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Ken Borland

Nienaber bravely tries to limit damage to Jantjies’ confidence 0

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Ken

Having gambled and lost with his selection of Elton Jantjies at flyhalf, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber bravely tried to limit the damage to his player’s confidence after the first Test against Wales at Loftus Versfeld.

Jantjies endured a miserable first half of skewed kicks out-of-hand, missed shots at goal and a dropped ball that led to a try, and was substituted before the start of the second half with the Springboks 18-3 down. Barring a few exceptions, the whole team had been sub-par in the first half, but with the help of pugnacious input from the bench, they staged a stirring comeback to win 32-29.

It is only right, though, that Nienaber stand up for Jantjies because the player was put in an invidious position by being selected for the first Test with, as the coach himself said after the game, “less than 30 minutes of game-time this year”.

I can understand why the risk was taken with Jantjies, who has only just recovered from a shoulder injury and whose club did not make the playoffs of Japan’s Rugby League One. The 31-year-old has also had the mental stress of being charged with malicious damage to property and contravention of the Aviation Act to deal with, before those charges were withdrawn after he agreed to pay for the damage he caused to an aeroplane flying back from Turkey.

Flyhalf is one of the few areas where the Springboks are lacking depth and the management were obviously planning ahead in case first-choice Handre Pollard suddenly gets injured. If Jantjies then had to come in and play with so little rugby under his belt, it could have been even worse.

The World Cup winner does now at least have 40 minutes of game-time, and hopefully the trauma of it has not dented his confidence too much.

Nienaber tried to sugarcoat his replacement as being because “he had given everything”, but when he said “he hasn’t played any rugby” he was closer to the reason why.

Despite the fan furore, Jantjies is still a player who has much to offer the Springboks. What he is capable of when in form definitely adds some attacking spark to a team which, for long periods of the first half against Wales, looked desperately in need of some offensive verve.

How he bounces back from this calamitous showing is what matters now.

Titans limit their Black African batting options but beef up bowling 0

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Ken


The absence of a single fully-contracted Black African batsman in the Titans squad for next season could limit their options when it comes to fulfilling the quota of three in every starting line-up, but CEO Jacques Faul said they had decided to beef up their bowling.

Grant Mokoena, who averaged just 26 in eight Sunfoil Series games and scored 49 runs at a strike-rate of only 89 in his three T20 appearances, has joined the Knights, while Daniel Sincuba played one four-day game, scoring 32 and 0, and has been released.

Former SA U19 Junior World Cup captain Tony de Zorzi showed glimpses of promise in a few opportunities he was given towards the end of the season, and he has been given a rookie contract, and the inside lane in terms of Black African batsmen.

Mokoena and Sincuba’s contracts have gone to a pair of fast bowlers who excelled for Northerns in their triumphant season – Eldred Hawken and Alfred Mothoa, while former SA U19 batsman Andrea Agathangelou, who has played county cricket for Lancashire and Leicestershire, has been signed from South-Western Districts.

“It’s probably not ideal, but we still have a lot of batting depth and we have decided to run with Tony de Zorzi, simply because whoever we bring in needs to be on the same sort of level as a Henry Davids or Aiden Markram, and there’s probably nobody close to that.

“We’ve beefed up the bowling and we have three quality pacemen in Lungi Ngidi, Malusi Siboto and Junior Dala, plus Alfred Mothoa is a banker and we’re excited about left-arm spinner Gregory Mahlokwana, who got injured after his first game, but we think he will play more,” Faul told The Citizen on Friday.

Nevertheless, readers of the Titans squad list will be struck by the tremendous depth at their disposal – eight current nationally-contracted players, four former Proteas and three players with bright international futures in Heinrich Klaasen, Markram and Ngidi.

Players like fast bowler Dala and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg are also certainly on the national selectors’ radar having been chosen for SA A and the CSA spin camp in India respectively.

Titans Contracted Players 2017/18: Andrea Agathangelou, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn, Eldred Hawken, Aiden Markram, Albie Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Lungi Ngidi, Rowan Richards, Malusi Siboto, Grant Thomson, David Wiese, Shaun von Berg, Jonathan Vandiar. Rookies – Tony de Zorzi, Rivaldo Moonsamy. CSA-contracted national players – Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morné Morkel, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi.


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