Rugby and cricket – what a potpourri!

2015-10-28 06:00

WE, South Africans, find it specially difficult to accept that New Zealand’s All Blacks are better – at this moment anyway – at the game made famous when William Webb-Ellis, bored with the usual fare at Rugby School, England, famously “picked up the ball and ran...” Clearly the young scholar thought: “Why kick it away when you can carry it in your arms.”

Indeed, and thinking along these lines Springbok fans don’t like it one bit in a World Cup year what happened at England’s famous Twickenham last weekend.

For a while with Handre Pollard’s kicking boot on target, it seemed, with the Boks taking a 12-7 halftime lead, that an upset might well be in the offing.

But the turning point with a Dan Carter drop-goal in the 46th minute signalled the start of a crack in the Boks’ ascendancy. It was there for all to see for the time in fact – too much hard work had gone into the Boks desperate efforts to stay on top. Ten minutes later, as replacement Beaudon Barrett added a second try for the New Zealanders, it was all over bar the shouting. Reporting on the game from Twickenham for SuperSport TV, Nick Mallett, summed it up succinctly.

The former Bok loose-forward and later coach of the national side, said: “It had been a brave effort by the Boks with Pollard’s accurate goal-kicking (and one penalty from substitute flyhalf, Pat Lambie) seeming to keep Fourie du Preez’s team in with a chance. But the New Zealanders with two tries (the first by flanker Jerome Kaino) were always the better of the two sides.”

So with the Bok RWC dreams dashed the place to go for solace the next day was the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai...

What a day, what a match for South African cricket – the Proteas’ innings containing not one (Quinton de Kock), not two (Faf du Plessis) but three (AB de Villiers) centuries in a performance that left the pride of Indian cricket if not in tatters at least a tad unsteady on its feet. Man of the Match went to young De Kock (also wicketkeeper) - his second successive ton in a row in the series. It was a second successive century for De Villiers as well. Besides an 87 by Ajinka Rahane India could offer little else. Du Plessis’ ton was the most colourful of them all, interrupted by severe pain that caused him to retire hurt on 133. At one stage he was held upside-down by India captain, MS Dhoni, to relieve him of cramp in his legs.

So the series went to the Proteas 3-2. Winning the toss the Proteas chose to bat and never really looked back, taking the Indian attack to the cleaners with their 458/4 giving the Proteas victory by 214 runs - Dale Steyn, the best of the South African attack, three for 38.

Back once more to rugby with the Wallabies beating Argentina 29-15 in their semifinal at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon, and so qualifying to meet the All Blacks in the tournament final on Saturday. Want to take a bet on the score? What about a Wallaby win by the shortest of noses? Stranger things have happened.

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