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Ken Borland



Disallowed slip catch and handling of bad light the main talking points 0

Posted on October 16, 2023 by Ken

The TV umpire’s decision to disallow a slip catch by Simon Harmer and the onfield umpires’ handling of bad light were the main talking points after an abbreviated opening day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Only 47 overs were bowled on the first day, Australia reaching 147 for two. The second of those wickets was the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne for 79, edging a phenomenal delivery with pace, bounce and nip away from Anrich Nortje that defied the sluggishness of the pitch. Unfortunately for the South African-born batsman, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel then immediately took the players off the field for bad light, never to return.

Labuschagne had enjoyed a huge slice of luck though when he was on 70 and he edged left-armer Marco Jansen low to first slip, where Harmer seemed to have scooped up a fine catch.

Neither Labuschagne nor the umpires were 100% sure though, with third umpire Richard Kettleborough being called into play, the soft signal being out. Having watched numerous replays, the Englishman felt the ball had touched the ground, but a conclusive replay, zoomed in from the front, was strangely absent.

Labuschagne survived, and five minutes later, the crucial replay suddenly emerged and showed that Harmer did get his fingers under the ball. The incident raised suspicions about the host broadcaster interfering in the officiating of the game, but apparently the third umpire only had access to the world feed camera shots and the front-on slow-mo replay was exclusively a Channel 7 shot.

Nortje was adamant that Harmer had caught the catch.

“We all thought it was out, Simon was convinced that it had gone straight into his hands. The front angle replay I think showed that he had his fingers underneath the ball. So we were unfortunate not to get that one,” Nortje said.

“You’ve just got to try and focus again because feeling hard done by can quickly get out of hand. I just told Marco to try and refocus and stick to the basics. He bowled really well at that stage and we were able to feed off that energy.”

The in-form fast bowler had more sympathy for the umpires’ decision to stop play for bad light at 2.17pm local time, to again rule it was too dark just as the players were about to go back on to the field at 3.45pm, and then to stop play for the final time at 5.05pm.

“It’s tough and it was really dark at one stage,” Nortje said. “It’s not just about the batsmen, fielders start to not be able to pick up the ball in certain areas and you don’t want to drop a catch then.

“They were probably the right decisions, it’s about playing fair. With two guys bowling quickly and with the ball a bit harder, it can get unsafe. There was one bouncer from KG Rabada that was not picked up so well.”

Nortje was also the producer of the first wicket when he had David Warner caught by Jansen high at first slip off an attempted slash outside off stump.

From being an ant following Ernie around, Bezuidenhout is now the elephant at Sun City 0

Posted on February 08, 2023 by Ken

Christiaan Bezuidenhout must have felt a bit like an ant standing next to an elephant back in the 2000s when he followed Ernie Els around the Gary Player Country Club; now Bezuidenhout has inherited The Big Easy’s mantle as South Africa’s main hope in the Nedbank Golf Challenge that starts at Sun City on Thursday.

The 2000s were an era of dominance for South African golfers in the event, with Els winning in 2000 and 2002, Retief Goosen in 2004 and Trevor Immelman claiming the famous trophy in 2007.

Bezuidenhout, and compatriots like George Coetzee and Zander Lombard, were impressionable youngsters back then and the prestige of Africa’s Major is ingrained in them. The 28-year-old Bezuidenhout is based on the U.S. PGA Tour and is South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer in the field, and he also won the SA Open on the Gary Player CC course in 2020.

“Since 2000, we watched every year until 2012,” Bezuidenhout recalled on Wednesday. “I would watch the practice rounds, the short games, out on the course and inside the ropes.

“It was always my dream to play in this event and I’m very glad it’s back on the schedule. A lot of really good names are on the trophy, like Ernie, Retief, Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Seve Ballesteros.

“As a South African, you really want to put your name on that trophy because it’s a special event for us, there’s a bit more for us South African guys to play for.

“Playing in the United States, I’ve learned a lot. It’s a different style of golf, the grass is different. The strength and depth of fields is so good that you’ve got to try and save every single shot,” Bezuidenhout, who made his NGC debut in 2019, the last time the event was held due to the Covid pandemic, said.

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood has owned the title since then, bringing the daunting Gary Player Country Club course to its knees with a final-round 65 that saw him into the playoff he won against Sweden’s Marcus Kinholt.

“This is a very special event for me. I’m not South African but I grew up watching it with my dad every year. I love the history behind it and the winners,” Fleetwood said.

“When you walk down the ninth hole on the left and you see all the winners from all the years on that walkway, I often thought it would be great to add my name on there.

“To get that win was very cool and we’re all excited to come back. I love the game in this country and how popular golf is over here. I’ve always enjoyed playing out here,” the top—ranked player in the field said.

Although LIV Golf has caused much heartache to the DP World Tour, participants in that breakaway league are teeing it up at Sun City, including South African Branden Grace, the 2017 champion.

Disappointing results are not main reason for Jake changing half the Bulls’ starting line-up 0

Posted on January 09, 2023 by Ken

The Bulls will be eager to stop their slide down the United Rugby Championship table before the end of October when the competition takes a break, but disappointing results are not the main reason coach Jake White has changed half his starting line-up for their match against Benetton in Treviso on Friday night.

Having been knocked over and physically dominated by the Glasgow Warriors and Munster on successive weekends, the Bulls are now down to sixth on the log. Benetton will definitely be tricky to beat on their home turf, and the high-flying Sharks then come to Loftus Versfeld on October 30.

“It’s not just results that decide selection, I would have changed the team anyway this week,” White said on Thursday. “Every coach has an idea of a certain team he wants to play against certain opposition.

“But then the whole thing changes with injury and I didn’t think I would not have Johan Goosen or Cornal Hendricks. But it’s a long season and the European competition hasn’t even kicked off yet.

“Benetton rested a lot of their main players last week, we know they have targeted this game and everyone understands how tough it will be. It shouldn’t be an ambush here anymore.

“We have not gone from a good team to a poor one overnight, and this is a massive game for us because an away win is like gold. No-one must think we’re going through the motions,” White said.

The ever-improving Benetton side is certainly not going to stand back for anyone on their home ground anymore, and the Bulls can expect a feisty welcome up front, led by loose forward Lorenzo Cannone and his brother, lock Niccolò. Benetton still talk about their famous victory over the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup final last year, when White’s team, rampant at home, were shocked by the intensity of their hosts.

“I hope we are not surprised again. There will be unbelievable passion in the crowd and we are coming from rain and cold every day in Scotland and Ireland to warm weather and sunshine,” White said.

“Benetton still talk a lot about beating us in that final, and that was an opportunity for us to learn some lessons. I hope we are wise enough that we don’t get caught again.

“They are a good team, well-coached, while, for whatever reason, we have not played as well as we can. Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in third gear and we struggle to get into fifth.

“But our saving grace is that it is a long season and we only need to play our best rugby at the back end. But the challenge is for us to get better every week,” White said.

Bulls: Kurt-lee Arendse, David Kriel, Stedman Gans, Harold Vorster, Wandisile Simelane, Chris Smith, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw, Marco van Staden, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Francois Klopper, Bismarck du Plessis, Gerhard Steenekamp. Bench – Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, WJ Steenkamp, Zak Burger, Morne Steyn, Stravino Jacobs.

Kickoff: 6.30pm.

Janse van Rensburg & Richardson tasked with laying down the law for Sharks 0

Posted on November 04, 2022 by Ken

Springbok centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Scottish international Dylan Richardson will be the two main ball-carriers tasked with laying down the law for the Sharks in their opening United Rugby Championship match against Zebre in Parma on Friday night.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt named his first URC team of the season on Wednesday, following their first-round bye, and rushed Janse van Rensburg, one of his major signings in the off-season, straight into the No.12 jersey. Capped for the Springboks in 2016, Janse van Rensburg made his name with the Lions as a fan-favourite who was explosive on the crash-ball but also slick in terms of his all-round game-management. The 28-year-old moved to Durban after four successful years with the Sale Sharks in Manchester.

Richardson, who often plays hooker, made his debut for Scotland last year and will play blindside flank in a mobile, pacey loose trio against Zebre. The 23-year-old is more accustomed to being openside flank whenever he has played loose forward.

“Rohan has been a revelation and he brings lot of experience, being an international,” Everitt said. “With Ben Tapuai, we have two very experienced centres to guide Boeta Chamberlain at flyhalf.

“Rohan has settled in very well, he brings leadership and has been a strong voice in team meetings. His knowledge and assistance in developing the youngsters will be vitally important.

“Dylan normally plays at No.6, but he is also known for his very strong ball-carrying. We’ve played him and James Venter together in the Currie Cup with a lot of success.

“Together with Phepsi Buthelezi, they will get through a lot of work and they have been the form loose forwards in training,” Everitt said.

The northern city of Parma is one of the prime gastronomical districts of Italy, and a long injury list has given Everitt plenty of food for thought. Especially in the pivotal flyhalf position.

“We have a long list of injuries so this is a young team,” Everitt said. “It is getting shorter though and we expect a full complement of players soon, and then it will be great to have more selection headaches.

“Except for the flyhalves, who we only expect back at the end of October. Lionel Cronje has a fractured arm and Curwin Bosch underwent surgery on a fractured thumb. You would never bet on two flyhalves getting injured, but that’s the nature of rugby.

“We’re fortunate to have Boeta step in, he really took his opportunity this time last year and performed admirably overseas. He is full of confidence at the moment,” Everitt said.

Sharks team: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Thaakir Abrahams, Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams, Phepsi Buthelezi, Dylan Richardson, James Venter, Reniel Hugo, Gerbrandt Grobler, Thomas du Toit (c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Replacements – Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Justin Basson, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Cameron Wright, Fred Zeilinga, Marnus Potgieter.

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