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Ken Borland



Howling wind not in his control, but Jake won’t risk Goosen on Glasgow artificial pitch 0

Posted on December 19, 2022 by Ken

Facing a tough away match at Scotstoun, Bulls coach Jake White does not know whether the wind will howl or not, but one thing that is within his control is team selection and he revealed on Friday that he will not risk flyhalf Johan Goosen against Glasgow Warriors on their artificial pitch.

Goosen, who will probably be on the Springboks’ end-of-year tour, has started just one game at flyhalf since rupturing his knee three games into last season on the artificial pitch in Cardiff. But even though the 30-year-old needs game time and White has also been robbed of backline stars Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi due to injury, Goosen will not feature for the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship match against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday night.

“I’m not going to risk Johan on a 4G pitch. They don’t play any Test rugby on those pitches for a reason, it’s because more players get injured on that surface,” White stated on Friday.

“He has just come back from 11 months out after an horrific injury on that sort of pitch. I took the decision myself, I did not ask him. If you look at the history of those 4G pitches, there have been a lot of injuries and I don’t want to take the risk.

“I have confidence in Chris Smith and Morne Steyn, they have done exceptionally well the times we have called on them,” White said.

While there is expected to be a low chance of rain in Glasgow on Saturday night, and just a gentle breeze, White did say he was concerned about the wind strengthening.

“Scotstoun can be very windy, which can be a massive factor in the way we want to play, sometimes it makes it very difficult to play too much rugby,” White said.

“We will have to see how the weather is, it is very influential here, and we might have to kick more. That’s also a skill and creating pressure points is a part of attack too.

“Rain will not be so much of a problem, but a massive amount of wind will be, whether you’re playing against it or with it. It’s a very open stadium and our stadiums at home are closed in.

“If you’re against the wind at the back end of the match and chasing the game, then it becomes very difficult. We also have to learn to use the wind when it is in our favour,” White said.

Added to the change in conditions from back in Pretoria, White pointed out that Glasgow Warriors are always a formidable challenge at home.

“They only lost once at home last year and their one game at home this season they have won convincingly. Coach Franco Smith has lots of experience and he has done well with the Free State Cheetahs and Italy.

“Plus Glasgow have a couple of injured players coming back, which is going to make their forward pack more staunch. Last week was obviously a rebound result for them, and I have no doubt they will want another,” White said.

Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, David Kriel, Stedman Gans, Chris Smith, Zak Burger, Elrigh Louw, Marco Van Staden, Marcell Coetzee (capt), Ruan Nortjé, Walt Steenkamp, Francois Klopper, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Gerhard Steenekamp. Bench – Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Reinhardt Ludwig, Embrose Papier, Morné Steyn, Wandisile Simelane.

Bangladesh deserve the boarding school banter 0

Posted on May 09, 2022 by Ken

I don’t know whether Proteas captain Dean Elgar was boarding or not when he went to St Dominic’s College in Welkom in the early 2000s, but much of his language in the week building up to the second Test against Bangladesh was straight out of the manual of boarding school lingo.

To my horror as I wishfully think of myself as still being young, Elgar was born in 1987, the same year that I matriculated from boarding school.

But to hear phrases like “harden up”, “man up” and “dry your eyes” certainly took me back to my education, both at school and university.

Now I know Elgar’s statement that Test cricket is a man’s game has raised some eyebrows for bordering on sexism, but, as ever, it is important to consider the context and intent of such a declaration. What is far more sexist to me is that the world’s best women cricketers hardly ever play any Test cricket at all these days, which is why such a legend as Mignon du Preez retired this week having played just one Test in her 15-year career.

I also believe Bangladesh have deserved such criticism.

They won the toss at Kingsmead in the first Test, but were too scared to give their batsmen first use of the facilities. This was basically admitted by coach Russell Domingo – who it later emerged had urged them to bat first – when he used words like “uncertainty”, “lack of confidence”,  and “not able to front up” to explain the decision at the toss.

While the inconsistency of the Proteas team suggests they could do with the services of a sports psychologist on the staff, Bangladesh, it seems, should hire a mental toughness coach.

They matched South Africa blow-for-blow for most of the Test match, following on the steel and intent they showed in the ODI series, only to then fold completely in the last two sessions.

I would suggest their problems started when they began to blame the umpires, and judging by the reports coming out of Bangladesh media, some of the team went so far as to accuse Marais Erasmus and Adrian Holdstock of being biased in favour of the Proteas.

Covid has forced the ICC into dispensing with neutral umpires – although it probably is time to reinstate them – and for an umpire of Erasmus’s quality (he is also the reigning ICC Umpire of the Year award-winner), he did not have the best of matches. Holdstock, who has proven he is a quality umpire as well, also made a few mistakes.

But to accuse them of bias was ridiculous, particularly since of the eight decisions overturned on review, four of them were against South Africa.

The Proteas certainly don’t have a reputation for being silent on the field, and we’ve got a real chatterbox in Sarel Erwee, although his talk is more a stream-of-consciousness jumble designed to distract rather than a concerted plan to annoy.

But for Bangladesh to allege that South Africa’s sledging was “unbearable” or “deplorable” does not fit with the reality of what was seen at Kingsmead, either at the ground or for those watching and listening on TV.

The only memorable flashpoint of the Test was when Ebadot Hossain had a go at Elgar, and even that was within the bounds of normal fast bowler grumpiness.

Without detracting from the way Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer weaved their magic in the second innings, it was clear Bangladesh had lost focus and had become distracted by their perceived grievances at the umpires and opposition.

There is a reason teams talk about focusing on the controllables (like your own performance) and not the uncontrollable (what other people are doing or the conditions). Bangladesh’s focus was on matters they could not control and it led to a batting display that rapidly spiralled into ignominy.

There is another phrase from my boarding school days that could be used to describe the tourists in the first Test – sore losers.

While Aussies panic at the IPL, CSA leaves it up to individual players to decide 0

Posted on May 17, 2021 by Ken

While Australia’s panicking cricketers at the Indian Premier League are perhaps paying their penance for refusing to tour South Africa earlier this year, Cricket South Africa and their players in the league have adopted a more measured approach with it being left up to the individual whether they want to come home or not.

India are facing a massive outbreak of Covid-19, with the largest number of daily infections recorded anywhere in the world since the start of the pandemic, and on Monday it was confirmed that the virus has breached the IPL’s biobubble. Monday’s match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Bangalore Royal Challengers was postponed due to two Kolkata players testing positive.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of positive tests in the Chennai Super Kings camp and amongst the groundstaff at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, one of six venues the T20 competition is using.

A handful of Australian cricketers have already pulled out of the IPL, but with their government now instituting a travel ban, threatening a five-year prison sentence for anyone entering the country who has been to India recently, their remaining players have been agitating for a chartered flight to be organised to fly them home.

There has also been speculation that the England and Wales Cricket Board will order their players in India to come home.

But CSA will neither organise a chartered flight nor tell the South African players what to do, chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra told The Citizen on Monday.

“We communicated with the players last week and told them that CSA will support them whichever way they want to handle this, the decision is their’s whether to stay and play, or whether to come home. This event is outside of their CSA contracts, which is why it’s up to them. We will offer them advice, but we are not going to spend millions on a chartered flight,” Manjra said.

While South Africans might be saying ‘ooh la la’ at seeing karma in action for the Australian and English cricketers, the health and safety of the 10 South Africans at the IPL is obviously of prime importance.

Five of those players – Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje – have CSA national contracts.

With the coronavirus ripping through India at a rate of more than 3000 deaths a day, the pandemic now hitting the IPL amidships could cost the BCCI hundreds of millions of dollars if the tournament has to be called off. India’s hosting of the T20 World Cup at the end of October must also now be in doubt.

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  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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