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Ken Borland

Fresh off career-best, Rossouw wants to net trophies for SA 0

Posted on September 09, 2022 by Ken

Fresh off his career-best T20 score for South Africa, Rilee Rossouw said he wants to net trophies for the Proteas and he will have an opportunity as early as Sunday to do that in the deciding game of the three-match series against England in Southampton.

Winning their first white-ball series in England since 1998 is the short-term goal of the South Africans, but this trio of matches had a more significant personal importance for Rossouw, who last played for the Proteas in 2016. It was very much a World Cup trial for the left-handed batsman and he has surely booked his ticket to Australia in two months time with his blazing 96 not out off 55 balls in the series-levelling 58-run victory in Cardiff on Thursday night.

“Representing your country is the proudest thing you can do and I just want to help the Proteas win trophies,” Rossouw said afterwards.

“The Proteas have had some great results over the last year-and-a-half, the team is building momentum to the World Cup and there have been good team and individual performances. The sky’s the limit.

“Unfortunately things did not go my way in the first game, I was probably a bit over-confident with the amount of runs I have scored in England this season. So I really wanted to do well today.

“I wanted three figures really badly, but credit to Chris Jordan for an exceptional last over with him bowling those yorkers so well. But for me to put up a performance like that was really special, it’s been a very emotional day,” Rossouw said.

After Sunday’s decider on a good batting wicket at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, South Africa have two games against Ireland and a series versus India left before the T20 World Cup. Coach Mark Boucher will be satisfied that he has spread the net wide and searched every nook and cranny for explosive, aggressive players, and it will be interesting to see if regulars like Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje and Dwaine Pretorius are still rested for the last match against England.

With opening batsman Reeza Hendricks scoring fluent back-to-back half-centuries and Rossouw coming good at No.3, the Proteas top-order has done well.

The hosts will be hoping their experienced opener Jason Roy will finally fire. The 32-year-old has scored just 67 runs off 85 balls in his last six innings and he really batted like a granny in his previous match in Southampton, scoring just four off 16 balls against India three weeks ago.

Sunday’s game is a day fixture starting at 3.30pm SA time.

Coetzee always wants to win trophies so Bulls have not completed their job 0

Posted on July 25, 2022 by Ken

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee always wants to win trophies, which is why even in his delight after beating Leinster for the first time at the weekend, he stressed that his team had still not completed their job.

Coetzee, who suffered playoff pain at the hands of Leinster during his five years with Ulster, made it clear that there was one remaining task for his team: To now beat the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town on Saturday.

“My emotions are running high, four or five times I have come up short against Leinster,” Coetzee said after their epic semi-final win in Dublin. “So it’s a proud moment and definitely a highlight of my career.

“But we want to lift the trophy in any competition we play in. So we still have one more job to do. Our job is not done yet, there is still one game to go and we will go 100% in the final.”

The loose forward star, undoubtedly one of the best players in the URC this season, also knows that prowess in the scrums and lineouts is always crucial in semi-finals and finals. Having blunted the might of Leinster, the Stormers pack will now present another formidable challenge.

“If you’re going to have a chance of winning in playoffs then your set-piece has to function,” Coetzee said. “Credit to our forwards coach Russell Winter and the other coaches because we had done our homework.

“Leinster are all international stars and we said we have to play at that level, we had to win physically. Mentally we were also switched on.

“Our lineout was exceptional and we managed to adapt at the scrums. The pack showed their composure and we were able to get in the right positions, which is what we’ll need again,” Coetzee said.

Like the best choirmaster, Bulls coach Jake White has his charges singing in unison with perfect timing and blending of talents, and they undoubtedly played their best game of the season in the semi-final against Leinster.

“It was all about the plan, executing that correctly, getting in their faces, making sure our kicking game was good and getting our chase-line going,” Coetzee said.

The Bulls will no doubt bring the same strategy to Cape Town, as Stormers coach John Dobson mints a new generation of heroes to play in the blue-and-white.

The Stormers’ decision-making under the pressure the Bulls will exert on them on the gain-line is going to be the key factor in the final.

Bulls winning trophies almost monthly, but Strauss as proud of club rugby 0

Posted on May 19, 2022 by Ken

The Blue Bulls Rugby Union seem to be winning trophies on an almost monthly basis these days and, although that was the focus of a tweet chuffed president Willem Strauss sent out last weekend, he says he is equally proud of the growth in club rugby that has occurred since he was first elected in 2018.

A major reason for the growth is that the Bulls have actually provided opportunities for club players to graduate into the professional system, and their professional players are also integrated within the club structures. A dozen have played Carlton League matches and the more senior figures are also allocated a club for which they are ambassadors.

The alignment of their professional and amateur structures has been complemented by the expansion of the Carlton League and the introduction of an U20 club competition. Some serious money has been allocated to club rugby.

It has proven that a healthy structure at amateur level will contribute to success at professional level, with the trophies for the Currie Cup, Super Rugby Unlocked, SA Rainbow Cup, SA U21s, U20s and U19, as well as the Varsity Cup, currently residing in Pretoria. Tuks face an anxious weekend as they look to hang on to the latter title when they take on Maties in the final at Coetzenburg on Monday.

“In order to make progress, you always need a very holistic approach and we have also made a point of looking after our clubs and schools,” Strauss told The Citizen in midweek.

“Our clubs showed in the Easter Rugby Festival last weekend that they are definitely the best in South Africa. I am as proud of the growth at club level as I am of the professional trophies.

“We have 23% more players at that level now compared to last year. And we are also making our clubs more community-based, they go and coach at the primary schools in their region.

“The growth of the game at club level is as important as at professional level and we want to continue that pipeline, giving us a broader base,” Strauss said.

When Strauss became president in 2018, the Bulls had not won a trophy since 2010 and their players were more like rentals than contracted employees as they left Loftus Versfeld in droves. There was also the scandal of then high performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg’s fraud and theft from the union.

“We had no trophies at all, not even a junior one, which was scary,” Strauss admitted. “It all started with a plan which everyone bought into. We had to separate professional and amateur rugby, but get the structures aligned.

“We had the right stakeholders in Johann Rupert and Patrice Motsepe and we made the right appointments in director of rugby Jake White and CEO Edgar Rathbone.

“We also had cash flow problems and I was very worried about being able to turn things around. The first three years were tough, but it was not just me who did it, I have a very good board and directors.

“Once we had laid the foundations then new deals started coming through. But all the teams have the same salary cap and spend about the same. The key was getting our structures right, having a high-performance programme and having a world-class CEO and coach,” Strauss said.

With those firm foundations in place, the Bulls can only attract more investment, especially if they manage to seal the deal in the United Rugby Championship and earn a place in the European Champions Cup.

Changing domestic structure not addressing the true problems in SA cricket – Pybus 0

Posted on May 06, 2020 by Ken

Richard Pybus has been one of the real legends of domestic coaching in South Africa, having won nine trophies with the Titans and Cape Cobras franchises, but he began his career guiding lowly Border into a position where they were competitive against the big guns of local cricket. So when the former Pakistan and West Indies coach says plans to change the domestic structure, increasing the top level to 12 provincial teams, are not addressing the true problems in South African cricket then his views should be considered seriously.

“It’s a terrible idea,” Pybus said of the plan to do away with the six franchises at the top table of domestic cricket. “They are trying to fix the wrong thing. The issue is the administration of the game and not franchise cricket. Why are Cricket South Africa in their current financial position? They should review that. Why pull apart a highly effective system, the same sort of model that has given Australia consistent success?

“The issue is not our model but getting our administration right. Our problems are not about the franchise game, that’s giving us what is needed, which is incredible competition, the best 66 players in the country going up against each other. The franchise system was directly responsible and supported our national team getting to number one. We want strength versus excellence, not to dilute that,” Pybus told The Citizen from his house in Hermanus.

The 55-year-old Pybus said the domestic system needed to reflect the differences between the high-performance needs of the Proteas pipeline and those of growing the game.

“Our cricket has lots of layers and it needs to be clearer whether those layers serve the recreational game or the Proteas, with a lot of layers not really serving either of them. A lot of our cricket should not be professional and any changes should be about strengthening that level. We have a brilliant, multi-cultural game and it also needs to be inclusive.

“The development programme does have some issues, there are not enough players coming from Black communities, but that has nothing to do with franchise cricket. There are geographical and historical reasons for those issues. Coaching is also a real problem and it will take a generation to transform that because we have pushed all our senior coaches out, that intellectual capital is gone,” Pybus said.

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