SA vs Aus 2nd Test Preview

Australia is 1 up in the test series and deservedly so. They bounced back from a disastrous start and the captain and possibly best batsman currently around steered the ship back from a perilously close wreckage. The other hero was Mitchell Johnson, with a quick fire 96, not bad for a tailender!! Of course the man on debut, Marcus North helped he cause with a century on debut, however the drop catch of Ponting was far more crucial than North’s century.

Looking towards the second test, I would not be surprised to see Albie Morkel crack the nod ahead of Paul Harris, SA are certainly a batsman/all-rounder short and this is where the great Shaun Pollock is missed. I will be surprised to see SA go in without a spinner, but the decision to replace Lonwabo Tsotsobe a specialist bowler with the all rounder is a curious one and Mickey Arthur must have something up his sleeve. The reason Ashwell isn’t there is Arthur needs another bowling option so don’t be surprised to see Neil McKenzie or Harris get the chop. Money on Harris to be dropped though.

SA has everything to play for knowing a loss, will not only lose the series but the opportunity to take number 1 spot from Australia. Despite the Australians having an inexperienced side, the world knows that Australia can field a second XI and still be competitive.

Here’s hoping for another great match tomorrow and over the weekend

South Africa vs Australia 1st Test Preview

The first test against Australia takes place at the Wanderers tomorrow at 10.30am (8.30am GMT) with South Africa fielding an unchanged side. The Australians are in tatters, with as many as 3 debuts handed out tomorrow, its fair to say they are in a new and unchartered phase for a team that has for so long dominated the game. It is debateable as to whether they are rebuilding or realising the loss or Warne, McGrath and Hayden can have on a side, and look a fraction of the team that played in the last ashes series

Australia have won the last three Tests between the two sides at the Wanderers and two of the successes were innings victories however Australia can be thankful the weather will be kind to them with showers predicted during the test, which will certainly hamper the chances of a result.

Apart from the good form the South Africans have shown in the batting department, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn will be difficult to face with the build up indicating that there will be plenty of swing, which should help the Australian bowlers who are lacking in the pace department.

Entering into this test, Jacques Kallis needs 12 runs to become the first South African to reach 10,000 and  only the 8th player to do so. AB de Villiers will become the fourth South African to play 50 consecutive Tests

Look out for Phil Hughes, a youngster who has set the domestic scene alight this season for Australia and at 20 is the youngest test debut since Craig McDermott in 1984!!!

Tomorrow will be interesting, especially interesting will be what the Australian side looks like, with the below being the probable sides:

1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Neil McKenzie, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini.

1.Phillip Hughes, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Doug Bollinger, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus, 12 Andrew McDonald.

SA Contracted Cricketers

Cricket South Africa have released their contracted platyers for the coming year, a big congratulations to Lonwabo Tsotsobe a thoroughly deserved inclusion. Those who have fallen out of favour include Andre Nel, Monde Zondeki and Robin Peterson.

The focus is on the Australians and kicks off on Thursday for the first test.

Contracted players: (from May 2009 to April 2010) Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Super 14 Round 2 – Preview

Preview of the games this weekend – again all time are GMT+2 (South African time) 

HURRICANES vs HIGHLANDERS, WELLINGTON, FRIDAY 08:35

No one is giving the highlanders a chance and I expect to wake up to see a thrashing – Canes by 12

Hurricanes – 15 Cory Jane, 14 David Smith, 13 Tamati Ellison (c), 12 Jason Kawau, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Piri Weepu/Alby Mathewson, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Dane Coles, 1 John Schwalger.
Subs: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Api Naikatini, 19 Karl Lowe, 20 Mathewson/Willie Ripia, 21 Ma’a Nonu, 22 Conrad Smith.

Highlanders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Kendrick Lynn, 10 Daniel Bowden, 9 Sean Romans; 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 David Hall, 1 Chris King.
Subs: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 George Naoupu, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Scott Cowan, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Brett Mather.

WARATAHS vs CHIEFS, SYDNEY, FRIDAY, 10:40

Tahs are looking good and should pip the Chiefs being at home, close call but Tahs by 5

Waratahs – Sam Norton-Knight, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Timana Tahu, Lote Tuqiri, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (c), Ben Mowen, Will Caldwell, Dean Mumm, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
Subs: Adam Freier, Dan Palmer, Chris Thomson, Scott Fava, Brett Sheehan, Daniel Halangahu, Tom Carter.

Chiefs – 15 Mike Delany, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Colin Bourke, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Kevin O’Neill, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Ben May, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Subs: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 James McGougan, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Dwayne Sweeney, 22 James Wilson.

FORCE vs CHEETAHS, PERTH, FRIDAY, 12:45

Unless a miracle happens it will be the force that walks away with a win, the Cheetahs have promised so much in the past however this year they are the whipping boys – force by 10

Western Force – 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Haig Sare, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 James O’Connor, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tamaiti Horua, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Pat O’Connor, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Subs – 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Kieren Longbottom, 18 Tom Hockings, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Chris O’Young, 21 Josh Tatupu, 22 Scott Staniforth.

Cheetahs – Hennie Daniller; Fabian Juries, Piet van Zyl, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Danwel Demas, Meyer Bosman, Tewis de Bruyn, Frans Viljoen, Juan Smith (c), Heinrich Brüssow, David de Villiers, Nico Breedt, Bees Roux, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.
Subs: Richardt Strauss, Kobus Calldo, Wayne van Heerden, Hendro Scholtz, Sarel Pretorius, Bjorn Basson, Hanno Coetzee.

STORMERS vs REDS, CAPE TOWN, 19:10

Stormers by a mile the reds are no where again this year

Stormers – Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers (c), Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits, JD Moller.
Subs: Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw, AJ Venter, Luke Watson, Bolla Conradie, Dylan des Fountain/ Nick Koster, Percy Montgomery.

Reds – Mark McLinden, Digby Ioane, Charlie Fetoai, Berrick Barnes (c), Peter Hynes, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Scott Higginbotham, Adam Byrnes, Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Greg Holmes.
Subs: Saia Faingaa, Dayna Edwards, Rob Simmons, Poutasi Luafutu, Ben Lucas. Anthony Faingaa, Brando Va’alu.

BRUMBIES vs CRUSADERS, CANBERRA, 10:40

The Crusaders have been through a lot of changes and Saturday is going to be their first real test whether they are title contenders this year – Brumbies to sneak it by 3…

Brumbies – 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Stirling Mortlock, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8 Stephen Hoiles (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Julian Salvi, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Nic Henderson.
Subs: John Ulugia, Ben Alexander, Sitaleki Timani, Peter Kimlin, Joshua Holmes, Tyrone Smith, Matt Toomua, Shawn Mackay, Mitchell Chapman.

Crusaders – 15 Stephen Brett, 14 Jared Payne, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Kieran Read (c), 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Isaac Ross, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Michael Paterson, 19 Nasi Manu, 20 Kahn Fotuali’i, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Adam Whitelock.

BULLS vs BLUES, PRETORIA, 17:00

Even though it is a truly second string Blues side, the Bulls will struggle. They struggled against the Reds in the first half and only really came good in the second. The Blues are not an expected win and I expect them to beat the Bulls by 3

Bulls – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez (c); 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Derick Kuun, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Burton Francis, 22 JP Nel.

Blues – 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Paul Williams, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Smylie; 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Josh Blackie, 6 Justin Collins, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c)/Tom McCartney, 1 Tevita Mailau.
Subs: McCartney/Francis Smith, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Dean Budd, 19 Onosa’i Auva’a, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 Winston Stanley.

SHARKS vs LIONS, DURBAN, 19:10

Lions looked resurgent and an upset is on the cards Lions by 5

Sharks – 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Johann Muller (c), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit, 1 Deon Carstens.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Riaan Swanepoel, 22 Luzuko Vulindlu.

Lions – Louis Ludik, Ashwin Willemse, Jaque Fourie, Doppies la Grange, Henno Mentz, Earl Rose, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar (c), Gerhard Mostert, Anton van Zyl, Gert Muller, Willie Wepener, Heinke van der Merwe.
Subs: Hans van Dyk, Lawrence Sephaka, Rynard Landman, Todd Clever, Chris Jonck, Andre Pretorius, Jannie Boshoff.