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Posted on: Wednesday, 3 March 2010

South African Sports News – 3 March

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AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers

Proteas win the war, but lose the battle
Although the Proteas thumped India by 90 runs in the third and final One Day International (ODI) in Ahmedabad on Saturday, it was a bittersweet victory for the South Africans who ultimately ended up losing the series 2-1 to go with their 1-1 draw in the Test series. Batting first on a flat wicket, Jacques Kallis’ men posted an imposing 365/2 off their allotted 50 overs with Kallis (104 not out off 94 balls) and man of the match AB de Villiers (102 not out off 59 balls) in sublime form …

De Villiers (pictured) was particularly severe on the Indian bowlers, despatching them to all corners of the park with a variety of delightful strokes. The 26-year-old took advantage of some ordinary bowling from the Indians to notch up his second successive ODI century after his unbeaten 114 in the second ODI at Gwailor, which the Proteas lost by a massive 153 runs.

Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar obliterated the Proteas in that game with a magnificent, undefeated 200, but De Villiers’ knock hinted that he was returning to the kind of form he displayed when he burst onto the scene some years back. Kallis’ innings was far more circumspect than that of his younger counterpart, but it was another typical example of the sheer genius of the Proteas’ stand-in-captain who seems to be getting even better with age.

Kallis and De Villiers’ task was made that much easier by the solid platform provided by openers Loots Bosman (68 off 46 balls) and the inform Hashim Amla (87 off 103 balls), who put on 113 for the first wicket before Bosman lofted a drive straight to Ravindra Jadeja off the bowling of Yusuf Pathan. Kallis joined Amla at the crease and the pair added 79 runs for the second wicket before Amla top-edged a sweep off left-arm spinner Jadeja to deep backward square-leg, where Murali Vijay took the catch. However, that was about as much success as India were going to have as Kallis and de Villiers effortlessly piled on the runs against an under-strength attack.

Chasing 366 for victory at a rate of 7.32 to the over, India were always going to be up against it, especially without their prolific openers Virendar Sehwag and living legend Tendulkar, and as it turned out they never got going as they lost wickets at regular intervals to finish on 275 all out. Virat Kohli (57 off 71 balls), Rohit Sharma (48 off 61 balls), Suresh Raina (49 off 30 balls) and Jadeja (36 off 35 balls) all weighed in with useful contributions, but it wasn’t nearly enough as India finished well short of their target.

Speedsters Dale Steyn (3/37 off eight overs) and Lonwabe Tsotsobe (3/58 off 9.3 overs) were the destroyers in chief for the Proteas, but they were well supported by spinners Roelof van der Merwe and Johan Botha who picked up two wickets apiece. The South Africans will be relieved that they were able to avoid a series whitewash, but at the same time they will be bitterly disappointed at going down 2-1 in the series, especially after coming so close to a victory in the opening game at Jaipur last Sunday. The Proteas now have a break from national duty until the end of April, when they participate in the ICC World Twenty20 competition in the West Indies.

In domestic action, the bizhub Highveld Lions beat the Nashua Titans by four wickets at the Wanderers in Johannesburg last Wednesday in the first of a possible three leg Standard Bank Pro20 Series semi-final, while the Chevrolet Warriors defeated the Nashua Cape Cobras by three runs at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth in the opening leg of the other semi.

The Cobras play the Warriors in the second leg of their semi at Newlands in Cape Town today, while the Titans resume their battle with the Lions at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday. The Warriors and the Lions will hoping to wrap things up by repeating their recent successes, but in this form of the game anything is possible, and it will not be surprising if the Cobras and the Titans are able to reverse their recent defeats and force a third leg.

SuperSport United

SuperSport United

SuperSport are the champs
SuperSport United (pictured) were crowned Absa Premiership champions last Wednesday night in Atteridgeville, despite going down 2-1 to 12th placed Bidvest Wits. It definitely wasn’t the result United were aiming for, but after Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to bottom feeders Jomo Cosmos at the Rand Stadium that same evening, United were crowned champions for the third season in a row.

The opening half saw United dominate proceedings as they quickly settled into a rhythm. However, despite their dominance, United went behind in the 26th minute completely against the run of play. Mark Haskins collected the ball in the middle of the park and then embarked on a powerful run towards United’s goalmouth. As soon as he was in range he unleashed a screamer of a shot that whizzed past United keeper Emille Baron to put Wits 1-0 up.

Stunned at being a goal down despite having enjoyed the upper hand for most of the game, United applied tons of pressure on their opponents, which eventually paid dividends. Brian Umony broke through on goal after 32 minutes and only had Francis Chansa to beat, but the keeper succeeded in parrying the striker’s shot. However, the ball fell to the left side of the 18-yard box and United quickly fired in a cross for Umony to head over a stranded Chansa to level matters at 1-1.

The second half followed the same pattern as that of the first, with United dictating proceedings. However, just as with the opening 45 minutes, United could not take advantage of their dominance and unbelievably found themselves 2-1 down as Calvin Kadi scored from a cross in the 68th minute. Just as with Haskins’ goal 42 minutes earlier, Kadi’s effort occurred completely against the run of play and United must have been left feeling that it just wasn’t going to be their night. Nevertheless, they tried their utmost to get back into the game with the obvious intention of at least levelling matters, but the Students closed up shop to run out 2-1 winners.

Although United were no doubt disappointed with the loss, they quickly brought out the bubbly after news came in that Cosmos had upset second placed Sundowns, making it mathematically impossible for the latter to challenge United’s top position on the log.

Other Results
(From left to right)
Last Wednesday
Moroka Swallows 1 – Platinum Stars 0: Dobsonville Stadium
Free State Stars 0 – Maritzburg Utd 0: Charles Mopeli Stadium
Santos 0 – Amazulu 1: Athlone Stadium
Golden Arrows 1 – Ajax Cape Town 1: Chatsworth Stadium
Kaizer Chiefs 2 – Black Aces 0: Loftus Stadium

Despite the championship having already been decided, there is still one more round of PSL fixtures to be played this Saturday, and a number of teams will be aiming to end the season on a high note. Relegation bound Jomo Cosmos will be hoping to salvage some more pride against eighth placed Moroka Swallows, while perennial losers Black Aces will be looking to pull off an upset against seventh placed Ajax Cape Town. Newly crowned champions SuperSport United play their last match against ninth placed Amazulu, and will no doubt want to end their highly successful season with a resounding win.

Other fixtures
Saturday
Maritzburg Utd vs Santos – Harry Gwala Stadium: 3.30pm
Kaizer Chiefs vs Free State Stars – Loftus Stadium: 3.30pm
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Golden Arrows – Super Stadium: 3.30pm
Bidvest Wits vs Platinum Stars – Bidvest Stadium: 3.30pm
Bloem Celtic vs Orlando Pirates – Seisa Ramabodu Stadium: 3.30pm

In international action, Bafana Bafana continue their World Cup preparations when they tackle Namibia at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at 8.30pm. The South Africans will be hoping for a good showing against their next-door neighbours who should prove to be tougher opposition than some of the other opponents they have faced recently.

Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

Bulls keep winning as rest of SA flops
Just when it seemed as though the Vodacom Bulls would suffer their first defeat of this year’s Super 14 competition, the Pretoria outfit turned up the heat in the second half to defeat the Waratahs 48-38 in a pulsating encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening. The Bulls’ victory restored some pride for South Africa after the rest of the country’s Super 14 teams all suffered defeats at the hands of their Australian and New Zealand opponents.

The Tahs came out smoking against the Bulls who were taken by surprise by their Australian foes who scored a try shortly after the kick off. Tatafu Polota-Nau barged over the line from close range after just three minutes of action, and Berrick Barnes, who converted Nau’s try, slotted a penalty to extend his side’s lead two minutes later.

Tahs’ flanker Ben Mowen then caused the Bulls further problems when he dotted down for the second try of the match after he was flung over the tryline by Werner Kruger, and after Barnes had added the conversion, the defending champions found themselves 17-0 down after only 10 minutes of action. Clearly shocked, but by no means defeated, the Bulls responded with a try from Francois Hougaard (pictured left) only for Barnes to slot a drop kick and two penalties to take the score to 26-10 after just 30 minutes.

Things were clearly not looking good for the Bulls, but instead of panicking like lesser teams would, the men in blue demonstrated their class and fighting spirit to claw their way back into the match. After launching a series of attacks on their opponents’ tryline, Stephan Dippenaar eventually breached the Tahs’ defences to score a well-deserved try and leave his side eight points adrift at the interval.

The Bulls, clearly energised by their late second half surge, came out firing early in the second half. Flyhalf Morné Steyn banged over a penalty to reduce the deficit to just five points before Hougaard scored his second try to put the home side into the lead in the 51st minute. However, the Tahs reclaimed the lead when winger Lachie Turner dotted down in the corner for a well-taken try, which caught the Bulls completely by surprise.

With the game relatively evenly poised, someone needed to seize the initiative and it was the Bulls who did so when winger Gerhaard Van den Heever ran a beautiful line as a dummy runner to confuse the Tahs’ defence, allowing Wynand Olivier in for his side’s fifth try.

The blonde centre’s try meant that the Bulls were now 10 points up and it seemed as if the game was done and dusted, but the Australians had other ideas and bounced back with a try from Drew Mitchell, which closed the gap to just three points. However, the Bulls had the last laugh when Steyn’s precise chip over the Tahs’ defence paved the way for Jacques-Louis Potgieter to score an excellent try and secure the victory for the home side.

Despite their defeat, the Tahs still managed to earn one bonus point for scoring four tries, and will leave the ‘Bullring’ knowing they gave one hundred per cent against arguably the strongest team in the competition. The Bulls’ victory put them back on top of the log and they are the only side with a full complement of points after three rounds. The men in blue will enjoy a bye this week knowing they are well on track for the defence of their title.

Scorers
Bulls 48 (18) – Tries: Francois Hougaard (2), Stephan Dippenaar, Gerhard van den Heever, Wynand Olivier, Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Conversions: Morné Steyn (6). Penalties: Steyn (2).
Waratahs 38 (26) – Tries: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Mowen, Lachlan Turner, Drew Mitchell. Conversions: Berrick Barnes (2), Kurtley Beale. Penalties: Barnes (3). Drop- goal: Barnes.

Other results (From left to right; SA teams in bold)

Friday
Crusaders 35 – Sharks 6: Christchurch
Stormers 17 – Brumbies 19: Newlands Rugby Stadium

Saturday

Hurricanes 33 – Lions 19: Wellington
Reds 18 – Blues 27: Brisbane
Western Force 19 – Chiefs 37: Perth
Cheetahs 24 – Highlanders 31: Bloemfontein

The pick of this week’s fixtures as far as South African teams are concerned, is likely to be the encounter between the fifth placed Vodacom Stormers and the ninth placed Highlanders at Newlands on Saturday. The Stormers have been playing some good rugby this season and although they suffered a narrow defeat to the Brumbies last Saturday, the Cape outfit should start as favourites against the New Zealanders, who have not had the best of seasons thus far. Kick off is at 5.05pm.

Other fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Friday
Chiefs vs Reds – Hamilton at 08.35am
Brumbies vs Lions Canberra at 10.40am
Saturday
Crusaders vs Blues – Christchurch: 08.35am
Waratahs vs Sharks – Sydney: 10.40am
Cheetahs vs Hurricanes – Bloemfontein: 07.10pm

Jason Bedeman

Jason Bedeman

SA fighters nearly pull off clean sweep
It was a good night for South African boxers at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park on Saturday when almost all of them won their contests against international opposition. In the main bout of the evening, Hekkie ‘The Hexecutioner’ Budler (48.80kg) captured the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) junior flyweight title when he was awarded a dubious points victory over Juanito Rubillar (48.98kg) of the Phillipines.

The relatively inexperienced Budler was fortunate to get the decision as Rubillar clearly landed the heavier and more telling punches although the Filipino veteran was lucky not to have had points deducted for repeatedly head butting the South African. Although the head butts were clearly unintentional, they occurred with such frequency that the referee should at least have warned Rubillar for his illegal use of the head.

After 12 rounds of fast-paced action, Budler got the nod by scores of 117-113 (twice) and 115-113, but it was doubtful if he deserved the decision as his blows failed to make any impression on the Filipino who, in stark contrast to the bruised and battered South African, looked virtually unmarked at the bout’s conclusion. The 21-year-old Budler took his record to a perfect 14-0 with five KO’s while Rubillar, 33, fell to 48-14-7 with 23 wins coming inside the distance.

Defending World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental bantamweight champion Tshifiwa ‘The Atomic Spider’ Munyai (53kg) successfully retained his title with a unanimous points victory over Filipino Daniel Ferraras (53.52kg) on the undercard. The South African won the first nine rounds by comprehensively out-boxing the flat-footed Ferraras who clearly has not been schooled in the finer points of the sweet science.

The Filipino blocked hundreds of punches from Munyai with his face instead of his gloves, and was absorbing a terrific beating from his vastly more skilled opponent when the unthinkable happened. With just seconds remaining in the 10th round, Ferraras unleashed a savage left hook, which exploded off Munyai’s jaw and sent the champion crashing to the canvas like a felled tree.

Incredibly, Munyai managed to somehow drag himself to his feet and beat the count, although his eyes were glassy and his legs rubbery. However, the referee, obviously realising that were only a few seconds left in the round, decided to let the fight continue, and just before Ferraras could land the finishing blow, the bell came to the champion’s rescue. Munyai managed to clear the cobwebs in the minute’s interval and boxed his way out of trouble over the remaining two rounds, to take a lop-sided decision and run his record to an impressive 19-1-1 with nine wins via the short route.

In other championship bouts involving South African fighters, highly touted Thomas ‘Tommy Gun’ Oosthuizen easily retained his WBA Pan African super middleweight title with a unanimous points victory over namesake Thomas Awinbone of Ghana in a dreadfully dull encounter, while Jason ‘Badman’ Bedeman (pictured) recorded a second round TKO victory over another Ghanian, Bilal Mohammad (14-4; 11 KO’s), to capture the vacant WBA Pan African lightweight title.

The lanky Oosthuizen (75.88kg) improved his record to 10-0 (7 KO’s) with his win over Awinbone (75.70kg) whose sole intention was to survive rather than fight, while Bedeman (60.86kg) came back from two first round knockdowns to batter Mohammad (60.78kg) into submission. It was a good win for the 20-year-old Bedemann who ran his record to an almost perfect 11-0-1 (9 KO’s).

In other bouts, Kgotla Baeti (61.22kg) of Botswana stopped Daniel Botman (60.94kg) in the fourth round of a scheduled six round lightweight encounter (the only victory for a visiting boxer on the night) while chiselled prospect Florante Simba (88.88kg) got rid of a fleshy Stephen Castle (96.26kg) in the fourth round of their heavyweight contest. Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves Promotions presented the tournament.

Zolani Tete

Zolani Tete

Tete downs Garcia to set up shoot-out with Mthalane
Zolani Tete (pictured) earned the right to challenge fellow South African Moruti Mthalane for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title when he beat Richard Garcia of the Philippines on points at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night. Tete won by scores of 118-108 and 118-110 (twice) against an opponent who had won five of his last six bouts and was expected to put up much more of a fight against his relatively inexperienced opponent.

However, Garcia had little to offer on the night as the talented South African boxed his way to an easy points victory over the Filipino. Tete won nearly every round of the IBF eliminator and gained valuable experience in preparation for a fight against Mthalane, who will undoubtedly be a much tougher nut to crack. The 21-year-old Tete ran his record to 13-0 with 11 KO’s while Garcia, 24, slipped to 20-10-1 with five wins inside the distance.

Undercard results
Tsietsi Moremi TKO 2 Siyabonga Mtshali (featherweights)
Brian Hlophe W6 Samson Ndlovu (junior welterweights)
Bongani Mlotshwa TKO 2 Pfunzo Nduvheni (junior middleweights)
Ilunga Makabu TKO 2 Chonunorwa Gonorendy (cruiserweights)

Meanwhile, in other international fight action, this time in Atlantic City, New Jersey, reigning South African and IBF Inter-Continental junior welterweight champion Kaizer Mabuza continued on his winning ways when American Kendall Holt quit on his stool in their IBF junior welterweight eliminator on Saturday night.

Mabuza earned the right to challenge for the title when Holt, a former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) junior welterweight champion, refused to come out for the seventh round after absorbing a terrific beating that began from the third round onwards. Mabuza, who is on an eight fight winning streak, improved his log to 24-6-3 with 15 wins via the short route, while Holt sank to 25-5 (13 KO’s).

Upcoming bouts
Sunday, March 7
Johannesburg – Osborne Machimane (champion) vs Bully Muravha (South African heavyweight title); 1.45pm on SuperSport Five (SS5).

Austin Smith

Austin Smith

Bad start for SA in Delhi
The South African men’s hockey team haven’t had the best of starts to the World Cup in Delhi after losing both their opening games to Spain and England respectively. Austin Smith’s (pictured left) men lost their first game against Spain 4-2 on Sunday, and then succumbed to the relentless pressure of the English yesterday, to go down 6-4 in a 10-goal thriller.

South Africa were looking to bounce back from their defeat against Spain with a win against the English and although they scored four excellent goals, their leaky defence again proved to be their undoing as their opponents made them pay for each and every lapse of concentration.

England beat South Africa 2-0 in their previous encounter at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and also defeated them 3-1 at the last World Cup. The South Africans now find themselves at the bottom of pool B without a single point to their name, while the English top the pool on 10 points.

Sporting Links:
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Photo Credits:
SuperSport are the champs – Photo – SuperSport United: Source – www.sufc.co.za
Proteas win the war, but lose the battle – Photo – AB de Villiers: Source – www.abc.net.au
Bulls keep winning as rest of SA flops – Photo – Francois Hougaard: Source – www.daylife.com
SA fighters nearly pull off clean sweep – Photo – Jason Bedeman: Source – www.sowetan.co.za
Tete downs Garcia to set up shoot-out with Mthalane – Photo – Zolani Tete: Source – www.boxrec.com
Bad start for SA in Delhi – Photo – Austin Smith: Source – www.zimbio.com

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