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One-sided Sevens Tournament

Keeping the All Blacks scoreless in the semi-finals, and then rubbing the Aussie noses in the turf at Dubai, must come as close to rugby heaven as one could wish for.

The Blitsbokke showed flair on the attack, employed ruthless defence and managed to make both of these elements complement each other to run out winners in Dubai.

The brilliant use of highly talented reserves completed the picture, with players like the recovering captain Kyle Brown, Cheslin Kolbe and Warrick Gelant making immediate impact when they came on.

If your side scores 101 points to 7 in the last three matches of a tournament, you must be doing something right.

The challenge with sevens is to retain this advantage week after week. No doubt, the other teams will analyse what they did, and try to work out counter measures, so it will be interesting to see if the SA team can repeat their dominance in PE this weekend.

Le Clos(e) to Perfect

If ever there was proof needed that nice guys do not always come second, the Durban boy-wonder supplied it amply. Not just this weekend, either – he is setting new standards which will be hard to beat.

In the 200m butterfly final he was pushed by Japan’s Seto, but managed to overtake him in the last 25 meters and set a new world record. Imagine what he will be able to do with more challenges like this?

India in Australia

This is going to be a humdinger of a test series.

India will be determined to show that they can play well on faster pitches, while the Aussies will want to use the opportunity to haul in South Africa on the world rankings.

India goes into the first test tomorrow without their regular skipper, MS Dhoni. His replacement, Virat Kohli, will no doubt receive a lot of attention from the rowdy Aussie supporters after previous altercations and sign flashing from Kohli in response to the jibes.

One Indian batsman who may regret speaking his mind is opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan, who saw fit to say that he will be attacking Mitchell Johnson – fighting fire with fire. The IRB test player of the year does not need motivation like that to get him going. The Indian first innings will be something not to miss, particularly the first few overs.

India is yet to win a series in Australia, and, while traditionally strong in the batting department, they seemed to lack the required pace attack in the past. They appear to be well equipped this time, and with the Aussie batting line-up not as intimidating as we have seen in the past, the Indians may do well, if they can master Johnson.

My colleague Bobby Londt is concerned, from an Australian perspective, about how well the Aussies have recovered from the psychological impact of the death of Phil Hughes.

A second consideration is that the Adelaide Oval is a great batting pitch, which may help the Indians when facing the Australian bowling line-up.

These factors may just edge India ahead as favourites to win the first.

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