United travel to Transylvania, the supposedly vampire-filled setting of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for their second Group H fixture on the back of a disappointing 3-2 home defeat against Tottenham on Saturday that left them four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
It was United’s first loss to Spurs at Old Trafford for 23 years and their first Premier League defeat against the north London club in 23 meetings, but far more concerning was the sloppy manner of the defending by Alex Ferguson’s side.
Of their six matches so far, United have been behind in five, while they have kept just one clean sheet and conceded nine goals, leading French left-back Evra to fear his team could suffer even greater embarrassment against Cluj unless they show more mental strength.
“The game is 90 minutes long and we deserved to lose because we only played for 45. To concede three goals at Old Trafford is not good enough,” Evra said.
“The problem is in our heads. It looked like we stayed in the hotel. The first 45 minutes had no speed, no focus, we didn’t win a lot of challenges and we conceded some silly goals.
“Maybe I am hard with myself and the team but we only showed the United face in the second half.
“We still have a lot to do, but we have to forget that first half against Spurs.
“I hope it was just an accident and we can get back the winning mentality that we showed in the second half in our first Champions League game against Galatasaray.”
On paper United’s encounter with the Romanian champions looks exactly the kind of undemanding fixture that should allow Ferguson’s side to restore their equilibrium with a morale-boosting win.
- Evra: We deserved to lose (standard.co.uk)
- National Sport: Evra: We deserved to lose (coventrytelegraph.net)
- Manchester United vs. Tottenham: 6 Things We Learned (bleacherreport.com)
“The New Zealanders are good on the ground which is why we decided to go for a specialist openside flank in Francois,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Marcell has been very good this season and has played a lot of rugby, but in this match we feel he will be more useful as an impact option.”
Jannie du Plessis has been named at tighthead prop despite struggling with a hamstring niggle. Meyer said the Springboks’ medical team is working very hard on the injured players and that Du Plessis will be given until Friday to fully shake off his injury, but if he fails to recover in time, Pat Cilliers will start in the No 3-shirt.
“We will not take any chances with injured players and we have time to get him and Pat (Cilliers) match ready,” said Meyer.
Greyling will be on the bench to provide prop cover, while Bekker takes over from Van der Merwe in the No 18 shirt. De Jongh comes in for Lwazi Mvovo on the bench.
The Springboks’ starting XV have a combined total of 482 Test caps – 136 in the forwards and 346 in the backline.
The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Dunedin is:
10 Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
9 Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland)
8 Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)
7 Willem Alberts (The Sharks)
6 Francois Louw (Bath, England)
5 Juandré Kruger (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4 Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
3 Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks)
2 Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain) (Toyota FS Cheetahs)
1 Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks)
16 Tiaan Liebenberg (DHL Western Province)
17 Dean Greyling (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
18 Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province)
19 Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks)
20 Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs)
21 Juan de Jongh (DHL Western Province)
22 Pat Lambie (The Sharks)
Stats and facts:
- Saturday’s Test will be the 84th between South Africa and New Zealand.
- The Springboks and New Zealand last met in the 2011 Castle Tri-Nations in Port Elizabeth, which was won by South Africa 18-5.
- The Springboks have played eight Test matches against New Zealand in Dunedin, winning only once – at Carisbrook in 2008 (30-28). This will be the first Test for the Springboks at the newly-built Forsyth Barr Stadium.
- With 39 Tests, Morné Steyn is the most capped Springbok flyhalf. He also holds the record for the most career tries in Tests as a flyhalf (7 tries) and is the Springbok record holder for most career points in this tournament (229 points).
- Steyn’s 56 penalty goals are the most by a Springbok in this tournament and he shares the overall record for most career drop goals in the tournament with André Pretorius (4). He needs 17 points to reach 500 career Test points for the Springboks.
- Steyn has scored 109 Test points for the Springboks against New Zealand – the most by any South African. He also holds the record for the most career penalty goals by a Springbok against New Zealand – 28.
- Bryan Habana, who will play in his 30th Test in this competition, is the most-capped Springbok wing (79 Tests) and the South African record holder for the most Test tries, which he extended last weekend against Australia to 42. Bryan needs one try to become South Africa’s top try scorer in the tournament.
- The referee is George Clancy from Ireland, who has refereed in five Tests involving South Africa. The Springboks have won four of those Tests and lost one.
- Springbok Test match records in Dunedin against New Zealand:
- Most points: 12 by Percy Montgomery (3c, 2p) in 2005.
- Most tries: 1 by eight players on nine occasions. Ricky January scored a try on two occasions, his last in the 75th minute of the match in 2008 which enabled the Boks to win their first test in 87 years at Carisbrook.
- Most conversions: 3 by Percy Montgomery in 2005.
- Most penalty goals: 3 by each of André Joubert in 1994 and Percy Montgomery in 2008.
- Most drop goals: 1 by Butch James in 2008.
With the Proteas set to defend yet another title in the T20 format as the world’s number one, we can expect to see more exciting cricket closer to home when the domestic league kicks of soon.
Closer to the Cape, Western Cape Cricket (Pty) Ltd today announced that experienced all-rounder, Rory Kleinveldt, will captain the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras on their pre-season tour to Durban starting tomorrow. He will also take the reigns for the first few Sunfoil Series matches before captain Justin Ontong returns from duty with the Proteas in England and the ICC T20 World Cup. Vice captain, Dane Vilas, will remain in that position so that he can continue focussing on his game, contending for a spot in the national team and being mentored into leadership.
The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras play against the Dolphins in a 3 day match from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th September 2012.
Rory Kleinveldt (Captain)
Stiaan Van Zyl
DHL Western Province moved to top of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division standings at the halfway stage of the six-team competition after a come-from-behind 29-22 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday enabled the Cape side to leapfrog the Sharks into first place.
The Sharks stumbled against GWK Griquas, going down 22-15 in Kimberley on Saturday – a result which sees the KZN side tied with WP and the MTN Golden Lions on log points but drop to third on point’s difference. The men from Kimberley, meanwhile, climb off the foot of the table and into fifth place thanks to their second win on the trot.
And in Saturday’s other match, defending champions the Lions pulled off a 32-23 away win over the Vodacom Blue Bulls to move to second place on the log, with only points difference separating them and WP. The Blue Bulls, meanwhile, find themselves in the totally unfamiliar position of propping up the table after a third defeat in five matches, two points adrift of Griquas.
After two corresponding disappointing losses in their third and fourth encounters, which saw the hosts pull back a possible series save, half Read More…
Samkelo Radebe, Zivan Smith, Arnu Fourie and Oscar Pistorius set the stadium alight as they exchanged batons – in the form of an arm tap – first in each leg of the race.
“Our team remained calm before the race and we each knew what we had to do,” said Pistorius after the race.
“We came out here to break the world record and we smashed it. “It makes me proud to be a part of this team with these guys tonight.”
After taking a 2-1 lead against the Proteas at Lords on Sunday, the Proteas will be keen on regaining their top performances once again following a poor display in their last match which saw most of the senior’s fail to deliver anything close to substantial!
Aside from the top order batsmen, nobody else would be more motivated than paceman Dale Steyn, especially after being hit for a six by former South African Craig Kieswetter in the last over of the match.
Fellow South African paceman, Wayne Parnell said no bowler takes kindly such insult, especially one regarded as the world’s best, :
“He (Steyn) obviously wasn’t happy with that. No fast bowler likes to be hit, but Dale’s a competitor – and he’ll be back in the last match.” said Parnell.
But South Africa’s biggest problem in losing back-to-back matches in London at The Oval and Lord’s has been a lack of runs, not wickets with England easing past scores of 211 and 220 for eight respectively.
By contrast, England fell well short of the 287 for five South Africa made in the second one-dayer at Southampton, where Hashim Amla compiled a brilliant 150.
“We just didn’t score enough runs,” said Parnell. “Whatever it might be, if England have bowled well or we have batted poorly, is up for debate … it’s probably a bit of both,” he added.
“But we have a pretty quality batting line-up, and I expect us to do better tomorrow.”
South Africa are currently without the outstanding Jacques Kallis, currently being rested after helping the Proteas to a 2-0 test series win over England.
One of the world’s leading batsman and a fine fast bowler, Kallis leaves a big whole to fill but Parnell insisted South Africa could win in the absence of the all-rounder.
“It’s up for debate,” he said. “If he were here and we were 2-1 down, what would people be saying?
“Now he’s not, people are questioning whether he should be here or not.”
Winning this game will ensure SA finishes at the top of the ODI rankings.