The first Rugby World Cup semifinal dominates the latest sports news and fixtures but we also see the return of PSL action as well as more Guinness Pro14 with the Cheetahs and Kings,
Latest sports news and fixtures today, 26 October
Rugby World Cup
It is a contest that needs no hype, one that would certainly have graced the final, but Eddie Jones has given his own inimitable and enjoyable spin on the epic occasion to make it sound as if his England team are nothing-to-lose underdogs ready to snarl at the greatest side in the annals of team sport, the All Blacks.
Of course, this will not do. It actually has the look of a delightfully poised duel between two teams who have both won their past six matches, who both made emphatic statements with their record-breaking quarter-final wins and who were separated by just one point in their latest meeting a year ago.
Yet in some ways, Jones has it right. The head-to-head has been so overwhelmingly one-sided over the past 16 years, with the All Blacks winning 15 of the past 16 contests including that 16-15 comeback win at Twickenham last November, that an England victory would fly in the face of World Cup and rugby history.
For this New Zealand team, fashioned by Steve Hansen, the man Jones has been flattering this week as their greatest coach of all, has not lost a World Cup match for 12 years and the evidence of the dominant 46-14 victory over Ireland, their 18th successive victory in the tournament, was that he is bowing out having built another fabulous All Blacks’ creation. New Zealand are the only team England have never beaten in a Rugby World Cup fixture.
The Guinness Pro14
Two sides who will be desperate to climb the ladder and jostle for position in the hyper-competitive Conference B.
Scarlets, Connacht, Munster, Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and Benetton have all been in close battles for Final Series positions in recent seasons while a rapidly-changing Isuzu Southern Kings setup will be doing all they can to join the pack – no doubt it’s all going to go down to the wire.
Both of Saturday’s opponents are without a win so far but the Kings pushed both the Blues and Munster close in Rounds 1 and 2 and a youthful squad enjoyed a strong second half against Ulster last time out.
Likewise at Benetton, who in reality produced a stunning second half to almost shock Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, producing two late tries despite going down to 14 men to finish up at 24-20.
The Guinness PRO14 returns this weekend, and with that, the Toyota Cheetahs face their first test on the road this season.
Top of the Conference A standings with a perfect 15 points, and ahead of Leinster by virtue of their huge points difference, coach Hawies Fourie has made four changes to the XV that beat Munster before the break.
Aranos Coetzee slots straight back in at prop after his return from World Cup duties with Namibia, while Jasper Wiese comes in at No. 8, Dries Swanepoel comes in at centre and Clayton Blommetjies gets the nod out wide.
While their scintillating form thus far has seen the Cheetahs run in 22 tries and 151 points from just three games, Connacht will hope that Irish conditions can work on their favour at the Sportsground.
Andy Friend has likewise opted for a quartet of changes for the hosts, who are similarly sitting pretty in Conference B, second behind the Scarlets ahead of the weekend’s action.
Stephen Fitzgerald comes in at fullback, with Niyi Adeolokun and John Porch out wide and Denis Buckley makes his first start of the season at loosehead.
Premier Soccer League
In a rematch of their Telkom Knockout last 16 tie, which Golden Arrows won 1-0, Abafana Bes’thende once again host Polokwane City — this time in the league.
A Nicholas Motloung own goal in extra time handed Arrows the win in the League Cup. This came due to a deflection off Sibusiso Sibeko’s strike.
Zlatko Krmpotić’s job is reportedly under scrutiny after three defeats on the trot in all competitions.
It is an important day in Stellenbosch FC’s history as they host Orlando Pirates for the first time since Vasco da Gama were renamed and relocated.
This is, of course, a rematch of the Telkom Knockout clash at Orlando Stadium last weekend. The Buccaneers won that 1-0, but it could have been more were it not for their wastefulness and Lee Langeveldt’s brilliant performance in goal.
Highlands Park and Chippa United face off in Tembisa on Saturday evening with both teams in fairly good spirits heading into the clash.
The Lions of the North lost the MTN8 final 1-0 to SuperSport United, but bounced back with victory over Black Leopards in the Telkom Knockout.
There was no time to waste, however, as they were back in action against Mamelodi Sundowns in the league in midweek, losing 1-0 to a late Mauricio Affonso goal.
Latest sports news
Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler returned to the Mother City to claim a 1-0 league win over his former employers Cape Town City on a wintery Friday night at the Cape Town Stadium.
It was a case of missed chances Benni McCarthy’s Citizens, who were on top for large portions of the game but were unable to take their chances against a superb Maritzburg rearguard, with the visitors scoring the only goal of the game just before half time through a Thabiso Kutumela penalty.
SuperSport United and Black Leopards played to a 2-2 draw in a Premiership fixture at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday night.
The result was a fair reflection of the action as both teams had their moments.
Visitors Leopards started off rather sprightly and had SuperSport under pressure during the early stages of the match.
SuperSport, though, weathered the storm and gradually got into the game. In the 16th minute, they could have taken the lead but Aubrey Modiba’s free-kick attempt was saved by Leopards goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.
Akani Simbine was named Tuks’s Sportsman of the Year at the University of Pretoria on Friday evening.
Tatjana Schoenmaker lifted the Tuks’s Sportswomen of the Year gong. Her coach Rocco Meiring received the award as the best individual coach.
Zokwakhana Zazini (400m-hurdles) and Danelle Wentzel (archery) won the Tuks student sportsman and sportswoman awards.
The Assupol TuksCricket head coach, Kruger van Wyk, received the award as coach of the year for team sports. Assupol Tuks is also the sports club of the year.
TuksNetball received the Principal’s award for outstanding team performance.