Does the IAAF have a point in seeking to change rules affecting Semenya?

By Chris Taylor, Brent Sancho and Lance Whittaker February 15, 2019

South African runner Caster Semenya has been at the centre of the storm regarding recent rules by the IAAF which could make her ineligible without undergoing hormone therapy.

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  • Rugby World Cup 2019: NFL great Tom Brady backing Springboks in Japan Rugby World Cup 2019: NFL great Tom Brady backing Springboks in Japan

    South Africa have one of the great names in sport on their side as they prepare to begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against New Zealand.

    The Springboks will take on the defending champions on Saturday and they can count on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for support.

    NFL great Brady is an American, and the United States are in the competition, albeit in a different pool, but he is backing South Africa.

    The 42-year-old sent a video clip to the Springboks, who posted it on their Twitter page, in which he said: "Springboks, good luck to you in Japan. Kick some butt. Go Bok!"

    As South Africa's caption noted: "Can't go wrong with the GOAT in your corner."

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Kolisi urges fast start for Springboks against All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2019: Kolisi urges fast start for Springboks against All Blacks

    South Africa captain Siya Kolisi warned his side that defeat to New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup opener will turn every other pool match into a final.

    The Proteas were famously stunned in their first game of the 2015 tournament, going down 34-32 to this year's hosts Japan in one of the greatest shocks of all time.

    Rassie Erasmus' men face the reigning world champions on Saturday in Yokohama and Kolisi knows how important it is for the Springboks to make a strong start, having been humiliated in England four years ago.

    "We are a very different team now – different coaching staff. We don't want to start like that and we have an opposition who also wants to start well," said Kolisi, whose side will also face Italy, Namibia and Canada in Pool B.

    "There is a huge history behind us and we have learned from the past, so we have shown as much respect as we can to New Zealand, and have worked hard on our stuff.

    "It makes it really tough if you lose your first game, because then basically every game is like a final."

    Loose forward Kolisi cited the breakdown as a key battleground against the All Blacks, who triumphed when the two met in Pretoria last year, with flankers Sam Cane and Ardie Savea the men to watch.

    "I know how good they are, I have played against them for a while. Me and Sam Cane played in the U20s, so I have seen him for quite a while. We chat and learn a few things from each other, but you can’t wait for the ref to help you at the breakdown," he said.

    "Ardie has the most steals in Super Rugby, so we are going to have to sort it out ourselves and get in there quickly.

    "That is where they were strong in the game in Pretoria last year – that's where they won the game."

    The last meeting between the two sides was the 16-16 Rugby Championship draw in July. 

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand v South Africa Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand v South Africa

    New Zealand will need to hit the ground running in their bid to win a third successive Rugby World Cup, as they begin their campaign in Pool B against South Africa on Saturday.

    While hosts Japan and Russia kick off the 2019 edition of the tournament on Friday, it is tough not to look past that opening fixture and focus instead on the mouthwatering battle between two rugby heavyweights in Yokohama.

    Champions in 2011 and 2015, the All Blacks are on a 14-match World Cup winning streak and are favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on November 2.

    However, the Springboks held their opponents to a 16-16 draw in Wellington earlier this year on their way to winning the Rugby Championship for the first time since 2009, albeit it was a shortened season in a World Cup year.

    Still, South Africa are seen by many as the main challengers to the reigning champions, even if All Blacks captain Kieran Read is confident his side know exactly what they will be up against.

    "There is nothing special about the way they play. They do what they do well," he told the media. "They are physical‚ they're kicking well and they take the points when they're on offer using their strengths like their maul.

    "They also have the ability to play off counter-attack and turn over ball from their backs. We know what is coming our way and that's great.

    "We are in a good place to put a plan out that we think is going to match it."

    A defeat would by no means be a hammer blow to either team's hopes - South Africa lost their first game four years ago to Japan but still made the semi-finals, where they lost 20-18 to New Zealand - but finishing second in the group may, if things run according to form, lead to a tricky quarter-final tie with Ireland.

    The Boks will honour Chester Williams this weekend, wearing a jersey with the 1995 World Cup winner's image embedded into the numbers on the back. Williams died a fortnight ago, at the age of 49.

    "Chester didn't like being the centre of attention," said South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus. "He never bragged about his role or expected anything for it, but he would have enjoyed being part of a Springbok-All Black Test match once more, I think."

    Having called for a more balance approach to officiating at the World Cup, Erasmus has selected the same XV that were on duty for the 41-7 win over Japan in South Africa's final warm-up fixture, meaning Duane Vermeulen will appear in his 50th Test.

    New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, named Richie Mo'unga at fly-half on Thursday with Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown in the centres, meaning Sonny Bill Williams is on a powerful bench.

     

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New Zealand - Beauden Barrett

    So often the first-choice number 10, the brilliant Barrett will line up at full-back against South Africa. His selection there gives New Zealand an extra playmaking option in a back division that includes inexperienced wing duo George Bridge and Sevu Reece.

    South Africa - Handre Pollard

    Read and the rest of the All Blacks may know what to expect from their rivals, but they still need to find a way to nullify South Africa's threat. To that extent, fly-half Pollard's kicking game - both in open play and also off the tee - will be pivotal if the Boks are to prosper.


    KEY OPTA FACTS

    - The All Blacks have won 16 of their last 20 games against the Springboks. Each of the last four meetings have been decided by a margin of no greater than two points.

    - New Zealand's run of 14 successive World Cup wins is the longest such streak by any nation in the tournament's history.

    - South Africa have lost three of their last eight World Cup fixtures, as many as they had lost in their 28 World Cup outings previously.

    - New Zealand have scored at least one try in each of their last 26 World Cup outings. The last opponents to prevent them crossing the line? South Africa, back in 1999.

    - Barrett beat the most defenders (16) of any player in the 2019 Rugby Championship. His 47 carries for 202 metres gained gave him the second highest totals in those categories.

    - South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit made the most tackles (36) of any player in the Rugby Championship, as well as the most clean breaks (5) by any forward in the campaign.

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