Is Div November's Plonker?
Cape Town - After much debate and head scratching, the Sport24 team have announced their Performers, Plonkers and Pictures of the month for November 2010.
Click HERE to cast your vote - and WIN!
Every month the Sport24 editorial team will announce nominations for a sportsperson or team (people who stole the limelight with a specific performance that month), a plonker (a team or person who has not covered themselves in glory) and a sports photo of the month (the one that makes you go "Ahhh"). You then get a chance to vote for the person, team and picture that best deserves the award...
So without further ado, then, the November nominations are...
It was a stirring month personally for the acting Springbok captain, who led by dynamic example on the Grand Slam tour. The veteran lock set some new standards in lineout play against tough opponents like Ireland and England at either end of the venture, while getting through plenty of honest graft in the tight-loose as well.
AB de Villiers
Say what you like about the Emirates pitches ... 278 not out in a Test match has still got to be done, hasn’t it? De Villiers, 26, rewrote the South African record books with his innings against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi, beating his captain Graeme Smith’s seven-year-long national record of 277 against England at Edgbaston.
They say the key thing about a substitute in Test rugby these days is to add “impact” and “value” as quickly as possible off the bench. The humungous Sharks loose forward certainly did so on the Grand Slam tour, including the rare feat of tries in three consecutive matches – against Wales, Scotland and England.
The former SACS schoolboy, not yet 30, confirmed beyond dispute that he is South Africa’s top trail/endurance runner with victory this month in the last of four Desert Races in Antarctica, completing a clean sweep of the events for him. The Desert Races have been described as among the top two endurance competitions on the planet. Respect!
Bismarck du Plessis
A wobbly stint of lineout throw-ins against Scotland (where so much more went pear-shaped for the Boks anyway!) was the lone tour low point for the ever-combative hooker, who was otherwise little short of brilliant against the other three Home Unions ... culminating in being judged man-of-the-match by commentator Stuart Barnes against England at Twickenham.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld
The Proteas, Dolphins and ex-Lions batsman tested positive this month for a prohibited substance, a weight-loss product prescribed by a doctor, and was provisionally suspended by Cricket South Africa as a result. The ban was subsequently lifted ... but perhaps the good old treadmill and sit-ups is a safer way to “bulk down”, eh Vaughn?
Chiliboy Ralepelle/Bjorn Basson
More problems on the drugs front for South African sport: the Springbok hooker and wing respectively were sent home early from the Grand Slam tour after a much-publicised incident in which both tested positive for a banned stimulant – albeit one found in certain anti-cold medications. Clearly it raised the scent levels of doping bosses: three times as many Boks as Scots were later tested after the Murrayfield game and the matter did provide an unwanted distraction on tour.
The Soweto glamour club got a bit blasé ahead of their Telkom Knockout final date by opting to rest a few of their Bafana stars for the supposedly “routine” Premiership home encounter with newcomers Vasco da Gama. The Cape side stunned them 3-2 at Soccer City ... ironically sparked by a former national star of their own in veteran Sibusiso Zuma.
Big Vic finds himself nominated in both categories this month; he earns the less enviable nod for his mini-meltdown against Scotland at Murrayfield, where he seemed to rile and be riled by referee Stu Dickinson (seldom South Africa’s best friend, let’s face it) and the Boks kept on being penalised in the vital closing stages of the only “Slam” game they unexpectedly lost.
Peter de Villiers
In his defence, he made good ones in the final game against England, but the earlier part of the Boks’ Grand Slam tour was marked by some baffling substitutions by the national coach and his lieutenants. The habit very nearly cost the Boks the match against Wales, for instance, where in-form Bismarck du Plessis was called off at a key stage and replacement hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle botched two lineout throws to dramatically add to pressure on the Bok try-line ...
In a bid to deservedly salute the photographers doing the hard graft on the sidelines. Sport24 have put together a gallery of the "Best of the Best" pictures of the month of November. They're guaranteed to leave you speechless. Click HERE to view our selection of the: Best of the best pictures
Readers monthly votes will decide the 12
finalists in each category, and it is from those 12 finalists that
Sport24 will decide their Star, Plonker and Picture of the Year in