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Home Wins Crucial

The number of matches in the Super 15 provides some leniency in terms of winning your home games. There is no such luxury in the Currie Cup where there are only ten games in total – five at home and five away.

The Sharks, and to a slightly lesser degree Western Province, will rue the weekend’s results, while the Cheetahs and Griquas, in particular, will be happy with the points they picked up. The same goes for the Bulls who effected an outstanding draw after looking beaten at half time.

The boys from Kimberley did not appear to be daunted by the occasion, and showed from the start that they meant business. Despite the Sharks wiping out the 13 – 0 deficit in about as many minutes to lead 20 -16 at the break, the Griquas appeared to be more at home in the rain than they are supposed to, coming from such an arid part of the country. The Sharks will hope that this voodoo of losing with a last gasp try does not become the norm this year.

Soos die ou gesegde lui, amper mis is verkieslik bo amper raak.

Die naelskraapse oorwinning van die Cheetahs oor die Leeus kan tot twee wanindrukke lei – dat die Leeus die melkkoeie van die kompetisie gaan wees, en dat die Vrystaat nie die pyp gaan rook nie. Onthou dat die Leeus, sedert hul relegasie uit die Super reeks, teen spanne moes speel wat nie op dieselfde vlak is as dié wat in die Curriebeker speel nie. Om in die eerste wedstryd nie net naelskraap te verloor nie, maar ook in die proses drie drieë te druk teen ‘n span wat so goed verdedig soos die Vrystaters, wil gedoen wees. As hul afrigter nie ‘n blaps began het en die skopper per abuis van die veld gehaal het nie, kon hulle straks gewen het. Dit is ook om hierdie redes wat ek saamstem met diegene wat die Cheetahs beskou as gunstelinge om vanjaar die beker te wen. Hulle het baie van hul Super 15 spelers behou, wat help met kontinuïteit. Die grootste gevaar, egter, is dat juis hierdie spelers bietjie gaan afskaal omdat hulle die Curriebeker as minder uitdagend beskou.

It must have been the beautiful weather in Cape Town that had the home team thinking of Clifton, rather than Currie Cup, in the second half. In truth, though, the physicality of the Bulls, after half time, knocked the wind out of the junior Stormers’ sails. But for a missed conversion at the end, this could have been another away win in the first round. Games between these two teams always remind me of that wonderful fight between Marvellous Marvin Haggler and Sugar Ray Leonard – the slogger versus the dancer. When the Bulls saw that dancing did not work, they pulled off the gloves, and once again proved to be better in this department.

Things are Going Swimmingly

Our world class swimmers continue to impress with their achievements internationally despite having to overcome obstacles that their competitors do not have to face.

When Chad le Clos had to compete in Berlin on Saturday, he had to get up at 5 am on Friday to get the train from Eindhoven. Despite this, he set a new world record. Roland Schoeman (pictured above) defied age as he won three gold medals at the same competition. Financing their participation to win glory for the country is a serious issue, with government funding not nearly on par with the support received by participants in other sports.

A few years ago, we had an athlete who represented South Africa at the Snow Ski World Championships and the winter Olympics. All his funding came from his parents, and doing odd jobs like cleaning roofs. Only in the year before these competitions was funding offered, provided that he looked like qualifying. He had to fly economy class to attend the event, and find ways to avoid paying access baggage fees for his equipment. There was hardly any support, while other competitors had teams of experts assisting them. Like Le Clos, he had to get up early on the day of the competition to travel to the stadium.

The head of the sporting body involved, together with his wife, flew business class, and stayed in five star luxury near the stadium.

For me, this sums up where things need to change in our country. The administrators should be servants to the athletes, not the other way around. Some sports, like rugby, cricket and soccer are capable of generating their own funds, but those unable to do so should be helped by our sports administrators to compete on an equal footing.

This will not happen unless achievement is placed above ego.

Ag nou ja, as die politici dit nie kan reg kry nie, hoe kan ons verwag die sportlui moet dit doen? Die meeste sportbase is mos deesdae vir ander redes in hul poste as liefde vir die sport.

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