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Ken Borland

Sharks have become hot property in dramatic turnaround 0

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Ken

One of the great characteristics of rugby is how quickly a team’s fortunes can turn around and the Sharks have gone, in the space of a month, from being a beleaguered team on the defensive to hot property that looks capable of challenging for silverware.

At the beginning of December, the Sharks had just axed coach Sean Everitt and were retreating into a laager as director of rugby Neil Powell tried to fend off questions about the decision and even refused to talk about Siya Kolisi apparently being injured.

But they have started January with a thumping over the Bulls, their nemeses for the last couple of years, and they have charged up into the top five of the United Rugby Championship log, with games in hand on everyone above them, as well as winning their opening two Champions Cup matches.

The strong run has coincided with Kolisi finding the sort of rampaging form that he regularly brings to the Springboks, and Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Makazole Mapimpi have also lived up to their billing as world-class internationals.

The amount of power the Sharks have when at full-strength is enough to make electricians beam with joy and Bulls coach Jake White pinpointed this as the key factor when his side was overwhelmed at Kings Park at the weekend.

But the Sharks’ biggest challenge might well be coming up. Because of the hectic schedule involving two European competitions, Powell is going to have to unplug and recharge some of those Springboks due to their workloads. Can the Sharks still maintain a push for at least one title after shedding their star players?

They have two crucial matches coming up against the Stormers in February and March, and those thrilling encounters will go a long way to deciding who wins the South African Shield in the URC.

It has also been wonderful to see the reception the Sharks’ resurgence has received from their supporters, with especially large crowds at Kings Park over the last two weekends, with around 50 000 spectators in total over the two matches against the Lions and Bulls over the festive season.

Bavuma feels like he’s been ditched on Lovers’ Lane & wants to park the disappointment 0

Posted on November 07, 2022 by Ken

Temba Bavuma says he wants to park the bitter disappointment of not being bought for the SA20 franchise tournament for now as he looks ahead to the tour of India and then the T20 World Cup in Australia straight afterwards, but there is no doubting the Proteas captain feels like he has been ditched on Lovers’ Lane.

Bavuma, captain of the national T20 side, failed to draw a single bid in this week’s auction, despite being put up for sale three times, and will now not be a part of the most important T20 tournament this country has hosted. The 32-year-old suffered the same fate as fellow Proteas white-ball stalwart Andile Phehlukwayo.

“I would be lying if I said there wasn’t disappointment and obviously I expected to play a role in the SA20. And it’s not just myself but Andi as well, he has played for several years for South Africa in white-ball cricket.

“I feel almost let down. This is not coming from a place of entitlement though and you want to be selected on merit or whatever credentials you have.

“I also need to caution myself not to delve too deeply into it, even though I would like to think about it more. It’s not the right time now, my focus is on the India tour and the World Cup afterwards.

“It is comforting that some people share the same sentiments as me, but the biggest thing for me is to serve the team the best I can, I still have a big responsibility as captain,” Bavuma said on Thursday, sounding like someone who needed to be in hospital.

Setbacks have generally brought out the best of the feisty, determined Bavuma in the past and he’s not one for cussing and moaning in a dark corner. Coach Mark Boucher said the team ensured the captain knew he had their support when the squad had a get-together before their departure for India on Friday – “Temba is our leader, we back him 100% and you could see the energy around him, the guys understand the situation he is going through.”

“There are things I need to deal with on a personal level, but I’m not going to sit here and say I need to prove anything,” Bavuma said. “We had some team-building last night and it was nice to see the guys.

“We have friendships and relationships that go far beyond just being team-mates and knowing that they are there as my team-mates is enough, their presence is enough.

“I don’t expect words of sympathy, let’s rather go out there and create some memories. I’ve been out injured for three months so I’m looking forward to getting out on the park again,” Bavuma said.

BCCI still has tick in SA tour box 0

Posted on January 05, 2022 by Ken

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are at present pleased with South Africa’s assurances of their players’ safety and it looks like the box for the crucial multi-format tour by Virat Kohli’s men to take on the Proteas still has a tick in it.

CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith told The Citizen on Tuesday that the outlook is “positive” for the Indian tour, which is worth more than $100 million to the financially-constrained organisation, to go ahead, despite the panicky reaction by other countries to the Omicron variant of Covid discovered by South African scientists.

The importance of the tour to South African cricket has been recognised by government and the Ministry of International Relations and Co-Operation issued a statement on Tuesday assuring the BCCI that “a full bio-secure environment” will be established for the tourists as they “take all precautions necessary to ensure the health and safety of the Indian team”.

The BCCI have stated in India that they will be taking a chartered flight to South Africa on December 8 or 9 and CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra confirmed on Tuesday that they have approved the same BSE bubble measures that have been successfully used for other tours to the country.

The Indian government’s only requirement is that the BCCI checks with them before departure that there are no travel advisories in place against going to South Africa.

But it seems they are also keen for the tour to go ahead as the High Commissioner to South Africa is apparently much enamoured by the function to be held in Cape Town on January 2 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s readmission to international cricket, with India being the first country to host them back in 1991/92. It is meant to be a celebration of the strong ties between the two countries.

Manjra said there are “presently no doubts about the tour going ahead”.

The Press Trust of India on Tuesday quoted BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal as saying: “We are in constant touch with the CSA officials. Whatever best we can do to not compromise the series we will try and do.

“But if the situation aggravates and if it compromises our players’ safety and health, we will have to see. In the end, whatever is the Government of India advisory, we will abide by that,” Dhumal said.

Nerves and excitement, gratitude and a sense of privilege, but no frustration for Petersen 0

Posted on June 07, 2021 by Ken

Keegan Petersen says there have been nerves and excitement, gratitude and a sense of privilege, but no frustration during his lengthy time in the Proteas squad without actually playing in a match, which looks set to come to an end in the Caribbean.

South Africa take on the West Indies in the first Test from June 10 and there is a vacancy in the batting line-up with Faf du Plessis having retired. And new captain Dean Elgar only mentioned Petersen when he was asked last weekend about who was in the mix to replace the former captain.

“It’s been a while being in the squad, but it doesn’t feel like a long time because it is always so nice coming into this environment. It’s a higher level of professionalism and it’s a privilege to be here. So it hasn’t required much patience, I’m just grateful to be here and there hasn’t been any frustration. But I have been nervous for a while and I get goosebumps just thinking about making my debut.

“I know I’ll have big boots to fill and when your dream becomes a reality, it gives your system a bit of a shock. I don’t know how selection is going to go, but I am extremely excited to represent my country and it would mean the world to my family. We are very close and tight-knit, and my pride is their pride and my tears are their tears. This is what I dreamed of as a kid,” Petersen said.

The 27-year-old had to leave his family in Paarl to make those cricketing dreams come true, and he said he was pleased the winding road of his career had brought him to Durban and playing for the champion Dolphins side.

“It’s been an up-and-down journey from Paarl to Bloemfontein to Durban. So I’ve gone from coast to coast, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been in the first-class system for almost 10 years, so I’ve been around. So it would mean a lot to get a go on this tour because I know the journey has been tough and long, this is what I’ve worked for, why I play cricket.

“I like to think I’ve built a reputation over the last couple of years in domestic cricket and I’ve learnt a lot since joining the Dolphins, it has expanded my game in testing conditions in Durban. Kingsmead has prepared me for any slow or turning pitch because that’s all we get there to be honest. It’s a spinning wicket and I know I’ll be prepared for whatever I get in the Caribbean,” Petersen said.

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    Every day offers the opportunity for doing a kind deed or speaking an encouraging word to someone who feels overwhelmed.

    Our exuberant joy about God’s goodness to us should cause us to throw ourselves enthusiastically into serving others.

    But be sensitive to the needs of others, enrich their lives through love and kindness. Giving yourself in love and service to others is the duty of all those who love Christ and serve him with sincere hearts.

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