South Africa score upset win over Jamaica

By Sports Desk July 14, 2019

World number two-ranked Jamaica were left searching for answers after a stunning upset at the hands of South Africa at the Netball World Cup on Sunday.

Facing a deficit for most of the match, the Sunshine Girls fought back late on, but in the end, the South Africans held on for a 55-52 victory.  Led by shooter Lenize Potgieter the Proteas established an early 16-9 lead after the first quarter.

Jamaica played much better in the second quarter, but it was South Africa who stretched their lead by another four goals as they netted another 16 points.  At half time the score was 32-21 at half-time.  A big third quarter from Jamaica saw the team outscore the South Africans 17-10 to begin the final period just four points adrift. 

The top three in each group advance to the second preliminary phase. South Africa’s win over Jamaica sets them up well for the run to the semi-finals.

The Jamaicans were two down heading into the final minute and saw their chances ended when the Proteas won a crucial interception.  Jhanelle Fowler-Reid led the way for the Jamaicans with 38 goals from 39 attempts, Potgieter was 36 from 39 for the South Africans.

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    Michael Leitch declared "the end is not here" as Japan plot another sensational defeat of South Africa in their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

    The hosts reached the last eight for the first time with a 28-21 victory over Scotland in a decisive match in Yokohama last weekend.

    Japan avoided New Zealand by topping Pool A but face a huge test against the Springboks at Tokyo Stadium.

    The Brave Blossoms pulled off one of the great sporting upsets by beating the two-time champions in Brighton at the last World Cup four years ago and captain Leitch says history can repeat itself.

    "We're not satisfied; the end is not here," the number eight said.

    "We'll play in the last eight and have another chance to show our game to our people. Each of us are playing to have more of that opportunity.

    "South Africa looked really scary at the start of the week, but we begin to feel really excited as we understand the game and think about how to break them down. That fear gradually fades and confidence rises."

    Japan were thrashed 41-7 by the Rugby Championship holders in a pre-tournament Test last month and Springboks captain Siya Kolisi says that served as a small measure of revenge. 

    "That was very tough to lose that match in England. That stuck with us until that game when we got here [before this World Cup]," the flanker said. "It's something that we never want to go through again."

    He added: "They are a much better team now, and it was good to play that game before the World Cup, just to get that monkey off our back.

    "Now it's a different game again. We are going to have to be at our best again, because they have really improved as a team - they are much better now than four years ago. So we are looking forward to the challenge."

     

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Japan – Michael Leitch

    The inspirational Leitch and his opposite number Kolisi are set for another monumental battle, while also keeping calm heads and ensuring their sides stay disciplined with so much at stake. 

    Leitch will need to lead by example again after an inspired display against Scotland.

    South Africa - Cheslin Kolbe

    Kolbe missed the Springboks' final pool match against Canada as a precautionary measure after taking a blow to his ankle in the victory over Italy.

    The livewire wing claimed a clinical double in the 49-3 drubbing of the Azzurri and also touched down twice in the warm-up rout of Japan, so the hosts must be wary of the threat he poses.

     

    KEY OPTA FACTS

    - Japan's victory over South Africa in England was their first against a tier one nation in the tournament at their 16th attempt.
    - South Africa scored more tries (27) and points (185) than any other side in the pool stage. Japan scored have scored only 13 tries en route to the last eight. 
    - Japan made 559 metres against Scotland, the third time in the tournament they had made 500 plus metres in a match.
    - Springboks wing Kolbe averaged 12.8 metres per carry in the pool stage, the best rate of any player to make at least 10 carries.
    - South Africa won all of their 47 line-outs on their own throw in the pool stage, the only side in the tournament to have a 100 per cent success rate.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Boks ready to banish memories four years on from the miracle of Brighton Rugby World Cup 2019: Boks ready to banish memories four years on from the miracle of Brighton

    Such was the scale of Japan's Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa four years ago, they made a movie - 'The Brighton Miracle' - to commemorate one of the great sporting upsets.

    There will surely be a sequel on the way after this year's Brave Blossoms reached the quarter-finals for the first time by beating Scotland, and box-office sales could soar through the roof if history repeats itself on Sunday when they face the Springboks again.

    South Africa will start the last-eight contest as overwhelming favourites to gain revenge, with their star-studded cast including Cheslin Kolbe, Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

    Japan also have no shortage of talent to play leading roles and will be backed by a raucous crowd when they attempt to break new ground once again on home soil.

    As the Boks plot to spoil the party for their hosts, we reflect on how Japan pulled off a monumental shock at the last World Cup in England, as well as looking at the prospects of lightning striking twice.

     

    Hesketh and Goromaru rock Boks

    Japan were not given a prayer in the opening Pool B match given Zimbabwe were the only team they had previously beaten in a World Cup match – and that win was way back in 1991.

    Yet Eddie Jones' side humiliated a vastly experienced Springboks team with their exciting brand of rugby, coming from behind to secure the most dramatic and unlikely of victories.

    Karne Hesketh crossed right at the death and Ayumu Goromaru claimed a 24-point haul to leave the two-time champions not knowing what had hit them following a 34-32 loss.

     

    Meyer fronts up to 'Boklash'

    Heyneke Meyer came under fire after his side lost the plot and rampant Japan made them pay.

    The then-head South Africa coach said: "I have to apologise to the nation. It was just not good enough. It was unacceptable and I take full responsibility.

    "Every game is going to be tough but there are no excuses."

     

    Jones: I had to look at the scoreboard

    Jones, who landed the England job after his success with Japan in 2015, was pinching himself after the underdogs snatched victory with their last throw of the dice. 

    The Australian said: "Japan beating South Africa? I had to look at the scoreboard at the end just to see if it was true or not. We kept hanging in there. It looked at one stage when they got seven points ahead that they would run away with it.

    "That would have been the normal scenario, like the horror story where the woman goes for a shower after midnight and you know what's going to happen. Normally they would score three or four, it ends up 50-20 and everyone says, 'Well done Japan, you tried hard, you were brave'. But we were more than brave."

     

    What happened next?

    Jones said the objective for Japan was to go on and reach the quarter-finals after downing the two-time champions, but they fell agonisingly short.

    A heavy defeat to Scotland turned out to be crucial as Japan finished third in Pool B after failing to pick up any bonus points.

    South Africa, Scotland and the Brave Blossoms all won three and lost one of their four games, but it was Japan who missed out.

     

    Hope springs eternal for revenge-seeking Boks

    Although Japan are riding on the crest of a wave as they prepare for their first World Cup knockout match, South Africa have looked formidable despite making a losing start against New Zealand.

    Potent in attack and solid in defence, the Springboks have turned their fortunes around under Rassie Erasmus and dethroned the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.

    They also hammered Japan 41-7 in a pre-tournament warm-up match and is it hard to envisage them suffering another upset at the hands of their next opponents.

  • I'll send someone else to the toss! – Du Plessis desperate to change South Africa's fortunes I'll send someone else to the toss! – Du Plessis desperate to change South Africa's fortunes

    South Africa captain Faf du Plessis joked he is considering sending another player to the toss for the third Test against India as he aims to correct his side's recent woes.

    The Proteas are 2-0 down in the series after suffering heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

    With the three-match series already lost, South Africa head to Ranchi looking to restore some pride as a frustrating 2019 draws closer towards a conclusion.

    Du Plessis cited winning the toss as a crucial factor but, with South Africa having lost their last nine coin-flips on Asian soil going back to 2015, failing to win any of the subsequent Tests – the Proteas' skipper conceded he might have to send out a substitute in order to change their luck.

    "We've felt that we've done it [compete] in stages, more probably in the first Test, so hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow," Du Plessis told reporters.

    "Probably I will [send] somebody else to the toss, I'll give you that, because my record so far hasn't been great, and then, yeah, if we put big runs on the board in the first innings, that's where we need to start."

    Du Plessis also acknowledged his side – who lost the first Test by 203 runs and the second by an innings – can only regain confidence by taking the fight to India.

    "It is tough when you're losing," he said.

    "For us, we're very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who've stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.

    "So it's important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can't expect things just to happen."

    South Africa's task has been made harder by the absence of batsman Aiden Markram, who will miss the final Test due to a wrist injury he sustained while "lashing out at a solid object" following his second-innings dismissal in Pune.

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