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Griquas shock WP in Kimberley

Published on Jul 14th, 2008, No Comments

passensgavin080720tryglbg.jpgA 62-metre penalty-kick by Wildeklawer Griquas fullback Riaan Viljoen gave the home team a 21-20 (halftime 12-6) victory over Vodacom Western Province in an exciting Absa Currie Cup match in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.The result marks the Kimberley team’s first victory of the season, and their desperate desire for a win was clearly visible in the number of kamikaze tackles that were meted out during the course of play.

Coach Dawie Theron’s charges complemented their physicality in the tackle with deft handling and strong, straight-running off the ball in a match which saw the lead change hands five times.

Griquas’ regular kicking ace, flyhalf Conrad Barnard missed four of five attempts at goal – converting hooker James van der Walt’s try after skewing an earlier conversion of wing Gavin Passens’ score – but fortunately for the home team, Viljoen was ready to step into the breach by slotting all three of his penalty-kicks.

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Lions thump Boland

Published on Jul 14th, 2008, No Comments

roseearl080704tryglbg.jpgThe Xerox Lions produced a splendid display of running rugby to wallop the Boland Cavaliers 57-17 (half-time 24-10) in a one-sided ABSA Currie Cup game at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.This was by far the best showing this season by last year’s loosing finalists and they announced their return to form in emphatic style with clinical execution of pattern and game plan.

The visitors had momentarily stunned the home team when in the tenth minute, the gangly Bradley Mockford intercepted a pass on his own ten metre line and off-loaded in the tackle to promising eigthman Dries van Schalkwyk, who sprinted 40m to dot down under the poles.

The Lions hit back shortly afterwards however, through a penalty by the mercurial fullback Earl Rose, who then showed a touch of magic with a prodigious side step, breaching the advancing defence to touch down under the poles, allowing the Lions to nudge into the lead.

Coach Eugene Eloff had indicated that a lot of time had been dedicated to working on finishing off moves during the week and he will be glad that that investment paid dividends.

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Blue Bulls top of the log

Published on Jul 6th, 2008, 1 Comment

bullssharks.jpgThe Vodacom Blue Bulls surged to the top of the log when they overpowered the Sharks to win 35-14 (half-time 22-9) in a lively ABSA Currie Cup game at Loftus Versveld on Saturday. The Sharks had been disrupted before kick by the withdrawal of flyhalf Brad Barrit who failed a late fitness test. He was replaced by Monty Dumond who moved from the wing, with Chris Jordaan coming of the bench onto the right wing.

The Bulls too were slightly thrown off balance when they received an early shock with Derick Kuün being awarded a yellow card for putting the boot to an opponent’s head with only 40 seconds on the clock.

However, this was to no real detriment to the Bulls as they scored the first try of the match when fullback Tiger Mangweni went over in the left corner after Wynand Olivier broke the line in the seventh minute following a move from a 22 drop-out.

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WP beat Cheetahs in Newlands yawner

Published on Jul 6th, 2008, 2 Comments

dewaal.jpgVodacom Western Province stumbled and fumbled their way to a 9-3 (halftime 6-0) victory over the Free State Cheetahs in a dreary ABSA Currie Cup match in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.Persistent rain earlier in the day made for waterlogged conditions and sporadic showers during the match only added to the tally of handling errors.

Flyhalf Willem de Waal again carried the load for Western Province, scoring all his team’s points with three successful penalty-kicks. The Cheetahs managed to goal a single penalty in three attempts by flyhalf Chris Rossouw.

The highlight of a tiresome match was the home team’s accurate lineout, as Western Province won 14 of 18 attempts at the set piece. The Cheetahs only claimed six of their 10 lineout throws, thanks in most part to the spoiling work of WP locks Ross Skeate and Adriaan Fondse.

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Earl Rose scores hat-trick for Lions

Published on Jul 5th, 2008, 2 Comments

earl-rose.jpg Earl Rose scored a hat-trick to help the Xerox Lions secure their first win of the season when they beat the Valke 35-23 (half-time 18-8) in an ABSA Currie Cup game at Coca-Cola Park on Friday.

The game played at the stadium formerly known as Ellis Park, heralded the venue’s new name and the Lions administration will be hoping that the lucrative change of name deal will bring with it fortunes on the field as well.

The hosts bolted out of the blocks, playing at break-neck intensity from kick off and were immediately rewarded with a try in the second minute when eigthman Wilhelm Koch picked up a loose ball before off-loading to lock-cum-flank Franco van der Merwe who raced in from the 22m line.

The Lions pace characteristically fizzled out very quickly while the Valke showed they belong at this level and the final score reflects unfairly on the performance of the men from the East Rand.

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Australia smash France in Sydney

Published on Jun 30th, 2008, 2 Comments

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Australia scored 24 unanswered points in 20 minutes after the break to ease to a comfortable 34-13 win over a third-string French side at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday.

Leading just 10-6 at half-time, the Wallabies stepped up the pace after the break to easily brushed aside the mediocre French outfit. France managed a late consolation try after the Wallabies eased up in the final 20 minutes.

It was a much better second half, especially if you were a Wallaby supporter but even if you were a neutral. Somebody struck a match and set the game alight – at least for half an hour.

In that half an hour the Wallabies raced clear. In fact it was 21 points in an 11-minute blitz that finished off the French side.

The big change for the Wallabies may have been the introduction of Phil Waugh or just a changed mindset that determined to make the tackle/rucks more effective. Till then the game had been a patchy affair with loads of handling errors and the tackle aggression coming from the French team, no doubt determined to get rid of their also-rans tag. After all there were no players from France’s top four teams – which is France’s fault, not Australia’s. Eventually that half-hour blitz put the French in their place, for they were well and truly beaten and it would have come as no surprise if the score had been much higher.

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Spain are the Euro 2008 champions

Published on Jun 30th, 2008, No Comments

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Spain won only their second major tournament on June 29, beating Germany in the Euro 2008 final in Vienna 1 – 0, Fernando Torres’ solitary strike in the first half proving enough to separate the two teams.

Long considered international football’s biggest underachievers, Spain finally broke their duck 24 years after last appearing in a final, the 13th edition of the European championship proving lucky for them.

Spain went into the tournament with the most talented squad and played the most consistent football in Austria and Switzerland, deservedly winning the trophy. Even the absence of David Villa, who ended Euro 2008 as its top scorer with four goals but missed the final with a thigh injury, did not seem to put off a Spanish side that has reached new heights of team spirit and cohesiveness.

Throughout the tournament, Spain stuck to a patient style of knocking the ball about, wearing down teams with their patient passing, and it was no different in the final.

Even though Germany started more dangerously than their opponents, Spain quickly overcame their nerves and created the first dangerous chance, Iniesta’s cross deflecting off Christoph Metzelder to prompt a reflex save from Jens Lehmann in the 14th minute.

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