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Ken Borland

Salute understaffed Internationals for doing Presidents Cup credit 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

One can only salute Trevor Immelman’s understaffed International team for their heroic comeback in the Presidents Cup at the weekend, and even though they were eventually beaten 17½-12½, they did themselves and, perhaps most importantly, the event a huge credit.

The United States had won the last eight successive editions of the biennial tournament, so they were overwhelming favourites even before the defections to LIV Golf decimated Immelman’s team. The South African captain was forced to choose eight rookies for the event. His highest-ranked player was Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, ranked 14th in the world; there were 10 Americans ranked higher.

And then the Internationals suffered a nightmare start as they crashed 8-2, and then 11-4, behind on the first two days.

But the Internationals stood tall on the weekend, winning 10½ of the last 20 points. At one stage on the final day singles, they had closed to within two points of the United States, with several other games in the balance.

For those who love the Presidents Cup and team golf, it was wonderful to see the Internationals fight so hard to prove their competitiveness. They may have lost the match, but they ensured this event will survive for at least a while longer.

Many seasoned observers have marvelled at the number of long-range putts the Americans sank during the event. It almost seemed like whenever they looked at the hole, even from miles away, they would sink the putt.

While one should credit the hosts for their attacking mindset, it’s probably fair to say they also enjoyed some good fortune.

South Africa’s only other member of the team, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, was unbeaten with 1½ points, although he somewhat surprisingly only played two matches.

“We showed a lot of guts to fight back,” Immelman said after the defeat. “At some point this afternoon, I thought there was still a chance.

“When you consider we were 8-2 down, this team is no joke, and I’m sick and tired of it being spoken of as a joke. We love this event, we love our team, and we cannot wait to have another shot.”

Drop goal, turnover, maul and penalty all adds up to a triumph for Bok determination and belief 0

Posted on October 29, 2021 by Ken

A drop goal by Elton Jantjies, a crucial turnover by Duane Vermeulen, a powerful rolling maul and a penalty after the final hooter by the replacement flyhalf secured the Springboks an epic 31-29 win over the All Blacks on the Gold Coast on Saturday, in an heroic victory that was a triumph for South Africa’s determination and belief.

In a gripping finale following a brilliant Springbok comeback that saw them overturn a nine-point deficit, the lead changed hands three times in the last four minutes. Jantjies, who came on because wing Sbu Nkosi suffered a concussion and slotted in at flyhalf, with Handre Pollard moving to centre and Lukhanyo Am shifting out, made a telling impact and Springbok supporters can only wonder what could have been if he had played more.

Three New Zealand tries in the first 33 minutes saw them leading 20-11, but two penalties by Pollard either side of halftime cut the deficit to 17-20. And it was another belated replacement who sparked the surge that took South Africa into the lead – Francois Steyn came out for the second half at fullback in place of a struggling Willie le Roux and produced a brilliant 50/22 kick that gave the Springboks a lineout deep in All Blacks territory.

A midfield ruck was then set up and Faf de Klerk’s skip pass to Jantjies saw the wizard’s slick hands give wing Makazole Mapimpi the space to go over in the corner.

Jantjies then kicked a 58th-minute penalty to stretch their lead to 25-20, before fullback Jordie Barrett slotted two penalties to put New Zealand back in front.

From the restart though, Steven Kitshoff bossed the collision and Jantjies snatched the lead back with a fine 48-metre drop goal.

But then the All Blacks used a short restart to gain a penalty by Barrett.

South Africa then conceded a scrum due to a short restart but, as New Zealand tried to carry for the last minute, Vermeulen pulled off a crucial turnover, allowing the Springboks to set the lineout inside the 22. The rolling maul made significant ground and a half-break by Pollard then saw the All Blacks go offsides at the next phase, Jantjies slotting the matchwinning kick.

The match started in tremendous fashion for the Springboks as a moment of sheer magic by Am, with a behind-the-back reverse-flip to Nkosi, set up Damian de Allende for the opening try.

They continued to create opportunities with a more balanced style of rugby, balancing their strong kicking game with some great use of ball-in-hand. But the All Blacks were more clinical and at 20-11 up after their third try, they looked to be heading to victory.

But then came the superb fightback and the reactions of veterans like Steyn, Jantjies, captain Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi showed just how much this win meant after a torrid Rugby Championship.


New ZealandTries: Sevu Reece, Ardie Savea, Brad Weber. Conversion: Jordie Barrett. Penalties: Barrett (4).

South AfricaTries: Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi. Penalties: Handre Pollard (4), Elton Jantjies (2). Drop goal: Jantjies.

Kolisi manned up on the field, in touch with his emotions after still losing 0

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Ken

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi manned up to the recent problems his team have been having on the field with an heroic individual effort against the All Blacks on Saturday, so it was little surprise that he was very much in touch with his emotions after a match in which he gave so much but still ended on the losing side, thanks to a late New Zealand penalty.

The flanker dashed around the field with focused intensity on Saturday and was particularly useful at the breakdowns, doing a lot of the dirty work as he and Kwagga Smith formed a great partnership. But as much as he led from the front, Kolisi was not able to drag his team across the line as they went down 17-19.

“It definitely hurts. We prepared as well as we could, we were focused on the right now. I felt on the field that we were in there with a good chance, our set-pieces dominated. So it is really hard to lose a game like that, but we know that if we stick to our processes then the results will come.

“We wanted to stand up and fight today. We knew as a team what we are capable of and it was about making sure we played properly. New Zealand brought high speed and physicality, but I can’t fault my team – our plan worked, our structures were really good. So I don’t really know what went wrong,” Kolisi said after the match.

Many critics have pointed to the Springboks’ decision, after they had taken a 17-16 lead into the last 10 minutes, to kick front-foot ball away, including two up-and-unders from the All Blacks’ 22, as the reason for their defeat. Kolisi said this was the choice of the players and he stood by the tactic.

“The players made that call, we decided to stick to the game-plan. That’s how we know how to play and we will never change from that. And it had been working all day,” Kolisi said.

Elgar stars but not enough to prevent Dolphins being favourites 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Dean Elgar was the star of the third day of the Sunfoil Series match between the Unlimited Titans and the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday, but his heroic century was not enough to prevent the visitors going into the final day as favourites.

Elgar scored a defiant 122 that carried the Titans to 261 all out in their second innings, but that leaves the Dolphins with just 177 to score on the final day for a win that would keep their title hopes alive but will all but eliminate the North-Eastern Gauteng side from contention.

The national opener and fellow left-hander Qaasim Adams added 138 for the fifth wicket and seemed to have given the Titans a good chance of setting the Dolphins a daunting target on a pitch that is offering both steep bounce from a length and some deliveries keeping low.

But the lanky Calvin Savage ended Adams’ brilliant counter-attacking 72 when he had him caught behind in the eighth over after tea and then added the important scalp of David Wiese, also caught by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, for a duck.

Mangaliso Mosehle also failed to score, Mathew Pillans bowling him fourth ball, and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj trapped Marchant de Lange lbw for six.

The Dolphins pacemen are all tall, strong lads who hit the deck hard, which is ideal for a pitch with inconsistent bounce, but it was leg-spinner Daryn Smit who eventually removed Elgar, trapping him lbw after a 343-minute stay that just proved the mental strength of the 27-year-old.

*The bizhub Highveld Lions, who lead the competition by 17.24 points with two rounds left after this weekend, are in a strong position heading into the final day of their match against the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein.

The Knights are 76 without loss in their second innings, but they still trail by 117 runs after the Lions scored 441 in their first innings.

The Lions were unable to separate openers Gihahn Cloete (33*) and Reeza Hendricks (38*) in the 27 overs before stumps, but the Knights will nevertheless be up against it in trying to survive against the attack that has earned the most bowling bonus points this season.

The Lions total was built around a punchy century by Neil McKenzie (108), with Thami Tsolekile scoring 48 as they took their fifth-wicket partnership to 85, before off-spinner Werner Coetsee (five for 78) and paceman Duanne Olivier (four for 94) counter-punched for the Knights.

*In Cape Town, Omphile Ramela celebrated his 27th birthday by batting for 403 minutes and posting his first Sunfoil Series century, his monumental 129 leading the Nashua Cape Cobras to 545 all out against the Chevrolet Warriors.

The visitors are in serious trouble with a first-innings deficit of 257, but openers David White (20*) and Michael Price (58*) played with a gravitas suiting the situation as they took the Warriors to 88 without loss at stumps.

Justin Ontong (82) and Justin Kemp (73) were the other main run-getters for the Cobras on the third day.

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