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Five Springboks who put their hands up for World Cup spots

Football The South African

A number of layers in the Springboks 'B-team' put their hands up for World Cup spots on Saturday.
'Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’ largely experimental delivered the goods against Australia in the Rugby Championship opener at Ellis Park on Saturday, with some players putting their hands up for further honours. The hosts registered a resounding 35-17 victory against a strong Wallabies side , with individual brilliance proving the decisive factor at crucial moments. While the likes of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Elton Jantjies and Eben Etzebeth delivered fine performances, their spots in the Boks’ first team have never been in doubt, and it was the rookies and the returnees who caught the eye, as well as a few players who might have perhaps been on the verge of losing their grip on their starting places, with competition for spots heating up months away from the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Warrick Gelant Cape Town-180623- Springbok player Warrick Gelant tackled by Henry Slade of England in the last game of the Castle Lager Test between Springboks and England at Newlands Stadium photographer:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA Injury stalled his progress in 2018, but the Bulls man was back in the green and gold, and produced arguably the best performance in his six Test caps. Always a constant threat on attack, Gelant was always eager to join the line and played a crucial hand in S’bu Nkosi’s try, which put some distance between the two sides. S’bu Nkosi S’bu Nkosi congratulates Herschel Jantjies after scoring his try on debut during the 2019 Rugby Championship. Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images The Sharks winger is one of those with perhaps one foot on that plane to Japan, but could have feared falling down the pecking order, thanks to competition for places in his position being as tight as ever, coupled with a relatively quiet Super Rugby campaign. The match against the Wallabies was a huge opportunity for Nkosi to strengthen his grip on the no.14 jersey, and he grasped it with both hands, scoring a try that capped off an assured all-round performance which began with him showing a clean pair of heels to set up the first score. Herschel Jantjies Herschel Jantjies scores a try during the 2019 Rugby Championship. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK The stand-out performer on Test debut, and his performance might have pretty much penciled his name in as understudy to Faf de Klerk at the World Cup. The diminutive scrumhalf barely put a foot wrong on his way to bagging two tries, and displayed a great deal of energy and game awareness. Francois Louw Francois Louw of South Africa during the 2016 The Castle Lager Rugby Championship South Africa Press Conference at Kashmir Resturant, Umhlanga South Africa on 03 October 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix Dispelled any notion that his powers were waning by putting on possibly his best performance in a Bok jersey in recent years. Louw effected the steal that ultimately saw Jantjies dive over for the first try, and nullified the threat posed by Aussie skipper Michael Hooper at the breakdown. Frans Steyn Montpellier’s South African number eight François Steyn places the ball during the European rugby champions cup match between Montpellier and Glasgow Warriors on December 16, 2017 at the Altrad stadium in Montpellier, southern France. (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT / AFP) His experience, versatility and X-factor makes him an vital member of any squad he can possibly turn up for, but needed to prove he can still produce the goods in Test rugby after being out in the wilderness for over two years. The 32-year-old needed just a cameo off the bench to prove he’s still up to scratch, and more performances of the same standard could see him leapfrog the man he came on to replace, André Esterhuizen in the pecking order and, ultimately, wrestle the number 12 jersey from Damian de Allende.'

Orlando Pirates fans await Khuzwayo’s Soweto Derby debut

Football The South African

Stopper Brilliant Khuzwayo looks set to make his Orlando Pirates full debut against Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup next weekend.
'It has been over a year since Nhanhla Brilliant Khuzwayo joined Orlando Pirates from rivals Kaizer Chiefs but the goalkeeper is yet to kick a ball in anger. Khuzwayo has been sidelined by a serious ankle injury that has prevented him from making his Pirates debut but fans remain eager to see the stopper between the sticks. Orlando Pirates have listed four potential keepers for the Carling Black Label Cup. Despite Wayne Sandilands ending last season as the Buccaneers number one keeper, it is Khuzwayo who leads the voting by some distance. Also involved in that race are veteran stopper Siyabonga Mpontshane who has been on Pirates’ books since 2015. Mpontshane played 15 PSL matches last season but had the unfortunate distinction of being in goal for two cup defeats on penalties. Pirates have signed another keeper in the current transfer window, snapping up French goalie Joris Delle on a free transfer back in June. Brilliant Khuzwayo joined Orlando Pirates from rivals Kaizer Chiefs after the 2017/18 season. Photo: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images Orlando Pirates allow Khuzwayo to emerge from Khune’s shadow The move to Orlando Pirates was intended to allow the undeniably talented Khuzwayo to move out of Itumeleng Khune’s shadow. Khuzwayo made just 25 league appearances for Amakhosi in the six seasons he spent at Naturena. He was part of Bafana Bafana’s 2015 Afcon squad, playing only the 2-1 defeat to Ghana. His other international caps have all come in friendly matches. Pirates technical team have taken a very cautious stance on Khuzwayo, feeling that rushing him back into action could threaten the longevity of the keeper’s career. Fans on one side of the Soweto divide learned that their inspirational keeper would not take to the field for the CBL cup when Chiefs announced Khune was not ready to return to action in the curtain-raiser. Pirates kept Khuzwayo’s condition as a closely guarded secret last season, giving little away leaving fans frustrated as they waited for a first look at the keeper in a Sea Robbers shirt. His only action all of last season was a single Multichoice Diski appearance. As things stand if Khuzwayo is not fit, Mpontshane will take the gloves as he currently has the second-highest number of votes, however, when a player is withdrawn fans are allowed to recast any votes cast for that player. The Carling Black Label Cup will take place on 27 July at a sold-out FNB Stadium.'

Sharks Repeat Final Heroics Against Province

Football iAfrica.com

The Sharks put their campaign back on track with a hard-earned 32-27 win over Western Province in Durban on Saturday.In a replay of last year’s Final, the defending-champion Sharks outscored WP by four tries to three – the difference in the end.
'The Sharks put their campaign back on track with a hard-earned 32-27 win over Western Province in Durban on Saturday.In a replay of last year’s Final, the defending-champion Sharks outscored WP by four tries to three – the difference in the end.It was not a classic game, but neither team can be faulted for their effort.Execution, however, was the real issue for both teams.It was a dissatisfactory start by Western Province, with two knock-ons – the second resulting in a penalty after the ball was played from an offs-side position – affording Curwin Bosch to slot a penalty in the third minute to open the home team’s account.However, Lubabalo Mtembu promptly handed a penalty back to the visitors, with Sarel Marais levelling the scores after five minutes.WP was then reduced to 14 men – scrumhalf Justin Phillips sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul, after he killed the ball in the tackle near his own tryline.From the resulting penalty, the Sharks opted for a scrum And exploited the extra man, Lwazi Mvovo strolling over in the left corner.Bosch failed to add the extras – 8-3.Province again hit back quickly, Jaco Coetzee getting the armchair ride from a fast-moving maul over the line.The TMO had a few looks at the build-up, ruling that there was obstruction.WP had an advantage for the Sharks illegally taking out support players at the line-out and the visitors opted for another line-out five metres out.This time there was no doubt, as Coetzee wormed his way over from closer range.Marais put WP in the lead with the conversion – 10-8 after 27 minutes.With just on five minutes remaining in the first half, Province was penalised for offside play by their backs.Bosch, however, was way off target again.The home tea, soon reclaimed the lead when Kobus van Wyk strolled over in the right-hand corner, after a sublime long pass out wide by Curwin Bosch.Bosch added the extras for a 15-10 lead – which they took into the half-time break.Less than two minutes into the second half Jon_payl Pietersen intercepted a loopy pass by Jean-Luc du Plessis and raced clear for his team’s third try.Bosch made it a 22-10 lead with the conversion.Just on the 55-minute mark, WP was penalised for illegal clearing out at the tackle and Bosch stretched the lead to 25-10.The visitors compounded their dire situation with a litany of errors, constantly handing possession back to the Sharks.Right on the hour mark Ruhan Nel corkscrewed his way over the line, after a period of sustained pressure.Marais’ conversion narrowed the gap to 17-25.Province’s error count continued to mount, as they looked to find a way back into the game.Their discipline also let them down on occasions.In the 70th minute, Marais narrowed the gap to just five points (20-25) with a penalty.However, almost straight from the restart, the Sharks countered from deep, with Craig Burden finishing off a great move, after a sublime inside pass from Kobus van Wyk (32-20). Province continued to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Sharks, with Josh Stander sniping over in the 77th minute.Marais conversion made it a five-point game again – 27-32.That is how it stayed to the end.Man of the match: Salmaan Moerat produced his usual high workrate.John Schickerling justified his selection on the flank, his high workrate and great skillset making him a massive asset for the visitors.Flyhalf Curwin Bosch had an erratic game at flyhalf, but he was at least better than Province No.10 Jean-Luc du Plessis – who was yanked from the field around the 50-minute mark, following a horror show that included a gift of a try with an intercept pass.Sharks prop Coenie Oosthuizen produced the kind of performance that may earn him a Springbok recall.Ruben van Heerden also lived up to his high profile as a talent for the future, while Luke Stringer was the calming influence in a hard-working pack.Co-captain Jeremy Ward was everything that was good about the Sharks – solid on defence, carrying strongly and generally playing with energy, looking top get involved in the action.He wins our award.The scorers For the Sharks: Tries: Mvovo, Van Wyk, Pietersen, Burden Cons: Bosch 3 Pens: Bosch For Western Province Tries: Coetzee, Nel, Stander Cons: Marais 3 Pens: Marais 2 Yellow card: Justin Phillips (Western Province, 16 – cynical foul, killing the ball at the breakdown) Teams: Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jon-Paul Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman.Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Aphelele Fassi.Western Province: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 John Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie.Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry.Referee: Stuart Berry Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Vusi Msibi TMO: Marius Jonker . 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