Boks edge All Blacks to win Tri-Nations and other sporting news
Boks edge All Blacks to win Tri-Nations
The Springboks silenced their critics and detractors alike when they defeated the All Blacks 32-29 in Hamilton on Saturday to secure victory in the 2009 Tri-Nations and cement their reputation as one of the greatest Springbok teams of all time. The victory was a great achievement by the Boks who recorded their third successive win against the All Blacks for the first time in 60 years, with the bonus of adding the Tri-Nations to their 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph and series victory over the 2009 British Lions.
The Boks went into this match as distinct underdogs after their disappointing 21-6 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane the previous weekend, but only needed a single bonus point to secure the championship. However, they ended up taking it in style by standing up to the New Zealanders and matching them blow for blow with no quarter asked or given.
It was a desperately close encounter however, with the Boks probably feeling at times as though they were playing against 16 men with Welsh referee Nigel Owens making some dubious calls in favour of the home side. The Boks built up a commanding lead courtesy of tries by livewire scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez and pacy centre Jean de Villiers, the deadly accurate goal kicking of flyhalf Morné Steyn and the tremendously powerful boot of fullback Francois Steyn (pictured).
The All Blacks, to their credit, fought to the bitter end and nearly pulled off the win after a well-placed Dan Carter cross-kick had enabled flanker Richie McCaw to touchdown in the 79th minute to close the gap to just three points. However, it was not enough as the Boks held on for a well-deserved victory and Tri-Nations glory.
The match was also a personal triumph for Bok captain John Smit, who had been blamed by many detractors for being responsible for this team’s poor showing in the scrums in Brisbane the previous weekend. However, Smit produced a rock solid performance up front to prevent the All Blacks from dominating the scrums, and was also a lynchpin in defence as he cut the New Zealanders down to size with some thumping tackles – most notably a bone crunching take down of huge All Black lock Brad Thorn.
Fullback Steyn gave the Boks the edge with his rocket launcher boot, which saw the burly No 15 slot three valuable penalties from distances ranging from 55 to 60m, raising the question as to why he was relegated to the bench at the expense of utility back Ruan Pienaar in the first place. Steyn is a match winner and there is no one in world rugby who can match him for distance, either in touch finding or goal kicking. His long-range kicks have proved a thorn in the side of many a Bok opponent, and he is simply a must have for the South Africans – is anyone out there listening?
All Blacks: 29 – Tries: Sitiveni Sivivatu (55th min), Richie McCaw (79th min).
Conversions: Dan Carter (2).
Penalties: Carter (5).
Springboks: 32 – Tries: Fourie du Preez (18th min), Jean de Villiers (50th min).
Conversions: Morné Steyn (2).
Penalties: Morné Steyn (2), Francois Steyn (3).
Drop goals: Morné Steyn (1).
Sharks down Bulls to stay top of Currie Cup
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke must be a worried man as his team suffered their third consecutive Currie Cup defeat when they went down 29-23 to the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. The defeat left the Bulls languishing in fifth spot in the current standings and the men from Pretoria Accommodation will have to produce some great rugby over the next four weeks if they hope to secure a semi-final berth in what is proving to be a really tough competition for them.
Trailing 12-6 at the break, the Sharks produced a sterling second half performance to sink the Bulls with talented Argentinean flyhalf Juan Hernandez contributing 24 priceless points via a try, two conversions, four penalties and a drop goal. The Sharks’ other points came from a superb 50th minute try by flanker Jacques Botes (pictured), who sprinted 30m to score alongside the posts after charging down an attempted drop goal from Bulls flyhalf Burton Francis.
The home side replied with a try by tight-head prop Werner Kruger, four penalties by Francis and two more penalties from replacement flyhalf Francois Brummer, but it was not enough to prevent the Sharks from recording their second win of the season over their Pretoria rivals, who succumbed 19-13 to the Durbanites back in July.
The Sharks’ next outing is against the resurgent Cheetahs at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening while the Bulls face the bottom of the log Boland Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon in Wellington.
Cheetahs continue resurgence with win over WP
The Free State Cheetahs continued their recent rich run of form when they squeaked past a motivated Western Province outfit 33-31 in a thrilling Currie Cup encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Trailing 26-14 at the break the Cheetahs fought back strongly to pip Province at the post and record their sixth straight victory after losing their first four games of the season. It has been an amazing fight-back by the Cheetahs, which has seen them reach fourth place in the competition and position themselves for a semi-final berth after a dismal start to the season.
They demonstrated this fighting spirit on Saturday to shock Province, who must have thought they had the game in the bag at halftime. However, the Free Staters had other ideas as they launched a second half assault culminating in a last gasp penalty try, which secured the win for the home side. Despite their loss, Province remained in second position overall and in contention for a semi-final berth. The Capetonians do battle with the improving Leopards next up, but should win that match comfortably to cement their place in the standings.
Free State: 33 – Tries: Johan Wessels, Meyer Bosman, Lionel Mapoe (pictured), penalty try.
Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2). Penalties: Potgieter (3).
Province: 31 – Tries: Frikkie Welsh (2), Tonderai Chavhanga, JJ Engelbrecht, Juan de Jongh.
Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3).
In earlier games played on Friday, the Lions downed the Leopards 31-13 in Johannesburg while Griquas defeated bottom of the log Boland 31-23 in Wellington. Both winners will want to keep up their good form when they square off against one another on Friday afternoon in Kimberley, in what promises to be a really tough encounter.
Xerox Lions: 31 – Tries: Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Dusty Noble, Derick Minnie, Ruan Boshoff.
Conversions: Boshoff (3).
Leopards: 13 – Try: Basil de Doncker.
Conversion: Cecil Dumond. Penalties: Dumond (2).
Boland: 23 – Tries: Alwyn Bester, Wendal Wehr.
Conversions: Justin Peach (2). Penalties: Peach (3).
Griquas: 31 – Tries: Barry Geel, Wilmaure Louw, Naas Olivier, Rohan Kitshoff, Trompie Nontshinga.
Conversions: Olivier (3).
Pirates draw with Arrows to stay top of PSL
Orlando Pirates remained on top of the PSL standings when they held a lively Golden Arrows side to a goalless draw at the Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t a great performance by Pirates as they wasted some definite scoring opportunities, but it was by no means a bad performance either as the Buccaneers prevented their opponents from getting on the score sheet, courtesy of good work from their well marshalled defence and the safe hands of goalkeeper Moeneeb Jospehs (pictured).
The Pirates ’keeper pulled off a couple of excellent saves, the best of which was undoubtedly a sterling effort to thwart Nhlanhla Zothwane’s powerful 28th minute shot from 30 yards out. After soaking up a lot of pressure in the last 20 minutes of the first half, the Buccaneers looked the more purposeful team early in the second half, but could not break through the Abafana Bes’thende defence to break the deadlock. Arrows replied with some surging attacks on the Pirates goal for the rest of the half, but they could not find the back of their opponents net, although Philani Shange did come close in the 80th minute, his powerful shot drifting just wide of goal.
The final 10 minutes of the match belonged chiefly to Pirates, but they failed to come up with a method of breaking the well-organised Arrows defence, which continued to hold firm. In the end the Buccaneers had to settle for a draw, which enabled them to remain at the top of the table on 11 points, three clear of second placed Maritzburg United who had a good away win over Kaizer Chiefs.
Weekend results (left to right)
Golden Arrows 0 – Orlando Pirates 0
Jomo Cosmos 0 – Free State Stars 0
Kaizer Chiefs 0 – Maritzburg Utd 1
Black Aces 1 – Platinum Stars 1
Mamelodi Sundowns 1 – SuperSport United 1
Moroka Swallows 1 – Santos 0
Bloem Celtic 1 – AmaZulu 1
Ajax Cape Town 1 – Bidvest Wits 1
Platinum Stars 0 – Kaizer Chiefs 1
There are a host of PSL matches being played around the country today with the pick of the bunch likely to be the encounter between second placed Maritzburg United, and fifth placed Bloem Celtic at Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg this evening. Both teams are playing some quality football at the moment and the crowd should be in for a real treat.
Free State Stars vs Golden Arrows
Orlando Pirates vs Black Aces
Maritzburg Utd vs Bloem Celtic
SuperSport United vs Moroka Swallows
Santos vs Jomo Cosmos
AmaZulu vs Ajax Cape Town
Bidvest Wits vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Upsets abound in Emperors Palace KO feast
Saturday evenings ‘Night of the Gladiators’ tournament at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng produced plenty of action for fight fans with four out of the five contests on the bill ending inside the distance. Talented Herman Nkabiti (66.14 kg) from Botswana opened proceedings in convincing fashion when he crushed local fighter Johnny Koen (66.30 kg) in the first round. The powerful Nkabiti overwhelmed the bewildered Koen with a barrage of damaging blows to force a stoppage just 2 min, 37 secs into the round. Nkabiti raised his record to 2-0 (2KO’s) and looks a good prospect, while Koen fell to 2-3 (2KO’s) and will have to tighten up his defence considerably if he hopes to have a future in boxing.
Next up was a contest between Gauteng based cruiserweights Ronnie Lategan (85.22 kg) and Ruben Groenewald (pictured left) that could only be described as a bar room brawl with gloves. The two combatants tore into each other like a pair of frenzied wolves from the second the bell sounded, trading bombs with reckless abandon and setting the scene for an early knockout.
And an early finish it was as Groenewald (86.06 kg) climbed off the deck twice to land a crushing overhand right on Lategan’s temple that sent the tattooed brawler crashing to the canvas, prompting veteran referee Jaap van Niewienhuizen to call a halt to proceedings at 1:44 of the round. Groenewald raised his record to 23-7-3 (9KO’s) with the win while Lategan suffered his third straight knockout defeat to drop to 9-7 (3KO’s).
In a contest for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) All Africa lightweight title, Jason Bedeman (60.96 kg) handed highly touted Grant ‘Fireball’ Fourie (60.86 kg) his first professional defeat when he scored an impressive 10th round TKO victory over his Gauteng rival.
Boxing from behind an educated left jab, Fourie built up an early lead to frustrate the more aggressive Bedeman, who was missing widely. However, the fight started to turn after the fourth round as Bedeman’s punches began to find their mark, resulting in a swelling around Fourie’s left eye, which got steadily worse as the fight wore on.
In the end Bedeman’s non stop aggression and determination proved to be the difference between the two pugilists, as he wore down the game Fourie who was pulled out of the fight by his trainer Colin Nathan at 0:48 of round 10. It was an excellent win for the young Bedeman, who scored two knockdowns in the fight to remain unbeaten in 11 professional outings. A bitterly disappointed Fourie, who was the clear favourite going into this contest, dropped to 10-1-1 (7KO’s).
This stunning upset was quickly followed by another one as South Korean Ji Hoon Kim (58.97 kg) stopped Mdatsane fighter Zolani ‘Untouchable’ Marali (58.9 kg) at 0:28 of round 10 to win the IBO super featherweight title. It was a shocking loss for the 32-year-old Marali who came into this fight as the clear favourite and with a number six ranking by the prestigious World Boxing Council (WBC).
Marali was clearly out boxing Kim through most of the bout, only for his questionable conditioning to let him down in the later rounds as the rugged Korean pulled off the win in the 10th stanza after landing a thumping right cross to Marali’s jaw, which left the South Africa unable to continue. Kim raised his log to 19-5 (16 KO’s) with the win while Marali slipped to 20-3 (13 KO’s) and now faces an uncertain future as a top-level performer.
In the final contest of the evening, talented Gauteng fighter Thomas ‘Tommy Gunn’ Oosthuizen (76.36 kg) out boxed an over-matched Cleber Alves (75.82kg) en route to claiming the IBO youth super-middleweight title. The lanky Oosthuizen, who stands all of 1.93m, is freakishly tall for a super-middleweight and dwarfed his stocky Brazilian opponent who hardly managed to land a decent blow all night.
Scores of 100-88 on all three cards reflected the South African’s dominance as he dropped the outclassed Alves twice to record a unanimous points victory over 10 rounds. Oosthuizen improved his record to 8-0 (6 KO’s) with the win, but the time has come for the talented youngster to face better opposition if he hopes to secure a genuine world championship belt one day. Alves, who is also a professional kickboxer, dropped to 5-2 (4KO’s) with the loss.
Meanwhile, in Lenasia, Johannesburg on Friday night, knockout king Patrick ‘Hammer’ Malinga (61.02 kg) didn’t disappoint his fans when he dispatched Vusumzi Tyatyeka (60.44 kg) inside a round to easily retain his South African lightweight title. The 32-year-old Malinga raised his record to 26-6-2 (23 KO’s) while Tyatyeka suffered his first loss and fell to 5-1 (4 KO’s). The champion has now stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents and is clearly one of the country’s most exciting fighters.
In upcoming action in East London on Friday, Tshepo Lefele takes on Mawando Sibeko for the SA mini flyweight title and Xolise Sinyabi squares off against Tendani Munyai for the national junior featherweight championship.
Poppy pips Tanith to take Spar Ladies Challenge
Gauteng athlete Poppy Mlambo (pictured) ran a strong race to oust Durban runner Tanith Maxwell and take honours in the Spar Women’s 10km challenge, which was held in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday morning.
The diminutive Mlambo opened up an early lead on the much taller Kloof based runner and never looked back to clinch victory in 36 mins, 3 secs. “It was fine, even though my body was a bit stiff from the SA cross country championships in Pretoria Accommodation yesterday,” commented Mlambo on her run through the leafy streets of KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city.
The 33-year-old Maxwell, who was returning from the World Championships in Berlin where she competed in the marathon, finished in 36:24 and was clearly a tired lady at the end. “I didn’t enjoy this run. My legs were dead after Berlin and I was feeling very flat. I did trip and fall during the warm-up, which wasn’t great, but Poppy would have won anyway; she just had the spring in her step today,” explained a disappointed Maxwell.
It was a good win for Mlambo, who will now look forward to representing South Africa at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England next month. Maxwell’s Boxer club-mate, Janene Carey, finished a distant third in 38:15.
Meanwhile, several Australian media reports have stated that gender tests conducted on world 800m champion Caster Semenya have indicted that the South African athlete is intersexed, which could mean the end of her young career.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has refused to confirm or deny last week’s media reports concerning Semenya, saying it is reviewing its own test results and will issue a final decision in November on whether the 18-year-old will be allowed to compete in future international women’s events. The IAAF ordered sex tests on Semenya after concerns had been voiced about her muscular physique, running style and rapidly improving times.
Whatever the outcome concerning Semenya, it is hoped that the controversy surrounding her will be resolved by all parties concerned in a tactful and dignified manner, as the whole saga has the potential to cripple the young Limpopo athlete both emotionally and psychologically. It’s a sad situation that hopefully will have a happy ending, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Kingston takes Masters to end drought
James Kingston (pictured) ended a run of dismal form by defeating Denmark’s Anders Hansen in a sudden-death playoff for the Mercedes-Benz Masters title in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday. The South African and Dane both finished on 275 for 13-under-par, a stroke ahead of the trailing pack. A late bogey for a three-under 69 forced the playoff after Hansen had set the target with a fine 67. A par on the first playoff hole earned the South African the $457,000 (R3 381 800) first prize for only his second European Tour title in nine years.
The success added to Kingston’s victory in the 2008 South African Open, which came after four European Tour second places. Until that win Kingston, although achieving considerable success on the Sunshine Tour and in Asia, had battled to make his European Tour breakthrough. The 43-year-old late bloomer now moves into Europe’s top 60 players who will contend the upcoming $10 million (R74 million) Dubai World Championship finale. It just goes to show that you should never give up trying as success may just be around the corner.
India bring out the big guns
India aren’t taking any chances ahead of their Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie against South Africa at the Indoor Arena at Ellis Park over the weekend. The Indian Tennis Federation has named a full-strength squad consisting of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri with SP Misra as the non-playing captain and Nandan Bal as coach. They will be taking on the South African squad of Rik de Voest (pictured), Izak van der Merwe, Wesley Moodie, Jeff Coetzee and Raven Klaasen with John Laffnie de Jager being named as the non-playing captain. The first two singles matches will be played on Friday, the doubles on Saturday, and the reverse singles on Sunday. The City of Johannesburg’s community development division is sponsoring the tie.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Moodie’s good run at the U.S. Open was cut short last week when he and his double’s partner, Dick Norman, went down 6-3 5-7 6-4 to India’s Leander Paes and The Czech Republic’s Lukas Dlouhy in a men’s doubles quarterfinal – hopefully not a bad omen considering Paes’ involvement in this week’s crucial Davis Cup tie.