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Australia in for a rude awakening.

November 15, 2012 in cricket

You can call them chokers, you can call them arrogant heck you can even go as far as calling them inconsistent but don’t ever knock the Proteas when they are down because you’re likely to get a rude awakening.

The first test match between South Africa and Australia was drawn and it’s been widely and publicly, through the media been reported that Australia dominated the test match. be that as it will, the fact remains that it was still a draw and the score still reads 0-0.

Whats interesting for me is the fact that Australia have been chirping away since the end of the match, with Michael Clarke saying he expects the same from his team through out the series and that if they can get our captain Graeme Smith out cheaply all the time that the Proteas will fail. David Warner has also come out and said our batsmen are distracted and cannot bat for long periods of time and that our minds are not focused, says the guy that has only played 10 tests and averages below 40.

Well let me make a sound warning to the Aussies. you are dealing with one of the steeliest and mentally powerful players in the form of Graeme Smith and to think that your so called “captain Killer” scenario will happen in this series is foolish to say the least. lets remember Smith himself has downed three English captains already, knock him when he’s down and he’ll come out and treat your bowlers as if they are a disease he has come to cure, as he has done so many times in the past. don’t mess with our captain. he’ll stuff you up

Trying to sledge Amla and get under his skin??? the most focused cricketer on the planet? bad mistake, he’ll make a pitch with boulders on it look as flat as a concrete slab.Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Philander not the best in the world? let us not remind you of the 47 you were bowled out for just a couple of seasons ago.

 

Bring your mind games, you are dealing with the number 1 ranked team in the world and we sure as hell didn’t get there by falling for mediocre tactics such as the ones you have presented.

This Australia, is the awkward truth.

 

South Africa will bounce back in the second test, and all the Big mouthed Australians will be hushed

 

Graeme Smith Already a Legend

November 6, 2012 in cricket

I have often been criticized for being too “Pro-Graeme Smith” for perhaps praising him a bit to much when he might sometimes not deserve it (or at least some think he does not deserve it) Often, around braai’s or during a general discussion the moment I bring up Graeme Smith people tend to look down and frown upon me. The reason for this is simple, you see South Africans just don’t appreciate the man as much as he should be appreciated and that’s a fact. I could also go as far as saying a country like England appreciates Smith more than we do – another fact. Graeme Smith’s early days as captain really screwed him, they called him arrogant, selfish and bossy, perhaps true at the time, but the Graeme Smith you see walking onto the field these days is South Africa’s and the worlds most astute captain the cricketing world has ever seen and for that credit must and shall be given.

 

It’s not just his batting record that must be praised, what with 8300 runs at an average of 50 with 25 hundreds as a left handed opening batsmen? I dare you to try and find a more prolific test opener that is still playing the game today. Add to that his Captain slaying ability and the fact that South Africa have never lost a test match when he has scored a century it all becomes clear that Graeme Smith is something special indeed.

Plenty more of this for Smith

 

One of the more standout qualities Biff has is his ability to perform under immense pressure and get his team over the line when it matters the most. Take his series winning 154 against England on an almost unplayable pitch when big names like Amla, Kallis and de Villiers could not even get past 30, or his majestic century against Australia where South Africa successfully chased 414, and who can forget his epic hundred in his hundredth test match earlier this year? His batting record speaks for itself, it not only proves what a classy player he is but also is the mark of a cricketing Giant.

 

He has recently been described as the greatest captain of his generation and some even argue that he’s the greatest cricket captain of all time. Yes with all these records one can safely say Graeme Craig Smith is one helluva player, what makes it even more remarkable is that the guy is still playing cricket for his country today, not only playing but captaining his country too, every time he walks on to the field in his whites he walks as the most capped test captain of all time, something South Africa can truly be proud of.

 

Yes he’s not just a great figure in the South African team, he’s a nations pride, or at least he should be, sadly the South African public turn a blind eye to Smith and all that he is, instead they slate him and bombard him with negative criticism for every little mistake he makes, well at least the minority, I am sure that most South African cricket fans have come to respect the mighty man and I have no doubt he once again will lift carry a nations expectations on his shoulders and stand and deliver against the Aussies and once again prove himself because unfortunately Smith would have never truly proved himself to this nation.

 

In my mind Graeme Smith is already a legend, and if not one now then surely will be one when he eventually retires from the game, and when he does, boy will he deserve it.

Bok Team for next year or two

November 2, 2012 in Rugby

this is a team I put together which I think should play for the Boks for the next year or two,  Injuries were not put into consideration. Some may feel that I have left out a few players who should be there well you right we have, there are only 22 possible positions and a hell of a lot of talent in South Africa. I did my best

No Brainer for the Bok 10

 

 

1 – Beast Mtawarira

 

There has been talk that the “Beast” has not been at his might best of late and perhaps there is some truth behind those statements. But he still makes my team by pure muscle and power; expect him to put in some mighty scrimmage performances in November to make up for Last years EOY tour. A freak runner of the ball sometimes too.

 

2 – Bismarck du Plessis (vc)

 

Take Nothing Away from Adriaan Strauss, he’s very, very good but Bismarck is another monster altogether and would be any team’s Hooker. He’s mobility, fitness and ability to turn over quality ball at the right times is what makes du Plessis so vital to the Springboks cause. He was missed in the Rugby Championship and will be missed at the EOY tour for sure.

 

3 – Jannie du Plessis

 

He has probably had the season of his life and is in great form, he try’s harder and harder every game which is surprising considering no one is quite near him when it comes to the number three jersey.

 

4 – Eben Etzebeth

 

The youngster is quickly gaining a name for himself with some even dubbing him the next “Victor Matfield” certainly a brilliant prospect and it’s going to be interesting to see what he does at the EOY tour.

 

5 – Andries Bekker

 

Has had an up and down career so far with Western Province as well as the boks, of course injury did not help and neither did his cheating scandal at the beginning of his career. When on for a lineout master, here’s hoping he makes the number 5 his own

 

6 – Marcell Coetzee

 

He made a fantastic start to his Springbok career but has since been used as more of an impact player by Bok coach Heynek meyer, He’s big, agile, powerful and can tackle the living daylights out of the oppositions, what’s not to like? He’s my Bok number 6 any day.

 

7 – Willem Alberts

 

His move from the Lions to the Sharks proved a master stroke, not only has he excelled for the Sharks but he has been an asset to them as well as the Springboks, has been a bit quiet of late in the green and gold but we’re sure he’ll be back to his very best soon.

 

8 – Ryan Kankowski

 

This was a tough one, Spies is out of sorts so I never really considered him for Bok duty; it’s such a shame that Kanko left when he did, the form he was (and still is by the way) was imperious.  Duane Vermeulen is a hot candidate for the number 8 but we have benched him. Kanko is returning to the Sharks next season and he’ll be all over the Bok number 8.

 

9 – Ruann Pienaar

 

In superb for at the moment but more telling is the fact that there is not really a scrummy in SA who can fight him for the number 9 at the moment, Hougaard maybe but he is seen as a wing and we agree.

 

10 – Patrick Lambie

 

This was probably the easiest selection of them all and probably one that most will agree with, funny thing is that our Coach probably won’t. There’s no weakness in this man, his tactical brilliance, his kicking at polls, his attacking flare and his pure X factor is what makes him stand out. Meyer has said Lambie will get his shot at 10 at the EOY tour. I hope he impresses the Bok coach.

 

11 – Bryan Habana

 

SA Rugby Player of the year 2012, not more to say is there? Yes there is. Pure pace, x-Factor of note and an ability to spot even the smallest and unlikeliest of opportunities. A pity he is not going to the EOY tour but he sure has a lot to offer Springbok and WP Rugby.

 

12 – Francois Steyn

 

Has been quiet of late but showed glimpses of his old self recently, injured at the moment but should stake his claim for the Sharks next season and hopefully my minds claim the bok number 12.

 

13 – Jean de Villiers (c)

 

To be honest I would not have de Villers in the team at all, but since he is the captain for now I have put him in, Jean is getting old and with the likes of Tim Whitehead and Paul Jordaan lurking de Villiers days are numbered.

 

14 – JP Pietersen

 

Players Player of the year 2012, in sublime for at the moment even after his injury, can play centre but would love to see him on the wing. JP Owns the number 14 Bok jersey at the moment.

 

15 – Zane Kirchener

 

Again, not my favorite, we would love to see Louis Ludik there but you just get the feeling that Kirchener is there to stay. Solid enough and does the basics well so can’t complain but not a Percy Montgomery, defiantly not a Monty. But does does Meyer still believe Lambie is a fullback?

 

 

the Bench will consist of the following players and yes I have left Morne Steyn out altogether in fact Morne would not even make my initial squad, as far as I am concerned, his Bok days are over. You will notice that Schalk Burger has also been left out, Yes he has.

 

16 – Lwazi Mvovo

17 – Johan Goosen

18 – Paul Jordaan

19 – Adriaan Strauss

20 – Coenie Oosthuizen

21 – Flip van der Merwe

22 – Duane Vermeulen

 

 

Thoughts?

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.

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