Busy days ahead in the sports world

2016-08-10 06:00

THE 2016 Olympic Games are here – well, in Rio, South America to be more precise - while sport in general shows no signs of letting up: especially in rugby and equally in cricket, where England and Pakistan finished their third Test in Edgbaston yesterday, while in Galle, Sri Lanka have famously toppled Australia, winning inside three days.

Nearer home in Nelspruit, new Sharks captain Keegan Daniel, in the absence of injured Pat Lambie, had no trouble toppling the Pumas 33-19 in their first fixture of the new Currie Cup season.

The home side simply weren’t strong enough at forward to match the rampaging Sharks, the KZN visitors scoring five tries in all.

Things were not so bright, however, for the Lions’ visit to Wellington for the 2016 Super Rugby final, the Jo’burg-based side going down 20-3 to New Zealand’s Hurricanes. The Jo’burg-based visitors were simply not strong enough at forward.

Try as they might their only score came from a straight-forward penalty by flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who mainly had a largely harassing day. The home side led 10-3 at the break.

Flyhalf Beauden Barrett was named Man of the Match. In a fine all-round performance he also scored the Hurricanes’ final try with just 11 minutes of the match remaining. It was a day of celebration for the home team.

Last year the Hurricanes had romped through the competition only to fall at the last hurdle against the Otago Highlanders.

Meanwhile the Springbok Sevens team has emerged as one of the favourites in the Olympic Sevens tournament and seem to be set to do well in Rio.

The team is nicely balanced and expertly coached by veteran Neil Powell.

With Sevens stars like Seabelo Senatla and Cecil Afrika, to mention just two of the Bokke standouts, they could well set the South American tournament alight – the tournament as ever is short and sharp having started yesterday and ending tomorrow.

Leaving the Games’ scene to look after itself, it’s specially intriguing to cast an eye on Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s latest moves for the coming Rugby Championship season.

In a squad of 31 named for the opening two matches against Argentina, he has included the exciting uncapped Malcolm Marx.

Also, with a view to grouping what he considers to the country’s best available talent, he has made recalls for the likes of Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Bryan Habana, Oupa Mohoje, Vincent Koch and Johan Goosen.

Partly this has been necessitated by injuries to a number of players who did duty against Ireland in June.

These included Coenie Oosthuizen, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Siya Kolisi and, of course, Patrick Lambie.

An interesting selection is the recall of flyhalf stalwart, Morne Steyn.

Most of the squad assembled in Jo’burg at the weekend. The nine Lions players who travelled to New Zealand for the Super Rugby cup final have linked up with the team, with the remaining six overseas-based players and two stars still with the Springbok team at the Rio Olympics, set to join Allister Coetzee’s men in the near future.

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