South Africans doing their bit for our provincial teams

Grant Elliott
Grant Elliott
A big thanks to South Africa for the leg up.

Whether it is Grant Elliott smashing a six to secure a place in the World Cup final, or Neil Wagner performing feats of extraordinary endurance in tests, we have become accustomed to our friends from the Republic helping lift the performance of the Black Caps.

But arguably it is at the next level down where the new New Zealanders are making the biggest impact.

Wagner might play his cricket elsewhere these days. But Otago still has plenty of South African flavour. Head coach Rob Walter and assistant Anton Roux hail from the Republic, while all-rounders Michael Rippon and Christi Viljoen have moved away from their native country to chase their cricket ambitions in Dunedin.

Rippon was outstanding during the one-day campaign and he combined with Viljoen in a New Zealand record eighth-wicket partnership (146) to help the Volts claw their way back into the final against Wellington at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday.

On the periphery of the team, Travis Muller is chipping away looking for an opportunity.

The 25-year-old seamer played a first-class game for Wellington last season but has shifted south in the hope of cracking the Volts.

Wellington might have let Muller escape but they have Devon Conway and Malcolm Nofal in their ranks.

Conway is awfully familiar with Volts' fans - he blazed an undefeated double century against Otago in October and will qualify for the Black Caps in 2020.

Nofal, meanwhile, played a starring role in the one-day final. His 73 was instrumental in his side's success.

Central Districts has enjoyed some assistance from foreign shores as well.

Willem Ludick (21) is the guy who got clobbered for 43 runs in one over but he is an all-rounder of rare promise, while Dean Foxcroft (20) impressed during the Ford Trophy. They are both former South African under-19 representatives with bright futures.

Stags coach Heinrich Malan was born in Pretoria and is climbing his way up the pecking order. He was selected to coach New Zealand A this season.

Canterbury has Chad Bowes, another former South Africa under-19 player who moved to New Zealand two years ago to pursue his career here.

Auckland is a real leader in the field. It used 21 players in the Ford Trophy this season and six of them were born in South Africa. Some of them grew up in New Zealand, though.

Wellington's Andrew Fletcher, Otago's Warren Barnes, and Central Districts' Brad Schmulian also fit into that category.

Northern Districts, the country's biggest association, used just one South African-born player in the recent Ford Trophy. A fellow by the name of Wagner, and he only played two games.


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