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The Weekends rugby Predictions

August 31, 2012 in Rugby

MTN Golden Lions v.s Griquas – 19:10 Friday Johannesburg

This should seem like a mismatch, a David and goliath affair with the Lions sitting pretty on top of the Absa Currie Cup log and the Griquas, still searching for their first win, plunked right at the bottom but don’t expect this game to be a one sided affair with the Griquas not really letting any team genuinely boss them so far in the season although still losing all 3 of their games so far. The Lions on the other hand have only lost one game, to the Sharks at Mr Price Kingspark in Durban but have looked rather solid at home this season. With Josh Strauss having played well at lock against Province he retains the number 4 jersey. A close game should be on the cars in Joburg.

 

Teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Joshua Strauss, 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 Deon Helberg.

Griqiuas: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Jannie Boshoff 13 Jean Stemmet 12 Walter Venter  11 Rocco Jansen 10 Francois Brummer 9 Marnus Hugo 8 Leon Karemaker 7 Wesley Wilkins 6 Marnus Schoeman 5 Martin Muller 4 Ligtoring Landman 3 Lourens Adriaanse 2  Ryno Barnes (captain) 1 Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dobson 7 Ivann Espag 18 Frikkie Spies 19 Justin Downey 20 Jacques Coetzee 21 Marnitz Boshoff 22 Matthew Rosslee

Prediction : Lions by 6

 

 

The Sharks vs. Toyota Cheetahs – 17:05 Durban

With Keegan Daniel back, The Sharks will be looking to put the Cheetahs away in Durban with the same attacking flair that saw them progress to the 2012 Super Rugby final but Bok call ups have hurt the Sharks this season, not in their results (they are 2nd on the log only behind the Lions on points difference) but the disruptions the switches and changes have caused. The Cheetahs are a strong team with a good pack of forwards and some dazzling backs. These two teams always throw everything at each other when they meet and Durban is a ground the Cheetahs feel quite confident playing at. Expect this game to be a battle of the forwards, very tough to call.

 

Teams:

Sharks: 15.Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.

Substitutes: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Rosko Specman.

Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller 14 Nico Scheepers 13 Robert Ebersohn (Captain) 12 Barry Geel  11 Raymond Rhule 10 Sias Ebersohn 9 Sarel Pretorius 8 Kabamba Floors 7 Pieter “Lappies” Labuschagne 6 Frans Viljoen 5 Izak van der Westhuizen 4 Andries Ferreira 3 Marcel Van Der Merwe 2 Hercu Liebenberg 1 Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16  Elandre Huggett 17 Ross Geldenhuys 18 Waltie Vermeulen 19 Davon Raubenheimer 20 Tewis de Bruyn 21 Philip Snyman 22 Rayno Benjamin

Prediction: Sharks by 10

 

 

DHL Western Province v.s Vodacom Bulls –  19:10 Cape Town

It’s all happening in Cape Town with the match of the weekend, Province have made 7 changes to the team that narrowly lost to the Lions last weekend, with their coach Allister Coetzee voicing his frustration of how Springbok call ups have disrupted his teams preparations. WP are in unfamiliar territory sitting second last on the log with 6 points having only won one of their three fixtures and things are not about to get any easier when they host the Blue Bulls at Newlands.  Former Western Province Utility back JJ Engelbrecht makes his debut for the Vodacom bulls after being released from the Springbok squad. With all the disruptions in preparation it should be a tough task for Province, however let’s not forget the hiding the Sharks got from the Bulls after half the Bulls team suffered from flu during the build up week

Teams:

Western Province:

15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2  Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Deon Carstens

Substitutes: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Damian de Allende, 22 Kurt Coleman

Blue Bulls:

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Louis Fouchè, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn

Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Jürgen Visser

Prediction : Blue Bulls by 12

 

Enjoy the Rugby!

ENG vs. SA 3rd ODI Preview

August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

South Africa take on England at the Oval today in the 3rd ODI match of the 5 match series, two of South Africa’s ODI batsmen, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla scored centuries against England at this very ground in the first match of the test series, the latter scoring a South African best of 311 but don’t expect matters to be as breezy as it was then.

 

Alastair Cook, who was appointed the Test Captain of England after Andrew Strauss announced his retirement is now captain of all forms of cricket for England, something that has rarely been seen in English cricket. Should South Africa win this match it would put them in a position where it would be impossible to lose this series or their number 1 ranking.

Hashim Amla

Mighty Hash to continue giving England headaches ?

 

Having said that, you would think the majority of the pressure remains on Cook and his team to get back in the series, physiologically South Africa should have the upper hand, and if England’s tormentor Hashim Amla continues on his marry way, we could see England suffer another big loss, This is the time when eyebrows will be raised about Kevin Pietersen not being in the England team, regardless expect this contest to be a much tighter affair.

 

 

 

Under the spotlight:

 

 

Alastair Cook

 

Cook has now been appointed as Test captain for the England side, which makes him captain in all formats of the game. A heavy 80 run lose to South Africa in the second ODI and a long with it a Duck for Cook at the top of the order has put pressure on him to perform personally and to show English supporters that he is indeed the right man to captain the test team. He will be under major pressure to lead his team to a win.

 

 

Ravi Bopara

 

Has been under pressure for not performing with the bat, looked good in the second ODI until he drove Robin Peterson straight to a cover fielder for 16. with Jonny Bairstow waiting in the wings and having put on excellent performances in the test series, Bopara will need to show his worth and put on a good score, surely the time is now?

 

 

 

Dean Elgar

 

Played sensibly in Southampton for his 15, looked solid and confident until a beauty from Swann made its way through to his stumps, no Swann for this match and Elgar will be looking to push hard.

 

 

Lonwabo Tsotsobe

 

Currently ranked the best ODI bowler on the planet, Tsotsobe only took the one wicket (the big one of Cook) in Southampton and had the second highest strike rate of the quick’s. He’ll be looking to put in a bowling display that most no he can.

 

 

Teams: (possible)

 

England: 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steve Finn.

 

South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 JP Duminy, 4 Dean Elgar, 5 AB de Villiers (capt, wk), 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Ryan McLaren, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

 

Smith – The captain slayer

August 29, 2012 in cricket

Given the tradition of South Africa-England Test series in England few would be surprised that once again England’s test captain had resigned from the leadership role after South Africa yet again proved too much for England to handle. This time Andrew Strauss has been on the receiving end of the normality of this bizarre tradition. Strauss announced his stepping-down from test captaincy today (29 August 2012) at an ECB press conference in England after spending a holiday in Spain with his family, much of the public and the media had expected “Straussy” to announce his resignation from the captaincy role as there were many reports in the hours leading up to the conference that this was indeed the purpose for the conference. What they didn’t know and what nobody expected was for Strauss to announce his retirement from all forms of cricket, internationally and domestically.

In 2003 the Graeme Smith led Proteas arrived on England’s shores with the task of playing a 5 match test series and although England were ranked 4th at the time and South Africa 2nd, England proved a tough nut to crack on their own soil. At the time Nasser Hussain was the English captain and had been playing international cricket for 13 years while Smith on the other hand, had just made his international debut a year earlier, such was the gap in experience for the two captains. The first test match at Edgbaston was drawn with England

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith continues on his marry way, leaving behind him, a wake of England captains.

being on the receiving end of a mammoth innings of 277 by Smith, the second played at lords, Smith again smashed England, scoring 259 as the Proteas routed England by an innings and 92 runs. The third test match was won by England and the 4th by South Africa, leaving the series at 2-1 to South Africa with a match to play. England then won the last test, drawing the series but the damage had already been done and Hussain had already resigned as Englands Test captain.

Then in 2008 South Africa left for England once again, with Graeme Smith still their leader and England’s captain now Michael Vaughan after taking over from Hussain in 2003. South Africa were a more mature team and Smith a more mature captain which would ultimately prove decisive in the series. The job would be tougher though and there would be less space for error as only a 4 match series was on the table. South Africa found themselves in deep trouble in the first test but were saved and drew the match thanks to hundreds by Hashim Amla, Niel McKenzie and Smith himself. South Africa then went on to win the second test by ten wickets with both AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince scoring superb hundreds. The series was now 1-0 to the South Africans with them just needing to win the next match at Edgbaston to win the series. South Africa were set a target of 281 to win in the fourth innings but were in tatters after losing their top and middle order, with only two players making more than ten but none above 30. However their Captain, Smith was still at the crease, the lone man who could all but watch the carnage from the non-strikers end, and then walked in the mighty figure of Mark Boucher, together him and Smith put on a match winning partnership, Boucher ending on 45 not out and Smith on 154 not out. South Africa had one the series, the first in England since readmission and together came with it, another England captain’s downfall. Vaughan had had enough and stepped down as Skipper of England.

 

Andrew Strauss

Strauss completes Smiths hat-trick

And here we are again in a very similar and traditional situation, a series against the Proteas, this time Strauss at the receiving end of a complete hammering by South Africa in which both him and South Africa’s captain, Smith played in their 100th test match (Smith also becoming the most capped test captain in the games history) only difference is Smith is still in the runs and is still a mighty and astute figure in the cricketing world. Strauss can certainly lift his head higher than both Hussain and Vaughan could, he has led a brilliant England team to back to back Ashes wins as well as taking his team to the number 1 spot in the world, yes his batting has, as Michael Atherton said “gently declined” but his batting average and form does not do the man any justice. Strauss is an honest and humble man and as so many have already said, he chose the right time to walk away, and walk away he did with his head held high.

ESPNcricinfo’s rankings – Proteas

August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

9

Hashim Amla
The leading run-scorer of the series, with 207 runs more than his nearest rival, and the only one with two centuries from the three matches, Amla’s form has hit its peak. At The Oval, he broke the South African record for the highest individual Test score with a sublime, undefeated 311 in an innings of class, finesse and style. He wrote his name onto the Lord’s honours board for a second time with a score, with a more contrasting knock of grit and grind. Like all the other batsmen in the match, Amla struggled to time and place his shots but unlike them, he survived and gave South Africa the base from which they could win the match, the series and rise to the top of the Test rankings.

8

Graeme Smith
He did not account for an England captain this time – at least, not yet – but he did take something of equal importance from the opposition: the No.1 Test ranking. His development as a leader was evident as he made two positive declarations at The Oval, a decision which saw South Africa take the series lead, and Headingley, where if weather had been better, a result could have been achieved. A hundred in his hundredth Test match was his best contribution with the bat and it was an innings that set up a massive victory but he also weighed in with two half-centuries. More telling than his individual efforts was his tactical management of the bowlers and it was evident that he had a plan for every England batsman. Smith is world cricket’s longest serving Test captain, having broken Allan Border’s record at Lord’s, and after this triumph, few would argue that he is not also world’s cricket best captain.

Dale Steyn
The world’s best fast bowler showed why he is the world’s best fast bowler. Steyn steamed in every time he had the ball – bar the first day of the series at The Oval. He swung it prodigiously and attacked from all angles. His five-for at the Oval won the match for South Africa and he finished the series as the overall leading wicket-taker. Steyn did not bowl with the new ball – a mystery to many – as part of a strategy to avoid having him bowl to left-handers and to save him for targeting Jonathan Trott, who he has dismissed seven times over the course of his career. Steyn also batted in nightwatchman capacity twice, one failing but the second time doing his job and more when, at Lord’s, he shared in a stand with Amla that lasted 12.4 overs.

7.5

Vernon Philander
Five wickets in the second innings at Lord’s will be what Philander is remembered for but that was not his only contribution to the series. Philander bowled well throughout, using the same skills that brought him to the fore in the seven Tests he had played before this tour. He maintained a line around off-stump, more than half his deliveries were on a good length and he got seam movement and occasional swing. The result was that he ended as the second highest wicket-taker, the lowest average and the lowest economy rate. Although his claim to being an allrounder was laughed at, Philander scored vital runs at Lord’s, with an accomplished 61 in the first innings and a handy 35 in the second. As a measure of the significance of his batting, he scored more runs than England captain Andrew Strauss in the series.

 

Morne Morkel removed James Taylor as England slumped, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day, August 17, 2012

Morne Morkel brought hostility to South Africa’s attack and continued his hold over Andrew Strauss © Getty Images
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Jacques Kallis
World cricket’s premier allrounder ended what could well be his last tour of England on a high, having previously had a poor record in the country. Kallis averaged less than 30 before this tour but righted that with an undefeated 182 at the Oval which pushed it up to 35.33. His name will not appear on the Lord’s honours board after a two umpiring decisions with which he was unhappy about ended his innings on both occasions. Kallis was used in his new impact role with the ball and took four wickets, including two in the Oval Test, of Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, which helped South Africa open England up. What the numbers could not tell was that Kallis, the senior most member of the squad also played an important part in the leadership of the side and the advice he provided to Smith is unquantifiable in its value. His catching was also outstanding.

7

Morne Morkel
He accounted for Strauss twice to bring his head-to-head record against him to nine times in 11 innings and found what Allan Donald called his “mongrel.” Morkel was more aggressive than before, attacking the stumps, the batsmen and their heads. His bouncer will be remembered as one of the best weapons of the series. If not for his splatterings of inconsistency, which were at their worst at Lord’s, he may have had better figures. He ended as South Africa’s third-highest wicket-taker, behind Steyn and Philander, but encouragingly, did well with the new ball again since it was taken away from him after Philander’s meteoric rise. No bunny with the bat, Morkel also ensured South Africa’s tail was not hollow and provided resistance as far as he could.

6.5

Alviro Petersen
A hard-fought 182 made Petersen’s series, after a lean run with the bat in the warm-up matches and the county season. Petersen’s century in Wellington was forgotten when he made a duck at the Oval, sandwiched between the hundreds but he returned to see off a more determined England attack at Headingley. He held the South African line-up together there and was impressive in the way he continued his innings on the second morning, where others, like Kevin Pietersen, were out early. Injuries also played a part in Petersen’s tour. A food niggle kept him out of the first warm-up and a hamstring strain out of the last one and problems in playing across the line returned at Lord’s, where he was out cheaply in both innings.

JP Duminy
He made a case for himself to leapfrog Jacques Rudolph in the queue should South Africa want to field a batsmen less in future. Duminy’s maturity was obvious as he batted with the lower order at Headingley and Lord’s, showing patience and aptitude that many thought he had lost after he broke onto the scene against Australia in 2008. His 72-run partnership with Philander in the first innings at Lord’s proved to be more significant than initially thought, given the margin of victory at the end. Duminy is an energetic outfielder and offers a few overs, which make an attractive option for future South African sides.

 

AB de Villiers found form with a half-century, Worcestershire v South Africans, Tour Match, New Road, 1st day, July, 27, 2012

AB de Villiers did not quite sparkle in his new role © Getty Images
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6

AB de Villiers
Thrown into a double role – of batting in the middle order and keeping wicket – at the start of the tour meant it was always going to be an experimental tour for de Villiers. In four innings his top score was 47 and his usually fast-paced belligerent batting style was shelved away. As a wicketkeeper, he averages significantly less with the bat, 30.33, than he does when not burdened with the task – 48.85. His glovework was solid, although he initially struggled with keeping to the legspinner at the Oval but he made few errors.

Imran Tahir
Another series has ended without Tahir having officially “arrived,” on the international stage. This time he had more suitable surfaces to work with, particularly at Lord’s, but there was still not a lot of turn on offer. Tahir made a crucial breakthrough in the second innings at The Oval, where he removed Matt Prior, wrapped the tail in the first innings at Headingley and created the opening at Lord’s when he bowled Jonny Bairstow. He may be remembered most for his run out of Graeme Swann, an effort which involved throwing the ball at the stumps, rather than simply breaking them. Still guilty of using too many variations and giving away too many runs, Tahir has plenty to work on before South Africa’s next tour.

5

Jacques Rudolph
The one forgettable member of the South African squad, Rudolph did not have the same impact as the rest of the team. His only innings of substance was the 68 he scored at Headingley, when he opened the batting in place of the injured Petersen. Rudolph looked uncomfortable against the short ball and offspin – he was Pietersen’s victim twice at Headingley and he only faced two balls from him. If South Africa have one concern after this series, it will be the No.6 position, which Rudolph has so far failed to make his own.

Graeme Smith to break another record

August 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

With all the Olympics and recent Super Rugby and ongoing Currie cup competition many have forgotten about the all important test series going on in England, where the Proteas are once again on the verge of making history and becoming the number one ranked test side on the planet.

 

The third test at Lords (the home of cricket) will decide which team gets to boast the number 1 ranking; it’s simple for SA, win or draw the match and claim the title. For England it’s a bit trickier, they will need to win the test to retain the number 1 title.

 

Another massive milestone awaits lords yet again where we will see our very own Captain, Graeme Craig Smith become the most capped test captain in the games history.

 

Smith has captained South Africa since the age of 22, notching up 8277 runs at an average of just over 50 in 101 test matches. Smith scored a century in his 100th test match at the Oval becoming only the 7th player in history two do so, he also holds the record for the second highest score at lords in it’s long and rich history.

 

Another telling statistic is the fact that Smith averages almost 60 in test wins in South Africa and an amazing 74.10 in overseas victories. South Africa have also never lost a test match when Smith has scored a century. The Epic 154 Smith scored at Edgbaston in 2008 on an almost unplayable surface secured the Proteas their first ever series win in England since readmission.

 

Graeme Smith averages 74 in England and 50 overall making him one of the most successful left hand opening batsmen of the modern times. With the likes of Kallis, Amla and ab de villiers around him not to mention Alviro, Duminy and Rudolph. This match should be a step to far for England.

So It’s just a wordpress blog?

August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hello, so basically sport24 migrated our blogs to wordpress? not the most effective way to blog, the old version was way simpler and easier but I suppose we have more flexibility now when it comes to personalization . . . . oh well

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