The Reuters global sports blog
Australia’s shock win over South Africa in Saturday’s Tri-Nations breathed new life into a series that was in real danger of fizzling out.
The Wallabies’ 21-6 win not only stalled South Africa’s seemingly unstoppable march to this year’s title but also provided some much needed entertainment.
Most of the previous matches in this year’s series had been reduced to a glorified kicking contest with all three teams resorting to the same tedious kick and chase tactics normally reserved for the nothern hemisphere teams.
In the seven games played by the southern hemisphere giants this series, only once has a team managed to scored four tries to earn a bonus point.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Wednesday, hours before Semenya was due to run, that the procedure for a gender test had started following her rapid performance improvement in the past year.
from Africa News blog:
Eighteen-year-old Mokgadi ‘Caster’ Semenya is being celebrated as a national hero in South Africa after winning the 800 metres at the World Athletics Championships, but the decision by international athletics officials to order a gender verification test has stirred deep anger – and brought accusations of prejudice against the country and the continent.
Many in South Africa feel a victory by their talented young athlete is being tarnished by bad losers and a world all too ready to mock. Sensitivities to prejudice are never far from the surface in the country where apartheid white minority rule ended just 15 years ago.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has a hard enough time as it is trying to convince the South African media that he knows what he is talking about but his utterances on Schalk Burger have undermined any credibility he has earned from overseeing a series win over the British and Irish Lions.
Saturday’s decisive second test, won 28-25 by the Boks, was one of the most brutal seen for many years, both in terms of legal and illegal contact from both sides.
It was a close one but South Africa have won the series after replacement flyhalf Morne Steyne landed a 55-metre penalty in the last minute to give them a 28-25 victory over the British and Irish Lions in the second test.
The Springboks took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Home flanker Schalk Burger was sin-binned in the first minute for gouging Luke Fitzgerald and the Lions, with a try by Mike Phillips, scored 10 points in his absence and deservedly led 16-8 at the break in contrast to the first test.
Tough economic times and possibly just too much rugby have combined to produce the unthinkable in South Africa — empty seats for test matches against the British and Irish Lions.
After the early provincial games were played in half-full stadiums, local officials were forced to give away tickets in a bid to bump up the numbers and build a bit of atmosphere.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The Confederations Cup, effectively a warm-up tournament for the World Cup, rarely captures the imagination but fans in the United States aren't lacking enthusiasm for the tournament after their team produced a major upset by defeating European champions Spain 2-0.
Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey ended Spain's world record run of 15 successive victories and their 35-match unbeaten sequence, a world record streak they share with Brazil. That run has taken Spain to world number one in FIFA's global rankings.
The “dark arts’ of rugby’s front row have long-suppposed to be a mystery for all bar the hulking props and hookers who face off in the “trenches” but it didn’t take an expert to figure out something significant was happening in the first half of South Africa’s defeat of the British and Irish Lions last weekend.
England World Cup winner and former captain Phil “Raging Bull” Vickery was taken apart by Springbok prop Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira, a novice 10 years his junior and not previously noted for his scrummaging prowess.
A mighty fightbcak from the Lions fell just short on Saturday as South Africa held on for a 26-21 vicotry in the first test in Durban.
The Lions were outplayed comprehensively in the first half but they dominated the last half hour or so, with a second try from Tom Croft and one from Mike Phillips, and gave South Africa a real fright.
All professional sportsmen talk about how important their supporters are but when it comes to the British and Irish Lions there really is a special bond.