losing De Kock is a major blow – and it could well be for the rest of the tournament – Bavuma expressed the hope that the team, brought closer together by hardship, will grow more and more as a unit in their remaining group matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England.

“It’s going to be a tough couple of days for the group as we try and find out a bit better about the decisions that have been made, but we have to respect those whether we agree or not.

“Unfortunately the team still has to get the job done and it’s important to find a way to get into the right mental space. And the tournament is obviously only going to get tougher.

“So it’s important that we stay even more together as a team. Hopefully we can now create some momentum. But we need to focus on matters on the field.

“We will only lose energy as a team if we focus on things on the outside, and I would hope we are judged by how well we hit or bowl the ball and not by what causes we support or how we do it.

“We need to have our eyes on the ball,” Bavuma said.

Faf not in the West Indies because he has no contract 0

Posted on June 14, 2021 by Ken

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was left out of the tour to the West Indies because he has no contract in place with Cricket South Africa, but negotiations are underway to possibly add him to the squad for the T20 matches that begin on June 26, Rapport can reveal.

While Du Plessis has retired from Test cricket and is generally considered a free agent these days, due to the current policies in place, if he had gone on tour to the West Indies he would have received no remuneration for the tour save for match fees, which are little more than a top-up for those players who are on contracts.

With the number of free agents only likely to increase with the rise of lucrative T20 leagues, it is a gap in CSA’s contracting system which director of cricket Graeme Smith is trying to fix in consultation with the South African Cricketers Association (the players’ union).

In the meantime, there is a chance that Du Plessis, who showed that he is still one of South Africa’s best T20 batsman with his strong showing in the suspended IPL, could reignite his T20 World Cup hopes by playing in the West Indies. For that to happen, the national selectors would have to agree to add him to the squad and Du Plessis would have to agree to special financial terms CSA will offer. The organisation budgeted for 17 national men’s contracts for the season but only awarded 16 of them, and the some of the money from that extra ‘salary’ is believed to be on offer for Du Plessis.

While there has been some talk of the selectors adopting a hardline stance to free agents going forward, to his credit convenor Victor Mpitsang cast a balanced tone with Rapport on Friday.

“It’s a no-brainer, Faf is still a helluva player and he has a wonderful record in T20 cricket. He’s not out of the World Cup running, but about a month ago it was decided that all free agents need to play domestically a bit as well to be chosen for the Proteas. People always talk about the West Indies and all their free agents, but they all come back and play in the Caribbean Premier League. We need to be fair in our system,” Mpitsang said.

The current policy for the contracting of Proteas sees the players ranked from No.1 to No.16, depending on the balance of Test, ODI and T20 matches in the next season, using scientific data methods. But free agents, who fall outside of that system, are what one CSA official described as “the elephant in the room that everyone has been avoiding”.

It’s another problem that Smith has inherited as director of cricket and issues like the one with Du Plessis are going to happen more and more. Checks and balances obviously need to be in place to ensure the free agents are not just using the Proteas to score lucrative T20 contracts elsewhere, but are actually contributing to the national team’s culture and success.

There is also the danger that if players are given format-specific contracts, then many could opt out of Test cricket and just play the white-ball formats.

On the other hand, the Proteas need to have marquee players that the top teams want to play against and that people want to watch in action, developing a strong team is obviously a key strategic objective of CSA.

Other prominent free agents who are not currently playing for the Proteas in T20 cricket are AB de Villiers, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris. It has been the same old story with De Villiers, with the superstar batsman seemingly poised for a comeback at the World Cup before once again pulling out, while the actual availability of Morris seems to be a point of contention.

The Proteas seem content to allow Tahir to drift into retirement and continue with Tabraiz Shamsi and their other orthodox spinners.

But there certainly seems to be a gap in the Proteas’ inexperienced batting line-up when it comes to Du Plessis, who has expressed his desire to keep playing through to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. The 36-year-old declined to comment on why he was not initially chosen for the Caribbean tour, but did confirm it was a contractual issue.

Free agents are a tough issue to handle in a way that ensures fairness for those players who are 100% involved in South African cricket, but the future success of the Proteas demands that CSA, the selectors and SACA somehow get on the same page and come up with an accord that allows these stars to still have some sort of contractual arrangement with CSA.

And in the short-term, gets Faf to the West Indies.

Herschel using time in Bok camp as an investment in becoming a better player 0

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ken

After sensationally bursting on the scene last year, 2020 has undoubtedly been a year of great frustration for Herschel Jantjies, but the 24-year-old scrumhalf has decided whatever time he has in the Springbok camp over the next couple of months will be a time of investment in making him an even better player.

Jantjies began 2019 not even sure of his spot as the Stormers No.1 scrumhalf, but his Super Rugby campaign was so outstanding that he was chosen for the Springbok squad, practically out of nowhere. His rapid ascension continued when he scored two tries on his Test debut in the 35-17 win against Australia at Ellis Park, and he ended the year as a Rugby Championship and World Cup winner, back-up to Faf de Klerk and with a nomination for World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year.

But then came 2020 and Jantjies’ woes started well before the Lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His own form was as inconsistent as the Stormers’, and then he fractured his leg in their last game before Lockdown, against the Sharks in Durban. But the timing has been perfect for the Kylemore product and now that rugby has resumed, he is raring to go, as evidenced by his dynamic display last weekend against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise having a fractured leg going into Lockdown. It meant I had the time to recover, it took six to seven weeks for the fracture to heal and then there was all the rehab and getting match fit. And now I’m really excited to be back and really looking forward to this week with the Springboks. In this week with the Gold squad, I’m just going to take in as much as I can because there’s a lot I can still improve on.

“It took quite a bit of time, but I was ready exactly when we planned – when we started full-on contact – and I just can’t wait to play some full-on rugby. In the meantime you’re never too old or too young to learn and I am still in the phase of my career when I am learning a lot. Then I just have to apply it to my game so I become a better player,” Jantjies said on Tuesday from Cape Town, where the Green and Gold squads are preparing for the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday.

Youngsters Damian Willemse and Curwin Bosch are the two flyhalves in the Gold squad and Herschel’s namesake but no relation, Elton Jantjies, is now the senior No.10 in the Springbok squad after Handre Pollard’s serious knee injury, and is intent on helping the less experienced wannabes along.

“It’s a big week for us because we want to get the alignment right between the old and new faces. It’s about being warriors, aligning with the group and having discipline. It’s really tough to lose Handre because he was starting to play really good, consistent rugby, and we helped each other. But if it’s my opportunity to fill that role then I’m definitely ready.

“In the meantime I just want to help the younger guys in the team to feel comfortable in the environment so that they can come out on Saturday and execute their skills. Until the Rugby Championship is confirmed, our main focus is on the Currie Cup/Super Rugby. But I’m sure we will be physically prepared and mentally as well,” Elton Jantjies said.

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  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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