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Ken Borland

Boucher acknowledges worst result of his tenure, implies players to blame 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

Mark Boucher finished his tenure as Proteas coach with what he acknowledged was the worst result of his three-year term, but he absolved the coaching staff of any blame in the shock T20 World Cup loss to the Netherlands, implying the fault was squarely with the players.

“As coach, yes, it is the worst of the lot. It’s frustrating because as a player you still have a say, but as coach you leave it up to others to perform. Looking at the coaching staff, we ticked every box and we thought the guys were in a very good space,” Boucher said.

“At the start of the tournament, we would have taken having to beat the Netherlands to get into the semi-finals. We’ve got a good team and we believe on a given day we can beat anyone.

“That’s why the loss is so disappointing and we only have ourselves to blame. We were never really in the game, the Netherlands could come out and play brave cricket and we just weren’t able to get the momentum back on our side.

“We mustn’t look at one or two players, we need to look at the whole squad and they simply were not good enough today. The bottom line is we did not play well enough,” Boucher said.

Many articles have been devoted to why the Proteas consistently under-perform at World Cups, but Boucher said the team had shown their mettle in tight wins before, like over India in their third match of the tournament.

“I believe each world cup exit has been an individual event, although I know there is a lot of history. We have really played some good cricket in the T20 format, but we lost to Pakistan and looked flat today.

“The energy just did not seem to be there and we did not bowl or bat the way we should have. We certainly should have been better, but it just didn’t happen.

“But it’s not the only upset in this tournament, some very good sides have been beaten by so-called ‘lesser’ teams. The more we don’t do well at World Cups, it does start to play on your mind.

“But we’ve played tight games and won. I’m gutted, to be honest. The players really deserved to give themselves a better chance,” Boucher said.

Plenty of distractions adjacent to CT Stadium, but Schoeman’s focus is on Stormers front row 0

Posted on June 30, 2022 by Ken

Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman says the Cape Town Stadium and its adjacent Waterfront have plenty of distractions but his focus will be squarely on his key battle with the Stormers front row in their United Rugby Championship quarterfinal on June 4.

Schoeman is well-experienced when it comes to travelling to Cape Town to take on the Stormers, having done it several times while playing for their archrivals the Bulls between 2014 and 2018, before he joined Edinburgh and subsequently made his international debut, scoring a try, for Scotland in October 2021.

“I feel it’s a massive responsibility because the scrums are going to be a key battle, and the lineouts,” Schoeman said on Tuesday. “And the Stormers scrum has been going really well, they still pride themselves on that.

“Steven Kitshoff speaks for himself, Scarra Ntubeni is also a very good scrummager, and there’s a reason why Frans Malherbe is paid the big bucks at tighthead. Neethling Fouche has also done very well there.

“So we are putting a lot of emphasis on the scrums, but I have to be careful not to make it an individual battle. I can’t just throw my weight around just against those two props.

“I have to do my bit for the team and there are small moments you are responsible for that can make the momentum better for your team. Not just scrums, but tackles, carrying well, lifting in the lineouts,” Schoeman said.

The 28-year-old with nine Test caps said Edinburgh are also going to have to concentrate hard on their defence, against a Stormers side that are equipped to punish any looseness in their strategy or execution.

“The Stormers scrum is really good and their lineout is decent too, but then you’ve got that tight five offloading to wings all over the field.

“Evan Roos gets them on the front foot and then you’ve got Damian Willemse standing at flyhalf and using his quick feet to create something out of nothing.

“Tactically we need to be spot-on, but we pride ourselves on our defence and we have so much up our attacking sleeves as well. We respect them and we’ll have to be vigilant on defence when they start chucking the ball around.

“If you give them a small gap then they can win another 10-15 metres with just one offload. The Stormers are not like in the past just bashing it up, all of a sudden you have the quick feet of a Warrick Gelant joining the line,” Schoeman warned.

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