South African Sports News – 27 July
Things go from bad to worse for Boks
The Springboks’ dismal run in this year’s Tri-Nations competition contined on Saturday when they suffered a resounding 30-13 loss to Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It was the Boks’ third consecutive defeat in as many weeks after back to back losses to the All Blacks and left them at the bottom of the Tri-Nations log without a single point.
When Bok centre Jaque Fourie (pictured) was yellow carded for a second minute tip tackle on Wallaby number eight Richard Brown, one sensed this wasn’t going to be the Boks’ day yet again and so it proved to be as the South Africans failed to get going against a well drilled Australian team. Ill discipline has been a feature of Bok play in recent weeks and one wonders when Pieter de Villiers’ men will get their house in order after so many repeated indiscretions.
As it transpired, the first Australian points came just after Fourie rejoined the fray, the Boks going off-side at a ruck and centre Matt Giteau punishing them with a successful penalty attempt. Morné Steyn squared matters three minutes later with a penalty of his own, but Giteau put the Wallabies back in front after Bok wing Bryan Habana was penalised for coming around a ruck to poach an Australian ball.
The nuggety Giteau slotted two more penalties to stretch his side’s lead to nine points (12-3) and the Aussies nearly went further ahead when James O’Connor went over in the corner only for the TMO to rightly adjudge a forward pass in the movement. Bok skipper John Smit decided not to kick for goal when Wallaby flanker David Pocock was penalised for an infringement in the run up to half time, but it proved to be the wrong decision as the Boks found themselves thwarted in their attempts to bash their way over the line by an excellent Australian defence.
After soaking up the pressure the Wallabies then launched a multi-phase attack with wave after wave of gold jerseys surging towards the Bok line. The ball eventually went wide, bounced off a Springbok player and Drew Mitchell was able to dot down after a juggling act which saw the Wallaby winger handle the ball no less than four times.
Things went from bad to worse for the Boks in the second half as Giteau and O’Connor stretched the Australian lead to 20 points by the 48th minute, and after that it was just a matter of how much the Boks would lose by. Fourie made amends for his earlier infringement by dotting down after a long period of South African pressure and the Boks added a second try eight minutes from time when prop Guthro Steenkamp surged over the line from an attacking lineout.
The back to back scores gave the Boks a chance of notching up a consolation bonus point, but even that was put out of reach when Aussie scrumhalf Will Genia surged through a weak Bok defensive line to level the try count and seal the win for his team. It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Wallabies who outplayed their fellow southern hemisphere opponents in most facets of the game.
Pace was the key to victory for the Aussies, but they also played an impressive direct form of rugby, with their locks and skipper Rocky Elsom combining well to power through the middle, where the lively Genia also made a telling impact. The Boks, on the other hand, were woeful in every department except the set pieces.
They conceded far too many penalties and missed too many first time tackles to pose a serious threat to the Wallabies. The South Africans were also slow in getting to the breakdowns and their overall lethargic display meant they were always one step behind their faster and more motivated opponents. Habana, too, was guilty of going for the intercept on numerous occasions when staying on his line and defending would have been the better option.
The Boks looked a jaded and one dimensional outfit who continue to play antiquated rugby that has no place in the modern international game. Kicking dozens and dozens of up and unders in the hope that the defence will fumble creating the opportunity for a score may work against second rate opponents, but it is foolishness personified against first class outfits like the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
And yet on Saturday, the Boks, with fullback Zane Kirchner in particular, persisted with this tactic as if their lives depended on it. The question that must be on everyone’s lips is: why? The answer to that question can only be provided by coach De Villiers and the rest of the South African ‘brainstrust’ who are clearly, besides the players, also to blame for the Boks’ poor performances over the last three weeks. De Villiers and his team, for a reason known only to themselves, continue to persist with the same predictable tactics week in and week out despite the obvious lack of results. Something has to change – and soon – if the Boks hope to avoid a 6-0 Tri-Nations whitewash.
At the moment they look like a herd of sick and lame cattle without a leader and when one considers they only have one victory (a 42-17 defeat of France in Cape Town in June) over a top five nation since last year’s Tri-Nations, things look very grim in deed.
The Boks return home for the rest of their Tri-Nations campaign where they will face the All Blacks in Johannesburg on August 21 followed by return fixtures against the Wallabies on August 28 and September 4. Fourie will be unavailable for the August 21 game after being suspended for four weeks following his dangerous tackle on Brown.
Australia 30 – Tries: Drew Mitchell, Will Genia. Conversion: James O’Connor. Penalties: Matt Giteau (5), O’ Connor.
South Africa 13 – Tries: Jaque Fourie, Guthro Steenkamp. Penalty: Morné Steyn.
Griquas come from behind to down Lions
GWK Griquas turned up the heat in the second half to record a convincing 26-20 victory over the Xerox Lions in an entertaining Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon. The Diamond Miners were full value for their victory against the visitors from Johannesburg and remain unbeaten at home this season – something which will no doubt please their coach Dawie Theron.
Trailing 14-6 at the break, Griquas had it all to do in the second half if they hoped to beat a Lions team desperate for a win after suffering a resounding 32-0 defeat to Western Province in their previous Currie Cup outing last weekend. The home side proved up to the task as they outscored their opponents 20-6 in the final 40 minutes to run out deserved winners. The Griquas pack played a vital part in bringing their team back into contention in the second half with tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse, in particular, having an outstanding game. Adriaanse scored one of the two Griquas second half tries, with speedy winger Bjorn Basson dotting down for the other.
Both sides played with plenty of passion, putting in some massive hits throughout the 80 minutes and the Lions were still very much in contention right up until the final seconds. In fact, the Johannesburg outfit could have won this game had they taken all the chances that came their way. John Mitchell’s men are playing much better rugby than they were in the Super 14 and they produced plenty of multi-phase build-ups in Saturday’s match and if they had just been a little bit more precise on attack they could well have pulled off a win in the closing moments.
It certainly looked like the Lions were on their way to victory at the interval, for though they lost the territory battle, they did control and retain possession well. They took an early lead courtesy of a Jano Vermaak try and then increased their advantage to 14-3 shortly before the break when lock George Earle went over near the corner flag in the 34th minute.
Flyhalf Herkie Kruger added the rest of the Lions’ points with the boot, but was upstaged on the day by Griquas counterpart Naas Olivier (pictured) who slotted two conversions and four penalties for a personal tally of 16 points. Lions captain Franco van der Merwe was naturally disappointed with the result after his team had squandered what had looked a winning lead.
The Lions will face the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their next Currie Cup encounter at Coca-Cola Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday and will have to improve a couple of notches if they hope to come away with a win against the men from Pretoria Accommodation. Griquas’ next opponents will be the lowly Platinum Leopards who are currently languishing at the bottom of the Currie Cup standings with only two points from three matches.
Griquas 26 – Tries: Jacobie Adriaanse and Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Naas Olivier (2). Penalties: Olivier (4).
Lions 20 – Tries: Jano Vermaak and George Earle. Conversions: Herkie Kruger (2). Penalties: Kruger (2).
Other results (from left to right)
Sharks 27 – Barloworld Toyata Pumas 17
Vodacom Western Province 42 – Platinum Leopards 23
Vodacom Free State Cheetahs 25 – Vodacom Blue Bulls 23
Leopards vs Griquas – Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom – 7pm
Western Province vs Pumas – Newlands Stadium, Cape Town – 7.10pm
Cheetahs vs Sharks – Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein – 3pm
Lions vs Bulls – Coca-Cola Park Stadium, Johannesburg – 5.05pm
Currie Cup log (After three rounds)
Pos Team Points
1. WP 13
2. Sharks 12
3. Griquas 10
4. Cheetahs 9
5. Bulls 7
6. Lions 6
7. Pumas 5
8. Leopards 2
Mohale and Van Blerk come up tops
Lucky Mohale and Irvette van Blerk (pictured) emerged winners at the South Africa Half Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. The event was the first stage in selecting the team for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China on 16 October.
In the men’s race a lead group of over 20 athletes, including Lusapho April, Lungisa Mdedelwa, Sibusiso Nzima, Motsamai Motone and Lindikhaya Mthangayi, broke away from the rest of the field early covering 5km in 14 min and 35 secs and 10km in 29:43. The pace then slowed over the next two kilometres before Mohale hit the front, his injection of pace helping him to open up a lead over his nearest rivals. By the time Mohale hit the 15km mark, only Nzima, April, and Mdedelwa remained in contention.
Mohale briefly glanced back at his pursuers, before producing another surge which secured him victory in 1 hour, 1 minute and 58 secs. Nzima took second place in 1:02:10 with April finishing third in 1:02:24. “When I saw the lead group slowing down, I grew confident I will win so I took the lead at 12km. I have trained for this race for three months so I was expecting a good time,” explained Mohale.
“Now I want to redouble my effort so that I can run 58 or 59 minutes. My aim is to make an impact competing against the great Zersenay Tadese (four time World champion) at the World Championships in China,” added a confident Mohale. Thozama April was the early pace setter in the women’s race, but she was closely followed by Van Blerk and Tanith Maxwell through the first 5km. After 10km Van Blerk surged into the lead and begun opening a gap over April and Maxwell who were starting to wilt allowing Zintle Xiniwe to ease into second spot just on the 15km mark.
However, the fast finishing Xiniwe was unable to reel in Van Blerk who broke the tape in a life time best of 1:11:09. Xiniwe maintained second position to finish in a credible 1:13:13 with Maxwell (1:13:22) third and April (1:13:58) fourth. “The pace was quite fast in the opening 8km. When April begun fading I took charge of matters. I followed the men in front of me and that helped set a personal best from 1:12.55 at the Two Oceans in Cape Town last April,” said a delighted Van Blerk. Athletics South Africa (ASA) Assistant Administrator Richard Stander laid out the organisation’s plan for the 2012 London Olympic Marathons.
“We will sponsor the top ten men and women to our national 10km race next month. That will be a speed test before the Southern Africa Marathon Championships in Malawi in September and the World Championships in October. We aim at developing Olympians capable of running 2:05 (men) and sub 2:30 (women) at the Olympics,” explained Stander.
SA juniors shine in Canada
The curtain came down on Team SA’s campaign at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, on Saturday, but not before Luvo Manyonga (pictured) and Tazmin Brits had done their country proud. Boland’s Manyoga notched up a gold medal in the long jump with an impressive leap of 7.99m while the Potchefstroom based Brits secured a bronze in the javelin with a 54.55m throw.
Although there were some fine performances from a number of other South African athletes, none of them were good enough to secure a medal. Free State sprint sensation Wayde Van Niekerk clocked an excellent 21.02 secs to finish fourth in the 200m final while the powerful Rocco van Rooyen produced a career best effort of 74.13m in the javelin final to place sixth.
Sixteen-year-old KwaZulu Natal athlete Justine Palframan certainly didn’t look out of her depth against much more experienced opposition when she clocked 24,09 secs in the 200m semi-finals while fellow sprinters Gideon Trotter, Waide Jooste, Shaun de Jager and Jacques de Swardt all gained valuable experience competing against top flight opposition.
Team SA’s hopes of securing a berth in the 4x400m final flew out of the window on Saturday as De Jager, Pieter Marx, Le Roux Hamman and De Swardt clocked 3 min 12,58 secs in their heat to finish fifth. Kobus Moolman was eliminated from the semi-finals of the 110 metres hurdles, finishing in 14.30 secs. By the end of Saturday’s action, Team SA was lying 13th in the medal rankings out of 170 participating nations.
Pietie makes a comeback
Having made her South African debut as a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1995, Pietie Coetzee (pictured) took world hockey by storm, and new national head coach Giles Bonnet believes Coetzee still has what it takes to help propel 12th-ranked South Africa into the world top six by 2012. Widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest women’s hockey players of all time, Coetzee announced her return to the international game just hours before turning out for defending champions Southern Gauteng against KZN Coastal in the final of the 2010 SA Interprovincial Tournament.
The 31-year-old Coetzee retired from international hockey in 2005 at the tender age of 27 with a record 190 goals in 193 test matches – a ratio of goals per game still unmatched in women’s hockey history. “Forget about world top six if you don’t have a world-class drag-flicker (from penalty corners) and in Pietie, South Africa has that and more, as her ability to score field goals is also world-class,” said Bonnet.
Meanwhile, a 30-player SA women’s hockey squad which will be participating in two week-long training camps in Durban and Cape Town respectively, has been named. Upon completion of the training camps an 18-player squad will be finalised to represent the country at next month’s World Cup in Argentina.
Training squad: Cindy Botha, Taryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Pietie Coetzee, Ilse Davids, Lisa Deetlefs, Liesel Dorothy, Celia Evans, Farah Fredericks, Lesle-Ann George, Hanlie Hattingh, Kim Hubach, Marcelle Keet, Kelly Madsen, Sanani Mangisa, Tsoanelo Pholo, Pippa Rabey, Kathleen Taylor, Roxanne Turner, Jennifer Wilson, Shelley Russell, Nicolene Terblanche, Jade Mayne, Marsha Marescia, Nicole de Vries, Vida Ryan, Mariette Rix, Lenise Marais, Sulette Damons, Michelle Cremer.
Taliwe fails to impress against ‘Punisher’
Sipho ‘Tsunami’ Taliwe did just enough to retain his South African junior lightweight title when he fought Godfrey ‘The Punisher’ Nzimande to a draw at the Nasrec Indoor Arena near Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. Two judges had the fight even at 114-114 with a third official giving Nzimande the nod by a narrow 115-113.
It was a somewhat disappointing performance from the power punching Taliwe who entered the ring as a clear favourite over the comparatively light hitting Nzimande. Taliwe destroyed the rugged Warren Joubert in his last title defence and was expected to make short work of the challenger, but a sluggish start saw him concede the opening five rounds to Nzimande who racked up the points with plenty of scoring combinations.
Taliwe (58.89 kg) was hurt in the first round with a left and later by a right that sent him stumbling to the ropes and was largely outworked by the lighter Nzimande (58.56 kg) in the early going. However, things changed from the sixth round onwards as the champion began landing uppercuts and damaging rights that left Nzimande with a swelling under the right eye and bleeding from the lip.
The ringside commentators and many other observers, including myself, had Taliwe a narrow winner, but the judges saw it differently and decided that a draw was the fairest reflection of the fight. The champion’s log now stands at 11-2-1 (10 KO’s) while the challenger slid to 20-3-3 with 12 wins via the short route.
Taliwe’s somewhat tepid performance would not have gone down well with his fans and supporters who expect nothing short of a sensational knockout victory every time he steps into the ring. Sunday’s result also raises doubts as to whether or not ‘Tsunami’ really has what it takes to compete successfully at international level. One hopes he can but based on his performance against Nzimande it seems that Taliwe still has a lot to learn about the sweet science before swapping leather with higher calibre opposition.
Other results on the Rainbow Promotions bill
(W=points victory, TKO = technical knockout)
Gert Aris W6 Mduduzi Dladla (featherweights)
Oupa Maimane W4 Phumlani Majola (lightweights)
Keith Nkosi TKO 3 Andile Rasmeni (lightweights)
Kyle Bothma TKO 2 Luyanda Jako (junior welterweights)
Wynand Mulder TKO 1 Madoda Maseko (super middleweights)
Charles Oosthuizen TKO 1 Bysil Mthethwa (light-heavyweights)