South African Sports News – 24 August
Late try burst sinks courageous Boks
Late tries from skipper Richie McCaw and wing Israel Dagg condemned South Africa to a heartbreaking 29-22 defeat against New Zealand at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday night. The All Blacks’ win secured them the 2010 Vodacom Tri-Nations title and sent the Springboks, who have not been able to win a match in the competition thus far, into the throes of depression.
With New Zealand trailing 22-17 with just two and a half minutes remaining it seemed as though the Boks were heading for victory, but sadly their defence just couldn’t hold out against a late onslought from the men in black. After a series of phases the All Blacks spun the ball down the line to an unmarked McCaw, and the rugged flanker was able to shrug off the attentions of Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers to squeeze in at the corner flag.
Flyhalf Dan Carter, who did not have a great outing with the boot, pushed the conversion wide and with just a minute remaining it looked as though the Boks were going to get a draw. However, instead of playing it safe and being content with a draw, the All Blacks probed for an opening and they found one when powerful centre Ma’a Nonu brushed off a tackle from exhausted Bok skipper John Smit (pictured) and raced towards the tryline.
With only Bok fullback Gio Aplon in front of him and Dagg on his outside, Nonu flung a pass to the jubilant winger who ran in the winning try. Dagg’s five pointer stunned the Bok supporters and a deathly silence fell upon the FNB Stadium. Carter slotted the conversion to complete the scoring while a gutted Smit, playing in his 100th Test match, could only look on and wonder where it all went wrong.
Although the 32-year-old Bok captain was devastated at missing that tackle on Nonu, truth be told it should not have necessarily led to the South Africans conceding a try. JP Pietersen, who was marking Dagg, had earlier showed signs of distress, and had clearly picked up an injury of some sort, but instead of being replaced, the tall winger was allowed to remain on the field.
The managerial blunder meant that Dagg was able to run away from the struggling Pietersen and collect the final pass from Nonu unchallenged. Had the Bok brains trust replaced Pietersen with the likes of Wynand Olivier, it is likely the try would have been prevented, denying the All Blacks victory and saving the Boks from an agonising defeat.
However, the New Zealanders must be given credit for their win against a much-improved Bok team that pressured them into a glut of mistakes. To come back like they did in front of 90000 Bok fans was a fantastic achievement, and it underlined that this All Black side has championship qualities.
The Boks played this game with a tremendous amount of pride and passion and were a different side to the shoddy and disorganised outfit that were thrased in New Zealand and Australia in the away leg of the competition. Yet this pride and passion was not enough to secure the Boks victory against a New Zealand team that has now won 14 Test matches on the trot.
To beat the All Blacks you have to play for the full 80 minutes and with many of the Bok players already gasping for air 25 minutes from the hooter, it was only sheer willpower that was keeping Smit’s men on their feet towards the end. In the end that willpower proved inadequate as the Boks, who led 16-14 at the break, faded badly in the closing minutes allowing the New Zealanders to surge to victory.
“I felt we had done enough to win, but my missed tackle and some silly mistakes, which gave them a couple of three pointers, cost us the match,” said a crestfallen Smit. The look of anguish on the Boks skipper’s face resembled that of a stockbroker who had just lost everything in a Wall Street crash and one could not help feeling sorry for the likeable hooker who played his heart out.
Bok coach Peter de Villiers (pictured) did not put the blame for the defeat on his captain. “Two bad kicks and we were under pressure for the last couple of minutes. We also made a few bad decisions at key moments which cost us the game,” said De Villiers when asked to comment on where it went wrong for his side.
The Boks’ next Tri-Nations outing is against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday and the men in green and gold will be bolstered by the return of fullback Frans Steyn and centre Jaque Fourie. Steyn has been released to play for the Boks by his French club side Racing Metro and arrived in the country over the weekend.
Fourie returns after serving a four week ban for a dangerous tackle in the Boks’ 30-13 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane last month. The 1.93m,
105 kg centre is always a force to be reckoned with in the midfield and is likely to replace Juan de Jongh at outside centre on Saturday. The match kicks off at 5pm.
New Zealand 29 – Tries: Tony Woodcock, Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg. Conversion: Dan Carter. Penalties: Carter (4).
South Africa 22 – Try: Schalk Burger. Conversion: Morne Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (5).
Pos Team Pts
1. New Zealand 23
2. Australia 4
3. South Africa 1
Sharks down WP to take Currie Cup lead
Western Province suffered the first defeat of their 2010 Absa Currie Cup campaign when they went down 27-16 to the Sharks at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening. The win saw the KwaZulu-Natal outfit move to the top of the Currie Cup standings with 30 points from seven outings with WP in second spot on 27 – also from seven starts.
The home side ran in two tries to one in an excellent all-round display that bodes well for their championship aspirations. The hosts held a commanding 18-point lead in the second half before WP replacement flank Nick Koster crashed over in the closing seconds to provide a measure of respectability to the scoreline.
Sharks eighthman Ryan Kankowski (pictured) had an excellent match, scoring a try and being involved in another from flank Keegan Daniel. Hooker Bismarck Du Plessis, who was named man of the match, and prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira also featured prominently in the homeside’s win. Flyhalf Pat Lambie continues to improve with every game and the 19-year-old’s contribution of 14 points via four penalties and a conversion was invaluable.
The first 20 minutes belonged to the hosts as they dominated territory and possession but had only a Lambie penalty to show for their efforts. The Sharks were being frustrated by a WP defence that had only leaked six tries in six matches this season, and slowly but surely the visitors began to fight their way back into the match.
Flyhalf Willem de Waal was his usual dependable self with the boot as he slotted two penalties to give WP a 6-3 lead with only four minutes of the half remaining. However, a minute later the KwaZulu-Natalians engineered a superb try as Kankowski flung an inside pass to Daniel who scythed through the defence before feeding right wing Odwa Ndungane who strolled over the tryline untouched.
Lambie missed the conversion, but the home side had still taken a narrow 8-6 lead. A third penalty from De Waal on the hooter put WP back in front and set the stage for an intriguing second half.
The Sharks came out swinging after the interval and were rewarded for their positive approach when Kankowski held onto a pass from scrumhalf Charl McLeod five metres from WP’s tryline. The elusive No 8 then sidestepped his way through four defenders to score an excellent try that was converted by Lambie.
The prodigiously talented Sharks No 10 then nailed three successive penalties before veteran centre Stefan Terblanche (pictured) secured victory for the hosts with a 35m drop goal on 76 minutes. Koster’s late try was small consolation for WP who left Durban without scoring a single log point.
The Sharks host fourth placed Griquas on Friday and will have to face the diamond miners without the assistance of attacking fullback Louis Ludik who suffered a concussion in Saturday’s match. Griquas are the only side to have beaten the Sharks this season, surprising the KwaZulu-Natalians 40-34 in Kimberley early last month.
Since then the Sharks have reeled off six straight wins, beating the likes of the Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions and WP and although they will start as firm favourites, they will be wise not to underestimate their opponents who ran the Bulls very close in Pretoria on Friday. Kick-off at the Absa Stadium is at 7.10pm.
Sharks 27 – Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Ryan Kankowski. Conversion: Patrick Lambie. Penalties: Lambie (4). Drop goal: Stefan Terblanche.
WP 16 – Try: Nick Koster. Conversion: Lionel Cronje. Penalties: Willem de Waal (3).
Other results (from left to right)
Bulls 39 – Griquas 38
Cheetahs 57 – Leopards 0
Lions 33 – Pumas 30
Friday, August 27
Lions vs Leopards – Coca-Cola Park Stadium, Johannesburg – 7pm
Pumas vs Bulls – Puma Stadium, Witbank – 5.10pm
Sharks vs Griquas – The Absa Stadium, Durban – 7.10pm
Saturday, August 28
Western Province vs Cheetahs – Newlands Stadium, Cape Town – 7.30pm
Currie Cup log (After seven games)
Pos Team Pts
1. Sharks 30
2. WP 27
3. Bulls 22
4. Griquas 22
5. Cheetahs 20
6. Lions 15
7. Pumas 7
8. Leopards 4
Klate’s second half strike puts Bucs into semis
Orlando Pirates qualified for the semi-finals of the lucrative MTN8 competition when they defeated Santos 2-1 at Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon. New Pirates signing Daine Klate (pictured) scored the winner in the 62nd minute to put his side in the last four where they will join Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Ajax Cape Town.
The Buccaneers made a strong start to the game as they used the width of the pitch to attack down the flanks with Klate and Dikgan Mabalane looking really dangerous. The Soweto based oufit, dominating possession and controlling the midfield, almost scored in the seventh minute when Isaac Chansa (pictured) rose to meet a cross from Klate only to see his header go inches wide of the post.
Encouraged by their near success Pirates continued to press forward and were rewarded for their positive approach when Chansa scored an excellent goal in the 19th minute. The 26-year-old Zambian midfielder powered down the left flank before cutting inside and firing a rasping shot from just outside the
18-yard area that found the top right hand corner of the net.
With the Buccaneers continuing to dominate the action it seemed highly unlikely that Santos would be able to score to get back in the match. However, football is a strange old game and a mistake by the Pirates defence allowed the People’s Team to net the equaliser in the 34th minute.
A careless pass by the Buccaneers gave away the ball to Santos who quickly launched a counter attack which left Jurie Basie surging towards the Pirates goal with only ‘keeper Moneeb Josephs to beat. Basie made no mistake by firing the ball past a despairing Josephs from about 12-yards out to make it 1-1. The goal seemed to lift the spirit’s of the People’s Team and they finished the half the stronger of the two sides.
Santos picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, but despite their dominance they were unable to create any clear chances on goal. Some poor defending from the People’s Team helped Pirates regain the lead as Klate scored what would prove to be the match winner.
Bafana Bafana international Teko Modise fired in a corner-kick that made its way across the face of goal and to Klate at the back post. The newly signed Pirates player took full advantage of the goal-scoring opportunity to blast the ball home from only a couple of yards out.
With the Buccaneers now 2-1 ahead their play seemed to improve, and they were able to easily retain possession. Denied the ball, Santos could not find the equaliser enabling Pirates to run out comfortable winners.
Other quarter-final results (From left to right)
Ajax Cape Town 1 – Mamelodi Sundowns 1 (Ajax won 4-3 on penalties)
Moroka Swallows 2 – SuperSport United 2 (Swallows won 4-3 on penalties)
Kaizer Chiefs 1 – Bloemfontein Celtic 0
The 2010/11 Absa Premiership competition gets underway this Friday when Pirates travel to Cape Town to take on newcomers Vasco. Kick-off at the Cape Town Stadium is at 6pm.
Friday, August 27
Ajax Cape Town vs Bloemfontein Celtic – Cape Town Stadium – 8.45pm
Saturday, August 28
Wits University vs SuperSport United – Bidvest Stadium – 3pm
Free State Stars vs Santos – Charles Mopeli Stadium – 3pm
Kaizer Chiefs vs Golden Arrows – Rand Stadium – 8.15pm
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Moroka Swallows – HM Pitje Stadium – 8.15pm
Sunday, August 29
AmaZulu vs Maritzburg United – Moses Mabhida Stadium – 3pm
Black Aces vs Platinum Stars – Puma Rugby Stadium – 3pm
Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana player Bongani Khumalo (pictured) has reportedly flown to London for a one-week trial at English Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur. The 23-year-old defender emerged as one of the country’s most promising stars during the Fifa 2010 World Cup and has already been touted as a potential future Bafana captain.
However, Khumalo is likely to face a number of obstacles in his quest to play abroad, most notably the strict British Embassy laws which are extremely particular about the number of caps, of a certain standard, that foreign players need to have in order to obtain a work permit.Nevertheless the younger defender must be relishing the opportunity to try out for one of the Premiership’s most prestigious clubs, and will no doubt give it his all in securing a berth in the Spurs set-up.
Botha is new Proteas T20 captain
Johan Botha (pictured right) has been appointed as the new captain of the Proteas’ Standard Bank Pro20 squad. The 28-year-old off-spin bowler and lower order batsmen succeeds Graeme Smith who relinquished the captainacy last week.
“Johan was the unanimous choice of the Board and we have every confidence that he will do an excellent job leading up to the next edition of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2012,” remarked Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola.
“Johan has an excellent record as a leader,” commented selection convener Andrew Hudson. His appointment is part of the process of refreshing our Pro20 squad and also deciding whether to follow the route of having different captains for different formats of the game,” added Hudson.
Botha said he was looking forward to the challenge posed by the captaincy and was also humbled by the honour bestowed on him. “I really enjoyed the captaincy when I stood in for Graeme before and I am proud to be offered the job now. I am looking forward to working with such a special team,” commented the new captain. Botha’s appointment is for the Pro20 squad only. The captain to succeed Smith in the one day international (ODI) format will be announced at a later stage. The 29-year-old Smith will retain the ODI captaincy until the end of the ICC World Cup next year.
Meanwhile, Free State Eagles batsmen Dean Elgar (pictured) scored back to back centuries in the two-match, four-day series against Sri Lanka ‘A’ that finished last week, and is now a likely candidate for a Proteas call-up. The 23-year-old left hander made two centuries and two half-centuries in four innings while opening the batting for the South Africa ‘A’ side against their Sri Lankam counterparts.
Elgar has now scored seven centuries in his last year of first-class cricket and it is this kind of consistent form that is likely to earn him a berth in the Proteas lineup. His 431 runs easily made Elgar the leading runs scorer in the series against the Lankans with no player on either side managing to reach 300.
Caster’s back with a bang
World 800m champion Caster Semenya’s comeback continued to go according to plan when she cruised to a comfortable victory at the Istaf meeting in Berlin on Sunday. Semenya (pictured) won easily in 1:59.90 and improved her season’s best by 2.51 seconds.
The 19-year-old South African was cleared to run against women by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last month and many pundits wondered if she could regain top form after an 11-month lay off. Semanya’s time was more than four seconds off the 1:55.45 she clocked in winning the world title at the same Olympic Stadium a year ago, but it was good enough to prove she is still capable of challenging the best in the world.
Positioning herself near the back of the pack on the first lap, Semanya powered down the home stretch to finish ahead of Kenyan Cherono Koech who finished second in 2:00.40. “It feels good to be back in Berlin,” Semenya said. “I did not think about everything that happened after my gold medal, I just concentrated on my race and my time. My goal was to run under two minutes and I achieved that,” she added.
It was a good day for 800m specialists in Berlin, with Kenyan ace David Rudisha clocking 1:41.09 to better the 13-year-old world record of 1:41.11 held by Denmark’s Kenyan born Wilson Kipketer. South African record holder Sunette Viljoen (pictured) came fourth in the women’s javelin with a throw of 60.66m.
Meanwhile, Jacques du Plessis earned South Africa’s second gold medal of the inaugural Youth Olympics on Saturday. Du Plessis’ throw of 63.94m was good enough to secure victory in the discuss event after swimmer Chad Le Clos’ earlier gold.
Gauteng North’s Ruan Greyling took second place in the boy’s 400m final clocking a personal best of 47.22 secs for his silver. South Africa now has nine medals at the Singapore event – two gold, five silver, and two bronze.