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Ken Borland

Sharks so lacking in elan & polish that CEO apologises 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks produced a display so lacking in elan and polish against Cardiff on Sunday night that CEO Eduard Coetzee took the unprecedented step of apologising for the performance at the post-match press conference.

Getting spectators to the ground on a Sunday night is a hard enough ask, but it then poured with rain at Kings Park and the Sharks dished up one of their worst performances in several years, being thrashed 35-0.

“I would like to apologise for that display to the fans who came here and sat in the rain, more than 7000 of them, and to our sponsors and stakeowners, they don’t deserve that,” Coetzee said at the start of his surprise statement to the media.

“A lot of effort has gone into this franchise and we will not just leave this there. We will turn it around and we will rectify that. That was unlike the Sharks and we will do everything possible to rectify this as soon as possible,” Coetzee said.

The CEO also praised Cardiff for their “unbelievable” display, but the magnificence of the visitors’ performance lay not so much in dazzling rugby but in simple clinical execution of the right plan for the conditions, and plenty of passion.

“They managed the game a lot better and we couldn’t do the same, so we were pinned in our 22,” Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell said. “We also made a lot of basic errors.

“If you can’t even do the basics well then you are not going to do well at this level. If you’re not going to be accurate or clinical, then you will find yourself in trouble.

“Needless to say it was a massive disappointment and just not good enough. It was an opportunity for guys to show they can play at this level, but now we will have to take a hard look from an individual perspective at players and management.

“It’s going to be hard work and it will be great if we can show the character to bounce back from this quickly,” Powell said.

Boucher will be okay as lucrative IPL gig beckons; but who could take over? 0

Posted on October 27, 2022 by Ken

Following the announcement that Mark Boucher will be stepping down as Proteas coach after the T20 World Cup next month, it has emerged that the record-breaking wicketkeeper is lining up a lucrative Indian Premier League gig as the next step in his coaching career.

Boucher’s success with the South African T20 team – they are currently ranked third in the format – has attracted the attention of IPL franchises, who will also remember the stint he served as an assistant with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2016.

It is believed though that Mumbai Indians are after his services to lead the Cape Town franchise in the new SA T20 competition early next year. This could provide Boucher with a stepping stone into becoming their coach for the IPL, which would be one of the best-paid jobs in cricket.

Mumbai finished 10th and last in this year’s IPL under Mahela Jayawardene, a massively disappointing performance considering they won the tournament five times between 2013 and 2020.

CSA could announce an interim coach to take over from Boucher in the coming summer, before making a permanent appointment.

So who does South African cricket have who could take over the Proteas’ reins?

Robin Peterson

The spin-bowling all-rounder is probably the perfect candidate to succeed Boucher. Peterson has considerable international experience, having represented South Africa in 15 Tests, 79 ODIs and 21 T20s between 2002 and 2014. He has also done a wonderful job as coach of the Warriors, considering their limited resources, and they were pipped to the four-day title by the Northerns Titans last season. They are currently fourth in the overall Division One standings, ahead of teams like Western Province, KZN Dolphins and the Free State Knights.

Peterson also favours an extremely positive brand of cricket, his ability to empower the players being perfectly suited to the direction in which the modern game is going.

Malibongwe Maketa

The current owner of the SA A coaching job, the 41-year-old is next in line in terms of the pipeline. Maketa was also the assistant coach of the Proteas under Ottis Gibson from 2017-2019, but the outbreak of the Covid pandemic has meant the SA A team has hardly played in recent times and his coaching aspirations have been set back. But his tactical acumen and player management are both excellent. He represented Border in his playing days and is a former head coach of the Warriors.

Wandile Gwavu

Gwavu has enjoyed great success coaching the Lions and has won five trophies since 2019 when he took over from CSA’s current director of cricket, Enoch Nkwe, as head coach. And that will also be in his favour because he is almost a protégé of Nkwe’s and believes in the same principles of good structures and empowering the players. They are certainly on the same wavelength.

Counting against Gwavu is that he is still very young in coaching terms – just 35 years old – and he has no international experience.

Mandla Mashimbyi

Mashimbyi took over as Titans coach in the middle of the 2019/20 season when Boucher took over the Proteas role, managing to rebuild a team that dominated the second decade of the 21st Century but was in need of new blood.

Leading Northerns to the four-day title last season, as well as runner-up finishes in both the white-ball tournaments, was an outstanding achievement with a new-look side.

But the 41-year-old would also be taking a step into the unknown at international level, having never been there before.

Bulls crave Leinster pedigree; it’s crucial they absorb the early blows 0

Posted on July 18, 2022 by Ken

There is no doubt the Bulls players and management crave the sort of pedigree and success in European rugby that Leinster enjoy, and coach Jake White is hoping upsetting the Irish giants in their United Rugby Championship semi-final in Dublin on Friday is the first step on that path.

Leinster have won the European Champions Cup four times, second only to Toulouse (5), and the Pro14 competition (the URC’s predecessor) eight times including the last four tournaments in a row. They also topped the final URC log by six points.

But while it’s obvious how much White respects Leinster, it’s also one of the great joys of sport that hot favourites are sometimes upset by the underdogs in knockout matches. It’s those games the fans live for, and the former World Cup winning coach is hoping Friday night is one of those days for the Bulls.

“Leinster are an incredible team, to put it in perspective, Sean Cronin, their reserve hooker, has played 206 games for them and Jonny Sexton has played 183. Together they have probably played more matches than our entire squad and they are both on the bench.

“We all want to become like Leinster in terms of our structures and we have massive respect for them. Who else has players like Cronin, Sexton, Cian Healy and Ciaran Frawley on the bench?

“Leinster used 60 players in this season’s URC, which is 16 more than us. Those learnings mean you will be so much better next year and after that. For us it’s about building a team over the next couple of years so we can be one of the strongest clubs in world rugby.

“But people follow sport because there’s always a chance, the players believe they can do it and I want them to give it a real crack. We’ve got confidence that on our day we can win,” White said.

For the upset to happen though, it’s going to be crucial for the Bulls to absorb the early blows Leinster, at their formidable RDS Arena, are going to rain down on them.

“We have to start well, Leinster score most of their points in the first 25 minutes,” White said. “It’s very difficult to play catch-up against them, especially at their home ground.

“La Rochelle stayed in the game well in the Champions Cup final a fortnight ago, but the last time we were here, we looked again and we were 15 points down.

“But it will be different this time because we won’t be overawed, we are more controlled now and we have more settled combinations.”

Having bished-and-bashed their way into the last four, there is no pressure on the Bulls, and whatever they get out of Friday night’s game will be a bonus.

“I think we have surpassed everything we were meant to do already,” White said after naming an unchanged starting XV on Thursday. “Now we see if we can live with the best standard of European clubs.”

Bulls: Canan Moodie, David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements -Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Robert Hunt, Janko Swanepoel, WJ Steenkamp; Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, Kurt-Lee Arendse.

SA A game another step in the Boks’ preparation, starting well the lesson carried through 0

Posted on August 03, 2021 by Ken

Wednesday night’s SA A game against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town is another step in the Springboks’ preparation for the Test series, according to backline coach Mzwandile Stick, and the important lesson they will want to carry from the Georgia Test two weekends ago is that they have to start well.

It took the Springboks a good half-hour before they got into the swing of their Test against Georgia, which was understandable since it was their first Test in 20 months. Georgia’s physical, combative approach troubled South Africa in the first quarter, but they know a slow start against the British and Irish Lions will lead to way more severe punishment.

“For us, this is an SA A game, but in terms of the Springboks it is about making sure we are better than we were against Georgia, that’s our main focus. For example, one of the things is that we did not start very well. It’s most important that we keep chasing that 80-minute performance. We certainly can’t afford to switch off against the Lions.

“Against them we have to make sure we are at our best from the start and for all 80 minutes. It’s difficult to find weaknesses in the Lions, there’s not much to speak about because they have the best in Europe in each position. So we have to be at our best in every department otherwise the Lions are a team that will punish you,” Stick said on Tuesday.

But with the country in a miserable state due to Covid and civil unrest, Stick admitted that the Springboks will once again have a higher purpose – trying to lift the mood of the people as they did when they held the World Cup aloft in 2019.

“We are living in a very sad time with what we see on social media and on the news on TV. One of the main things the Springboks aim to do is put smiles on peoples’ faces, we want to give them hope. I will never forget after we won the World Cup everyone was on the street – whatever colour: black, brown, white, yellow – and we all spoke one language.

“That’s the sort of hope we want to create, we want to make sure we unite the country. Hopefully all the bad stuff going on at the moment stops soon,” Stick 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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