What an exciting Currie Cup weekend it was once again! In Wellington Vodacom Western Province battled to a 23 – 7 victory over the Boland Kavaliers on poor field conditions and failed to gain their vital bonus point to stay in contention for the semi-finals.
“The pre-match withdrawal of captain Jean de Villiers with a stomach bug and the pressure on Western Province to score four tries, conspired to destabilise the Cape Town outfit and ultimately cost them the all-important bonus point.
Given the context of the game, Boland’s patience, spoiling tactics and superb defensive resiliency proved to be an effective concoction for the home team, with the Kavaliers already resigned to a bottom-two finish and the visitors chasing the defending champion Cheetahs to clinch a playoff berth.
A jittery Western Province failed to convert their try-scoring opportunities and saw several promising offensive manoeuvres into Boland territory fizzle out because of unforced errors.
WP scored three tries through centre Sireli Naqelevuki (2) (redeeming himself after dropping the ball on the score line earlier!) and number eight Luke Watson, while inside centre Morgan Newman slotted a conversion and flyhalf Peter Grant kicked a pair of penalties.
Winger Danwel Demas scored Boland’s only try and fullback Justin Peach converted.”
The Sharks ended the weekend at the top of the log by beating the Lions 34 – 20 in Johannesburg.
Vodacom Western Province moved into the fourth place on the Currie Cup log by beating Wildeklawer Griquas 30 – 18 at Newlands on Friday night. The Cape Town -based team were the only team over the weekend to win their home game.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls did Vodacom WP a huge favour on Saturday evening when they beat the defending champions Vodacom Cheetahs 23-5 after leading 23 – 0 at halftime.
“The Bulls, despite their bright start, were unable to claim a four-try bonus point. Speedsters Bryan Habana and Marius Delport scored first-half tries for the visitors, but the rest of their points came via the boot of flyhalf Morne Steyn.
“Steyn, who recently recorded his 500th Absa Currie Cup point, added 13 points through two conversions and three penalties and is closing on Xerox Lions pivot Earl Rose as the leading points-scorer this season. Rose has scored 161 points this Absa Currie Cup season, with Steyn next best on 153.
Afterwards, Bulls captain Victor Matfield admitted: “We stood back and watched in the second half, but to be honest, the wind was a bit stronger than it seemed out there. It’s no excuse, however, and we need to use our chances better in our next match.”
The Bulls, chasing home ground advantage in the play-offs and a first outright Absa Currie Cup title since 2004, will travel to Kimberley next weekend to take on the Wildeklawer Griquas, whilst the Vodacom FS Cheetahs have a chance for redemption when they take on the Valke in Brakpan.
A very unlikely combination of a New Zealand Captain and a ex-Springbok coach will face Australia on the 3rd December in the Olympic Centenary Match.
“New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been confirmed as one of the leading international star for the Barbarians team to face the Wallabies, with the BaaBaas to be coached by World Cup-winning Bok mentor Jake White.
Confirmation of McCaw’s participation in the match comes just days after he captained his country to a 28-24 victory over Australia in the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup decider at the weekend.
White, who guided the Boks to World Cup glory last year in France, said Wednesday: “It is a wonderful privilege for me to be invited by the Barbarians and to be involved in this very special match.”
Barbarians president Micky Steele-Bodger said: “As well as these top quality players from overseas, we also have an agreement with Premier Rugby in England for the release of several players to represent us in this match.
“We are hopeful that top players from elsewhere in the British Isles will also be involved,” he said.
“We will have a truly international side to take on Australia.”
Last December the Barbarians beat South Africa 22-5 at Twickenham.
This latest high-profile match for the Barbarians, Rugby Union’s most prestigious invitational side, celebrates 100 years since the Olympic Games, which return to England’s capital in 2012, were first staged in London.
It seems that Ricky Januarie will be able to play the rest of the year since his driving under the influence of alcohol case has been postponed to 29 January 2009.
“Januarie, who was arrested by police in the early hours of Sunday morning in Durbanville near Cape Town, has been named to play for Western Province in a Currie Cup match against Griquas at Newlands on Friday. WP coach Allister Coetzee confirmed this week that he will continue to select the player, despite the scrumhalf’s off-field troubles.”
The commercial manager and legal representative of the Stormers and Province teams, Frikkie Erasmus told rugby365.com that the prosecution is still waiting on the forensic analysis of Januarie’s blood sample.
“Erasmus maintains that when he visited Januarie at the police station after his arrest on Sunday that the No.9 “definitely did not look like someone that was under the influence of alcohol”. He added that he will appeal to the Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw the case against Januarie.”
The Sharks moved to the top of the Currie Cup log on Saturday bu beating the Vodacom Freestate Cheetahs 22 -10.
“The Vodacom Blue Bulls, the Xerox Lions and Vodacom Western Province all joined the Sharks in celebrating wins, with the majority of all Absa Currie Cup teams sporting ‘No to Racism’ slogans on their chests this weekend – a simple, yet effective message from the South African Rugby Union, the provinces and their sponsors in a dramatic statement against racism.
The Sharks are now on 42 points after 11 matches; two ahead of the second-placed Vodacom Blue Bulls, followed by the Lions on 36 points and the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, who have slipped down to fourth place (still on 32 points).
The match of the weekend saw the Sharks finally beat the Vodacom FS Cheetahs in an Absa Currie Cup match – their first win over the Free Staters since the 2003 season, some 10 matches ago.
The home side led 17-10 at half-time and were full value for their victory, but they were unable to secure a bonus point in the dying minutes of the match, with some desperate Cheetahs defence denying them at the death.
“Not getting the bonus point in the end was disappointing for us,” admitted Sharks skipper Johann Muller, “but credit to the Cheetahs, their defence was good on the night.”
The Springbok coach Peter de Villiers might be in trouble for racist remarks made by him last weekend after the possible exstence of a sexual video became public.
“The South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Thursday that SARU president Oregan Hoskins had spoken to De Villiers about some of the Bok coach’s statements. De Villiers claimed the allegations that he had been videotaped engaging in a sex act in public was a “smear campaign” to oust him, South Africa’s first black Springbok coach.The Bok coach even threatened to “give the [Bok] job back to the whites” and denied categorically that he was involved in any sexual impropriety.”
The coversation between Hoskins and De Villiers took place over the phone and Hoskins will telephonically brief the SARU management committee on his conversations with Mr de Villiers regarding certain statements Mr de Villiers made in the wake of the reports that the Springbok coach had been the victim of a fake blackmail plot.
Another member of the SARU executive committee, Hein Mentz, also told Die Burger that De Villiers’ statements are on the agenda.
“We are very sensitive in regards to matters such as transformation and related statements. The question is whether he was quoted correctly. It is a sensitive matter that needs to be addressed,” Mentz told the newspaper.
“” = rugby365.com
Vodacom Western Province flanker Schalk Burger from Western Province was cleared on technical grounds after facing a disciplinary hearing in Cape Town yesterday.
Burger was cited after being ordered from the field following two yellow card incidents in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup match against Free State in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Committee chairman Willem Gaum ruled that a player could not be cited for an incident after having been ordered from the field in such circumstances.
Due to this technicality the chairman ruled that Burger had no case to answer.
Burger is thus free to face the Valke in Saturday’s Currie Cup clash.