Chalk ’n cheese in rugby and cricket

2016-10-12 06:00

IT’S a good thing former South African cricket captain, Ali Bacher, had his one-on-one TV interview with the great Springbok lock, Frik du Preez, before last Saturday’s Kings Park, Durban, thrashing of the Springboks by the All Blacks and not after it. The great Frik, renowned for his good humour and ever-ready smile was in his element before the start of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash.

But had the Bacher interview preceded the game it would not have surprised rugby fans if Du Preez had been reduced to tears after watching Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss’s team tumble to the country’s worst ever 57-15 defeat on the rugby field. Hardly a memorable game in his last appearance on home soil in the Green and Gold of the Bok jersey.

Think about it – nine tries to none! That sadly was the unbelievable tally by the end of it all.

In Frik’s day there were defeats the Boks weren’t exactly proud of – but nothing as humiliating as the more than half-century of points against the Boks whose leaps were growing steadily weaker.

Yet for some time it had seemed the Boks might somehow pull off a miraculous victory. With 17 minutes remaining it seemed there was still the possibility of victory even if – for the second time in a row – the job was left to the trusty boot of flyhalf Morné Steyn.

But it was not to be. Suddenly the Springboks found themselves in the quick sands of defeat – Frik du Preez, no doubt sadly shaking his full greying head of hair.

The 54 000 cramming the Durban stadium were gradually brought to stunned silence as the All Blacks began to increase the pressure of a remorseless stranglehold.

It’s worth recording that – as well as he played in other areas of the game – Kiwi flyhalf Beauden Barrett, in missing several kicks at goal, might have made the final score even higher.

Nonetheless, in answer to flyhalf Steyn’s five penalties, Israel Dagg, with two tries, TJ Perenara (2) and Barrett (2) were the New Zealand top scorers. Other tries came from Codie Taylor, Ben Smith and Lionel Squire. Barrett and Lima Soponga each succeeded with two conversions.

What awaits the Boks in the coming tour of the UK? In creaking form such as this, from England in particular, it could still be more woe, one fears.

Switching to cricket: the Proteas now deservedly lead the series against Australia with a 4-0 clean slate, with one match left to play.

It seemed at first it would be a doddle with three of the Australians back in the pavilion with less than 10 on the scoreboard. At that stage it looked like cricket’s proverbial easy “walk” to victory. But Aussies don’t give up that easily, and it became the Proteas’ turn to struggle with opener, Hashim Amla (2) soon back in the pavilion and opening partner Quinton de Kock (18) soon joining him.

However captain Faf du Plessis (69) steadied the ship nicely, leaving it to Rilee Rossouw (33 not out) and nuggety Berhardien (12 not out) to take the Proteas to a six wicket win.

Man of the Match with his capturing of six wickets was pace bowler, Kyle Abbott.

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