South African Sports News – 20 July
All Blacks give Boks another rugby lesson
New Zealand scored their second consecutive victory over South Africa in as many weeks with a convincing 31-17 truimph in their Vodacom Tri-Nations fixture in Wellington on Saturday. The All Blacks outscored the Boks by four tries to two and thoroughly deserved their win against a disjointed South African outfit.
To their credit the Boks did put up a better display than they did last weekend in Auckland when they were comprehensively outplayed in all facets of the game to go down 32-12. They were solid in the set-pieces this time out and though one got the impression the All Blacks still won the collisions, there wasn’t much in it.
The reason the Boks lost this game was their lack of speed about the field. New law changes have made rugby a much quicker sport and the South Africans are clearly struggling to adapt to the new format of the game after dominating the Tri-Nations a year ago. The ponderous South Africans were also not helped by the inconsistent refereeing of Alain Rolland.
The French official was correct in yellow carding lock Danie Rossouw (pictured left) for kicking out at a New Zealand player on the ground early in the match, but then a shoulder charge or tackle without the use of arms should also warrant a yellow card, and there was none issued for a blatant Rene Ranger infringement on Zane Kirchner towards the end of the first half.
Rossouw’s banishment to the sidelines ended any hope of their being any physical ascendancy for the Boks, and in the time he was off the field the All Blacks scored two tries to take a 10-0 advantage. After that the Boks were always playing catch up rugby, and although Rossouw did cross the tryline just before the interval to keep his team within striking distance, there was only really going to be one winner in this match.
New Zealand scored their opening try out on the left when Ma’a Nonu dotted down after six minutes to put his team 5-0 up. The men in black scored their second try minutes later when poor defending from the Boks paved the way for Mils Mulialina to get his name on the scoresheet.
Things could have been a lot worse for the Boks if All Black flyhalf Dan Carter had remembered to bring his kicking boots with him. The normally deadly accurate Carter struggled to come to terms with the strong wind he was kicking into and consequently sqandered 10 points in the first half. Carter’s imperfections were the main reason the Boks were able to go to the interval just 13-7 adrift.
The South Africans came out strongly in the second half, clearly intent on taking the fight to their opponents but the All Blacks quickly regained the initiative as Rene Ranger forced his way over the line on the left. Piri Weepu banged over a penalty in the 50th minute to make it 21-10 and when Israel Dagg added a fourth try for the hosts 10 minutes later, any chances of a Bok fightback were snuffed out.
To their credit though the Boks never gave up trying and enjoyed their best passage of play in two matches in the last quarter, but when Schalk Burger scored in the 75th minute to reduce the deficit to 14 points, it was merely a consolation effort that came too late to make a difference.
Although the Boks matched the All Blacks in terms of physicality in Saturday’s encounter there is ultimately little point in hitting a ruck hard when the ball has already been moved on from the contact point, which was so often the case in this match. The question of whether all the older players in the Bok team are equipped to play the new, faster game must now be raised because on the evidence of this match they may not be.
However, they will still have a chance to prove the doubters wrong when they take on the Wallabies at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday in their next Vodacom Tri-Nations encounter. Hopefully Ruan Pienaar will start at scrumhalf in that match for in Wellington there was a marked improvement in the pace at which the Boks played the game when he came on to replace Ricky Januarie.
The All Blacks will no doubt be thrilled with their win and with two bonus point try wins in as many starts, they are well on course for another Vodacom Tri-Nations title. Saturday’s game kicks off at 12pm and the South Africans will be desperate for a win after a disappointing start to their 2010 Tri-Nations campaign.
New Zealand 31 – Tries: Ma’a Nonu, Mils Muliaina, Rene Ranger, Israel Dagg. Conversion: Dan Carter. Penalties: Carter (2), Piri Weepu.
South Africa 17 – Tries: Danie Rossouw, Schalk Burger. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2). Penalty: Steyn.
Sharks power past Bulls
Two tries from left wing Lwazi Mvovo (pictured left) helped the Sharks to a well-deserved 34-28 victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their Absa Currie Cup encounter at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon. The home side outscored the visitors by five tries to three and moved to second on the log with seven points, one ahead of the Bulls who now drop down to third.
It was an excellent win for the Sharks who began their Currie Cup campaign with a disappointing 40-34 loss to GWK Griquas in Kimberley last weekend. The KwaZulu-Natalians were only able to show glimpses of their potential in that game, but it was a different story on Saturday as they produced some sparkling rugby to upset their more fancied opponents.
The scoreline flattered the Bulls who managed to dot down in the final minute of the game while flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter added a conversion to give his side a bonus point. The Sharks had the better of the exchanges throughout and could have won by a much bigger margin had they not been been forced over the touchline four times for what could have been tries.
However, it must be noted that the Bulls were missing no less than 12 Springboks who are on Tri-Nations duty and still managed to be competitive throughout the 90 minutes. The men in blue are always a danger to any side and the defeat is more likely to strengthen their resolve than to discourage them for the remainder of the season. But the day belonged to the Sharks who had much to rejoice over after their surprise loss last weekend.
JP Pietersen, who had been sidelined with injury for a couple of months, came through Saturday’s match unscathed and looked hungry for action while his winger teammate Mvovo demonstrated a mixture of superb pace and power which the Bulls had no answer for. The Sharks’ braintrust can also take heart from the excellent performances from Craig Burden, Jacques Botes and 19-year-old Patrick Lambie who plays with a maturity far beyond his fledgling years.
The Bulls started strongly against the Sharks with a great build-up and a deft pass in the midfield by Stefan Watermeyer sending Stefan Dippenaar through a gap and eventually led to the opening try by eighthman Gerrit-Jan van Velze. However, the Bulls were soon on the defensive as the Sharks began to put them under pressure with some penetrating moves.
Keegan Daniel looked to have scored but the TMO ruled he was out over the touchline when he dotted down and Lambie experienced the same fate minutes later. However, the Sharks eventually got their first score when Burden exploited space at the front of the line-out and jinked his way through the Bulls defence for a well-taken try.
A 30th minute penalty from Potgieter put the Bulls back in front, but that was the last time the Pretoria outfit would enjoy a lead. Burden should have scored a second try shortly afterwards, but an excellent tackle by Gerhard van den Heever saw his hip touch the touchline making it impossible for the TMO to award a try.
Lambie regained the lead for the Sharks when he slotted a penalty four minutes before the break, and the KwaZulu-Natalians were denied a try again when Mvovo kicked and chased, only for the bounce to elude him without a defender in sight. However, the powerful winger eventually got a try early in the second half when he bumped off Jaco van der Westhuizen on his way to the tryline.
Potgieter kept the Bulls within striking distance with another penalty before Burden again was denied by the TMO as he stepped out of bounds with the tryline beckoning. The Sharks then seized the iniative as Keegan Daniel shrugged off the attentions of Van Velze after a Lambie break to score. With the Sharks 24-11 ahead the game should have been over as a contest, but the Bulls kept fighting and were rewarded for their determination when burly Dean Greyling forced his way over the tryline, carrying three defenders on his back.
Potgieter added the conversion and slotted another penalty to close the gap to three points, but the Bulls’ comeback was thwarted when Mvovo held onto a pass after quick hands by fullback Stefan Terblanche to score his second try in the corner. The Bulls, now desperate for points, threw caution to the wind and were caught out on the counter attack as Daniel chipped and collected to seal the win for his team.
The visitors did manage to secure a late bonus point when Van den Heever dotted down in the right hand corner to score, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Sharks from scooping five points in a victory they thoroughly deserved courtesy of their enterprising play.
John Plumtree’s men will face the Pumas in their next Currie Cup outing at the Absa Stadium on Friday evening and should have far too much firepower for a side who are newcomers to the rigours of top flight domestic rugby. Kick-off is at 7pm.
Sharks 34 – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo (2), Keegan Daniel (2), Craig Burden. Conversions: Patrick Lambie (3). Penalty: Lambie.
Bulls 28 – Tries: Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Dean Greyling, Gerhard van den Heever. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2). Penalties: Potgieter (3).
Other results (from left to right)
Pumas 37 – Platinum Leopards 32
Cheetahs 33 – Griquas 26
Western Province 32 – Lions 0
Sharks vs Pumas – The Absa Stadium, Durban – 7pm.
Leopards vs Western Province – Olen Park, Potchefstroom – 7.10pm.
Griquas vs Lions – GWK Park, Kimberley – 3pm.
Blue Bulls vs Cheetahs – Loftus Versveld, Pretoria Accommodation – 5.05pm.
Currie Cup standings (after two rounds)
Pos Team Points
1. WP 8
2. Sharks 7
3. Bulls 6
4. Griquas 6
5. Lions 5
6. Free State 5
7. Pumas 5
8. Leopards 2
Oosthuizen rockets to fame with Open win
Rank outsider Louis Oosthuizen (pictured) stunned the golfing world over the weekend when he won the Open Championship at St Andrews in Scotland on Sunday, bagging golf’s biggest prize by an incredible seven strokes with a superb display of front-running. It was the biggest winning margin in the world’s oldest and most prestigious tournament since American Tiger Woods truimphed by eight strokes in 2000.
The 27-year-old South African started the final day on 15-under par, four strokes ahead of his nearest rival, England’s Paul Casey. Playing solid rather than spectacular golf, Oosthuizen was never really threatened as he carded a closing 71 for a 16-under total of 272. England’s Lee Westwood closed with a 70 to finish second while Rory McIlroy (68), Henrik Stenson (67) and Casey (75) all tied for third one stroke behind Westwood.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Oosthuizen. “It was difficult having such a big lead to keep calm and focused, but I kept calm all the way. I’m glad I had eight shots on 18! I think I cramped up a bit with the putter. It’s just amazing,” he added. Oosthuizen came into the tournament ranked 54th in the world and it was only his second top-level tournament victory in a career which began in 2002. The quietly spoken Mossel Bay resident became only the fourth South African to win the Open after Bobby Locke (1949, 1950, 1952, 1957), Gary Player (1954, 1968, 1974) and Ernie Els (2002).
It was the biggest upset win in an Open Championship since American Tony Lema truimphed on his debut at the Old Course in 1964. Oosthuizen produced rounds of 65, 67 and 69 to set up his winning position and only Casey with rounds of 69, 69 and 67 managed to keep in touch, although he fell away badly at the end with a disappointing 75. Casey paid tribute to Oosthuizen, who only found one of St Andrews’ many bunkers all week.
“That was an unbelievable performance,” said Casey. “He was very calm, played wonderful golf, and all credit to him. I’m disappointed, but the emphasis has to be on that performance, because that was fantastic,” he added.
Top 10 finishers
272 – Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 65 67 69 71
279 – Lee Westwood (Britain) 67 71 71 70
280 – Rory McIlroy (Britain) 63 80 69 68
Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 68 74 67 71
Paul Casey (Britain) 69 69 67 75
281 – Retief Goosen (RSA) 69 70 72 70
282 – Robert Rock (Britain) 68 78 67 69
Sean O’Hair (USA) 67 72 72 71
Nick Watney (USA) 67 73 71 71
Martin Kaymer (Germany) 69 71 68 74
SuperSport edge Rabat in Caf Cup
Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions SuperSport United recorded a narrow 2-1 win over Morocco’s FUS Rabat in their first-leg Caf Confederations Cup game at a freezing Atteridgeville on Saturday night. SuperSport appeared to be heading for an easy victory when defender Morgan Gould (pictured) opened the scoring after just eight minutes with a powerful header.
However, they missed numerous opportunities to increase their lead as they dominated the opening period, with first Anthony Laffor and then Brent Carelse failing to find the back of the net from close range. Seven minutes after half-time Rabat were on level terms when a powerful burst down the left flank from Ibrahim Ziadi ended with a sizzling shot slamming into the roof of the net.
Just when it seemed SuperSport would be facing the unenviable prospect of making the arduous away trip to Morocco in two weeks time for the second-leg while on equal terms, Rabat conceeded a penalty in the 73rd minute and Laffor made amends for his first-half miss by scoring the winning goal with a powerful spot kick.
With only a single goal lead and having conceded what could be an important away goal, SuperSport face the prospect of a taxing ordeal in order to qualify for the round robin stage of the tournament. Coach Gavin Hunt, however, pointed to the fact that he was fielding a somewhat depleted combination and he expects some considerable improvement in his side’s play as the new season gains momentum.
Jordy’s number one after J-Bay win
Jordy Smith (pictured) grabbed the lead in the 2010 ASP World Title Race rankings after advancing to the quarter-finals of the Billabong Pro J-Bay by defeating Australian rookie Owen Wright in Round Four at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Durbanite, ranked number two coming into the only ASP World Tour event to be staged in Africa, overtook nine-times World Champion Kelly Slater, who was earlier ousted from the event, to become the first South African to head the rankings which determine the annual ASP World Title since Shaun Tomson back in the 1980’s.
“That’s cool but there’s still a long way to go,” Smith cautioned when informed that he had moved to No 1. “Kelly (Slater) may have lost today but he won’t be out of the title race until the hooter sounds at Pipe at the end of the year. Still, it’s a great position for me to be in and I’ll look to consolidate with a solid result here at Jeffreys,” he added.
Meanwhile, South African wildcard Sean Holmes, who caused the upset of the event by eliminating Slater in Round Three, continued to spring surprises by defeating former three-times World Champion Andy Irons of Hawaii in Round Four. Holmes’ uncanny affinity with the Supertubes lineup helped him to slot into a deep tube ride that was good enough to enable him to join Smith in the last eight.
The quarter-final lineup pits Smith against Brazilian Adriano de Souza, Holmes against Australian Bede Durbidge, Taj Burrow of Australia against American Dane Reynolds and Damien Hobgood of the U.S. against the winner of the all rookie matchup between Australian Adam Melling and Hawaian Dusty Payne.
Sinyabi too good for Gwayana
Sizwe Sinyabi surprised many pundits when he outpointed defending champion Mfundo Gwayana at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in Port Elizabeth on Sunday to recapture the South African light flyweight title. The 12-round contest was the second time these two pugilists have squared off against one another after they fought to a draw at the Orient Theatre in East London in June last year.
In a rather uneventful contest, Sinyabi notched up his 20th victory against eight defeats and two draws with nine of his wins coming by way of knockout. In his first fight since the June 2009 draw, Sinyabi maintained pressure on Gwayana and knocked him down in the eleventh round to seal the win. The loss saw Gwayana slide to 11-4-1 (6 KO’s).
Meanwhile, South African junior lightweight champion Sipho ‘Tsunami’ Taliwe looks set to continue his winning ways when he defends his title against former champion Godfrey ‘The Punisher’ Nzimande at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Sunday.
The power punching Taliwe destroyed previously undefeated Warren Joubert in his last outing and will be looking to produce a similar performance against Nzimande. Taliwe is the proverbial ‘banger’, having knocked out 10 of his 13 professional opponents while suffering only two defeats – both by decision.
Nzimande (20-3-2; 12 KO’s), while possessing a decent punch of his own, is more of a boxer than a banger and Sunday’s clash should be an interesting contest between the brutal power of the champion and the slick boxing skills of the challenger. Another impressive win for Taliwe would undoubtedly sent the stage for more lucrative, international bouts, but he will be wise not to underestimate his more experienced opponent who has been punching for pay since 2001.
Caster keeps on the winning track
World 800m champion Caster Semenya’s return to competition has continued with another win – this time at the Savo Games in Finland. The 19-year-old South African powerhouse coasted to victory in her second race since being given the green light to continue competing as a woman.
Semenya (pictured) completed Sunday’s race in two minutes, 2.41 seconds – almost two seconds faster than at Thursday’s comeback race at the Lappeenranta Games. Semenya always looked in control against a relatively weak field but was still seven seconds slower than the national record she set when winning gold at the world championships in Berlin last August. The teenager now heads home to South Africa to continue training and is expected to return to race in Europe next month.