DARREN’S 2020 SPORTS ROUNDUP
In my very biased opinion, 2019 was an amazing sporting year for South African rugby. Against all odds the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup in Japan for the 3rd time, equalling a feat only the mighty All Blacks have achieved. Our captain, Siya Kolisi, led a team superbly coached by Springbok legend Rassie Erasmus, to a monumental victory over England in the final. South Africa celebrated for days!
The Super Rugby season has just started with mixed results for all our teams except the Stormers who have won all their matches so far and head the log at this stage. It seems their talisman captain, Siya Kolisi, is giving them massive forward momentum and I can’t wait to see who plays in the final on the 20th June 2020.
Whilst still almost 6 months away before the first Springbok test of the year against Scotland on the 4th July, I am looking forward to seeing how new coach Jacques Nienaber shapes in his new role as the coach of the 2019 Team of the Year!
The Spar Proteas national netball team were crowned the African Champions towards the end of the year and also performed extremely well during the World Championships in July losing by two points against Australia in the semi-finals and by 16 points against England in the play-off for 3rd and 4th place, just missing out on a podium finish.
The national cricket team had an indifferent year and only managed a 7th position at the World Cup in June and July after beating long-time rivals Australia in their last game. There hasn’t been much improvement since and it seems as though internal politics will hamper any progress during the course of 2020.
England has already come, saw, conquered and left and now its the turn of Australia. Let’s hope the boys get into their stride quickly and give us something to cheer about against the Aussies.
SOCCER aka FOOTBALL
Bafana Bafana ambled their way through the year without any notable achievements and under-performed for a team that has the largest pool of players to choose from on the continent. Why they struggle to achieve any real success completely astounds me and most likely the reason why the last match I went to watch them play in was the 1996 African Cup of Nations which they won!
“I’ve never seen an Olympic organizing committee asked, ‘Are you prepared for a global pandemic?’” Terrence Burns – Olympics Host Organizing Committee Consultant
Other South Africans that I am pretty keen to keep an eye on in 2020 include Brad Binder (GP Motorcycle Racer for KTM), Daryl Impey (Professional Cyclist for Mitchelton-Scott), Wayne van Niekerk (400m Olympic Record Holder), Chad le Clos (Olympic Swimmer) and Tatjana Schoenmaker (Commonwealth Gold Medalist swimmer).
As usual, there will be loads of exciting international sport to keep us entertained this year and besides all the tennis grand slams that I will be watching, where I hope Roger emerges victorious, there is F1, where World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be aiming for his 7th championship and equalling Michael Schumacher’s record and don’t forget the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo from July through to August (i.e. if it’s not cancelled because of the Coronavirus).