for quality writing

Ken Borland



Jake grateful his team didn’t just resort to terrible kicks straight down the field 0

Posted on November 01, 2022 by Ken

The Lions are a really tough side to break down at home, so Bulls coach Jake White was understanding of his team’s problems in managing their attacking ball, and grateful that they didn’t just resort to terrible kicks straight down the field from their own half in their United Rugby Championship opener at Ellis Park at the weekend.

The Bulls eventually won comfortably enough, 31-15, but that scoreline does not reflect how competitive the Lions were. The scores were level at 15-15 with half-an-hour to go, and the Bulls needed a trio of Chris Smith penalties to keep the home side at bay, before a late maul try by replacement hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels bumped up their score even further.

One could argue that the Bulls allowed the Lions back into the game through some ambitious game-management that saw them largely spurn kicking from the back. But White was pleased with the attacking intent shown by his new-look backline.

“I have no doubt the Lions targeted this game and we always knew it would be tough, it is always tough to win here,” White said after the match. “The Lions have their own style, they are a difficult side to break down and get rhythm on attack against.

“Our attack started well and the cohesion looked good enough, but as the game unfolded we left a few points out there. We conceded six penalties in the last eight minutes of the first half.

“In some cases we over-played, forced things, in our own half, but I don’t want them to just kick the ball down the field. I want us to feel comfortable keeping the ball.

“It was the first time this backline had played together and over time it will come right, the ability to transfer pressure into points, the understanding of the space at the back at times,” White said.

In any case, an away win when a team like Munster lost on the road and Leinster very nearly suffered an upset at lowly Zebre, will sooth any concerns White has.

“An away win is a massive bonus, you have to get a couple to do well in this competition. I enjoyed the way we showed composure.

“At 15-3 up you think you can let your hair down and play a bit, and then suddenly it’s 15-15 with 30 minutes to go. You don’t really want to bring your bench on when you’re up against it.

“But the bench came on, they were able to get cohesive, and they won that area this afternoon. You’re obviously not going to be that cohesive from Day One.

“But once we understand how to create pressure, wave-after-wave of it, then we can create that uncertainty in the opposition,” White said.

‘Our understanding is coming along nicely’ – Jansen van Vuren on the Bulls’ midfield combination 0

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Ken

“Our understanding is coming along nicely,” outside centre Marco Jansen van Vuren says of his midfield partnership with Cornal Hendricks, which has been one of the most unlikely success stories for the Bulls as they dominate local rugby.

It no doubt gives coach Jake White immense delight that he has moved a wing and a scrumhalf into midfield and made them a centre pairing that has proven to be one of the strengths of the Bulls on their way to winning the Currie Cup and now standing poised to reach the Rainbow Cup final.

The 24-year-old Jansen van Vuren had previously shuttled between the Lions, Valke and Bulls, battling to get decent game time as a scrumhalf. Coaches acknowledged that he was a talented footballer, but they just couldn’t find a regular slot for him. His Bulls appearances were initially on the wing, until White had the bright idea to shift him closer to the action when Springbok Sevens star Stedman Gans was injured.

Jansen van Vuren and Hendricks have certainly hit it off.

“Cornal has been really good at No.12 and as a centre pairing you have to understand each other. It was a challenge for me at first and then when Stedman was injured just before the Currie Cup semi-final I had to adapt as quickly as possible. The most important thing is understanding, knowing when and where to support each other. But it’s lekker to be next to Cornal, he’s a Springbok, one of the leaders.

“And he’s a good person – he even listens to me when I tell him he’s not doing the right thing! But it’s been quite a challenge for me to play in that channel, although now, playing a few games in a row for the first time, I feel like I’m finding my feet and getting that confidence there. I’m playing 80 minutes a game too so I’m settling in,” Jansen van Vuren said.

On Saturday in the decisive Rainbow Cup match against the Sharks in Durban, he will come up against Lukhanyo Am, one of the coolest cats wearing the No.13 jersey anywhere in the world.

“Lukhanyo is a great player, he won the World Cup, he’s one of the best in the world. It’s a lovely challenge, I’ve played against him a couple of times and he’s always up for it. But with the defensive system we have, we all trust each other and that makes it easier, especially when the wings and Cornal are doing very well.

“As a scrumhalf you are mostly just behind the defensive line and covering, you don’t spend much time in the frontline. But as an outside centre you have to make more decisions, is the ball going front door or back door? You need to make good decisions. But now I think it would be a big challenge for me to shift back to scrumhalf!” the 1.88m, 90kg Jansen van Vuren said.

Cricket Australia hardly a spokesman for successful player relationships 0

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Ken

 

As a spokesman for maintaining successful relationships with their players, Cricket Australia would hardly seem to be the first people one would ask for advice, but that is what the Cricket South Africa leadership have elected to do as they approach negotiations with their own players on their new memorandum of understanding.

The revenue-sharing model that has underpinned the memorandum of understanding the players have had with CSA for the last 12 years will come to the end of its four-year cycle in April and fresh negotiations with the players’ union, the South African Cricketers’ Association, are set to start within the next month.

Astonishingly, considering that Cricket Australia spent most of the year trying to ward off a strike by their own players that threatened the Ashes, acting CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe has confirmed that they will be seeking Cricket Australia’s advice in how to contract players.

Cricket Australia received a bloody nose when all their players stood together to stop the administrators from hogging all the new money coming in from the Big Bash, instead ensuring that every state cricketer, both male and female, enjoyed a share of the riches.

It seems only fair that the players should share in the revenue that is accrued mostly due to their talents, but that’s not how Moroe sees things judging by his ill-considered comments just after Christmas about CSA making the money and not the players, who are basically employees who must do what they are told.

For CSA to say they make the money is simply outrageous, considering the amount of money that has been wasted due to their own negligence in the T20 Global League false-start, for which cricket in this country will be paying for a long time.

An antagonistic approach to the players is also extremely shortsighted because there are so many opportunities abroad now for the players, options that will pay up to four times more than they can earn here in South Africa. Many of our top stars are only staying because they feel a responsibility towards the game and for the younger players coming through the system, an attitude that is engendered by the revenue-sharing model that makes them stakeholders in the overall welfare of the sport.

Cricket South Africa are heading for a collision course with their most valuable – and sought-after – assets if the approach so brazenly bellowed out by their leadership is carried into negotiations.

There is a certain old-fashioned naivety about their strident apporoach because they really cannot compete with overseas offers on an economic basis so they really need to keep their players happy.

Similarly, the implication that they will convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India to release their players for the T20 Global League because they will threaten to prevent South African players from participating in the IPL is outlandish. Preventing our best stars from maximising their earnings in the best-paid league in the world will simply chase them away permanently to foreign shores.

A mass exodus of top players would be a disastrous setback for the game, leading to a huge loss in earning from sponsors and broadcasters – the Proteas are currently still an attraction because of the world-class stars they possess – and would ultimately stymie any plans CSA have for the further development of the game.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20180106/282355450131976

Dala understands the physics of his action better now 0

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Ken

 

Titans fast bowler Junior Dala has ascribed his selection for the South Africa A side’s tour of England later this month to an improved understanding of the physics of his bowling action, which has led to greater control and consistency.

Dala was one of the best bowlers in the country in limited-overs cricket last season, being the joint-highest wicket-taker in the Momentum One-Day Cup with 16 scalps at an average of only 18.68 and an excellent economy rate of just 5.29. He was also outstanding in the CSA T20 Challenge with 11 wickets at 26.63 and he was one of the key performers as the Titans claimed both white-ball titles, where there is huge pressure on bowlers to be more skilful.

“In the last two years I have made a big step up. When I first went to the Titans, I did not really know my action, but Rob Walter and Mandla Mashimbyi really coached me on that, whereas other coaches before that were just happy that I could bowl fast. But I was being found out in franchise cricket, I always felt under pressure because I did not really know what I was doing from ball-to-ball. I would try and bowl a yorker and miss by eight metres!

“But I’ve realised that I can’t just get away with being quick, at times things went horribly wrong in four-day cricket and that has taught me the importance of consistency. I’m a lot more consistent now, Albie Morkel has shown a lot of trust in me and even used me in the powerplay with the new ball. I trust myself 90-95% of the time to hit my mark now,” the unorthodox Dala told The Citizen on Wednesday.

It is a measure of how quick a learner the 27-year-old Dala is that he changed from being mostly an inswing bowler to an away-swinger this last season, simply because he felt batsmen were beginning to read him too easily.

“I sacrificed a little pace but I’m still bowling 140 with more control, and I predominantly shaped the ball away because nobody thought I could do that. Now I’m working on doing all that at 145km/h.

“You have to accept that you’re going to be hit for fours and embrace that, but I have the freedom to express myself at the Titans and then it becomes a lot easier to execute, without that fear of failure.

“I haven’t played in England before so I’m excited for that and I hope it’s a good tour with lots of wickets. Guys are getting reward for their performances in the last six months, whereas before they had to wait two years sometimes. Mark Boucher told me things can happen very quickly at that level and I must just make the most of the opportunity,” Dala, who was born in Lusaka in 1989 as his parents were in exile, said.

 

 

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Every day offers the opportunity for doing a kind deed or speaking an encouraging word to someone who feels overwhelmed.

    Our exuberant joy about God’s goodness to us should cause us to throw ourselves enthusiastically into serving others.

    But be sensitive to the needs of others, enrich their lives through love and kindness. Giving yourself in love and service to others is the duty of all those who love Christ and serve him with sincere hearts.

    Don’t brood over lost opportunities, instead make a definite decision to do better today and tomorrow. Use every opportunity in his strength!

    You will find God’s purpose for your life as you serve others!



↑ Top