Is Ernst your April Star?
Cape Town - After much debate and head scratching, the Sport24 team have announced their Performers, Plonkers and Pictures of the month for April 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 April nominations are...
Narrowing down the nominations for the April star of the month proved tricky with several candidates returning performances worthy of recognition.
The Stormers coach (along with his various co-strategists, of course) must be commended for a fine South African “first”: a five-game clean sweep of the New Zealand sides in the Vodacom Super 14, including thumping away wins against both the Blues and Chiefs. In the latter game, Coetzee’s charges also produced one of the best long-range, hand-to-hand tries you will see, eventually rounded off by Bryan Habana.
If the previously-mentioned Stormers try against the Chiefs was one of the finest “team” ones you will see, the Springbok centre was responsible for one of the vintage virtuoso ones against the Crusaders at Newlands. He had an awful lot to do when he received the inside pass, some 60 metres out, but a wicked step got him out of the blocks, and then he used a combination of guile, leg-power, speed, and a strong hand-off to snake his way over for a truly epic dot-down.
The Proteas all-rounder has come under fire in recent months over his perceived shortcomings as a bowler, so it was both ironic and satisfying for him that his final over of the match in the IPL final for Chennai Super Kings was a classic, run-choking one: Mumbai Indians scrambled only six runs and lost two wickets as Morkel kept great composure to seal the Kings’ win. He also produced a typically brisk cameo with the bat.
Ernst van Dyk
The determined 37-year-old won an incredible ninth Boston Marathon (men’s wheelchair) this month, making him the record winner for any of the divisions in the illustrious event. The man from Paarl afterwards described this year’s race as his “toughest yet” but one thing is pretty certain: he’ll be back for more!
The local World Cup 2010 supremo earns a double dose of kudos: first for finally persuading sluggish FIFA that an “over the counter” ticketing system had to be introduced to lure greater numbers of South African soccer fans to the big jamboree, and then for being one of very few people prepared to take the flak when the new system initially went rather awry.
And in the not so serious plonker category... Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest plonker of them all?
Athletics South Africa
Something has to be wrong with our ultra-marathon arena – including the coaching, no doubt? -- when South Africans so rarely come up trumps at the Two Oceans, which is second only to the Comrades in local gravitas. Yet again the men’s winner and best finishers generally came from outside our country (Lesotho’s Mabuthile Lebopo prevailed) while Russia’s Olesya Nurgalieva landed the women’s event. There hasn’t been a female South African winner of the Two Oceans for 10 years.
The Saracens mastermind is a shrewd rugby man – not to mention doctor – but he seemed to have lost his marbles a bit, after a storming performance for the English club by their livewire hooker Schalk Brits, when he branded him South Africa’s best No 2 and among the top three in the world. Maybe Brendan hasn’t seen enough of Messrs Liebenberg, Botha, Smit, Du Plessis and company in the Super 14 this season?
We suppose Nella just wouldn’t be Nella if he didn’t get into some disciplinary hot water from time to time. The big, not-so-fast Surrey bowler got slapped with a two-game suspension for dissent in a match against Lancashire. Will “Gunther” ever learn?
South Africa’s soccer bosses also tend to be serial visitors to this slot! This month they earned further ignominy on several fronts: they struggled to get Bafana decent warm-up matches in the crucial lead-up to the World Cup, spent big sums of money sending players to “camps” who won’t even feature come the tournament itself, and nailing down a suitable local base for the country’s pride and joy also seemed to prove beyond them.
The Cheetahs second-row veteran, who came out of retirement in the Super 14 to aid the struggling, injury-hit cause, had been among the franchise’s coaching staff before donning a jersey once again for the meeting with the Brumbies. Now you would expect a coach to lead by good example … so why did the big man promptly get yellow-carded over repeated off-side infringements? Ouch!
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 April. 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 December.