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Ken Borland

Powerhouse Lions field top-class outfit for T20 opener 0

Posted on May 10, 2024 by Ken

A “powerhouse” DP World Lions men’s team are determined to claim a second trophy this season as they start their CSA T20 Challenge campaign against the GBets Rocks in Johannesburg on Friday night, and they will be fielding a top-class outfit.

The #PrideOfJozi boast a couple of players named in the Betway SA20 Team of the Tournament in Ryan Rickelton and Wiaan Mulder, there is a thrilling prospect of Kagiso Rabada and his protégé Kwena Maphaka sharing the new ball, and a wonderful batting line-up with other Proteas stars in Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma.

Apart from Rickelton and Mulder blazing a trail in the SA20, the DP World Lions are guided by a coach in Russell Domingo who has played a key role in the Sunrisers Eastern Cape winning back-to-back titles as their batting coach. The experienced Domingo will know exactly how to play winning T20 cricket in South Africa.

Rickelton, who was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 runs at an average of 58.89 and a strike-rate of 173.77, is setting a confident tone right up front.

“We will have a full squad, barring KG when he goes to the IPL, so we have a powerhouse team, obviously we’re going to put our names up for the overall win. We would be upset if we don’t get that far and we’re really looking forward to it after winning the four-day title, which was a big incentive for us because we haven’t won that in a while,” Rickelton said.

“While the tournament was obviously a major let-down for us at MI Cape Town, I have clarity about my batting. Coach Robbie [Peterson] was quite decisive about what he wanted us to do and we really strived to win the powerplay. So I had to execute my role as well as I can with Rassie, because of the power we had to come behind.

“The opportunity was there to really take the game on there up front, to really maximise the powerplay. I had the freedom to fail and I just tried to keep it simple, while training specifics. Now I want to make sure I make an impact for the Lions, that is hugely important for me,” Rickelton said.

All-rounder Mulder earned a spot in the SA20 Team of the Tournament mostly for his batting, where he averaged a healthy 37.13 and scored at a dynamic 157.14, continuing what has been a top-class summer with the bat. Mulder shone as a finisher, but also as a safeguard who could come in during the powerplay and lay a platform for the spectacular hitting of Heinrich Klaasen.

Mulder said he went into the competition with confidence, thanks to, again, the freedom given him by the DP World Lions coaches, and a clear job description from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener.

“Russell Domingo and Hashim Amla have been incredible for my game, they have really motivated me and allowed me to just go and play, to break the shackles. Because of them I took a lot of confidence into the SA20.

“I discovered a couple of new things about my game during the tournament. I worked really hard on playing spin and finishing, which is a part of the game Mark Boucher told me he didn’t think I had when he was Proteas coach. I spent quite a lot of time working with Heinrich and Dwaine Pretorius, but I’m never going to be that type of batter, having a perfect swing and getting carried away hitting sixes.

“But I can hit space and I can score different sorts of boundaries, I can still score 50 off 25 balls. Lance backs me quite a lot, my technique gave me the opportunity to bat in the top five and my role was to face quite a lot of balls and protect Heinrich. You can get some real jaffas in the powerplay, but you can play with a lot of freedom afterwards,” Mulder said.

With the players that the Lions have, playing at a fast-action venue like the DP World Wanderers Stadium, and with so many of them knowing exactly what to do to win T20 games, there is no reason why our Pride should not back themselves to bring home another trophy.

What Rossouw has, you can’t buy in the shops 0

Posted on September 06, 2022 by Ken

You can’t buy experience, so the saying goes, and the sort of talent and skill Rilee Rossouw can bring to the Proteas team is also not available in the shops and South Africa captain David Miller said he is delighted to have the left-handed powerhouse back in the squad for the first T20 against England in Bristol on Wednesday night.

The 32-year-old Rossouw is poised to play for the Proteas for the first time since October 2016. The Grey College product, swift of foot and hand, then signed a Kolpak contract with Hampshire and has made his dashing mark in T20 tournaments around the world. He has been especially successful since joining Somerset for this year’s T20 Blast, lashing 623 runs at an average of 47 and a strike-rate of 192.

“It’s great to have Rilee back, we began our professional careers around the same time back in the day,” Miller said on Tuesday. “The team is right behind him, he has immense experience from playing in leagues around the world.

“He’s also spent a few years in England and it’s great to have that local knowledge for this series. He has a good head on his shoulders and he’s a matchwinner.

“He’s a lot stronger since I last played with him. He’s a seriously good player. A very relaxed guy who takes everything in his stride, but really competitive and fiery on the field. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him again,” Miller said.

With Temba Bavuma unable to take the reins due to his elbow injury, Miller will captain South Africa for the second series, having led for two matches against Pakistan in 2019. The Proteas won that home rubber 2-1, with Miller commanding a largely second-string squad. Only Hendricks, Van der Dussen, Klaasen, Phehlukwayo and Shamsi are still in the picture.

In those games Miller learnt the importance of staying in contact with his bowlers when T20 inevitably gets hectic.

“It can get a little crazy,” Miller admitted. “It’s about having clear plans. You have to learn pretty quickly our there, it’s about knowing what my bowlers are like, what I want and what they want to do.

“It’s about being well-prepared and you have to trust the bowlers to execute their skills, you can’t control everything as a captain. I do have that trust, so it’s just about executing at the right time.

“In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve got our squad together and we’re pretty comfortable. England have a serious team, but us too. It’s about who does the right things at the right time.

“We’ve played some really good cricket lately and we feel confident. We’re definitely taking this series very seriously so we can continue our momentum heading for the World Cup,” Miller said.

The match starts at 7.30pm SA time.

Bulls will not have Louw … and it’s not as if he’s resting either 0

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Ken

The Bulls will not have their sensational young eighthman, Elrigh Louw, for their United Rugby Championship match against the feisty Dragons side at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, and it’s not as if the 22-year-old is resting either after a series of powerhouse displays.

Louw has tested positive for Covid but is not symptomatic. Nevertheless, the protocols still in place mean he has to miss the opportunity for some Dragons-slaying this weekend. What the Bulls lose in youthful vitality they gain in battle-hardened experience though as Arno Botha comes in at the back of the scrum, joining a formidable, seasoned loose trio alongside Marcell Coetzee and Cyle Brink.

“It’s out of our hands with Elrigh,” coach Jake White said on Friday, “but it does give Arno an opportunity in the back row. Elrigh is not symptomatic, but the rules state he has to spend seven days in isolation.

“He will then follow the return-to-play protocols after testing on Monday again. But I’ve learnt over the years from playing teams like the Chiefs in a Super Rugby semifinal with the Brumbies that you need to build a squad with international depth.

“That kind of experience is vital. We’re not there yet, but we do have Springboks on the bench like Morne Steyn and Cornal Hendricks, and we’ll get Bismarck du Plessis back too.

“You know those sort of players will add value and the other players get confidence from that as well. And the players have adapted well under pressure before to things like Elrigh not playing now,” White said.

While it is perfectly natural for the players to have more of a buzz, more of an edge, before matches against top teams like Munster, White said one of the focal points this week has been on ensuring the Bulls don’t compromise their recent excellent run with complacency on Saturday against a Dragons side that is second-bottom and has won just one of their 10 games.

“For big games the players automatically go up another level, for example when I coached the Springboks, before an All Blacks Test you could sense a different mode. It’s the same for everyone.

“But other teams probably take playing us at Loftus Versfeld very seriously and we need to make sure we don’t get caught short.

“The Dragons have had just one bad loss, they stay in the game and will be competitive. I expect them to have a full go at us, they play quite quickly too with tap-and-goes.

“They like to use their backs and they’re not afraid to give the ball some air. I expect them to challenge us, but we’re learning all the time that there are no easy wins, no game is a given,” White said.

Bulls team: Kurt-Lee Arendse,Canan Moodie,Lionel Mapoe,Harold Vorster,Madosh Tambwe,Chris Smith,Embrose Papier;Arno Botha,Cyle Brink,Marcell Coetzee (CAPT),Ruan Nortje,Walt Steenkamp,Jacques van Rooyen,Johan Grobbelaar,Gerhard Steenekamp. IMPACT – Joe van Zyl,Simphiwe Matanzima,Mornay Smith,Reinhardt Ludwig,WJ Steenkamp;Zak Burger,Morne Steyn,Cornal Hendricks.

Sharks hopeful that all their outside programmes will clinch that Etzebeth deal 0

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks are hoping that all their excellent programmes to assist their players with life outside rugby will clinch the deal with Eben Etzebeth, leading to the Springbok powerhouse lock joining them after the end of Toulon’s season in June.

The Sharks, thanks to their equity partners, offer enormous networking and advisory possibilities with an array of leading businesspeople and that could be of interest to Etzebeth, who has been one of the best-paid players in France and is now in the second half of his career.

Eduard Coetzee, the CEO of the Sharks, confirmed on Tuesday that the franchise are putting together an offer for arguably the best lock in the world, who was earning about R20 million a year at Toulon.

“We are speaking to Eben, he wants to come back and we will put our best foot forward,” Coetzee told The Citizen. “It’s about what we can offer him on and off the field.

“Eben will be turning 31 in October and we can give him a start for life after rugby. We can match him up with businesspeople who can help him – in the pharmaceutical world, clothing, property etc.

“Hopefully that can make up for the loss of income he will have coming back to South Africa. And with the endorsements and commercial opportunities he can get here, hopefully he can earn something that is not a long ways off what he gets there in France. So we feel there is definitely a chance that we will get him,” Coetzee said.

The salary cap (R65m) that SA Rugby have imposed on their franchises as they try to compete with the big-spending European clubs is a frustration, and the Sharks also have to ensure they do not anger the existing superstars in their squad by paying the likes of Etzebeth considerably more than they are earning.

“Of a probable current World XV, we have Siya Kolisi, Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am, and now you add Eben Etzebeth,” Coetzee said. “And you can’t pay one of them twice as much as the others.

“You need a level of consistency in terms of what you are paying the top guys. Fortunately we have some credit still in the salary cap and Eben has got himself out of his contract with Toulon.”

The CEO also cleared up any impression that Neil Powell being parachuted in as director of rugby when he had initially been signed as defence coach would be cause for any anger by head coach Sean Everitt.

“John McFarland left for a long-term deal and Warren Whiteley stepped in as defence coach until Neil arrives in September, and he is doing really well. We felt the gap was in terms of managing the entire rugby programme.

“It has been a consultative process and Sean has a very difficult job managing two teams out of one squad. But Neil runs systems really well and he is very strong on culture and work ethic.

“So Neil will run everything outside of the day-to-day coaching. This will cause the least disruption and his strength is people-management, we need someone to run the whole system from juniors up the pipeline,” Coetzee said.

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    “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

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