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United we stand

They are not the best of friends, but after a meeting on Thursday morning in Johannesburg, former Springbok coach Andre Markgraaff and the president of the African National Congress Youth League, Fikile Mbalula, stand united on the transformation of rugby in South Africa.

Boks ‘getting better every day’

Springbok Bakkies Botha's injured foot may be back in order, but his passport is apparently not. The big lock forward was a notable absentee from the Boks' third practice day at St Johns College in Johannesburg on Wednesday, as he went to Pretoria to sort out his travel documents. Jake White was upbeat about the training sessions so far.

ANC Youth League, Markgraaff to bury hatchet

The African National Congress Youth League leadership and former Springbok coach Andre Markgraaff hope to find ''common ground'' when they hold talks on transformation in rugby on Thursday. Markgraaff has made himself available for the position of SA Rugby deputy president.

Relieved White leaves injury worries behind

Springbok coach Jake White is a relieved man after hearing the news that his first-choice scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will be fit for the upcoming Grand Slam tour. Speaking at the Boks' training session at St John's College on Tuesday, White said that Du Preez had been for X-rays on his injured foot on Monday.

One red car beating another red car

The 2004 formula-one season was a case of one red car beating another red car as Michael Schumacher and Ferrari ran their rivals ragged. In capturing 13 of the 18 grands prix, Schumacher surpassed even his highest standards to waltz off with his seventh world title with four legs of the season to go.

Supersport march on to quarterfinals

Supersport United are through to the quarterfinals of the Coca-Cola Cup competition after their convincing 4-1 drubbing over Bush Bucks at Loftus stadium on Sunday. Tsweu Mokoro opened the floodgates in the 10th minute and slid home a pass from Dikgang Mabalane.

Bulls at a canter

It is a simple enough statement of fact to say that the Blue Bulls are the best provincial rugby team in South Africa. Whatever happens in this weekend's final at Loftus, nothing will alter that fact. And to prove that it is a long way from being a flash in the pan, Heyneke Meyer's team stands on the threshold of a third successive final victory.

Fergie’s fledglings fail to take flight

In the delirious aftermath of Manchester United's victory in the European Cup final of 1999, commentator Clive Tyldesley sounded a note pitched perfectly between caution and celebration: ''Gary Neville, 24, David Beckham, 24, Nicky Butt, 24, [Ryan] Giggs, 25. Whatever they achieve in their future, I doubt they will ever, ever cap this.''

Will alpha get charlies to foxtrot?

When the appointment of a new coach elicits a response unapologetically laborious and manufactured, the end is near. Outrage, finger pointing and name-calling in media and public debate indicate the presence of a pulse. But the plastic, listless response to the appointment of Ray Jennings suggests that to most who care about the game, South African cricket has flatlined.

‘Soek-soek’ in search of fans

Supersport United are living up to their name under the tutelage of Pitso Mosimane. The youngest coach in the Premier Soccer League has taken a team that faced relegation four seasons ago to one that has been twice runners-up for the league title and has been in the top four for the past three seasons.

Arsenal’s midfield revolution

Forget Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Panathinaikos. Something far more important happened late in Arsenal's stylish 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Highbury last Saturday. It's the kind of thing that will send a shudder of fear through Manchester United. Neal Collins also takes a look at the coming week's soccer matches.

Liverpool back for Morientes

Liverpool are exploring the possibilities of reviving a deal for Fernando Morientes, Real Madrid's unsettled Spanish striker. Rafael Benitez had wanted to bring the Spanish international striker to Anfield as part of the £8-million deal that saw Michael Owen move to the Bernabeu, but instead got the now-injured Antonio Nunez.

Racism rules in Russia

So you're young, black and gifted with a ball at your feet. European glory beckons. Where should you head to make your fortune? Not racist Russia, apparently. Nor any of the former Eastern Bloc states. Dynamo Moscow's Senegalese defender, Pascal Mendi, has claimed: ''In Russia they have two major problems. Racism and the language.''

Mutu’s no mutt off the field

It would be tempting to lump Adrian Mutu, the latest footballer to find himself in hot water, with the rest of the got-rich-too-quick brigade. Tempting, but completely wrong. But though he grew up in a land where money was a particularly scarce resource, Mutu's case deserves further, rigorous examination.

Coke doesn’t make you a drugs cheat

It is hard to feel sympathy for a footballer on £60 000 a week whose all-round fondness for fast living and aversion to training has brought his career to the brink of disaster. In one respect, however, Adrian Mutu, the Chelsea striker who admitted this week that he tested positive for cocaine, can consider himself unfortunate.

Wits win through to quarterfinal

Wits University passed their first test in the Coca-Cola Cup with flying colours on Wednesday night when they mauled Manning Rangers 3-0. Wits, the hosts, led 1-0 at interval. The visitors from Durban took home R150 000 for their participation. It was an all-Zimbabwean affair for the Students as all three goals were scored by players from South Africa's northern neighbour.

Mandela match to go ahead, sponsor or not

The 10th edition of the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge will go ahead with or without a sponsor. This bold statement came from the CEO of the South African Football Association, Albert Mokoena, at the official launch of the high-profile event. He also announced that Bafana Bafana will host the Super Eagles from Nigeria.

Why Ledwaba, Barcelona can box in new categories

The mystery around the eligibility of Lehlohonolo Ledwaba and Eric Barcelona to challenge Cassius Baloyi and Silence Mbuza for their IBO junior light and bantamweight belts respectively in Benoni next month has been solved. Both challengers are not rated in the weight categories in which they will be fighting.

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