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Ken Borland

4 Boks who knocked the door down to be named in October for EOYT 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

The next Springbok squad will be named in October for the end-of-year tour and here are four players who knocked the door down during the Rugby Championship and must be included in the group for the Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and England.

Jasper Wiese

The Leicester Tigers loose forward turns 27 in October and is clearly entering his prime, knocking over opponents on the gain-line and just being constantly busy in terms of work-rate. While it remains to be seen whether he will depose Duane Vermeulen at the World Cup next year, the great eighthman has some bouncing back to do after his injury problems, although he made an encouraging cameo off the bench at Kings Park this weekend. At the moment, Wiese is certainly bringing the fire though and is a real thorn in the opposition’s flesh.

Jaden Hendrikse

A series of polished displays means young Hendrikse surely now owns the No.9 jersey. Despite his tender 22 years, he has taken on the key tactical kicking role of the Springboks with aplomb, and has generally been slick and precise with his service, as well as offering some variety on attack. This Rugby Championship has proven he belongs in Test rugby.

Kwagga Smith

The former Springbok Sevens star made a series of crucial contributions at the breakdown through the tournament and, coming off the bench, he has been able to form a great partnership with whoever his other two loose forwards are, showing his experience and versatility. And it’s not just the flashy stuff Smith has been doing, he gets through a lot of ‘dirty work’ too. Most important has been the sheer energy he has brought from the bench, which is exactly what you want from your replacements.

Damian Willemse

The highly-talented 24-year-old will no doubt be in the Springbok squad, but will he be earmarked as a flyhalf, centre or fullback? Hopefully he will play flyhalf because the Springboks will need to sort out this key position post-haste. Handre Pollard will still be around, but has just battled to get the attack firing of late, while surely the time has now come to ditch Elton Jantjies, who is making more headlines off the field than on.

Willemse showed enough when he did play flyhalf in the Rugby Championship to suggest he has great potential there. He has an attacking mindset, is a steely defender and seems confident enough to be the team’s general. He will need to work on his kicking, but that should not be a problem for a player as skilful as he is.

De Kock has SA Cricket in shock; his world cup participation in doubt 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

Quinton de Kock’s decision to withdraw from the Proteas team playing in a crucial T20 World Cup match in Dubai rather than obey a directive from the CSA Board that all players must take a knee in support of the BLM initiative had South African cricket in shock on Tuesday.

Fortunately the Proteas managed to regain their focus in time to beat the West Indies in impressive fashion on Tuesday and stay in contention for the semi-finals, but whether De Kock will play any further part in the tournament now depends on what the CSA Board make of whatever report is sent to them by team management.

While issuing an edict on the morning of a crucial match, when the topic of how the Proteas should show their support for BLM has been in the public discourse for more than a year now, was incredibly poor management by CSA, De Kock also left his team in the lurch by putting his own convictions, which have not been explained, above the needs of the team.

In the inflammatory environment of South African cricket, De Kock’s refusal to support BLM has caused outrage. But former Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana, who has a close bond with the 28-year-old, having mentored him in his formative years, said he is sure De Kock is not a racist.

“Quinny was brought up by Black coaches, there’s no way he is a racist. But to pull out of the team, at a world cup, I just don’t know what was in his mind … “ Toyana told The Citizen on Tuesday.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma was also in a more forgiving mood after his team won, although he stressed De Kock will have to live with the consequences of his decision.

“The team heard about the directive in the morning when we were on the bus to Dubai,” Bavuma said. “It’s about a two-hour trip and I guess Quinny made his decision then, because I only found out he was not playing when we got in the changeroom.

“As a team we did not have a great deal of time to discuss things, we just had to digest what we were told. South Africa is governed by a constitution that allows guys to express their choices.

“But as much as there is freedom of choice, you can’t escape the consequences of those decisions. But he is still one of the boys and whatever shoulder or support he needs, we are there for him,” Bavuma said.

While the CSA Board directive came out of the blue given how long they have prevaricated over the BLM issue, Bavuma said the Proteas team has made peace with the fact that there are different views within the team.

“We live in a country with diverse views, the things we support are based on our own convictions and we live different lives. I’ve learnt to appreciate that a lot more.

“It has widened my perspective and I don’t expect people to see things the way I do. Which is why we have had the hard conversations, it’s through those that we learn to accept other people’s actions,” Bavuma said.

One of the toughest days for Bavuma as the Proteas’ mental preparation is rocked 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma described it as one of the toughest days he has had as a captain as the mental preparation of his team for the crucial T20 World Cup match against the West Indies in Dubai was rocked by the CSA Board’s directive that all players must take the knee in support of BLM and the subsequent withdrawal from the side of key batsman Quinton de Kock because he chose not to do so.

It took South Africa a good 10 overs to get their mental focus back on track, in which time Evin Lewis had given the West Indies a blazing start, but the Proteas deserve enormous credit for the clinical display they produced thereafter in winning by eight wickets with 10 balls to spare.

“It was one of the toughest days I’ve had as the captain, but I’m just ecstatic that we were able to get into the right frame of mind and play the way we did against a powerhouse West Indies team,” Bavuma said after the impressive victory.

“We should not take this win lightly and I’m just very glad that we’ve now got our campaign started. We knew our batting in particular needed to improve and the way we were so clinical with the bat was a big step in the right direction.

“The bowlers have been fantastic the last while and they again showed their skill and class, it was a good day in the field in the end. What happened with the directive and Quinny pulling out was not ideal, but they were the cards we were dealt as a team and it was good that the guys were able to represent the country as well as they did today,” Bavuma said.

While losing De Kock is a major blow – and it could well be for the rest of the tournament – Bavuma expressed the hope that the team, brought closer together by hardship, will grow more and more as a unit in their remaining group matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England.

“It’s going to be a tough couple of days for the group as we try and find out a bit better about the decisions that have been made, but we have to respect those whether we agree or not.

“Unfortunately the team still has to get the job done and it’s important to find a way to get into the right mental space. And the tournament is obviously only going to get tougher.

“So it’s important that we stay even more together as a team. Hopefully we can now create some momentum. But we need to focus on matters on the field.

“We will only lose energy as a team if we focus on things on the outside, and I would hope we are judged by how well we hit or bowl the ball and not by what causes we support or how we do it.

“We need to have our eyes on the ball,” Bavuma said.

CSA Board issues directive that all Proteas players must ‘take the knee’ 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

Cricket South Africa’s Board issued a directive on Tuesday morning that all Proteas players must ‘take the knee’ in support of the Black Lives Matter initiative against racism before their T20 World Cup match against the West Indies in Dubai, a move that was later confirmed as the reason for key batsman Quinton de Kock withdrawing from the match.

De Kock was a notable omission from the starting XI for what team management called “personal reasons”. The wicketkeeper/batsman has previously expressed his struggles with bubble life, but the timing of his withdrawal inevitably cause immense speculation and CSA issued a statement during the West Indies innings confirming that the former captain had made a “personal decision … not to take the knee”.

The statement said the Board will await a report from team management before deciding on “the next steps”.

The Proteas were fielding first and all the players on the field and the support staff on the side appeared to take the knee with their right fists raised.

CSA Board chairman Lawson Naidoo said he believed the Proteas needed to have a unified response to BLM, rather than the previous situation where some players were standing, others kneeling, some had fists raised and others didn’t.

“A commitment to overcoming racism is the glue that should unite, bind and strengthen us. Race should not be manipulated to amplify our weaknesses. Diversity can and should find expression in many facets of our daily lives, but not when it comes to taking a stand against racism.

“South Africans were recently joined by people across the world in celebrating the 90th birthday of our revered Archbishop Desmond Tutu. What better tribute from the Proteas to an icon of the struggle for freedom in South Africa than to demonstrate we are working to fulfil his vision of a united South Africa,” Naidoo said.

Former long-serving Proteas Mohammed Moosajee urged the board to implement a unified response to BLM by the Proteas when he testified before the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings last week.

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