The South African Weekend Sports Review looks back on the Springboks maiden Rugby Championship triumphs and other sporting highlights from the Women’s Day long weekend.
Weekend Sports review – Friday
SA Schools Rugby
The opening day of the SA Rugby Under-18 International Series delivered some cracking rugby at Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch on Friday, with the SA Schools, Argentina and France scoring hard-fought wins over Wales, England and SA Schools A respectively.
The SA Schools team delivered a 23-13 over the Welsh, while Argentina outplayed England 29-19 in their first appearance of the Series, now in its tenth year.
In the opening match of the series, the French team had too much attacking prowess for the SA Schools A side, winning 43-19.
The Pumas travelled to Cape Town on Friday, where a Bok-laden DHL Western Province side had too much to offer and won on a canter. The bonus-point win by the Cape side moved them into fourth place on the log and right back in contention.
Maritzburg United squandered a lead as Highlands Park struck late to earn a point from the club’s meeting at Harry Gwala stadium in Pietermaritzburg. The 1-1 draw gave both sides their first point of the season.
It was left to Milnay Louw to carry the hopes of South Africa at the Growthpoint SA Open after Tristan Eysele suffered defeat in Friday evening’s semifinals at the V & A Waterfront.
The 5th seeded local favourite Louw despatched the sixth-seeded beat Marie Stephan of France 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7 in a woman’s semifinal clash.
SA’s remaining hope in the men’s competition, the fourth-seeded Tristan Eysele was defeated by the top-seeded Frenchman Lucas Serme 11-2, 11-1, 11-5 in their semifinal match.
Weekend Sports review – Saturday
The Golden Lions suffered a nail-biting first defeat at the hands of the visiting Blue Bulls at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon (31-26), but manage to move into top spot of the log, albeit by virtue of a better points’ difference than Griquas, who had a bye.
The defeat of the Joburg pride means that all teams tasted defeat so far in the tournament, with the gut-wrenching 27-20 defeat of the Free State Cheetahs to the Sharks in Durban consigning them to two defeats in a row.
The Bloemfontein side hung onto third place on the log, but with only two rounds of regular play left they would want to change their fortunes and pick up momentum as the playoffs loom.
The Durbanites had to win to keep their playoff hopes intact and did so with a last-minute score, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls also moved past the Phakisa Pumas, who propped up the log.
The Springboks clinched a maiden Rugby Championship title with a clinical 46-13 win over Argentina in Salta. Handre Pollard’s boot featured heavily as the Bok pack outmuscled the Pumas.
Egypt reigned supreme on finals day at the Growthpoint SA Open squash at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Saturday.
Third-seeded Menna Hamed of Egypt claimed the women’s title before compatriot Youssef Ibrahim, the second seed, closed out the day with the men’s title. The finals were surprisingly one-sided.
Hamed praised Squash SA on the well-run event, “Thank you so much to the organisers for putting on such an incredible event. Cape Town is beautiful and I will definitely be back.”
The men’s final was a dream match-up with a place in the world championships up for grabs for the winner.
Winner Ibrahim said, “This has been one of my best ever tournaments, playing in front of this great crowd and at such an amazing venue, I am really happy to take the title”.
Caf Champions League
Orlando Pirates face an uphill battle to progress in the Caf Champions League after slumping to defeat to Green Eagles in Lusaka.
Pirates are far from dead and buried in the contest but need to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the home leg with a win by two clear goals required if Eagles get on the board at the Orlando Stadium in the second leg.
A late goal from Mohammed Anas in the 93rd minute handed Polokwane City a big three points against Amazulu. It’s two wins from two for the Limpopo outfit, both by the margin of 1-0.
Cape Town City beat Stellenbosch City 1-0 in their Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs put in a workmanlike performance to earn a 1-0 win over Black Leopards at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night to make it back-to-back victories in their opening two league matches of the season.
Tshwane completed clean sweep in the Spar national netball finals at the University of the Witwatersrand sports hall on Saturday, beating Doctor Kenneth Kaunda in both the Under-21 and senior finals.
In the senior competition, defending champions Tshwane made it two in a row when they beat Doctor Kenneth Kaunda 52-48.
Weekend Sports review – Sunday
Brad Binder won the Austrian Grand Prix on his 24th birthday. The Moto2 rider will make the step up to MotoGP next season with KTM Red Bull.
Cosafa Women’s Cup
Banyana Banyana beat Zambia 1-0 in the final of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championship at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon.
Tiisetso Makhubela’s 22nd minute strike was the difference between the two sides, although Banyana had a superb chance as early as the sixth minute, but Busisiwe Ndimeni blasted her effort over the Zambian crossbar.
Caf Champions League
Mamelodi Sundowns went down 2-1 to Otoho d’Oyo in a CAF Champions League preliminary round, first-leg match in Owando, Congo on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors paid the penalty early on when Oyo were awared a spot-kick in the 10th minute.
In the 26th minute, the Sundowns defence was found wanting as they leaked a goal from a corner setpiece.
Sundowns showed great character in taking the game to the hosts in the second half and were rewarded with a goal in the 76th minute when midfielder Thapelo Morena fired home an effort from 25 metres out.
Caf Confederations Cup
TS Galaxy secured a 1-0 win over Seychelles side Saint Louis, in their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, first-leg match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Sunday afternoon.
The National First Division side, who qualified for the continental competition in beating Kaizer Chiefs in last season’s Nedbank Cup final, scored the only goal of the match in the 40th minute through midfielder Sizwe Mdlinzo.
The Mpumalanga-based club could have been two or more goals ahead at that stage, having missed a penalty kick in the 15th minute, after a Saint Louis defender had handled the ball in the penalty area.
Nikhil Rama completed a stunning wire-to-wire victory to celebrate his national breakthrough in the inaugural Friends of Engelberg Challenge hosted by Anna Becker-Frankel at Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate on Sunday.
The 17-year-old Rama was pushed all the way by reigning North and South Junior champion Tyran Snyders, but held his nerve to post a final round one-under-par 71 to win the championship on seven-under 209.
Golden Arrows coach Steve Komphela’s return to former club Bloemfontein Celtic proved a miserable one after his team was hammered 5-0 in a league encounter at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Celtic had been somewhat unlucky to suffer a 3-1 loss to Orlando Pirates in their opening match of the season, but were to make amends with a scintillating performance against a shell-shocked Arrows in the Free State capital.
It took the host club just 35 seconds to take the lead: after Arrows had carelessly given away possession in the opposition half, Celtic broke with purpose, working the ball to Ndumiso Mabena, who was given time and space to run towards goal before unleashing a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.
Weekend sports review – Highlight of the weekend
Clinical finishing and a superb defensive display by the Springboks powered them to the Rugby Championship title with a five-try to one 46-13 victory over Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard scored two tries and was successful with eight out of 10 kicks at goal for a personal haul of 31 points as the Springboks ended a 10-year wait for the Southern Hemisphere’s premier rugby prize with a performance of power and increasing authority.
The bonus-point win emphatically erased memories of last year’s defeat in Mendoza and completed a fine, undefeated series in the Championship for the Springboks. They took the title by four clear points from second-placed Australia.
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi and wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe also scored tries while Pollard’s haul was a new record for a Springbok against the Pumas erasing from the record books Gaffie du Toit’s 24 points in 2004.