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Ken Borland

Jake says whether his decision was right or wrong is only going to be decided at the end of the season 0

Posted on July 20, 2023 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White said whether he was right or wrong to rest his first-choice players from European Champions Cup action and then they still lost to the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship derby in Cape Town is only going to be decided at the end of the season.

Despite bringing a fresh, best-available team to Cape Town to tackle the defending champions, the Bulls were humbled 37-27, allowing critics to wonder whether it was worth sending the second-stringers to Devon last weekend and being soundly beaten by Exeter Chiefs.

“We have five points from two games in the Champions Cup, both us and the Stormers do,” White pointed out. “The decision had nothing to do about today, it was not a measure of whether I was right or wrong.

“We will only measure that by June next year. There was no way the same team could play today after flying 26 hours in economy and only arriving back Monday lunchtime.

“We’ve lost four times in a row now to the Stormers, but we will see in June when we have three competitions on the go. If I was only concerned with European competition then maybe I would have done things differently.

“But my brief as director of rugby comes from a decision made by the board. Next year’s Currie Cup will be played Wednesday-Saturday-Saturday, which is a helluva ask. Plus we only have eight training days in January because of the travel,” White said.

The former Springbok coach said the naivety of his team was a concern, putting it down to inexperience.

“It didn’t help playing 20 minutes with 14 guys, but we showed moments of inexperience, which was disappointing,” White said. “There were four minutes of madness when they scored three of their four tries.

“You can’t say you should have won when you’ve conceded four tries, but our attack was held up on the Stormers’ line a couple of times. The Stormers really stormed the breakdown.

“They would rather concede penalties than the try, and defence coach Norman Laker has been there a long time. In fact their whole coaching staff has been there a long time, so they are much more fluent.

“I don’t enjoy losing, but it’s a complete and utter juggling act at the moment. We are still young, every player in the Stormers pack is older than his Bulls counterpart. We have six guys who are 23 or younger,” White said.

CSA’s dictatorial treatment of Magala should receive more attention 0

Posted on February 10, 2023 by Ken

Temba Bavuma and the Proteas will no doubt still receive more than their fair share of flak for the next few weeks following their shock exit at the hands of the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup, but it is only right that Cricket South Africa come under scrutiny too for their handling of the domestic game.

The Proteas are the end result of whatever comes through the domestic system, so that pipeline is of vital importance. The first domestic tournament has already come to an end with the Northerns Titans winning the CSA T20 Challenge in Potchefstroom last weekend.

As provincial cricket so often is these days, it was a low-key event, not helped by it all taking place in one little university town. But CSA’s cost-cutting necessities are understandable.

But what is neither understandable nor acceptable is the way CSA impose so many other agendas, other than performance simply being the be-all and end-all, on the provincial teams.

The fact that CSA issued a directive forbidding the Central Gauteng Lions from choosing their star player, Sisanda Magala, simply because he failed their fitness tests, should cause all the provincial CEOs to rise up and reject such interference in their affairs by the mother body.

Magala is the sort of T20 specialist, with his death-bowling skills and hard-hitting batting, who could have made the Lions genuine contenders for a tournament in which they finished fifth, just two points away from the semi-finals.

The Lions missed out on vital promotion/relegation points because they were severely hamstrung by CSA. A player on the fringes of the national team – many believe he should have been in Australia for the World Cup – was also denied the opportunity to further build on his sizeable reputation.

And Magala’s credentials have not just been praised by great fast bowlers such as Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock; the most ruthless judges of them all, the Indian IPL team owners, clearly rate the 31-year-old very highly too – he was bought for R5.4 million by the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20 Auction.

Magala’s ‘crime’ was that he cannot run a two-kilometre time trial in eight minutes, 30 seconds, missing out by a few seconds and that was enough for some jobsworth at CSA to ban him from playing in the CSA T20 Challenge. The big lad is actually pretty athletic in the field and never has a problem bowling his four overs and is quite capable of running quick singles. Where running two kilometres applies to batting and bowling I would love to know.

With so much at stake for the provinces – relegation would be a financial disaster for a team like the Lions – the day is surely coming when they challenge any policies imposed on them that stop them from performing at their best.

This over-emphasis on arbitrary fitness tests is surely something that falls under the ambit of director of cricket Enoch Nkwe and he needs to address it.

Not having Magala, one of our best cricketers, playing is also doing a disservice to transformation. In order to reach their targets, the Lions actually had to rope in a club cricketer to replace their star all-rounder on the morning the tournament started.

Magala’s treatment is just yet another example of South African cricket hurting itself. How did forcing him on to the sidelines serve the game or make it better?

Perhaps the day South Africa finally win a cricket world cup is the day when high performance, winning or getting results (call it what you will) is the only focus for our teams.

Feeling right at home the author of Van Zyl’s success 0

Posted on October 24, 2022 by Ken

PENNINGTON, KwaZulu-Natal – First-round leader Brooklin Bailey spoke about feeling comfortable on the Bermuda Grass of the Selborne Park Golf Club and feeling right at home was also the author of Jaco van Zyl’s success on Friday as he claimed the lead after the second round of the Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge.

Van Zyl fired a tremendous seven-under-par 65 on Friday to go into the final round on 11-under-par, one stroke ahead of another multiple Sunshine Tour winner in Hennie Otto.

The 43-year-old Van Zyl has played the short, but challenging Selborne course many times, having previously lived further down the South Coast in Port Shepstone.

“I lived in Port Shepstone for five years after school and I won provincial tournaments here, so I have good memories. It’s a great golf course and it suits me down to the ground.

“You don’t need to bomb the ball 350 metres here, you just keep it in position and manage your way around,” Van Zyl said.

The Pretoria-born golfer, who shot 68 in the first round to trail Bailey by four strokes, made the ideal start to his second round as he birdied the first three holes. He parred his way to the turn and then went right back on to script with three birdies in four holes from the 10th. A three-putt on the sloping par-three 15th green cost him a bogey, but Van Zyl finished strong by birdieing the 16th and 18th holes.

“You need to capitalise on the first few holes here, fortunately I did that and then I knew that there was a low score out there.

“On 15 there was just a very tough flag right on the slope, and even though I hit the ball pin-high and made what I thought was a good putt, the ball still went six feet down the hill and I missed that one coming back,” Van Zyl said.

The Benoni resident made a bungle of his last two Sunshine Tour events, missing the cut at the SunBet Challenge Time Square and the Vodacom Origins of Golf Highland Gate, but he made a strong start to the season with three top-20 finishes before that.

Van Zyl has been through a tough time over the last couple of years, but he felt that Friday’s 65 was the first time in a while that his score has reflected how well he has been hitting the ball.

“I’ve been struggling for the last couple of years with injuries and some personal issues, but now it all seems to be falling into place. My game has been there, but my scores just haven’t reflected it.

“But that’s what makes this game so challenging: You think you’re heading in the right direction but then you find yourself on a dirt road for a couple of weeks.

“So it was nice to be back on the tar today, and hopefully that will become a double-lane road and then a four-lane highway soon,” Van Zyl chuckled.

Otto started his round on the 10th, and an eagle-two on the par-four 18th hole saw him go out in 32, but the veteran dropped three shots on the front nine to finish with a 68. But he is right in the mix on 10-under-par, as are Pieter Moolman (69) and the in-form Albert Venter (70) on nine-under.

Bailey also started on the 10th and birdied the par-three 11th hole, before back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13 set him back. The American would go on to drop five more shots, including a double-bogey on the par-four eighth, but he also collected six more birdies to finish with a 72 and share fifth place on eight-under, just three strokes back, with Sean Bradley (71).

The 5-match series in India is for getting the combos right before the T20 World Cup – Dwaine 0

Posted on July 15, 2022 by Ken

The five-match T20 series that the Proteas will play in India from this week is going to be a vital time of getting the combinations and plans right ahead of the World Cup in Australia in October, the all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius said on Monday.

The series starts on Thursday in Delhi, with nine of the South African squad having seen action in the recent Indian Premier League. Pretorius played half-a-dozen matches for the Chennai Super Kings, one of the franchises at the forefront of T20 development, under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“We’re going to be testing ourselves against some of the best cricketers in the world in the Indian team and winning the series is important so we take positive momentum into the World Cup,” Pretorius said on Monday.

“Both teams will be looking carefully at this series and seeing who can secure spots in the World Cup team. India are a very strong T20 team and we’ve come a long way too.

“This is a chance to measure ourselves against one of the best, to see where we are and what we need to work on before the World Cup. There are a lot of benefits to this series, we will see what combinations and plans work.

“Indian conditions have changed a bit and apparently we will have good pitches in the five different venues; everyone knows that Australia will have good bounce and good wickets,” Pretorius said.

The chief takeaway for Pretorius from his IPL experience and interacting with the brilliant cricketing brain of Dhoni was the importance of staying calm and positive.

“My first IPL was a great experience, it’s been one of my bucket list items since I was 20 and it was hosted by South Africa. I was very glad to have the opportunity to play for CSK, one of the most successful teams.

“As players, we were given a lot of responsibility and to play under M.S. Dhoni and see just how big his brand is and what he’s done for Indian cricket was awesome.

“CSK has a very experienced set-up and the biggest thing I learnt from Dhoni was how calm he is. He takes the pressure away from himself by putting it on the bowler.

“He made me realise that the bowler is the one under pressure. It was a change of mindset, he’s always very optimistic and believes any game can be won by staying calm,” Pretorius said.

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