Thankfully the Stormers and Bafana Bafana eased the pain caused by the Protea’s sorry exit from the ICC 2011 World Cup on Friday when they lost their nerve against New Zealand in the quarterfinals.
Their loss had me wondering if this portended a weekend of losses.
Thank heavens that wasn’t so.
The Stormers rose to the occasion on Saturday when they held on to top spot of the Super 15 table by trouncing Australia’s Western Force 51-16, making it five wins in a row for the Cape Town side and the only unbeaten team in the competition thus far.
The Newlands faithful witnessed a brilliant performance by the whole team as they put over six tries and secured all five points, including the bonus point, silencing critics who have accused them of being unable to dot the ball over the try line.
However, I’m going to end my praise right there in an effort not jinx things. Anyway, they’ve got to stay grounded and focused in order to not ‘pull a Protea’ and ultimately lift the trophy.
Other results from the Super 15 saw a somewhat tired Bulls narrowly beating the Lions again by 30 to 23, and the Cheetahs getting hammered 8 – 41 by the Reds in Australia.
Unfortunately the Crusaders also proved too strong for the Sharks, handing them their second defeat of the tournament when they beat the boys from Natal 44 -28, despite the Christchurch team playing in Twickenham, England due to their home ground being destroyed by the February earthquake.
It was the first Super Rugby game played in the northern hemisphere.
On the soccer front the respective leagues in Africa and Europe were on hold as various countries played qualifier matches for the 2012 African Cup of Nations and European Cup.
And I’m assuming even the more environmentally conscious sports fans refused to turn off their televisions during Earth Hour while the Group G game between South Africa and top African team Egypt kicked off at Coca Cola Park.
Despite a lacklustre performance – particularly in the first half – Bafana Bafana managed to scape one goal in to win during the dying seconds of injury time.
Considering they dominated possession throughout the game, the criticism that our team struggles to finish still rings true.
The win sees Bafana maintain their unbeaten run in the group and puts them at seven points out of three matches and puts their foot in the door for next year’s tournament to take place in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
African champions the Pharaohs, however, remain bottom of the group with just a single point after suffering their second loss in the campaign.
In the Euro 2012 group qualifiers England beat Wales 2-0 and Germany beat Kazakhstan 4-0. No surprises there.
For F1 fans, it appears Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is on course to defend his world title after he made the perfect start with a pole to flag victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Back to the cricket: I’m sure South Africans may find some comfort in the embarrassing 10 wicket loss England suffered at the hands of the Sri Lankans on Saturday. It certainly looks like we have to take our joy wherever we can find it, no matter how vicariously.
New Zealand are now to face Sri Lanka in the first semi final, while India will take on Pakistan in the second one. – Yugendree Naidoo/WCN