Rob Houwing

Revealed: The new 'Darren'!

2012-01-27 09:06
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Rob Houwing’s ‘Tops on the Telly’ column

Until his racial slur rumpus around the time of the Springboks’ departure for the Rugby World Cup, Darren Scott had been part of the furniture as virtually ever-present anchor of SuperSport’s rugby chat show Boots & All.

I can reveal that, with TV and radio personality Scott on “indefinite leave of absence” - I haven’t spotted any alteration to that status - the organisation have confirmed Matthew Pearce as the programme’s new presenter.

“Boots” returns to customary in-season service next Thursday, February 2, with Super Rugby just around the corner and, of course, the not insignificant matter of the newly-appointed Springbok coach presumably a strong subject for immediate conversation in the hour-long slot (20:30, SS1 and CSN).

Capetonian Pearce will make the weekly aerial commute to the Highveld to perform his new task: he is already well familiar to SuperSport viewers through his lead commentary of major matches.

He says he is looking forward to the “extra dimension” to his television work, as directing debate in a studio environment is very different to calling 80 minutes of a game.

Pearce has the advantage of being no stranger to anchoring: for instance, he hosted that series of shows ahead of RWC 2011 which tooth-combed every World Cup since the Boks’ entry to the tournament in 1995 and is seldom less than at ease and articulate in front of the camera.

Much of what he does will be governed by the demands of a producer, but I would be surprised if, considering his handy editorial background, he does not manage to have some kind of say himself content-wise.

It is no secret that Boots & All had become a bit “same old, same old” and has had its troughs in viewership figures as a result - some South Africans feel it labours in the shadow of New Zealand’s vibrant ReUnion equivalent.

A new presenter won’t necessarily be the automatic trigger to fresh success, but it may well help.

I gather that we may expect more in the way of hi-tech, in-depth tactical analysis of big games, which seems a sensible step in the right direction ...

Rob’s Awesome Foursome:

1. Australian Open tennis finals
Melbourne, Saturday (women’s) and Sunday (men’s) 10:30, SS1 & SHD (also CSN Sun)

With the match times not always convenient from a South African perspective, I usually find that much of the Aussie Open passes me by. That’s been less the case this year, for some reason, and the maiden “Slam” of 2012 has provided some high-calibre fare. The Sharapova v Azarenka women’s showpiece promises controversial decibel levels in the “squeal” department, whilst we are guaranteed a fine men’s final on Sunday. At the time of writing Rafa Nadal’s opponent was not known but either of Messrs Murray or Djokovic should ensure a fitting climax. 

2. Pakistan v England 2nd cricket Test
Abu Dhabi, to Sunday 08:00, SS5

So, after several weeks of generally compelling Test and ODI activity involving South Africa and Sri Lanka, home international fare on the goggle box comes to a slightly early season’s end. Why not, them, turn your cricket-loving attention for a while to the compelling Test combat in the United Arab Emirates where No 1-ranked England find themselves 1-0 down to Pakistan but seemingly dominating early stages of the second match? Keep in mind that the Proteas visit England during the northern hemisphere summer, and also tackle Pakistan back on our shores in 2012/13, so how those two shape in their current battle is of local interest.

3. Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers, Big Bash cricket final
Perth, Saturday 10:30, SS2 & SH2

Well, he didn’t make a sensational comeback to the Proteas picture, failing to earn a slot in the Twenty20 squad named earlier this week to tour New Zealand, but veteran Cape Cobras batting favourite Herschelle Gibbs will very much take centre stage when the final of Australia’s T20 competition takes place at the WACA – it makes for fairly tasty late Saturday morning entertainment back on South African TV screens. The near 38-year-old has been instrumental in the Scorchers’ march to a home final, as a model of rare consistency at the crease. Can the master blaster stretch his golden run to one more crucial outing?

4. Liverpool v Manchester United, English FA Cup soccer
Liverpool, Saturday 14:45, SS3 & SH2

I must admit I haven’t properly woken up to a thus-far soulless Afcon yet! But these traditional old English foes locking horns can be a combustible affair at the best of times, and that element is cranked up further by the likelihood that United will field at Anfield a certain Patrice Evra, offended party in the Luis Suarez racism scandal, which saw the Uruguayan given a suspension that continues to sideline him. Liverpool have caused further controversy, of course, by the defensive manner in which the club and some of their supporters have treated the Suarez affair. Purely soccer-wise, both teams are in pretty good fettle, with the Red Devils stabilising nicely after their 0-3 fiasco at Newcastle and ‘Pool coming off a League Cup semi-final two-leg triumph over Manchester City.

Read more on:    darren scott  |  rob houwing

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2016-10-20 07:39

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