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Ken Borland

Lions winners of a pulsating epic 0

Posted on April 01, 2017 by Ken


The Lions were the winners of a pulsating, high-quality SuperRugby derby against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday night, edging the visitors 34-29 in a gripping encounter that had all the intensity of some of the famous Test matches the Springboks have played at the venue.

The Lions were obviously not at their best, perhaps rattled by the tremendous physical onslaught brought by the Sharks, and they made numerous handling errors. But the sign of a champion side is their ability to win the games when things aren’t going their way, and they did that through a 77th-minute Jaco Kriel try.

The Sharks were superb – none more so than Curwin Bosch, the precocious flyhalf who later shifted to fullback, and produced one of the most incredible kicks seen at the famous stadium when he slotted an angled penalty from 65 metres that put the KwaZulu-Natalians 29-26 ahead in the 71st minute.

The Sharks were undone largely by a string of penalties against them by referee Jaco van Heerden, particularly for high tackles, an offence that saw Etienne Oosthuizen yellow-carded just before halftime. The lock, a perennial liability when it comes to discipline, had earlier caused a try to be disallowed by targeting the neck, and when he was carded, the Lions immediately scored so his indiscretions cost the Sharks at least 12 points.

The visitors will not be happy though with the performance of the TMO Johan Greeff, who was happy to point out every time the Sharks went above the shoulder, but turned the blindest of eyes to clear instances when the Lions committed the same offence.

The Sharks have history with Greeff and coach Robert du Preez made his displeasure over the inconsistencies clear after the game.

That the Sharks were intent on upping the intensity of the contest, especially in terms of physicality, was clear from the start and the Lions conceded a first-minute penalty at the ruck, which Bosch slotted (3-0).

In the eighth minute they fired a real warning shot at the Lions by scoring the opening try. Outside centre Lukhanyo Am managed to make ground through Rohan Janse van Rensburg as the newest Springbok centre was unsuccessful in stripping him of the ball. Kobus van Wyk, coming from the opposite wing, was then barking for the ball as he ran a great line, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach delivering, and prop Coenie Oosthuizen then stormed for the tryline, having just enough in the legs to dot down in Warren Whiteley’s tackle.

Bosch converted and the Sharks were 10-0 up.

But the set-piece lays much of the platform for the Lions’ success and the home side began to exert pressure on the Sharks, especially at the lineout. A scrappy 14th-minute effort saw Lions lock Andries Ferreira pounce on the tap-down, leading to a penalty and Elton Jantjies was able to give last year’s SuperRugby runners-up their first points (3-10).

Bosch, meanwhile, was grouping together 50-60 metre touchfinders and he showed tremendous accuracy to go with length off the tee as well as he nailed a 57m penalty to stretch the lead to 13-3 in the 19th minute.

A 25th-minute penalty then rebounded off the post, with the Sharks regathering possession and scoring in the corner. But Van Heerden and Greeff had a whole bunch of questions about the try and eventually it was disallowed and the Lions given a penalty under their poles for Etienne Oosthuizen’s high tackle in the build-up.

It only further opened up the can of worms when an innocuous high tackle was again penalised and Jantjies kicked a penalty to close the gap to 6-13.

Bosch opened up a 10-point lead again with a superb 34th-minute drop goal as the Sharks were making little headway against a Lions team that had stepped up their intensity, and when Oosthuizen was yellow-carded for the same offence just before halftime it was an enormous moment.

The penalty allowed the Lions to set up an attacking position close to the tryline, hooker Malcolm Marx proving an unstoppable force after the lineout drive.

Jantjies converted and the Lions were just 13-16 down after a first half in which they had been bossed for long periods, setting the scene for an epic second half.

And it took the Lions just four minutes after the break to take the lead, an incisive finish by wing Courtnall Skosan completing their second try after scrumhalf Faf de Klerk had broken away on the short side after an impressive scrum.

Jantjies converted (20-16) and then fullback Andries Coetzee emulated Bosch with an excellent long-range drop goal, which came after Skosan, fielding a missed touchfinder from centre Andre Esterhuizen, had run headlong into the huge abs of Coenie Oosthuizen, but managed to survive and recycle the ball.

Bosch had pretty much been a bystander for the previous 20 minutes, but a move to fullback as Innocent Radebe slotted in at flyhalf and Michael Claassens came on at scrumhalf, saw the Sharks regain the initiative.

The top-class distribution skills of Claassens and Radebe certainly seemed to help them, and a long pass out wide to Van Wyk from Radebe, after he had taken the ball to the line, led to a much-needed try for the Sharks in the 55th minute.

Bosch converted to level the scores at 23-23 and then kicked a penalty.

The Lions’ championship credentials were certainly being refined by fire and they managed to draw level again in the 67th minute through a Jantjies penalty after Van Heerden penalised the Sharks at a scrum although they were dominant.

But Bosch replied with his incredible 65m angled penalty after a Lions infringement, but it would only be enough for the silver medal on the day.

Another high tackle call against the Sharks allowed Jantjies to level the scores again and then, with three minutes remaining, the counter-attacking skills of Coetzee and replacement flank Kwagga Smith were like gold for the Lions.

Bosch could not kick directly into touch because the ball had been carried back into the 22 and Coetzee ran the ball back, before a great run by Smith, and then flanker Kriel came roaring through for the matchwinning try.

Jantjies did not convert, but the Sharks were unable to hang on to the ball in the closing stages of the match in Lions territory, and the home side had survived to post an invaluable victory.


Lions – Tries: Malcolm Marx, Courtnall Skosan, Jaco Kriel. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (4). Drop goal: Andries Coetzee.

Sharks – Tries: Coenie Oosthuizen, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalties: Bosch (4). Drop goal: Bosch.


High-quality SA fast bowling stuffs Sri Lanka 0

Posted on October 08, 2012 by Ken

South Africa’s high-quality fast bowling stuffed Sri Lanka as they beat them by 32 runs in their rain-reduced ICC World T20 match at Hambantota on Saturday.

7th over – WICKET – Dilshan Munaweera’s struggles are over as, after scoring 13 off 14 balls, he cuts Albie Morkel to Farhaan Behardien at deep point. Albie should have another wicket two balls later as Lahiru Thirimanne tries to steer his first ball, a shortish delivery, over short third man, where Morne Morkel leaps, gets two hands to the ball above his head but it slips through.

6th over – Thisara Perera is out for one as he pulls a back-of-a-length delivery from Dale Steyn straight to deep midwicket. Jeevan Mendis collects a well-struck boundary as he bashes the fast bowler straight down the ground for a one-bounce four.

5th over – Jacques Kallis is introduced and has Kumar Sangakkara dropped for a second time with his first ball! Sangakkara, on 10, top-edges a hook as Kallis bangs the ball in short on the receptive surface, the ball steepling to midwicket, where Albie Morkel is perfectly positioned, but the ball slips out! Two balls later, Kallis also digs the ball in short to Munaweera, whose hook shot it also top-edged, but it flies over short fine-leg for four. WICKET – But Kallis eventually gets reward with the penultimate ball of the over as Sangakkara edges a wild swipe to leg and is caught behind by AB de Villiers for 13 off 11 balls.

4th over – Sangakkara creates some room for himself with good footwork and drives Johan Botha crisply through extra cover for four.

3rd over – Another superb over from Morne Morkel but the last ball sees Sangakkara dropped on one as he slices a leg-side heave towards third man, poor old Faf du Plessis running from point, getting under the ball but spilling the catch!

2nd over – A great over from Steyn has cost just three runs and frustrated Sri Lanka. WICKET – Mahela Jayawardena has scored just four off six balls and he steps outside leg stump for the last ball of the over, but Steyn follows him, the Sri Lankan captain flicking the ball high to Behardien at deep square-leg.

1st over – Jayawardena gets the benefit of the doubt on a very close lbw shout first ball, swings wildly outside off stump and misses the second delivery, before driving Morne Morkel’s third ball inside-out high over cover-point for four. WICKET – But disaster then strikes for Sri Lanka as Tillakaratne Dilshan is run out without facing a ball! Jayawardena drives the ball to mid-off, where Albie Morkel fumbles. But Dilshan is on his heels and slow to set off for the single, Albie quickly recovers and throws the ball at the wicketkeeper’s end. The throw is a little wayward, but De Villiers does brilliantly to gather the ball and dive forward into the stumps, colliding with Dilshan’s bat in the process and injuring his forearm. But the dangerous opener is caught centimetres short of his ground!

South Africa innings

Captain AB de Villiers provided the perfect spark as he lifted South Africa to 78 for four after their seven overs in their ICC World T20 match against Sri Lanka at Hambantota on Saturday.

7th over – WICKET – Faf du Plessis holes out to long-off with a lofted drive off Thisara Perera, having scored 13 off 11 balls, but JP Duminy ends the innings in style with a perfectly-executed scoop for a one-bounce four to fine leg and then a superbly struck straight six back over the seamer’s head.

6th over – Lasith Malinga returns, but his first ball is a wide outside off stump and his second is short and hooked magnificently for a massive six by De Villiers. The wicketkeeper/batsman slices the next delivery just over the covers for a couple more runs. WICKET – De Villiers steps outside off stump for the last ball of the over, but goes too early, Malinga sees him and pitches the ball full and wider. De Villiers can only mistime a lofted drive to deep mid-off, having plundered 30 off 13 balls.

5th over – A good start to the over for South Africa as De Villiers belts a reverse-sweep for four off Rangana Herath. Three balls later, the left-arm spinner thinks De Villiers is going to come down the pitch, but the South African captain hangs back, waits for the flatter, short delivery and pummels it over long-on for six.

3rd over – A superb over from left-arm spinner Herath costs just six runs and ends with the wicket of Hashim Amla. WICKET – Amla comes down the pitch for a heave-ho but misses an arm-ball, wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakarra pulling off a superb stumping from outside leg stump. That was beautiful glovework to send Amla on his way for 16 off nine balls.

2nd over – Malinga’s first ball is superbly driven over extra cover for four by Amla. Three balls later, Malinga is striving for his famous yorker, but it’s a half-volley and Amla carves the ball over extra cover again for another boundary.

1st over – WICKET – Richard Levi is deceived by a back-of-the-hand slower ball from Nuwan Kulasekara and his attempted lofted drive skews off the bat, high to wide mid-on, where Dilshan Munaweera, running from midwicket, dives to take a splendid catch. Levi scored four off four balls. Amla’s flashing blade scythes his first ball over the covers for four.

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