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Ken Borland

Dawson cleans up her game after rocky start to move 2 clear 0

Posted on March 12, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – Ana Dawson moved two shots clear at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt on Saturday, managing to clean up her game after a rocky start, posting an excellent three-under-par 69 to move to four-under overall.

With the terrible weather of the opening round clearing, scores were lower at both the Montague and Outeniqua courses on Saturday. Alexandra Swayne also shot a 69 to move to two-under-par alongside Scotland’s Kylie Henry (70) in second place.

Dawson, who led by one after a 71 in the first round, began her round on Montague on Saturday with two bogeys in the first three holes, although she did birdie the par-three second.

The 22-year-old from the Isle of Man was much tidier thereafter, however, not dropping another shot until the par-four 15th. In between, Dawson birdied the sixth, ninth and 11th holes. She then brought a big finish as she birdied the par-four 16th and par-five 18th holes to end the day in prime position going into the final round.

South Africans Kiera Floyd (70) and Cara Gorlei (69) also did well on the Montague course to be tied for fourth on one-under, but there is a new local challenger in contention in veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who won this tournament in 2014 when it was down the road at George Golf Club.

Pace fired a fine 69, with six birdies and three bogeys to join her compatriots on one-under-par. The highlight of her round was an eagle-three on the ninth hole, while she also birdied the sixth and 10th holes. Her only bogey came on the par-four 14th.

Simelane is on a mission to gather as much proficiency in all facets of the game as he can 0

Posted on October 18, 2022 by Ken

Wandisile Simelane has a burning desire to improve his game in all facets and his time with the extended Springbok squad last year and his move to the Bulls for the 2022/23 season have been used as a means to gather as much proficiency as he can.

Simelane has long been considered as one of the country’s brightest young talents and his selection for the initial 46-man squad for the British and Irish Lions series raised hopes of him making his Springbok debut.

In the end the established and world-class pairing of Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende did South Africa proud, but Simelane soaked up the atmosphere and the learnings to be gained at elite level.

“I learnt a lot, and I realised I need to get better in every aspect of my game, including things like work-rate, training and just being in that environment,” Simelane told The Citizen.

“It really helped me both as an individual and as a rugby player. Just being around Lukhanyo Am, who is one of the best No.13s in the world, you put yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t learn from him.

“He is an inspiration and a role-model to me, and there were others too like Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn and Damian de Allende, who are great centres. You take bits and pieces from everyone and add it to your own game.

“I’ve always believed every rugby player in South Africa should aspire to play for the Springboks, and hopefully I’ll be back there sooner rather than later. It’s definitely my number one goal,” Simelane said.

While the 24-year-old did not want to go into the reasons why he left the Gauteng Lions this year, there was a sense among neutral observers that his game did not grow at Ellis Park, the Lions did not make the best use of him, over the last year, and playing in an exciting Bulls backline featuring Springboks in Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Sbu Nkosi, Johan Goosen and now Canan Moodie, could see Simelane fulfil his potential in the coming season.

Apart from all that star quality and wise old heads, Simelane, as a Jeppe High old boy, was also delighted to come under the wing of school legend Jake White, and also get the chance to play alongside Nkosi, Jeppe’s most recent Springbok.

“Jake winning the World Cup in 2007 was a massive achievement and knowing he’s a Jeppe old boy, he’s a great hero at the school and in South African rugby generally,” Simelane said.

“When the opportunity came to be coached by him at the Bulls, I didn’t think twice. I can gain so much knowledge from him.

“Unfortunately, when Sbu played first XV at Jeppe, I was still U16 and I missed playing with him by one year,” Simelane said.

As fate would have it, the Bulls’ opening United Rugby Championship fixture this season is against the Lions at Ellis Park on September 17, but the Johannesburg-born player will not be focusing on the unhappy memories of his previous home.

“I’m definitely excited to start the season and I’m looking at it as my first game for the Bulls and not the first match I will play against the Lions.”

The Lions tended to shift Simelane away from the midfield and play him on the wing, but he said this was not the cause of his unhappiness.

“I don’t mind at all, I don’t care if I play wing, centre or fullback, as long as I am in the team. It doesn’t bother me much. Number 13 is my main position, my number one choice, where I want to be a specialist.”

The defensive nous required to be a world-class outside centre will no doubt come with more experience, but what Simelane already possesses are the feet of a magician.

“I guess it’s just natural instinct, it’s something that gets better and better the more I play, since my school days. But the key is to keep working on it,” Simelane, who first started playing rugby in Grade V at Dalmondeor Primary in Johannesburg South, said.

He is a nightmare to defend against if he’s in space because of his ability to not only beat the man with a late sidestep, but also his passing skills. Many of his team-mates have profited from delayed ball that has put them right through the gap.

“To make the most of space, I like to use the pass also. It depends on how you analyse different players, what you want to achieve as a team and also your feel for the game.

“The more I put myself in those situations in training, the more I will make the right decisions. It’s something I’ve had to work hard on too,” Simelane said.

Simelane will be 25 when the next World Cup is played and then the Springboks will surely enter a new cycle in terms of personnel. Hopefully the selectors don’t leave it too late to introduce him to the international stage that seems to be his destiny.

Bravely entering a new world is paying off for SA Rugby 0

Posted on June 21, 2022 by Ken

When SA Rugby bravely shifted away from their long-standing relationship with Sanzaar and SuperRugby and decided to throw in their lot with European club competition, there was plenty of uncertainty as to just how well the move would pan out.

Now, with the United Rugby Championship in its final weekend of round-robin action and three South African sides in the quarterfinals already, one can only say it has been a great success.

It’s been a tremendous journey for the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls, and even the Lions have shown their worth in being way more competitive than many expected. The tentative first steps into the URC were made when the country was still in the grips of Covid restrictions, the franchises were without their Springboks and they had to start their campaigns in Europe in the northern hemisphere autumn.

It was a chastening introduction and there were understandable fears over whether SA Rugby had made the right decision. Wiser heads pointed to the circumstances above and pleaded patience.

And how richly that patience has been rewarded with the four South African teams tenaciously dominating the second half of the competition, making their home stadiums fortresses and producing some thrilling rugby in the process.

Of all the sports in South Africa, rugby has probably borne the brunt of Covid, given how they were the code which was most accustomed to having big crowds in stadiums.

With at least one URC home quarterfinal guaranteed, wouldn’t it be marvellous for that team/s to have the backing of a properly sold-out stadium?

SA Rugby have been patience personified when it comes to working with government and their time-lines in terms of Covid protocols. But having seen the British and Irish Lions tour almost ruined last year, one totally understands their frustration at how slowly the wheels are now turning to get spectators fully back into stadiums.

If only Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was as preoccupied with something that really will contribute to the economy, rather than that stupid monumental flag of his.

You always see politicians front and centre, ensuring they are in the limelight, when our sports teams enjoy global success. They piggyback so hard on the triumphs that you cannot help but wonder whether they believe they played an integral part in achieving the result.

The truth, of course, is that politicians do very little for sport in this country. You only need to look at facilities, especially at grassroots level, to see that. And yet they bask in the nation-building and social cohesion that sporting success brings, as if they had a key role in ensuring those outcomes. It is just another example of the parasitic tendencies of our politicians.

But even without capacity crowds in South Africa just yet, one feels the URC will go from strength-to-strength.

On the last weekend of round-robin play, defending champions Leinster are guaranteed to finish first on the log, but little else is certain. A team like the Bulls, depending on the results, could either finish second or seventh in the final standings.

And playing in the European Champions Cup next season will only heighten the hype here in South Africa.

Given the steady flow of South Africans to those teams, there has always been great interest in the English and French clubs and now those powerhouses will be coming to these shores as well.

SA Rugby are sure to see the vindication of their brave move in the years to come, as aligning with the major economies of the rugby world will bring an even greater profile to South African rugby.

A Barberton Daisy for a top-class wing: A fresh start for Nkosi at the Bulls 0

Posted on May 12, 2022 by Ken

Sbu Nkosi was born in Barberton 26 years ago and will now wear a Barberton Daisy on his rugby jersey, saying on Thursday that he believes a move to the Bulls is just the fresh start he needs to return to being the top-class wing who helped win the 2019 World Cup.

Nkosi famously filled in for an injured Cheslin Kolbe in the World Cup semi-final against Wales, but then did not play in the Tests against the British and Irish Lions last year and has endured a rotten run of injuries and illness this year. Given his limited playing time for the Sharks, it is unlikely that Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber still sees him as being in the top three wings for the national team.

“Injuries happen but it’s a chance for me to completely reset and build afresh, being here is a massive chance to be part of a good thing going on in Pretoria,” Nkosi said at Loftus Versfeld on Thursday.

“I am very grateful to the Sharks, they are the reason my career has gone the way it has, they developed me and taught me to be a man. But moving to the Bulls is the best decision for me.

“I felt like a new chapter needed to be opened so I can get my career back to the Sbu Nkosi everyone knows. It doesn’t matter what union you play for when it comes to making the World Cup squad.

“That is judged purely on performance and I need to be fit and ready to play to even start thinking about being in the reckoning for selection,” Nkosi, who arrived on crutches following ankle surgery but was sporting an extremely smart navy blue jacket with a pocket square in the light blue colour of his new team, said.

Nkosi was headhunted by Bulls director of rugby Jake White to replace Madosh Tambwe, who is heading to Bordeaux Begles, the pair having first met while the wing was at Jeppe High School. Nkosi said he was honoured to be coming to such a proud union and was determined to do the business on the field.

“Jake and I have a relationship that dates back to high school and he actually signed me to the Sharks straight from school. We agree on certain values, which was a big motivating factor to come here.

“In a way I’ve come full circle and I want to be part of Jake’s work, dig into his mind a bit. The general mix in the Bulls’ style of play is extremely exciting, they are getting it right.

“It’s always nice to be at a place with a full trophy room and the Bulls have a legendary legacy. I understand the history and that rugby is like the fourth meal of the day here in Pretoria!

“I feel very privileged to be picked out by a coach like Jake and I’m looking to improve my decision-making, which is a very crucial part of the game. Keeping a cool head at the right time is what separates players. Understanding the game is way more important than a sidestep,” Nkosi said.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.

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