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Ken Borland



Excellent build-up for SA20 league kicking off next week 0

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Ken

The excellent build-up for the new SA20 tournament continued this week with the news that Sky Sports in the UK have signed a five-year deal to also show the tournament, expanding the global reach of the new T20 league and also bringing in some much-needed hard currency.

With the tournament kicking off in Cape Town next Tuesday evening in Cape Town, everything would seem to be in place for the SA20 to explode into the consciousness of cricket fans.

While co-owners SuperSport will obviously have the African broadcast rights for the league, the all-important Indian market was sown up by the 10-year deal signed with Viacom 18, the dynamic new entertainment network that is growing rapidly on the subcontinent. They are believed to be paying at least $240 000 per game, so this year’s 33 matches will bring in nearly $8 million (R135 million).

Contracts are also being finalised to ensure the tournament is broadcast in other major cricket markets like Australia/New Zealand and the Caribbean.

There is a title sponsor in BetWay, who have signed a “multi-year” deal, and CSA are intimating that the league will make a profit in its first year, having earlier predicted a five-year wait before the SA20 would be in the black.

One does still wonder, however, about a few finer details.

Is a run of five successive fixtures between February 3-7 on the Highveld – with matches at both the Wanderers and SuperSport Park on February 4 – going to enjoy good crowds? The semi-finals follow from February 8 and there is a good chance either the Joburg Super Kings or Pretoria Capitals will be involved in those too.

And is the tournament loadshedding-proof and, if so, are those emergency back-up measures not going to significantly decrease profits?

But here’s hoping for some magnificent action to take our minds off all the troubles currently surrounding South African cricket, never mind the country as a whole.

Having looked into my crystal ball, I would, if forced to, put money on a MI Cape Town versus Paarl Royals final.

MI Cape Town, in particular, have a marvellous attack – Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada and Rashid Khan could bowl 16 of their 20 overs, which leaves opposition batsmen with plenty of thinking to do when it comes to taking them on.

Sharks swop URC action for Champions Cup, with Powell relieved to get a result 0

Posted on April 06, 2023 by Ken

Director of rugby Neil Powell is not usually a results-focused coach, but as the Sharks swop URC action this week for the Champions Cup, he admitted some relief that his embattled team had beaten the Ospreys, however ugly the performance.

The Sharks beat a depleted Ospreys side 25-10 last weekend, but that winning margin was bumped up by them scoring 14 points in the last three minutes. For those expecting a magic wand to suddenly put everything right after the departure of former coach Sean Everitt, it was a reality check.

“For me, it’s never just about the result, it’s about the effort, how the players execute their individual roles and responsibilities. But maybe this one was just about the result,” Powell said after the error-filled win.

“It was a much-needed result and it gives us a bit of a breather. It was not an easy week and the game was also not easy, plus it was such a short week playing on Sunday and then Friday.

“We can definitely step up on our execution, we will look at the things that can be a lot better. It was a stop-start game, we made too many mistakes.

“But we had good dominance, especially in the scrums and in the collisions, where our defence was really good. It’s a pity to be so on top and not get more rewards,” Powell said.

The former Springbok Sevens coach put the high error-rate down to a lack of confidence, but he is hopeful that the way the Sharks dug their way out of a pit of trouble will banish some of the self-doubt ahead of their debut Champions Cup clash with top English side Harlequins at Kings Park on Saturday.

“The basic errors are maybe because the players are looking for confidence, confidence has a lot to do with it. Hopefully we can build on the bit of confidence and momentum we got in the last 10 minutes against Ospreys,” Powell said.

“You score one or two tries and you start to get that confidence back, and I think then you’ll be a lot more accurate. There were definitely encouraging things we can build on.

“We made a lot of changes to the team so we did not have the synergy we would have liked, but hopefully we can keep changes to a minimum now for the match against Harlequins.

“The Champions Cup is a difficult competition, almost between the level of the URC and Test rugby, and Quins are a good side playing a good brand of rugby. We definitely need to step up,” Powell said.

Sharks following the manual on how to retreat into a laager 0

Posted on March 09, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks are following the manual on how to retreat into a laager to the letter this week as they head into their United Rugby Championship match against the Ospreys in Durban on Friday night refusing to discuss the firing of their head coach Sean Everitt or the fact that Siya Kolisi is injured.

Whether this is all an air of denial or one of defiance will only be seen on Friday night against an Ospreys side who gave the high-flying Bulls a tough second half at Loftus Versfeld last weekend.

Everitt had been at the Sharks for more than a decade and was a popular figure; since new director of rugby Neil Powell has arrived at Kings Park they have put in a flat performance against the Bulls and a horror show against Cardiff. But Powell has now officially taken over the coaching of the team.

The former Springbok Sevens supremo said on Thursday that he is satisfied that the team is behind him.

“Obviously it has not been an easy week, but it was important to get the whole squad of fifty together. We are all part of it and we’ve got to make it better. Our goals are still the same.

“It was important to discuss that and we’ve got buy-in already from the players. A lot has been said, but we can speak as much as we like, it’s time now for action.

“That’s where Siya and Eben Etzebeth have made a massive contribution for us this week as well, they were at every session and meeting, refocusing us on the job at hand.

“We will keep chipping away and moving in the right direction until we get success in terms of the focus and mindset,” Powell said, before revealing that Kolisi was unavailable for selection due to injury, while Etzaebeth is being rested.

When asked for more details of Kolisi’s injury, Powell said he was unable to say more.

But fellow Springboks Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi will bring their strength to the front row, while Vincent Tshituka has moved from the back row to lock, where Powell will hope he can ford the gainline with success.

Both regular eighthmen, Phepsi Buthelezi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, are in the loose trio, along with the combative Jeandre Labuschagne.

Perhaps the most significant selection though is that of Curwin Bosch, back at flyhalf and being relied upon to lead the team into the right areas on the field.

“It’s important to try and maximize our pack and Vincent can make a massive contribution at No.4,” Powell explained. “And it does not make sense playing either Sikhumbuzo or Phepsi, you want your best players on the field.

“We’re looking to Curwin to manage the game from a kicking perspective, make sure we’re playing in the opposition half by getting on top of the kicking game. We want our flyhalf to manage the game better in terms of kicking and communication,” Powell said.

SharksBoeta Chamberlain, Marnus Potgieter, Francois Venter, Ben Tapuai, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi (c), Jeandre Labuschagne, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Gerbrandt Grobler, Vincent Tshituka, Carlu Sadie, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Bench: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Khutha Mchunu, Hyron Andrews, James Venter, Grant Williams, Nevaldo Fleurs, Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

International team have a mountain to climb after defections for countless millions of LIV rands 0

Posted on November 02, 2022 by Ken

The golfing world’s attention this week will be focused on the Presidents Cup, which gets underway at Quail Hollow in North Carolina on Thursday, with the International team, under the captaincy of South African Trevor Immelman, left with a mountain to climb against the United States.

America have won the last eight editions of the Presidents Cup and if that weight of history were not enough, the International team has been hard-hit by defections to LIV Golf.

While American players such as Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have also joined the breakaway league, the United States still boast five players in the top-10 of the world golf rankings in their team.

The riches on offer in LIV Golf translate into an awfully large amount of Rand, so Immelman is right when he says the players he does have will all be very hungry to win, given that they have shown that their loyalties do not necessarily lie with money.

The Americans have won 11 of the 13 Presidents Cup tournaments, so the event desperately needs to avoid becoming an insipid one-horse race. There were signs of revival in the Presidents Cup for the International team in 2019 at Royal Melbourne under another South African captain, Ernie Els, and Immelman has made it clear he intends to build on what his compatriot put in place.

United States captain Davis Love will have to deal with his team being massive favourites, and can call on seven members of the squad that hammered Europe 19-9 in the last Ryder Cup.

It is, however, the youngest ever U.S. team to play in the Presidents Cup.

Immelman will field a record five Asian players in his line-up, with Christiaan Bezuidenhout the only South African as LIV golfers Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace are not eligible.

Australia’s Adam Scott and former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama are the two senior International players who have considerable Presidents Cup experience.

But there are eight rookies in all in the Presidents Cup line-up.

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  • Thought of the Day

    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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