Sport 2015 is upon us in a rush like a Bulls rolling maul.Already the Aussie Tennis Open is done and dusted as has the Dubai Desert Classic.
Starting today,Super Rugby clashes begin with the Crusaders taking on the Rebels opening the season in what all will be leading up to the World Cup later this year in England.Most are predicting the team to beat will be the All Blacks after a dominating year in 2014,but they did have a couple of blots on their season last year,one of them from a passionate rugby crazy country called South Africa who’s Springbok side won a close encounter at Ellis Park.
Already the first games of the Six Nations have been played in the North,with Ireland and England stamping their authority in this competition.
Tomorrow,or should I say in the wee hours of the night for us,New Zealand Will play host to Sri Lanka in the first game of the ODI ICC World Cup and Australia will face England.The tournament is being co- hosted by Australia and New Zealand and will run through to the end of March with some 48 games to be played.
Raise your glasses and clink your mates as we look forward to some adrenalin pumping games,the highs and lows and the games that will keep us talking around the Braais (barbecures) with the Boerie sizzling and the Pap and Sous te lekker.
Sevens Rugby round three takes place at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth this weekend.South Africa will once again be hosting this prestigious tournament with a little bit of local flavour. What the rest of the world calls a barbecue,we call a ‘braai vleis’.In the US they do hamburger patties,in England,sausages and in SA we have Boere wors.A literal translation would be farmers sausage,but boerie can be three feet long.It holds the juice and is made in different flavours,exquisite tasting,but I digress and I’m no chef.
In the first leg in Australia,Fiji came out on top playing some excellent rugby.The second leg played in Dubai saw the Blitz Bokke sweep all before them,trouncing the All Blacks 28-0 in the semi final and then taking Australia to task in the final winning 35-7.We hope they can maintain this high standard of rugby in their own back yard.
The added incentive is of course the top teams of this competition will automatically get a free pass to the Rio Olympics in 2016,the first time that sevens will compete as an Olympic sport.
So here’s to some exciting,fast paced sport for the weekend,and a braai with some juicy wors to go with it.
Australia India cricket,first test day two,has been a day of rain interruptions and shortened play.Umpires asked stand in Indian captain Virat Kohli to bowl spinners only due to bad light conditions,his answer was to walk off the field ending play after only about 30 overs bowled.
As a captain already looking down the barrel I would have done the same.With Australia 517-7,three missed chances to get rid of top scorer Steve Smith,162,a simple stumping when he was on 131,two dropped catches on 111 and 161,I would be looking for any avenue to take time to regroup.
Good centuries from David Warner,145 and Michael Clarke,128 coming back from retiring yesterday due to back problems have certainly put India on the back foot.
Clarke will have to decide tomorrow whether to continue batting to pile on runs as quickly as possible to reach 600+,but to leave hinself enough time to bowl India out twice.He will be heavily reliant on Johnson,Harris and Siddle to make the break throughs and keep the pressure on India.If they do not fire on all cylinders this test will end in a draw.
The pitch looks to be a good batting wicket,but with Johnsons’ pace,Siddles accuracy and Harris clever swing bowling,India could be up a gum tree,and will need to fight for every run.Let’s hope the weather holds out.
Man U vs Hull City this weekend looks a foregone conclusion with Manchester only having lost one of their league games this year at Old Traford.Manager Louis van Gaal will be wanting his third straight win when they take on Hull tomorrow.
Totesport are offering a huge promotion this weekend offering 3-1 odds for a Manchester United win over Hull.
Click on Totesport and start bettng
HSBC Champions Golf had some of the most scintilating golf seen in a long time. Bubba Watson,with two holes to go went from a two shot lead to trailing by one after the seventeenth.One wonders what goes through the mind of a player in that circumstance,after all you have played great golf to be in that position with only two holes to go when the wheels have not just fallen off but have gone awol.What belief Bubba had in himself when on the 18th, he was in a bunker with about a 60m shot to the hole and pulls off an amazing eagle,pitching his shot about 25 ft from the pin to watch it roll in,forcing a play off with South African Tim Clark.Absolutely mind blowing stuff.
Obviously after that amazing 18th shot,Bubbas’ self belief must have risen ten fold as he defeated Tim Clark on the first play off hole with a 20 ft putt,pocketing a comforting and well earned $1,4 million and taking home his first HSBC title.
The other three placings went to Graeme McDowell,Hiroshi Iwata and Martin Kaymer.
Cricket SA vs Aus 1st T20,played at Adelaide oval saw South Africa cruise to a win with an over to spare and only three wickets down.Australia won the toss and elected to bat on a good wicket,and initially looked to have made the right decision as they raced to 33 in 3 overs before the first wicket fell.There was a chance in the second over but the catch was put down at deep backward leg by Tahir off Abbott.The SA bowlers kept applying pressure slowly strangling the Australian batsmen for runs.It was only a 47 by Watson and 41 by Faulkner that gave the Aussie innings any respectability getting them to 144-6.Abbott had the best bowling figures taking 3-21 off 4.
South Africa had a disasterous start when Hendricks was caught behind off Bollinger without scoring.Rillee Roussouw joined De Kock and the pair set about the Australian bowling with some fine stroke play.I was impressed with Roussouws’control of his shots and the power with which he hit the ball.I watched him in the Zimbabwe matches,but didn’t have much to see as his first two innings were both ducks and the third was under 10.Today he picked up the man of the match award for his 78 off 50 balls and was well supported by De Kock, 46 off 39.
South Africa go one up in the three match series and will face Australia on Friday in Melbourne.
Black Caps vs SA tonight in New Zealand at a new venue that neither team have played on before,has the makings of a tight game with the bookies giving the edge to the SA team,but only marginally.
Both teams have shown good form over the past 12-18 months of ODI cricket and both teams will be anxious to get one over the opposition,giving them momentum for the next two matches to be played in New Zealand before they depart for Australia in a round robin tri angular series.
It seems the West Indies who were scheduled to play as well might not take place as there seems to be a dispute between the Windies players and management.
Proteas skipper AB DeVilliers believes that New Zealand is one of the strong contenders for next years World Cup series taking place in NZ and Australia,as they consistently play above themselves and have the capability of taking out the big guns in any given game.At this stage SA are ranked second,behind Australia and New Zealand way back at seven.
The only ranked NZ player,Ross Taylor will miss the three match tournament due to a calf strain,where as SA have 5 world ranked players, three batsmen and two bowlers,nevermind the likes of David Miller who we have seen in The IPL, to be so destructive.
On paper it should be a one horse race,but the Black Caps come from a never say die country.
European Champions league Rugby gets underway this weekend when Munster take on Sale Sharks and Saracens face French side Clermont.This season has all the makings of cracker jack rugby.Previously this was the Heineken Cup.The new format has reduced teams from 24 to 20 made up of five pools of four teams.Teams in each pool will play each other twice in a home and away game. The top team in each pool plus the three best runners up will progress to the knockout stage to play in the quarter finals which will be 1vs8,2vs7,3vs6,4vs5.The winners go through to the semis,with the final being played,latest the first weekend in May.
The pools are;
Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3 Pool 4 Pool 5
Clermont Castres Toulon Bath Treviso
Munster Harlequins Leicester Glasgow Northampton
Sale Sharks Leinster Scarlets Montpellier Ospreys
Saracens Wasps Ulster Toulouse Racing Metro
Points will be awarded thus;4 for a win,2 for a draw,1 bonus point for scoring more than 4 tries in a game,1 point if the losing team is within 7 of the winning teams score.
My choices for the winners of each pool are; Saracens,Leinster,Toulon,Montpellier,Northampton.
Enjoy the season ahead.
CLT20 semi final between CSK and KX1P was played yesterday,with CSK crushing Kings X1 by 65 runs and will now meet KKR in the final on Saturday at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Sent into bat first on a good looking wicket CSK had a reasonable run rate when they lost their first wicket in the 3rd over with 23 on the board.By the 6th over they had lost another 2 wickets with the score on 41.Enter Faff Du Plessis,46 off 33 and Dwayne Bravo 67 off 39,to steady the ship and lay a solid foundation for CSK.Ravindra Jadeja waded in with a useful 27 off 13 pushing the score to a challenging 182 for 7.
Unfortunately for the Kings the Maxwell,Miller,Bailey combo failed this time with only Miller posting a paltry 22.The highest contributor for Kings was a 31 off 18 by Akshar Patel.Good bowling by Nehra,Sharma and Raina with two a piece and at under 5 to the over put the pressure on Kings and only allowed them to reach a miserable 117 in the 19th over.
With CSK firing on all cylinders it looks to be a mighty contest coming up on Saturday against the KKR,umbeaten in this tournament.