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Ken Borland

Boks head to CT, Kolisi positive; race against time to get him ready for 1st Test 0

Posted on August 03, 2021 by Ken

The Springboks returned to training on Sunday but without captain Siya Kolisi who returned a positive Covid test and there will now be a race against time to get him through the return-to-play protocols in time for the first Test against the British and Irish Lions on July 24.

While the entire Springbok squad has been isolating for the last week, the return-to-play protocols can take more than a week and in some cases players have been out of action for three-to-five weeks.

With five other positive cases amongst the players, the home team’s resources are also going to be stretched for the SA A match against the Lions that is still scheduled to happen on Wednesday night, with the squad heading off to Cape Town on Sunday afternoon. Loose forward Dan du Preez, prop Ox Nche, hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni, and wing Makazole Mapimpi are also all in isolation.

Prop Vincent Koch, wing Sbu Nkosi, locks Marvin Orie and Lood de Jager, centre Francois Steyn, flyhalf Handre Pollard and prop Frans Malherbe have also had a brush with Covid in the last week. Bulls loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka and Sharks hooker Fez Mbatha have been added to the squad.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has also tested positive and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will now take over the reins in training in Cape Town. But Nienaber refuses to be negative.

“We are delighted to be able to return to the field and resume our preparations for the Lions series. It has been a challenging week with the Test against Georgia, which was important for us with an eye on preparing to face the British & Irish Lions, cancelled and the entire squad self-isolating for a few days as a preventative measure, so the players cannot wait to get back on the park.

“But these are extraordinary times and we have to adapt as a team, and I have to commend the players and management for that. We are a tight-knit coaching team and everyone takes responsibility in their respective roles. It is also great to have Rassie steering the ship while I am away. He has been part of the system for several years and he guided these players to the Rugby World Cup title, so the team is in great hands,” Nienaber said.

Proteas have better chance to gel with domestic action confirmed to start November 2 0

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Ken

As rugby’s return-to-play has shown, getting teams to gel takes time and the Proteas are just relieved that it has finally been confirmed that they will at least have some domestic action starting on November 2 before they are flung back into the international arena.

South Africa last took the field on March 7 when they completed a 3-0 ODI sweep over Australia in Potchefstroom and it seems likely that they will host England in white-ball internationals in November. The 50-over world champions have enjoyed a full northern summer of action, however, while the only play available to the Proteas has been for those in the IPL.

But Cricket South Africa finally confirmed on Friday that domestic cricket will resume from November 2 with the Four-Day Franchise Series. Due to necessary cutbacks, the format has changed with the six teams split into two pools. Within their own pool, a franchise will play each team home and away, and then play the three sides in the other group once each, either home or away. It means the number of four-day games has been cut from 10 per franchise to seven, although there will be a final at the end of it all.

The Momentum One-Day Cup, which runs from January 8 to February 12, will be played under the same format, while the CSA T20 Challenge which ends the season will be played over a single round of five matches per franchise, followed by a final.

Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi said on Friday that he was just happy to be able to get out on to the field and have some match practice before their international commitments resume.

“At least there will be cricket and we now have the fixtures and we won’t just have to rock up and play England or whoever else they have lined up for us. We’re very happy to now have certainty because you can train as much as you want but you can’t gauge where you’re at in the nets and the stakes are low at practice. At least we now know we’ll have some domestic fixtures before any potential international matches.

“There will still be mistakes when we play for the Proteas, but at least we’ll now have time to see what we’re not doing right. We won’t just be practising. I’m just happy that we now have some games because obviously there has been a lot going on with Covid-19, and we can’t be too picky. Any cricket is good and playing seven matches instead of 10 is better than nothing,” Shamsi told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

The Lions start the defence of their four-day title with a match against the fast-improving Dolphins in Durban from November 2-5, while Shamsi’s Titans side travel to Cape Town to take on the Cobras at the same time.

The bookmakers would probably fancy the Titans, last year’s runners-up, to have the slightly easier pool as they play the Cobras and Warriors home and away in the first four rounds. They then play the Dolphins at home before their crunch game against the Lions is at the Wanderers, from December 20-23. That is the penultimate round of fixtures, with the final round starting on February 18.

“In international cricket, you play the same guys all the time, but it will be funny playing just the Cobras and Warriors in the first four rounds. I guess if I’m bowling well then you wouldn’t want to keep playing against them because they could get used to my bowling. But all the teams are probably pretty balanced and there have been so many changes in personnel before this season.

“I can’t remember so many player movements before, so no-one really knows how strong or weak the various teams are. It’s going to be a bit of a lottery and it’s going to take a while to figure out the different match-ups in domestic cricket,” Shamsi said.

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    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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