Monty: a Springbok rock at the back

first_imgSouth Africa’s record 53-8 victory over Australia in Johannesburg on 30 August 2008 was a bittersweet win, bringing the curtain down on the international career of Percy Montgomery, the most capped Springbok in history.Addressing a press conference after the match, Montgomery said: “Not many players get to choose when they want to leave test rugby, and I think that is what makes today so special for me, because I know that at test level it is time to go.“I have had many memorable moments in the Bok jersey and some testing ones as well, but I would never exchange one moment of either the highs or the lows.‘A privilege’“It has been a privilege to play for my country and to play in some of the best teams the world has seen,” Montgomery said. “I also feel blessed as a player to have played against so many great players and so many different countries.”“I was asked why I would come back after a high of winning the World Cup in France, but for me every time I put on a Bok jersey was a high, and I got to do that eight more times this year.”Montgomery’s career was marked by many ups and downs. He was, at one stage, the favourite target of hecklers and, arguably, the most disliked Springbok player of all. Yet when he retired he was among the most respected and liked of all players.With his trademark blonde locks and white boots, some saw him as a showboater but, in truth, Montgomery has always been a quiet man away from the field of play and, according to his teammates and coaches, he was a model professional and a wonderful teammate.Springbok debutHe began his provincial career in 1996 for Western Province as a speedy centre, and the following season made his Springbok debut against the British and Irish Lions.Like much of his early career in the green and gold, Montgomery’s performances were mixed in a 2-1 series loss. He scored a try on debut in the second test in Durban, but South Africa lost the match 18-15, despite outscoring the Lions three tries to nil. Montgomery had been entrusted with the kicking duties, but failed to land a single one, which allowed the tourists to score only their second series victory over the Boks.The following week, in the third test, he again scored a try as South Africa crushed the Lions 35-16. Jannie de Beer, who had been called up for the game because of Montgomery’s kicking woes, contributed 13 points with the boot.When Andre Joubert retired, Montgomery was moved from centre to fullback by Nick Mallett, a coach who always rated the former SACS schoolboy highly.Record-settingFrom the end of Carel du Plessis’ short reign as Springbok coach and well into Mallett’s tenure, Montgomery was an integral part of a team that equalled the world record for successive test victories with 17.That run began in August 1997, when Montgomery was still playing at centre, with a then-record 61-22 victory over Australia in Pretoria. A brilliant performance by the Springboks that yielded eight tries was highlighted by a sensational sprint and try by Montgomery that covered three-quarters the length of the field, following a quick throw-in.He was part the team that thrashed France 52-10 at the Park des Princes on 22 November 1997 in a performance that many people believe to be the finest of all Springbok performances.The following week he was in action against England at Twickenham in another record win, this time by a 29-11 margin.SensationalOn 6 December 1997, at Murrayfield, Montgomery enjoyed a sensational game against Scotland, scoring two tries and landing eight conversions for a personal haul of 26 points in a record 68-10 win over Scotland.The following season, 1998, he scored 30 points against Wales in Pretoria as the Boks crushed the Dragons 96-13.That same season Ireland were brushed aside twice and the Springboks won in Perth against the Wallabies, and in Wellington against the All Blacks, as South Africa went unbeaten to secure their first Tri-Nations title.Wales, Scotland, and Ireland were beaten on successive weekends in November before England ended SA’s unbeaten run in December at Twickenham by 13 points to seven.TargetedMontgomery helped the Springboks to a third place finish in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, but South Africa’s performances had slipped and he became widely targeted as a perceived weak link in the Springbok team when doing provincial duty for Western Province away from the friendly confines of Newlands.After a decent season in 2001, South Africa went through a poor 2002 season and Montgomery, hated by many, chose to further his career in Welsh club rugby with Newport. By this time he had already accumulated over 50 international caps.In May 2003, he was sent off for pushing a touch judge to the ground in an uncharacteristic outburst. He was handed a heavy fine and a two-year ban, but 18 months of the ban was later suspended. Despite the lessening of the ban, Montgomery missed the 2003 Rugby World Cup.The tournament proved to be a disaster for South Africa, with a fractured team exiting at the quarterfinals stage, well beaten 29-9 by New Zealand. Not long after the World Cup, Jake White was appointed to succeed Rudolf Straeuli as Springbok coach. It was a move that changed Montgomery’s career and his legacy.MasterstrokeWhite was an admirer of Montgomery’s game, and one of his first moves was to fly overseas and convince him to play for South Africa once again. It proved to be one of the biggest masterstrokes of White’s successful career as Bok coach.When he returned to the national team, it became immediately apparent that Montgomery had matured as a player during his time overseas. He had also become an accurate and reliable kicker, using a trademark short and economical run-up.He took over the goal kicking duties in the national team and was the top scorer in the Tri-Nations competition in 2004, when South Africa won the competition for the second time. The following year he topped the points scoring once more.Under White, and with Montgomery and another veteran, Os du Randt, back in the fold, the Springboks’ rugby fortunes were once again on the up.2006However, in 2006, questions were asked when Australia thrashed the Springboks 49-0 in Brisbane. That same season, however, they managed to beat the Wallabies and also ended a 15-match unbeaten run by New Zealand’s All Blacks.Confidence in the Springboks, White, and his veteran team was restored and the scene was set for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which would be the crowning glory of Montgomery’s career, even though he was no longer the pacy young flyer he had once been.After two massive wins over England, a victory over Samoa, and middling Tri-Nations’ results, during which coach White used a second-string line-up for the Boks’ overseas games, fans were not sure what to expect from the green and gold at the World Cup.In a warm-up contest, South Africa thrashed Namibia 105-13 at Newlands as Montgomery scored a Springbok record 35 points. Then, it was off to Murrayfield where Scotland were beaten 27-3 in the Boks’ final warm-up match.Rugby World Cup 2007Montgomery scored a massive 29 points in the Springboks’ opening match at the World Cup – a 59-7 victory over Samoa – and went on to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s title winning campaign.He contributed 18 points as England were whitewashed 36-0 in a pool game and then five points as a substitute in a 30-25 victory over a feisty Tongan side. Against the USA, he weighed in with 15 points in a 64-15 win as South Africa went through their pool unbeaten.Montgomery contributed nine points in the Springboks’s 37-20 win over Fiji in the quarterfinals and followed that up with 17 in SA’s 37-13 semi-final whipping of Argentina.In a tight final, Montgomery scored 12 of South Africa’s 15 points as the Boks lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy after a 15-6 victory over England.Highest points’ scorerMontgomery finished as the highest points scorer in the tournament – the only man to top 100 – with 105 points in the Springboks’ seven wins. However, his contribution amounted to much more than kicking penalties and conversions.His tactical acumen enabled South Africa to play rugby from favourable field positions, and his safe and steady play at the back gave the Bok backline a settled and solid look. While the defence was strong, Montgomery’s intelligent running lines also enabled South Africa to excel on attack and score 33 tries – second only to New Zealand, who benefited from two huge wins over minnows Portugal and Romania.In the 2008 season, Montgomery played mostly off the bench. He was given only one start against New Zealand at Newlands, but it marked his 100th test for the Springboks, making him the first man to achieve the milestone for South Africa, and only the ninth player in rugby history to reach three figures.He retired with a host of important South African records to his name. They included: Most caps – 102 Most points – 893 (Naas Botha is second with 312) Most conversions – 153 Most penalties – 148 Most points in a test – 35 versus Namibia In addition, Montgomery also scored 25 tries and kicked six drop goals.His contribution to rugby, South Africa, and rugby in South Africa was recognised in October 2008 when he was named to receive National Orders.After his retirement, Montgomery joined the Springboks as a kicking coach.Percy Montgomery goes down in history as not only a Springbok legend, but a legend of the game of rugby.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

DRDGold in R250m plant expansion

first_img15 February 2012South African gold miner DRDGold is to spend R250-million to expand its treatment plant in Brakpan, east of Johannesburg, a move that will enable the company to extract up to 20% more gold from the mine dumps that it re-treats.According to DRDGold CEO Niel Pretorius, the decision to proceed with the addition of a flotation and fine-grind circuit to the plant stems from the findings of about two years of in-house research and development (R&D), the purpose of which was to find a way to liberate more gold from the mine dumps.“It was discovered during R&D that gold trapped in high-pyrite material contained in the total feed to the Brakpan plant was not being liberated by the plant’s conventional carbon in leach process,” he told SouthAfrica.info this week.The Brakpan plant forms part of the company’s Ergo operation, which was established in 2007 as a joint venture between DRDGold and Mintails Limited to recover and treat surface tailings in the Elsburg Tailings Complex.Now wholly owned by DRDGold, Ergo has a network of surface rights that provide access to surface tailings deposited across the western, central and eastern Witwatersrand.More gold extracted, possible uranium recoveryThe company’s research also revealed that by putting the total feed to the plant through a flotation process, the high-pyrite material could be separated from the rest of the feed.The separated high-pyrite material would then be fine-ground through a separate milling process, and the gold it contained could be recovered.“So, the decision has been made to spend some R250-million to refurbish Ergo’s existing flotation plant to do the necessary flotation and to build a fine-grind milling circuit to fine-grind the high-pyrite material,” said Pretorius. “It is expected that the flotation [and] fine-grind process will liberate between 16-20% more gold.”He added that the fine-grind process has another potential benefit: by linking it to resin-in-pulp technology, it should be possible to recover uranium contained in the feed material at a fraction of the cost of building and operating a conventional uranium extraction plant.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Banyana down Namibia in Van Wyk’s 100th

first_img11 August 2014In South African captain Janine van Wyk’s 100th international, Banyana Banyana defeated Namibia 2-0 at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Sunday.South Africa had recorded another win over Namibia early in July, triumphing 2-1 in Namibia.Early leadOn Sunday, Banyana Banyana took the lead through Amanda Dlamini, who intercepted a pass just outside the visitors’ box before beating the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 after only three minutes.South Africa enjoyed most of the ball possession in the first half and came close to doubling their lead in the 39th minute when a shot from Nothando Vilakazi struck the crossbar.Second goalAfter the break, the contest slowed down, but Banyana found a second goal through Leandra Smeda, who was played in by Portia Modise after Modise had beaten the goalkeeper before finding Smeda unmarked inside the box.Coach Vera Pauw’s charges pushed hard to extend their lead, but were unable to add any more goals.100th capThe match was notable for being the milestone 100th international for defender and captain Janine van Wyk. She trails only Portia Modise, who has turned out for Sasol Banyana 110 times.“It absolutely is a phenomenal feeling,” Van Wyk said before the game.“I really am astonished that I have reached this milestone in my career. I have always dreamed of playing for the national team and here I am reaching 100 caps.”DebutNicknamed “Booth”, Van Wyk made her debut for Banyana Banyana in the African Women’s Championship against Nigeria in 2005. She said it had not been an easy journey to her milestone 100th appearance for her country.“If it wasn’t for my family who supported me along the way I would not be here,” she explained. “I have had some tough experiences in the team, coming in and having to deal with different cultures.”Van Wyk then praised her team-mates for making her feel welcome in the side and for the respect they have showed her.Most memorable momentShe said her most memorable moment in the green and gold strip was when Sasol Banyana recorded their first-ever win over Nigeria in the semi-finals of the 2012 African Women’s Championship, with Van Wyk scoring the only goal in South Africa’s 1-0 win.“Janine has played a vital role in the team set-up. She carries great leadership qualities as the captain. On behalf of Sasol, we congratulate her on reaching this milestone,” said Sasol Sponsorship Specialist Dumisani Mbokane.Banyana Banyana are preparing for the African Women’s Championship, which takes place in Namibia from 11 to 25 October. They have been seeded in a group that includes Cameroon, Ghana and Algeria.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Belo back in action for Elite, admits still groping for form

first_imgMOST READ “Right now, I can’t really say that I’m 100 percent because I’m still undergoing rehab,” said Belo in Filipino after the Elite got blown out by the San Miguel Beermen, 118-93.“But I can already play. I already have clearance to play from the doctor. I also want to get used to playing again.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe game against the Beermen isn’t exactly Belo’s first official game back after his injury. He played five out of the possible nine games with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones Cup in Taipei.And just like his performance in the Jones Cup, it’s clear that Belo has yet to regain his old game. View comments DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Compton says absent Abueva dealing with ‘personal matters’ Against the Beermen, the 24-year-old Belo came off the bench and had 13 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes and 32 seconds of play.Blackwater will need more of Belo as soon as possible. The loss to SMB was already Elite’s third in as many games.“We really need to work on a lot of things and it starts in practice. I have faith in coach and the rest of our coaching staff. They know what needs to be done to improve the team. For us players, we just need to play as one team.”ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweetcenter_img LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netANTIPOLO — Mac Belo made his PBA return on Saturday after being sidelined for four months due to a knee injury.But the Blackwater rookie admitted he still groping for form and has yet to fully recover from a torn meniscus in his right knee.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more