It’s almost too much to ask to keep up with everything going on in sports. And I’m not just talking about our own rugby, cricket, swimming, netball, athletics, football, cycling and who knows what else.
Before I get to the many dates, sports, fixtures and matches, however, I want to write about the increasing trend of violence at matches where the referees – even during matches – and also opponents of the home team, after matches, are assaulted by spectators.
And then you don’t even talk about car tires being slashed or referees having to hide in dressing rooms after matches…
This happens in many unions, but as so often in the past, OP Rugby is still – apart from about four years under André Rademan before he became a victim of Covid – the very biggest source of disorder since the chairmanship of Cheeky Watson in particular.
Their suspended president Maasdorp Cannon last week banned all club and school matches – a reasonable decision, although it was issued by a man who has been suspended by SA Rugby for two years. (He appealed the suspension and thus remains president until its outcome.)
The violence is alarming. And the OP is not the only union with problem spectators. In the past two years, there have been quite a few cases even at school level, with assaults in Griquas and in Durban that immediately come to mind. There were also many others of which I do not remember the details; even one where the father of a school player in the Western Cape physically threatened the coach about his son not playing for the first team.
▪ In the OP, all matches from, among others, Klipfontein and Kowie were previously canceled due to violence towards match officials, and Jeffereys Bay could not continue with home matches.
The Jefferys Bay penalty followed three players from their opponents, PE Harlequins, being hospitalized with stab wounds.
How many young players, at school level and not just at the involved offending clubs, but at ALL clubs, are now in the OP unable to enjoy their sport or look forward to matches every week?
And how many of the club players and senior school players will not return to the game next season?
Tons of sports
How many of our rugby sevens followers know how World Rugby’s tournament structure will change and also where the tournament will be played from now on? Cape Town was fortunately retained as a tournament field.
And how many readers know, as I predicted a month ago, about players from New Zealand and/or Australia in teams from the South Sea Islands which has already become a reality and which will increase even more as the World Cup approaches?
It will be Fiji and Samoa in particular that come up with a surprise choice of a former All Black and/or Wallaby.
- In the meantime, dozens of “friendly” tests are being played by each country that will participate in the rugby World Cup tournament in France in just over five weeks.
- Wayde van Niekerk, after his injury in a touch rugby “preliminary” at Newlands in 2017, is once again on track to become the leading athlete in the 400 m – and who knows, maybe improve his world record from 2016 in the Olympic Games. Akani Simbine is also close to his best again in the 100 m.
South Africa’s women have been admitted to the core group of World Rugby sevens. Our women’s fifteens are African champions.
This past weekend, Tatjana Schoenmaker won the gold in the World Championship’s 200 m breaststroke and added the title to her Olympic gold after she had earlier also won an unexpected silver medal in the 100 m breaststroke in the event in Japan.
This year there was also the novelty of money rugby for women, with the Bulls paying its contracted Daisies the same as its contracted men. The Daisies have won all ten of their games with bonus points so far, scoring 423 points to just 33 against and scoring 87 threes to just six.
The SWD Eagirls and the Free State’s women’s team will play in the Eersteliga’s final in Bloemfontein on Saturday to determine who will be promoted next year.
The Banyana Banyana plays in the Women’s Soccer World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Boland’s new sponsors
The Boland sold 74% of its shares to shareholders (Patrice Motsepe and Johann Rupert). This union with 212 clubs (and this does not include the three or so teams per club!) will now be able to become a force again under the (eventual!) good union management and with the mentioned financial injection.
In addition, there is the extraordinary increase in many competitions and series of sports other than rugby all over the world, such as the T20 series in the USA in which a whole bunch of South Africans and other international stars participate to establish this type of cricket there – South African players such as Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Tristan Stubbs, Wayne Parnell, Dewald Brevis, Rusty Theron and Heinrich Klaassen.
De Kock saw his team, the Seattle Orcas, through to the Major Cricket League’s final on Sunday with 88 off just 50 balls that included 10 fours and four sixes.
In the Orcas’ previous match, Klaassen led his team to victory over MI New York with an unbeaten 110 from just 44 balls.
There are also, of course, quite a few stars from other leading cricket countries’ Test teams and T20 series who took part in the USA novelty, such as Devon Conway, David Wiese, Trent Boult, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Santner and many others. And just think, they are paid in US dollars!
- South Africa’s selection players, who lost to England in the final of the Women’s World Cup in Cape Town, are now playing all over the world in the various professional teams.
- Test cricket’s future is increasingly threatened and international one-day matches will also become less important against the T20’s big bucks. But the battle for the Aces produced some excellent cricket.
New rugby competitions
This year two new rugby competitions have been announced which will affect South Africa’s leading junior players.
- The latest, moreover at international level, is the new u.20 series of the four Rugby Championship countries: South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia. This is a significant move that will ensure that the four Sanzaar countries can participate in the annual Rugby Championship on an equal footing with the Six Nations countries.
The six teams in their tournament, who have of course been participating in the Six Nations competition for years at under-20 level (and now also at school level), again this year at the World Tournament in the Western Cape with good teamwork and a knowledge of who their best players are. arrived at the tournament of five games in the tournament in the Cape. Three of the four teams in the semi-final were from the Six Nations group: the winner France, Ireland and England, with South Africa the fourth team.
France were impressive as they demolished the Irish in the final. The Junior Goats beat England for third place.
- The other new competition is the one initiated by the Blue Bulls Rugby Union and UXi Sports’ International Rugby Institutes.
This is a meaningful cross-border club competition for U.20 teams that have now started with play-offs.
The series of matches, with under-20 clubs from three regions, North (clubs of the Blue Bulls, Lions, Leopards, Pumas), South (WP clubs) and Central (among others Griquas and Free State) playing among themselves in their own group before matches against the other groups’ best, the quarter- and semi-finals will be played on 23 and 30 September.
The Blue Bulls are represented by Tuks, Naka Bulls and Centurion in the matches between the three regions.
- Still at junior rugby level, we have the national under-21 Cup and Shield series which starts on 26 August. This, as it were, is the Currie Cup for South Africa’s u.21s where a few future stars can further showcase their talents.
- The junior weeks such as the Cravenweek and the Grant Khomoweek have also been extended to girls.
Netball’s World Championship
And speaking of women: Netball’s World Championship starts on Friday in Cape Town. It is the second most popular sport in South Africa, although this number of more than two million players is based on player numbers announced by municipalities.
There are almost 20,000 registered club players and the schools’ players close to 400,000.
Netball SA will now actively try to establish structures and formal clubs in the unstructured netball in the country’s many municipalities.
South Africa started well and according to the rating was at most a good outside horse. Australia, who have won the tournament eleven times, are the favourites. According to the bookmakers, our netball team had the fifth best chance of winning the title, with Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand and England the favorites to reach the semi-finals and also having the best chance, in that order. to win the tournament.
Of the many other sports and events
The Tour de France has just ended and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio from South Africa achieved a very good fifth place in her first participation.
- All over the world, and also in South Africa, boxing has been given a new lease of life; our men’s hockey team qualified to play in the International Hockey Federation’s professional series for 2023/24, but lacked the money to participate; there are dozens of rugby matches taking place in preparation for the World Cup; excellent performances were given in the Diamond Athletics League by world stars; soccer’s Women’s World Cup is currently taking place; for soccer fans, there are series in Europe and in South America that they can pick and choose from.