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Tristan Stubbs and Rilee Rossouw top SA20 auction prices

Tristan Stubbs and Rilee Rossouw were the top two buys at the SA20 auction on Monday, going for a whopping R9.2m and R6.9m respectively.
‘I would have loved to play for anyone, so just being a part of it is quite awesome,” Stubbs said.
“I didn’t want to watch it, but I was forced to watch it,” Stubbs said of the bidding war at the SA20 auction.
“There is nothing better than playing in front of a full crowd, and hopefully we can put on a spectacle for everyone and the crowds will pull in. I am open to whatever the team needs.”
MI Cape Town and Sunrisers Eastern Cape had a bidding war for the big-hitting Stubbs, but ultimately Stubbs’ home Eastern Province side prevailed.
“I just worked with [Stubbs] at the Hundred in Manchester. I said to the guys here, I’ve got two sons at home, but I also feel like I’ve got a third son here in South Africa with Tristan. That’s how much we enjoyed working together at the Hundred,” said MI Cape Town head coach Simon Katich.
“He’s a special talent — that’s why we went so hard. We took a long-term view to this auction as well, given that the local talent is in high demand and there’s plenty of it around.”
“We knew that some of the other teams had big budgets. He’s also with Mumbai in the IPL (Indian Premier League) as well so there was already that connection, but ultimately the bigger purse won out.”
Sunrisers Eastern Cape also went into battle for 22-year-old Marco Jansen with Joburg Super Kings, but ultimately rose to the top with a R6.1-million bid for the player — the third-highest amount of the day.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“Very cool to be playing with ‘Plank’ . I mean Jansen. Playing at St George’s will be really cool,” said Stubbs.
Meanwhile, Pretoria Capitals, under the stewardship of Graham Ford, secured the services of Rossouw who swooped in after a bidding war between MI Cape Town and Joburg Super Kings.
“Really exciting for us and everybody knows what a good player he’s become. He’s matured and played around the world and played in various competitions and wherever he’s gone he’s made an impact. [He is] important for us and the left-hander factor is always important, particularly at the top of the order,” said head coach Ford.
“When it comes to this sort of ...

Boks prevail in Buenos Aires after scoring bonus point against Pumas

The Springboks kept their chances of winning the 2022 Rugby Championships alive with a 36-20 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
South Africa 36 (22) Argentina 20 (6)
It took until the last minute of the game to secure a valuable bonus point that could still be the difference between winning and losing the Rugby Championship, but the Springboks left Buenos Aires with their objective met.
Hooker Malcolm Marx’s try in the dying embers of this wild encounter against the Pumas gave the Boks a 36-20 win. It was their fifth try of the match, to the two of the home team. By scoring three tries or more than their opponents, the Boks earned a bonus point and took a total of five log points from the encounter.
It means they are up to 14 points on the standings, level with the All Blacks. Both sides have home games in the final round next week to complete the closest Rugby Championship campaign in history.
Going into the penultimate round of matches all four sides were in contention for the title. Mathematically Australia, currently on 10 points, could still win it.
That would require a huge win over the All Blacks at Eden Park, where New Zealand haven’t lost for 28 years. And it would also need Argentina to thrash the Boks in Durban.
The reality is that the All Blacks are in pole position for the title following their controversial 39-37 win over the Wallabies in round five. They have a +41 points’ difference to the Boks’ +28 difference.
If both sides secure five log points in the final round, the Boks would need to beat Argentina by 13 points more than the All Blacks over Australia to be 2022 champions.
But for the Springboks to have a chance to win the title next week requires a monumental effort in front of a hostile crowd and a trigger-happy television match official (TMO) at the Estadio Libertadores De América.
Power pack
Not for the first time in history, the Springbok pack laid the foundation for victory. Marx was superb in every facet, winning a now customary breakdown penalty and scoring a try off the back of a rolling maul. He also made 14 tackles, second only to flank Franco Mostert’s 17.
With every commanding performance he puts in, it further makes a mockery of how it was possible to leave him out of the starting teams against the All Blacks and ...

SA rugby teams to feel the squeeze on squad resources during marathon European season

Do the respective franchises, with their 50-man squads, have the means to compete across international tournaments – the United Rugby Championship and, for the first time, the European Champions Cup?
South Africa’s franchises are heading into the unknown. While the Stormers and the Bulls proved a point when they contested the inaugural United Rugby Championship (URC) final in front of a big crowd in Cape Town, the reality is that the 2022/23 northern hemisphere season will place a greater strain on squad resources. Another title triumph is unlikely.
Do the respective franchises, with their 50-man squads, have the means to compete across international tournaments – the URC and, for the first time, the European Champions Cup? Each team will play 18 league games in the URC, and four preliminary matches in either the Champions Cup or Challenge Cup. A team that progresses to the final of each tournament will have played a whopping 27 matches over 39 weeks.
Essentially, the marathon European season can be divided into four parts. It will be interesting to see how each coach approaches the various challenges in each phase.
Phase 1: Test of depth
The franchises could not have asked for a tougher introduction to Europe in the 2021/22 URC. The Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers began their respective campaigns with four-match tours to the northern hemisphere, and all four struggled to adapt to local conditions, referees and the unique tempo of the rugby.
Perhaps the coaches and players will be wiser for that experience last year. They will have the benefit of competing at home and overseas in this first block of matches, and may have a chance to establish a foothold in the tournament.
But as was the case last year, they will be without their Springboks – who will turn their attention to the four-Test tour of Europe after fulfilling their Rugby Championship duties. This year, coach Jacques Nienaber will take an extended squad to Europe, and will field a midweek side – the SA Select XV – against Munster and Bristol.
It remains to be seen how many more players will be extracted from the South African franchise player pool, and how the quality of those sides will be diluted as a result. While selection represents an opportunity for a fringe player to stake a claim for higher honours, it does impact on the depth of the franchises. The local coaches will be hoping that no serious injuries ...

Boks have it all to play for against Pumas as Rugby Championship remains alive

Critical showdown between South Africa and Argentina for last round berth.
The All Blacks’ failure to secure a winning bonus point against Australia in their combined Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup clash in Melbourne on Thursday has raised the stakes in Buenos Aires.
It means that whichever of the Pumas and the Springboks could earn maximum points in tomorrow’s encounter will go into the last round with a realistic chance of winning the title.
Had the All Blacks secured a bonus point against the Wallabies in their dramatic 39-37 win, they would have had nine fingers on the trophy.
As it is, they have 14 points on the standings with the Boks and Pumas on nine each. A bonus point win in Buenos Aires would draw the Boks level with the All Blacks with a home game against Argentina to come.
The All Blacks, of course, are also at home in their final fixture — at Eden Park in Auckland against the Wallabies. They haven’t lost there since 1994.
New Zealand are certainly in pole position now after their dramatic win over Australia through an 81st minute try from Jordie Barrett following a controversial refereeing decision.
Matters in Australasia though, are secondary to needs in Buenos Aires. Both the Pumas and the Boks know that this is a semi-final. There is no next week.
Steady hand
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber chose the same starting XV that beat Australia 24-8 in Sydney two weeks ago, but there were three changes on the bench.
The decision to select the same starting XV is a clear sign that the experimentation of earlier in the season has given way to the more prosaic needs of winning and building combinations.
But there are some minor tweaks on the bench.
Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk returns after missing out in Sydney with Cobus Reinach in the stands this week. Elrigh Louw is the loose forward replacement, coming in for Duane Vermeulen and big centre Andre Esterhuizen makes a return in place of Warrick Gelant.
Pumas coach Michael Cheika unsurprisingly made wholesale changes after his side lost 53-3 against New Zealand, a week after securing a historical first win over the All Blacks in that country.
Cheika decided to change both props, with Eduardo Bello introduced at loosehead and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro at tighthead as Thomas Gallo and Joel Scalvi drop to the bench.
There are two more changes in the pack with Matias Alemanno recalled at lock and Juan Martin Gonzalez picked ...

URC swings back into action, with South Africans on more assured footing after debut season

As the United Rugby Championship sparks into action, the UK sides are looking to prevent a repeat of last season’s all-South African final.
The second season of the United Rugby Championship (URC) in its current guise – that is, featuring South African teams – kicks off this weekend.
The Stormers, who surprised the competition’s UK powerhouses to clinch the coveted crown, will look to defend their title, while the likes of the Sharks and Bulls will be intent on wrestling the trophy away from the Western Cape side.
There is no question that defending their title will be a monumental battle, with the likes of Ireland’s Leinster smarting from a trophy-less campaign. Warrick Gelant’s departure to Racing 92 is a big loss, but Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba headlines the Stormers’ new additions.
The Stormers will play their two opening fixtures at home in Stellenbosch – versus Irish side Connacht (24 September) and Scotland’s Edinburgh – before jetting off to Italy to clash with Zebre Parma.
In the opening week, they and Durban’s Sharks will sit out the curtain-raising fixtures. According to the Western Cape-based outfit’s coach, John Dobson, they don’t mind having an extra week to prepare for the mammoth task at hand.
“It suited us. We played the extra weeks to get to the final. So, another week of pre-season is probably good for us. It increases the rest,” he told CapeTalk.
“Just seeing the energy, and how we’re training in the group. It’s just extraordinary with all the competition for places,” he added. “There’s good energy. It’s better than I thought. I was trying to manage expectations. I probably still need to, but I’ve got a really good feeling about this.”
Gauteng derby
While the two South African teams will be resting and watching the early season action from home, the other two sides open their respective campaigns versus each other.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “URC success underlines that SA Rugby’s move north was justified”
The Lions, who missed out on a place in the playoffs last season and have lost some key players over the summer, host the Bulls in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Bulls were last season’s bolters, muscling in on the top eight before making it all the way to the final after beating Leinster in their own backyard.
They fell just short in the Cape Town decider but have made a couple of exciting additions in the shape of former Sharks wing Sbu Nkosi and Wandisile ...

Sandile Ngcobo takes Blitzboks head coach baton from Neil Powell

Sandile Ngcobo was unveiled as the new Blitzboks coach by SA Rugby on Thursday, taking over from Neil Powell who served a nine-year term at the helm.
Sandile Ngcobo (33) most recently headed the SA Rugby Sevens academy in Stellenbosch, fostering the next generation of Blitzboks. He now makes the step up to the pinnacle of the Sevens game in South Africa.
“It’s certainly a privilege and honour to be trusted with leading our country and our system,” said Ngcobo upon his unveiling to the media on Thursday.
Ngcobo will be assisted by Philip Snyman, who recently led Uganda to the Commonwealth Games and, more recently, held the reins as Germany’s head coach at the Rugby World Cup Sevens this past weekend.
“We have a system here and these guys came through the system. They’ve been earmarked for a long time. We have our full confidence in both individuals and we’ll support them as we do all our coaches,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander about Ngcobo and Snyman.
Coaching pathway
Ngcobo and Snyman were part of the Blitzboks squad that won consecutive World Series titles in 2017 and 2018, with Snyman captaining the Blitzboks in both seasons. The duo then retired from the game and immediately moved into coaching.
Ngcobo hung up his playing boots in 2018 and went into coaching as assistant at the SA Rugby Sevens Academy. He was then promoted to head coach of the Academy in 2021.
Snyman took up a coaching position at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports Sevens Academy before assisting Uganda towards Commonwealth Games qualification and then joining Germany.
“Any organisation is only as strong as its nursery. And our academy is our nursery. Sandile worked with our players and he knows the systems that we have in play. It was easy for him to come in and take over this role because he’s part of the system already,” said Alexander.
New era
The newly appointed duo are intent on building on the blocks set up by previous coaches of the Springboks Sevens side, instead of breaking it all down and starting over.
“We’re not going to change much. We don’t need to stamp our authority when there is a system in place and there’s a culture in place. As the game evolves, we’ll tweak a few things,” said Ngcobo.
His right-hand man, Snyman, agreed and said that they would continue playing to the team’s strengths.
“The structure is in place and has been in place ...

Boks show stability on the field, but off it things appear less solid

The team is also a victim in the Jantjies-Simjee story and the way they have chosen to deal with it, is to pretend it’s business as usual. It’s not.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has opted for stability on the field by selecting the same starting XV that did duty against Australia 10 days ago, for this Saturday’s crunch encounter against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
It’s a welcome sign of consistency in an inconsistent campaign so far. But it also comes at a time when there are indications of the positive team culture, which has been one of the hallmarks of this Bok side, creaking.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies and nutritionist Zeenat Simjee were sent home from Argentina on Sunday after revelations of a tryst between the pair. Although their private lives and the consequences of their alleged liaison are really no business of anyone else, the details in the story published by Rapport details unpaid guesthouse bills and late-night disturbances for other residents. That takes it into a different sphere.
Those are issues that bring the Springboks into disrepute as the incidents allegedly occurred during a Test week, between two members of the Bok squad. The mere fact that they were sent home from tour is a tacit admission that they broke team protocols.
The fact that the Boks have tried to deny that protocols were broken borders on ludicrous. And then they compounded the negative publicity by muzzling Nienaber at a media conference, which is not a good look. Where is the honesty and the transparency that this current Bok set-up has been selling for years?
A simple question posed to Nienaber, about whether the revelations revealed in the story and the fallout over it had distracted the team, was not allowed. “We only want to talk about rugby,” was the message.
It’s a pity the Boks are seemingly regressing into a laager mentality again. Obviously Nienaber can’t comment on the intimate, personal relationship between two squad members, but he can talk broadly about squad dynamics and the team culture.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Alleged broken plane light, bloody knuckles and a court appearance for Springbok Elton Jantjies”
The alleged Jantjies/Simjee incident is unfortunate in the team context, but certainly not a crime. And it almost certainly isn’t the first time a Bok player has misbehaved on tour. But it is rare that a player, and in this case a member of management, have been recalled from a ...

Bafana might not be at the World Cup, but South Africa’s Roger De Sá will be there to coach Iran

South African football coach Roger de Sá is looking forward to a memorable Fifa World Cup experience with Iran, where he was recently appointed as assistant coach.
There may be no Bafana Bafana at the fast-approaching Fifa football World Cup, which is set to take place in Qatar on 2o November. Nevertheless, South Africa will be represented, with former Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sá present.
De Sá has joined forces with Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz as his assistant once more. The pair are fresh from a coaching stint with the Egyptian national side, where they lost to Senegal on penalties during the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) final earlier this year.
As they head to the World Cup, the set-up will be the same as the pair take charge of Iran during one of most popular sporting events in the world, with Queiroz recently appointed as Iran’s coach for the second time.
He previously served in the seat from 2011 until 2019. For his second coming the experienced Portuguese coach has recruited De Sá as his lieutenant.
The pair also worked together when he was coach of Bafana Bafana between 2000 and 2002, with Queiroz employing the former Ajax Cape Town mentor as a goalkeeper coach in the senior national side.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Qatar will host a global tournament with a difference”
With mere weeks until kick-off in Qatar, the coaches have jetted off to Iran and will spend a few days in the country’s capital, Tehran, as they fine-tune the squad before friendlies in Austria.
There they will begin the selection process for the final World Cup squad in Group B, alongside England, USA and Wales.
Heat is on
De Sá is pleased to be heading to the global spectacle, and said of Iran’s prospects: “Once you qualify for the World Cup you give yourself a realistic chance, and with the tournament being held in Qatar, it evens it out a bit more because you are not playing in Europe, you are not playing in South America. So, it’s almost a neutral venue.”
“The heat and humidity will be a challenge for many of the players in the tournament. We have a short time to prepare, not ideal. Ideally, we would have been there for a year. But Carlos knows the team and the players know him, as he coached them in the last two World Cups.”
Reflecting on their time in Egypt, De Sá added: ...

Boucher set for Cape Town SA20 coaching post after quitting Proteas

Proteas coach Mark Boucher’s decision to quit the post after the T20 World Cup next month is hardly a surprise.
Proteas coach Mark Boucher’s confirmation that he will leave the post after this year’s T20I World Cup in Australia next month is driven by several factors.
Boucher, who will depart with a year left on his current contract, is sought after by several T20 Leagues. Daily Maverick has learnt he will take up the position of head coach at the Mumbai Indians (MI) Cape Town in the new SA20 League set for early next year.
The player auction for the SA20 League takes place on 19 September and Boucher will certainly have to play a role in deciding which players the franchise bids for.
And according to reports out of India, following the SA20, which runs from January to February 2023, Boucher will then take up a post in the Indian Premier League (IPL). No details on which team he might join have been made yet.
From a financial standpoint a coaching gig in the IPL could amount to a year’s wages as a national coach – and it comes with less stress. But his decision won’t have been made in isolation. After three-and-half-years as Proteas coach, through the most tumultuous time in South African cricket, a pandemic and sustained personal attacks, it’s a surprise he lasted this long.
Upward trend
Boucher’s tenure as Proteas coach has been trending upwards, despite the recent Test series loss in England. His team are currently second on the World Test Championship log and have climbed up the T20 ranks.
Boucher has held the position since December 2019, and led the Proteas to 11 Test wins, including a memorable 2-1 series victory over India at home in January this year.
In the limited-overs arena, Boucher has helped South Africa claim 12 One-Day International wins, and 23 T20 International victories, the most recent being a historic 2-1 series triumph against England. He could yet end his tenure with a World Cup.
“Mr Boucher has decided to resign in order to pursue other opportunities in line with his future career and personal objectives,” a statement from Cricket South Africa (CSA) read.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “After the Boucher/Smith debacle, will anyone at CSA take responsibility?”
“While Cricket SA greatly regrets that Mr Boucher is unable to see out the term of his contract, it respects his decision and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.”
CSA ...

Liverpool looking for return to form in Champions League’s latest episode

The Uefa Champions League returns with more exciting action, including from English clubs who haven’t played any football since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
English clubs Liverpool, Chelsea, as well as Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are to play their first fixtures since their domestic Premier League was halted following the death of Queen Elizabeth II just under a week ago.
The quartet is back in action in midweek as some of them look to bounce back from surprise defeats last time out, while others look to build on the good start from the first game week in the latest instalment of Europe’s premier club competition — the Uefa Champions League.
Reds’ redemption
Liverpool, who are also looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Italian side Napoli last time out, face four-time European champions Ajax Amsterdam.
The Reds have never lost both of their opening two group games in European competition. Against an Ajax side still rebuilding after losing some key players, as well as its manager Erik ten Hag to Manchester United, Liverpool will be keen to keep that record intact.
Following a shaky start to the new season, which has seen the six-time European champions win two, draw three and lose one in the league, there is some scrutiny on Jürgen Klopp.
However, the manager has won all four of his meetings with Ajax — the first two coming while in charge of Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. As such he’ll be fairly confident about leading his side to success and easing the pressure on his side early on in the season.
“We had four or five days now of absolute truth, not to knock the players down, just to make sure [we know] where we are now. This is the starting point for us to sort the problems together on the pitch, not pointing at each other,” said Klopp.
Not having such troubles so far this season are Liverpool’s bitter rivals in recent seasons Manchester City. The Citizens are yet to lose since the season started and now have a spring in their step with the acquisition of Erling Haaland from their next opponents, Borussia Dortmund.
The lanky Norwegian has adapted swimmingly to life in England and opened his group stage account with two at Sevilla during the opening set of fixtures.
“He has an incredible sense of [where] the goal is,” noted Pep Guardiola. Dortmund fans, of course, are well aware of that. Haaland ...

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 – the glory, the heartbreak and the fans

The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 drew more than 105,000 fans to the DHL Stadium in Cape Town over three days – a record for the tournament. For Fiji’s men and Australia’s women there was glory as they were crowned world champions. For the home team and departing Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, there was disappointment and frustration. But it was a wonderful show.

Proteas’ brittle batting contributes to England series win

England 158 all out (Ollie Pope 67, Marco Jansen 5-35, Kagiso Rabada 4-81) and 131 for one (Zak Crawley 69, Lees 39) beat South Africa 118 (Jansen 30, Ollie Robinson 5-49, Stuart Broad 4-41) and 169 (Dean Elgar 36, Ben Stokes 3-39, Broad 3-45) by nine wickets.
During the three Tests in England, the Proteas batted five times, scored a total of 943 runs for the loss of 50 wickets. They have averaged 188 per innings and only had four partnerships of more than 50 runs. It’s no wonder they ended up losing the series 2-1.
On Monday, England completed a comeback from 1-0 down and delivered the final denouement on a series that had promised so much for the Proteas.
Zak Crawley’s crisp drive for a boundary off Marco Jansen after 28 minutes of play, on the final morning of day five (effectively day three) of the final Test, ended the misery.
England under new coach Brendon McCullum promised to play entertaining and aggressive cricket. Nicknamed ‘Bazball’ after the coach’s middle name, England were not infallible with the bat, but they never deviated from their plan.
The struggling Crawley’s boundary to win, and his unbeaten 69 was a microcosm of the clarity of thinking in the England camp.
Under McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, who embodies the approach on the field, England have won six of seven Tests. Prior to McCullum’s appointment, they had won one of their previous 17 Tests. It’s been a remarkable turnaround by England.
“Our approach is about the clarity of messaging and I thanked the players for buying into this,” Stokes said in a TV interview after the match. “They have the confidence to follow it. We will always play in a way we feel will entertain people.”
Muddied thinking
The Proteas, by contrast, never seemed to settle on what their best approach would be. Four seamers destroyed England and their Bazball in the first Test at Lord’s. Then they deviated and went for spin in the second Test and returned to seam in the final Test while changing the batting lineup.
Ultimately though, it came down to runs — or rather the lack of them from South Africa.
Test cricket cannot be sustainably successful without batters scoring runs and putting together partnerships. The pace bowlers, as magnificent as they were (until the final England innings of the series), are not in the miracle business.
Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje, at various ...

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