The Boks are back!

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The Boks celebrate after their Brian Habana scored the team’s third try against Scotland on Saturday in their third 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match. Photo: Getty Images

The Springboks displayed the kind of hard hitting rugby they are famous for yesterday against Scotland in their third pool match of the RWC.

After an embarrassing 32-34 defeat against Japan in their first pool match, South Africa’s hopes for the Boks sank to an unprecedented low.  Two weeks later coach Heyneke Meyer managed to select the perfect starting XV to trump previous pool leader, Scotland, 34-16.

With Fourie du Preez at the helm for the first time, the green and gold was distinctively different from the team that ran up against Japan.

With previous captain Jean de Villiers out of the picture game changer Damian de Allende took up the inside center position, partnering up with Jesse Kriel on the outside, which made a hell of a difference to the backs.

The presence of Lood de Jager at lock had a massive impact on the game. The 22-year-old is a great offensive defender and was vital at cleaning out the rucks with Eben Etzebeth.

The first try came 11 minutes into the game where a massive team effort by Schalk Burger and the two Du Plessis brothers managed to shove down the ball right next to the left side of the posts.

Pollard’s boot proved to be worthy of the jersey as he shot the ball between the posts several times to accumulate 19 points for the team. Not to mention the beautiful dropped goal he booted in the 51st minute.

Just before half time a Springbok line-out on the Scottish 10 metre line turned into a rolling maul, from which captain Du Preez make a break and shot a well-timed pass to thunderbolt JP Pieterson, who pushed the ball over the chalk line.

In the second half Scotland came back after 24-year-old fly-half Duncan Weir intercepted a long flat pass from the Boks and loaded off to Tommy Seymour to score.

In the last 10 minutes Brian Habana finally got his gap to bring the final score to 34-16 for the Boks.

Although the Boks had a solid game their weaknesses lie in their discipline. They gave away four penalties, which will not be tolerated by stronger teams such as Australia and New Zealand.

The Boks currently hold the top position on the Pool B log with one last game against USA left (Wednesday 7 October, 16:45 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park).

After a bumpy start the Boks are back in business and still stand a chance to take Webb Ellis home again.

Pitched & Unpublished: 3 October 2015.

Witsies win gold at Martial Arts Worlds

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Wits TSD members Titus Masike (left) and Micheal Schrenk (right) pose with their medals and proud trainer, Master Hart (middle). Photo: Provided

Three members of the Wits TSD Association dominated at the Martial Arts World Championships whilst representing the South African team.

The Tang Soo Do (Chuch Norris style) athletes went to Las Vegas, USA last weekend and brought back 71 medals, of which the Witsies won a whopping 27.

Under the guidance of Master Gregory Hart (multiple World Champion gold medalist) the contestants from Wits were able to perform with poise and precition to distinguish themselves from the rest of the SA team and other international competitors.

Master Hart, with his 6th Dan in Tang Soo Do and 2nd Dan in Haedong Kumdo (Korean sword), went with the Witsies and the SA team to the US to help them become the “Best of the Best” as he was at the UK World Championships.

Fourth-year civil engineering student, Michael Schrenk is a grade 6G1 and pulled off two golds and a bronze at the world championship. (GOLD medal for Forms, GOLD medal for Weapons, BRONZE medal for Sparring).

Representing Wits in the SA ladies division was 20-year-old Trisha Rajkumar, a Grade 4G3. She also won two golds and a bronze.   Her two golds came from the Sparring and Weapons sections, while she took bronze for Forms.

Third-year physics student Titus Masike brought home three bronze medals. The 22-year-old has his First Dan and medalled for Sparring, Forms and Weapons.

The SA team arrived back in home Thursday morning with their medals close at hand.

Pitched & Unpublished: 5 August 2015.

Clever Boys in MTN8 semis

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Bidvest Wits’ Sibusiso Vilakazi kicks-off the game against SuperSport United Tuesday night at Bidvest Stadium. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Bidvest Wits side-stepped their way around SuperSport United Tuesday night to push through to the MTN8 semi-finals.

United kicked-off the game with a string of fouls, while Wits’ Sibusiso Vilakazi put the team in white on the board in the first three minutes.

The rest of the first-half saw the visitors display a poor offensive and taking many shots at goal with no success. Moeneeb Josephs hardly had to jump to defend his post as Diouf and Mathebula kept missing the goal to the sides.

BV Wits also struggled to convert opportunities after Vilakazi’s perfect start. Klate, making his debut for Wits, had several attempts at goal that just flew over the post and shot down possible points with an off-side.

Soon after the start of the second half SuperSport United’s husky forward, Jeremy Brockie, hooked the ball into the net to level the score 1-1 in the 56th minute. The game continued with players of both teams getting desperate as the 90th minute closed in. Mkhwanazi and Nkhatha were both sent off for fouling, forcing the teams to go into extra time with 10 players.

The extra time proved an advantage for Bidvest Wits as their competition’s fitness was maxed out, which had them lower their defences.

Klate then slipped one past the goalie in the 99th minute to put the home team back in the lead. Not two minutes later Henrico Botes came with a whopper assist and booked Wits’ place in the semi-finals with a final score of 3-1.

When Botes took a seat in the 112th minute Wits coach, Gavin Hunt shouted to the stands: “He’s the best 15 grand I ever spent!”

Hunt was extremely happy with the performance of the new players and noted that “they just have to get fit.”

Bidvest Wits will meet up with Ajax Cape Town in the semi-finals, who beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in their quarter-finals match.

Pitched & Unpublished: 4 August 2015.

 

 

 

Bidvest Wits slide into third

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PERFECT BOOT: Bidvest Wits debutant and goal scorer, Kris Bright trying to break the defence of opponents, Maritzburg United. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Round three of the Absa Premiership saw Bidvest Wits beat their KwaZulu-Natal guests at home Wednesday night and slide into a familiar third place on the rankings.

Maritzburg United’s captain Ashley Hartog make a visible effort to keep the players forged in Jozi from scoring, but two powerful goals flew past him and his team.

After what was a very slow start for the Clever Boys with a couple of failed open shots at goal, New Zealander Kris Bright scored a beauty from Daine Klaite’s corner kick.

Bright had a massive game and worked well with Elias Pelembe and Sibusiso Vilakazi until he was sent to rest in the middle of the second half.

Wits kicked-off the second half with Vilakazi’s right boot directing the ball past the Maritzburg goaly, Virgil Vries, to stretch the home side’s lead to 2-0. This goal came two minutes after the start of the half with a great assist from debutant Bright.

With many attempts at goal none of the teams seemed to be able to score after Vilakazi’s success, leaving the final score at 2-0.

The discipline in this game was something to strive for in the rest of the season.  There were only a total of three yellow cards between the two teams as Wits already had five yellows against them from two games and Maritzburg a troubling 13.

Wits managed to move-up the rankings from 10th to 3rd with six points, just below their Ajax Cape Town rivals. But the Maritzburg boys failed to sway away from their 15th position.

Although the Clever Boys’ performance is a step-up from that of their 4-2 defeat last week against Mamelodi Sundowns, they still failed to concede a couple of easy opportunities. They won’t get away with these slip-up as easily when they face the calibre of Ajax this Saturday in the MTN 8 semi-finals.

Bidvest Wits will be taking on Ama Tuks in their next Absa Premiership round on 13 September in Pretoria.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 28 August 2015.

Boks ‘let the country down’

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Japan’s Karne Hesketh placing the ball over the chalk line for the winning try against the Springboks Saturday night. Photo: Charlie Crowhurst

South Africa’s  two time Rugby World Cup winning Springboks took on the underdog team of Japan on Saturday and lost.

Before the start of the first of the Pool B matches everyone knew this game would be historical as it was the first time these two sides met. To the surprise of rugby fanatics around the world, including that of Japan, the Asian side pulled well-deserved 32-34 win out of the bag in extra time.

“We let the country down, we let ourselves down…no excuses,” said Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer.

Before the game Japan only won one out of their 24 matches in their RWC bids, whereas South Africa only lost four out of their 25 games.

From the kick-off Japan was on the Boks with every move they made putting pressure with their ability to get to the break-down faster than the green and gold.

They played tactically well and made good use of every opportunity the Boks gave them with penalties.

Although the Japanese displayed incredible rugby, one might say the Springboks’ starting XV were definitely not of the caliber that the world is use to.

Meyer chose to play heavy and slow players expecting Japan would be a walk-over win of at least 40 points, but he played right into Japan’s coach, Eddie Jones’ hands.

Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers was at a loss for words after the games, but commended the Japanese side for a fantastic game.

Never before has a team conceded this many points against South Africa in a RWC match.

Unless South Africa wins the rest of their pool games with two bonus points the Boks will be going home much sooner than expected.

They will be taking on an even tougher opposition in the form of Samoa next Saturday. If they lose this game their campaign for the cup is over.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 19 September 2015.

The cyber way to cure cancer

Non-invasive surgery using cutting-edge technology to cure tumours and cancer was tested on legendary South African cricketer, Clive Rice. His condition after one month was jaw dropping!

Robotic_CyberKnife_at_St._Marys_Of_MichiganUsually people with cancerous tumours take years to complete (or never complete) the emotional ride, but former South African all-round cricketer and Proteas captain Clive Rice (65) successfully completed his tumour treatment in one month.

After collapsing in his home late February this year, scans confirmed Rice had a brain tumour which was too deep for neurosurgeons to remove it with invasive surgery.

Within the next few day Rice was on his way to Bangalore, India to receive innovative robotic radiation treatment called ‘Cyberknife laser surgery’ at the Health Care Global Hospital. The machine, with the help of pioneering software, pinpoints the exact position of the tumour after which the linear accelerator sends out multiple high dosages of radiation beams targeted at the affected area.  The collective energy of the beams attack the cancerous tissue with minimal effect on healthy organs.

VIDEO: CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Rice had three treatments, each an hour long. The doctors tied him to a table to keep him from moving and let the machine float around to do the rest.

With this new advanced technology doctors are also able to treat small effected areas accurately with the built-in X-ray cameras that monitor the patient’s breathing.

The procedure “offers hope to cancer patients with tumours which are otherwise inoperable due to their proximity to major blood vessels or sensitive organs,” said Rice’s radio oncologist, Dr Srivani Sridhar.

According to Sridhar, this safe and pain free method can be used to treat a range of tumours, cancers and benign diseases, including the liver, lungs and bones.

Sridhar recommends this method particularly for inoperable and recurring tumours, to reduce the treatment time significantly.

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BOUNCE BACK: 50-year-old Clive Rice in 2000. Photo: Laurence Griffiths

Rice was told by South African doctors that he was going to die, but through this treatment he received a new breath of live. He said he woke up every day feeling better and labelled the success of the treatment a ‘miracle’.

People around the world are excited and optimistic about beating cancer with this cutting-edge technology. There is no question that hospitals around the world should have at least one of these machines. The real question is, how much does this kind of treatment cost?

Published: The News Hub on 02 July 2015

Gymnastics club and Wits Sport tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 13 June 2015

 

Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

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FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 12 May 2015

2015 Rugby World Cup odds: are they in England’s favour?

England’s odds against the three biggest competitors of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

2015Thousands of St. George’s Cross flags will be waving in Twickenham Stadium when England opens the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

England’s coach, Stuart Lancaster will be announcing the squad on 20 May and gear-up to win the cup.

Another 2003?

In the 5th RWC of 2003 England emerged victorious after beating hosts Australia 17-20. Although the team has placed in the top four multiple times, the English supporters are hoping the cup won’t leave the country.

Lancaster gave a bunch of youngsters the opportunity to wear the national jersey. Since then Lancaster has chosen a side and moulded over the years.

The players have grown together. They know each other’s styles, strengths and weaknesses. By having spend a lot of tours together the players’ team spirit and unity has become something patriotic.

Although the English team is the only team who beat the All Blacks since the last World Cup they struggle to embody world class play as the aggregated caps are less than most of the opposition.

The rivals

England’s biggest three competitors are usually the southern teams of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia- all of which have been titleholders twice. Australia has been bunked to the favourites bench after performing appallingly in their 2014 spring tour. Taking their spot in the top three competitors’ list is Ireland.

Ireland’s call

After knocking Scotland 10-40, Ireland bumped England off of the top of the Six Nations table and took the title. Since then Ireland has become a serious contender for the WRC.

Coach Joe Schmidt has selected a talented and exceptionally powerful team, which has come a long way from the 2011 RWC where Ireland booted out in the quarter finals.

Ireland’s hopes are held up by the fact that they have great offensive skills who carried over phases fiercely in the Six nations tournament, although they have problems with consistency.

Springboks approaching

The Springboks are famous for playing consistent, hard and physical rugby. They have a spread of junior and senior world class players, with fly-halfs and backs who always rank at the top after every RWC.

Even though they won most of their matches in 2014, the way they played out left supporters uneasy after the season ended.

South Africa will most likely make the quarter finals as they are placed in Pool B where their biggest competition is Scotland- whom they beat to a pole with a 55-6 win in the 2014 mid-year test.

The ‘Haka’

The All Blacks are the safest bet to take the cup in the upcoming RWC.

Tactically the New Zealand team outshines everyone else and they have seasoned players like Conrad Smith and Richie McCaw who bring important experiences and skills to new comers.

However, they slump when they pass the pool stage. The two World Cups they won were on their home turf. Without home support it will be interesting to see if they can pull another one out of the bag.

What are the odds for England?

Simply put, England stands a big chance at winning the 2015 RWC. They have a team that is comparable to that of the 2003 winning team. Not forgetting that they have the biggest benefit of all: home support. Overall, England needs to keep calm and keep focus if they want to lift the cup when they host the tourney later this year.

Published: Blasting News 18 May 2015

Clever boys end season with a win at home

Bidvest Wits come away with their second consecutive third place in the Absa Premiership. Although Wits let their guard down in the last game of the season, they came away with a win at home.

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HUMBLE WITS:Bidvest Wits squad posing for a photo with fans on the field after the game. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Clever Boys slipped one goal past the Platinum Stars earlier today to finish third, one above Orlando Pirates, on the Absa Premiership table.

After taking to the field at the Bidvest stadium, the teams joined the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims of xenophobia.

The first half was very slow paced with Bidvest Wits holding the majority of the ball possession. The home team received many opportunities at goal but struggled to push it through.

After a number of attempts at goal,  Vincent Pule, in the number twelve jersey, sliced the ball past five Platinum Stars players to put Wits on the score board in the 30th minute.

In the last twenty minutes of the game play slowed as both teams seemed to have lost focus.

The ref gave an extra four minutes for injury time in which Hunt instructed his team to keep the ball and let the time run out. As time ran out Wits kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.

“I’m happy we managed to get a point, but we just couldn’t convert chances,” said Bidvest Wits captain, Buhle Makwanazi.
“Platinum Stars have good individual players and are not an easy team to face … although we played well, we need to work on conversions,” said Makhwanazi.

Wits’ goal for the 2014/2015 premiership was to surpass last year’s third place season finish, according to coach Gavin Hunt. “We wanted to do better this year, but third is still fantastic,” Hunt said.

Compared to last season’s statistics, Bidvest Wits are down by three points and had one less win. Kaizer Chiefs won the premiership with Mamelodi Sundowns finishing in second.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 9 May 2015