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Ken Borland



If there was hair on Nienaber’s head, he would be pulling it out over Goosen’s injury 0

Posted on June 30, 2022 by Ken

The timing of the serious knee injury suffered by Bulls flyhalf Johan Goosen was so frustrating that it would be little wonder if Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was pulling the hair out of the top of his head. If he had any there of course.

The 29-year-old Goosen has played 13 Tests for the Springboks, the last in 2016, and he said on Wednesday that he is hopeful of getting back there. Since being encouraged back into rugby at the Bulls, his exceptional displays last year saw him set to return to the international fold, before he tore his ACL ligament last October. But he is clearly in Nienaber’s long-term 2023 World Cup plans.

“The rehab is going well but I still have two-to-three months to go before I can get on the pitch and train again,” Goosen, who was walking unaided, said at a Castle Lager media launch in Tembisa on Wednesday.

“It’s been tough mentally and I had to have a second surgery about two months ago because something was loose in the knee, so that was the 11th operation of my career, so I’m used to it.

“Coming back to South Africa, I played well enough that I really thought I had a chance at the Springboks, so I was sad to get injured. But Jacques Nienaber did phone me and ask if I still wanted to play for the Boks.

“I’ve been at the two alignment camps this year and from being a little boy, I just wanted to play in a World Cup. In 2015, Heyneke Meyer said I was going and then didn’t pick me, and in 2019 I had stuff going on off the field,” Goosen said, referring to his controversial retirement from the game.

It really does seem like the experienced flyhalf’s deepest desire is indeed to return to the Springbok squad for next year’s World Cup and, if all goes well and he is back playing in September, then there is plenty of time to earn his recall. There may not be any Currie Cup for him to use to ease back into action though, and it will be straight back into Europe for the former France-based player.

“My new goal is to work really hard and make the World Cup squad. I’m targeting a return in the United Rugby Championship, and hopefully I will just miss the first two or three matches.

“It’s going to be tough in Europe next season because there’s the Champions Cup as well. I played in the Challenge Cup final and even that is a level up from the URC,” Goosen said.

The greedy & selfish of cricket are starting to box each other 0

Posted on October 26, 2021 by Ken

There is no honour amongst thieves, so the saying goes, and it seems there is also no end to the greed and selfishness that characterises international cricket. Little wonder then that even The Big Three are starting to box each other, never mind their deplorable treatment of the rest of the cricketing world.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated quarantine protocols have given teams an easy excuse not to fulfill their commitments. England’s disgraceful exit from their tour of South Africa last summer was the first sign that The Big Three would not be beholden to anyone, not even the International Cricket Council, when it came to their board or players doing whatever they wanted.

Australia also refused to come to South Africa when the science actually showed their reasons were totally flawed, and India recently did the dirty on England by pulling out of the last Test of their series on the morning of the game due to a couple of positive Covid tests in their tour party.

Never mind that the Indians were probably to blame because they had been out of the bubble attending coach Ravi Shastri’s book launch and what not.

Poor old Pakistan have the added disadvantage of always having the ‘security risk’ tag hanging over their heads and both New Zealand and England have unilaterally pulled out of tours there. They say it’s because of security threats but they have never informed their hosts exactly what those threats were, and it is telling that Britain’s own High Commission in Islamabad supported their tour going ahead.

And let’s not forget that Pakistan toured England last year, staying in crappy hotel bubbles, at the height of Covid when their hosts were desperate for cricket.

Now even the Ashes are at risk because the English players don’t want strict quarantine rules to apply to them and their families in Australia.

It has all just led to a great diminishing of the image of international cricket. The pre-eminence of country-versus-country contests no longer seems to be in place and the ICC, the very custodians of international cricket, don’t seem overly invested in protecting their turf.

Of course, the Indian Premier League towers over all other cricket like the Drakensberg peaks tower over the surrounding midlands. No player ever pulls out of that tournament and every single recent change to the international schedule has benefited the IPL. If the Indian players had played that last Test against England, some of them would have missed the first game of the resumed tournament in the UAE due to quarantine arrangements. And many of the same players who were terrified of Covid in South Africa quite happily went to India when the pandemic was killing thousands of people every day.

The ICC should be like an Alsatian in being the guardians of international cricket, instead they are a lap dog for The Big Three. The consequences of this will be T20 tournaments continuing to ransack the calendar space and the players that should be available to international competition.

If all this double-crossing and use-and-abuse treatment of the poorer nations is allowed to continue, I can see franchise cricket overwhelming the international game. The ICC will limp along as a toothless body holding world cups every few years.

Lovers of T20 will be delighted as that format will dominate the calendar even more, but traditional cricket fans, especially lovers of the Test game, will be left angry and disinterested.

At the moment, those with the power in cricket all seem to just want to chow down at the banquet table without any consideration for those who produce or serve the feast. It is this greed and selfishness that is destroying the game.

Unless there is a sea-change in mindset and cricket gets some non-selfserving leadership in place, it will be a case of bad luck to the poorer nations as the rich get richer and the rest simply fade away.

Kosi Bay 0

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Ken

 

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

 

The KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife camping site at Kosi Bay is situated in thick coastal forest close to the edge of the kuNhlange lake, the biggest of the four that make up the estuarine wonder at the remote north-eastern border of Natal.

Each camp site is secluded away amongst the mangroves, thereby providing ideal habitat – one of their favourite trees and close to water – for the special gem that is Blackthroated Wattle-Eye.

These busy little birds, that are somewhere between a flycatcher and a batis, are uncommon and easily overlooked, but they’re easier to spot when they pass through the trees in your campsite, as they did at Kosi Bay!

Other birds seen without having to venture far from the comfort of my camping chair were Pygmy Kingfisher (a pair had taken up residence on the road to the ablutions and were seen every day), Natal Robin, which was resident at my site and put on a superb performance of all its many calls, imitating tchagras, cuckoos, nightjars and even African Fish Eagle; Olive Sunbird, Squaretailed Drongo, Terrestrial Bulbul, whose presence I was alerted to by a loud tapping noise as it thumped a caterpillar on a branch; Goldentailed Woodpecker and Blackbellied Starling. I was also surprised to see African Hoopoe in such thick forest.

Kosi Bay is also home to an isolated population of the Red Bush Squirrel and there was an endearing family at my campsite, full of cuteness and a penchant for nibbling at my soap! Samango Monkeys kept to the treetops and were far more pleasant to live next to than their Vervet cousins.

Red Bush Squirrel

Red Bush Squirrel

One of the main attractions at Kosi Bay is the marvellous snorkelling that can be done at the Sanctuary Reef inside the mouth of the estuary. Unfortunately the tide was going out when I dived, meaning there was a strong current and with snorkellers encouraged not to put their feet down on the bottom due to the presence of Stonefish, it was hard work and not able to be maintained for very long.

Kosi Bay estuary - the mouth

Kosi Bay estuary – the mouth

Fortunately there is always birding to be done and there were several Common Tern on the bank of the estuary and the impressive Whimbrel was spotted coming over the sand dune as one approaches Sanctuary Reef. Even a Caspian Tern came flying over the aquarium-like waters.

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove were seen on the way down to the parking area.

Back at camp, a gentle stroll along the Samango Trail produced a pair of elegant Tambourine Dove and a pair of Brown Robin were also seen on a particularly thick, jungle-like portion of the trail, on the actual path. They are obviously not welcome in camp, presumably out-competed by the Natal Robin. Just to ram home the point, a Natal Robin pooed on the picture of a Brown Robin in the bird book I had left open in camp!

The trail also provides lovely elevated viewsites above the lake, with Purplecrested Lourie flying amongst the tall trees and Whitebreasted Cormorant flying, landing, diving and catching fish.

KuNhlange Lake itself boasted plenty of Pied Kingfisher, their lives made easier by the crystal-clear water, Yellow Weavers and African Pied Wagtail. A pair of Trumpeter Hornbill were seen in the morning flying over the 24.6km long lake and then again back across the water in the late afternoon, leading me to wonder if they were the same pair returning to the same perch?

The attractions at Kosi Bay are spread out over a large area, linked by confusing sandy tracks, and 4×4 and a local guide are essential.

The drive out to Black Rock, a promontory jutting out to sea, provided a pair of Whitefronted Plover on the landmark itself, while Gymnogene and Rufousnaped Lark were seen on the way there, along with Fantailed Widowbirds fluttering slowly about, in the grasslands that are around the Kosi Bay area.

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

 

map_kzn_zululand

Kosi Bay is at the north-eastern border of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

Sightings List

Pygmy Kingfisher

Natal Robin

Olive Sunbird

Red Bush Squirrel

Blackthroated Wattle-Eye

African Hoopoe

Pied Kingfisher

Trumpeter Hornbill

Yellow Weaver

Squaretailed Drongo

Tambourine Dove

Purplecrested Lourie

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Terrestrial Bulbul

Southern Boubou

Goldentailed Woodpecker

Little Bee-Eater

Blackeyed Bulbul

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Common Tern

Fiscal Shrike

House Sparrow

Spectacled Weaver

Pied Crow

African Pied Wagtail

Blackbellied Starling

Samango Monkey

Familiar Chat

Lesser Striped Swallow

Common Myna

Blackheaded Heron

Gymnogene

Hadeda Ibis

Rufousnaped Lark

Whitefronted Plover

Vervet Monkey

European Swallow

Redeyed Dove

Eastern Coastal Skink

Brown Robin

Whimbrel

Caspian Tern

Yellowbilled Kite

Fantailed Widowbird

 

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