The sky blue seats in the East Stand glared with intent in the Highveld’s late afternoon sun at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
As you can deduce, a great many weren’t occupied, partly because of events with weightier significance elsewhere, but mostly because of the growing perception that the Currie Cup has lost its shine.
It is true that few contests in this year’s instalment have had the unremitting intensity and energy of seasons long gone, but the competition still provides its fair share of thrills and spills.
The error ridden but exhilarating passage of play that ended with replacement Rosko Specman trying to run out of his own goal area before relenting with a poor touch finder with 12 minutes to go, said it all.
It was a match of gaffes and guffaws, or fun and farce.
The Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs would have been forgiven for extracting the see-saw’s splinters from their backsides at final whistle after the lead had changed hands on eight occasions.
Who won you may ask, and that in itself is a long tale. After sustained pressure the Cheetahs scored in the 85th minute when their star import Makazole Mapimpi crashed over in the left hand corner. Given both team’s lack of application in the tackle, perhaps a deuce scoreline would have been more fitting.
As has been a theme in this season’s competition porous defence was again the order of the day. It meant slick operators on either side like Mapimpi, Warrick Gelant, Sergeal Petersen, Rocko Specman, William Small-Smith and Jamba Ulengo found space and opportunity aplenty.
While Mapimpi’s first half effort when he jinked and sped away from four defenders was the undoubted highlight in that half, he owed his second after the break to his persistence and a deplorable lack of awareness and application by Tony Jantjies and Gelant.
Jantjies would have walked off with the sinking feeling that he had two eminently goalable conversions charged down. The four points cost the Bulls.
Two opening half yellow cards also undermined the Bulls. Left wing Ulengo’s eyes widened as referee Marius van der Westhuizen pulled a red card from his pocket, only to quickly replace it with a yellow before the damage was done. Ulengo’s banished for repeated team offences ended just as flanker Shaun Adendorff got his marching orders in the seconds leading up to half-time.
It was a half in which neither side asserted themselves but got traction from the other’s mistakes.
The Cheetahs despite a 30kg weight disadvantage among their forwards had the better of the scrums with loosehead Ox Nche firmly coming to grips with his Conraad van Vuuren.
The Cheetahs squandered a number of try scoring opportunities. They didn’t lack enterprise but at times they were short of conviction with the tryline at their mercy.
One glaring example occurred in the first half when after some splendid interplay between backs and forwards down the right hand touchline, flank Gerhard Olivier didn’t run onto what was supposed to be a try assist pass. The was hauled in from behind and held up by Nic de Jager. De Jager had one of his better afternoons at Loftus.
In the final analysis, this was a match that was breathtakingly dazzling, as it was soul destroyingly infuriating.
BLUE BULLS (21) 40
Tries: Jamba Ulengo (2), Dries Swanepoel, Tony Jantjies, Warrick Gelant
Conversion: Jantjies2), Joshua Stander
Penalties: Jantjies (3)
FREE STATE CHEETAHS (17) 41
Tries: Makazole Mapimpi (3), Jasper Wiese, Francois Venter, Sergeal Petersen. Conversions: Ryno Eksteen (4). Penalty: Eksteen
Jordan Ayew tops English Premier League sprint chart after 16 matches
Ghana forward Jordan Ayew has been rated as the player with most sprints in the English Premier League after 16 round of games.
The Swansea City attacker has always been faced with criticisms for his lack of work ethos when playing for the Ghana’s senior national team.
But the former Olympique Marseille man appears to have had the best statistics in arguably the world’s best championship in terms of a player that has made the most sprints in the league after 16 matches
The 25-year-old heads the list of the 10 players ahead of speedsters including Hector Bellerin of Arsenal, Delle Alli of Tottenham and Richarlison of Watford.
According to the Express.co.uk, with their high intensity and counter-attacking football, Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints so far this season with a whopping 6198.
However, relegation-threatened West Ham have managed a measly 4942.
Surprisingly, Manchester United only have the 15th highest amount of sprints with 5210.
Even though Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints as a team, no individual star of Pep Guardiola’s side makes the top 10.
So which Premier League ace has sprinted the most times?
1. Jordan Ayew (Swansea) – 796 sprints
2. Delle Alli (Tottenham) – 742 sprints
3. Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) – 715 sprints
4. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)- 695 sprints
5. Tom Cleverley (Watford) – 695 sprints
6. Tom Ince (Huddersfield) – 683 sprints
7. Abdoulaye Doucore (Watford) – 682 sprints
8. Richarlison (Watford) – 677 sprints
9. Erik Pieters (Stoke) – 669 sprints
10. Pascal Gross (Brighton) – 662 sprints
Pots announced for Final Draw
With Peru completing the line-up of 32 teams for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we now know the seeding pots for the Final Draw on 1 December.
It was confirmed in September, by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, that all teams will be allocated to (eight-team) pots 1 to 4 based on sporting principles. The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, after hosts Russia who take the top seeding spot.
With those factors in mind, here are the final pots for the Final Draw:
POT 1 Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
POT 2 Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia
POT 3 Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
POT 4 Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia
It is worth remembering that the principle of drawing the teams into the groups will remain unchanged. This means that no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.
The Final Draw will take place on Friday 1 December at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.
« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Real Madrid are in a bad situation in the league, the club of Casa Blanca is currently third in Liga behind Valencia and Barça, the Catalans have taken a big lead, and this could definitely make them lose the championship in the winter. And a Madrid club player is highlighted in these poor results.
101 million euros for his transfer, 23 injuries since, 73 matches missed or 55% of the matches of his team. Statistics that would drive any coach and / or leaders crazy. You have it ?
These are the figures of Gareth Bale since his arrival at Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 from Tottenham. Whoever has played only nine games in the year 2017/2018 seems to have seriously undermined the patience of its leaders. Just back from a calf injury, he was summoned by the Welsh side to face France in a friendly last Friday, but made the choice to stay in Madrid to prepare for the derby against Atletico Madrid. But, the blow, the Welsh injured during training last Thursday and will be absent about a month.
What continue to fuel the rumors of transfers but especially what cause irritation of the board leader. The latter, tired of not being able to align their triplet « BBC », have made a decision that should be irrevocable, according to the Madrid newspaper AS: It must leave this summer. And the Spanish media also explains that the president of the Madrilenian club, Florentino Perez, added:
« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Yet strongly criticized last season, Bale had managed to avoid a departure last summer, claiming to want to win at Real Madrid. This year, his start to the season does not plead in his favor and he seems to have exhausted all his jokers in the Spanish capital. The departure of the Welsh international therefore seems to have been recorded.
The rumor of a return to the Premier League, Manchester United in particular, has been reactivated but the number of contenders could quickly evolve in view of the quality of the player. Be careful though, the Welsh is signed until 2022, and Florentino Perez is determined not to sell his player.
Unless a return to its best level, it is difficult to see how the Welsh international could reverse the situation. Zinedine Zidane even found his replacement for 100 million euros.
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