Loftus Versfeld will be hosting the opening Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between the Springboks and Wales on Saturday, July 2.
This will be the first Springbok Test match in front of a crowd on home soil since being crowned World Cup champions in 2019.
For two years, sporting events were limited in hosting spectators at venues – from no spectators, to 2000, then 50% of the venue capacity, and now we are back to full capacity, with the Springboks versus Wales match being the first to host a capacity crowd.
For this reason, it is important that we remind ourselves of some important facets which will make the experience of attending a Test match a pleasant and worthwhile one, with as little glitches as possible.
ARRIVE AT LOFTUS EARLY
There is increased interest in the SA versus Wales match, and as such, there will be an increased number of spectators – possibly the biggest crowd we have seen in SA sports since 2019. This will result in increased traffic around the stadium and longer queues at the stadium gates.
For ease of entry, spectators are encouraged to arrive at the stadium early to avoid congestion closer to kick-off time.
Come and enjoy a beer in the Beer Garden and soak up the atmosphere.
Gates open at 13h00.
It is important to note that there will be no sale of tickets for the match at Loftus Versfeld on match-day. Spectators are encouraged to buy their tickets before match-day from the Loftus Versfeld ticket office or online at bulls.ticketpro.co.za.
No vaccination certificates or negative Covid tests will be required from fans entering the stadium on match day.
BARS AT LOFTUS VERSFELD
Alcohol will be available for purchase at all bars at Loftus Versfeld. These include Blu Bar, Castle Corner, Up and Under Bar, The Trophy Room, Beer Garden on D-field, Trademarx.
There will be plenty of entertainment on the day which includes a Beer Garden on the Loftus D-field, with live DJ’s and artists.
And a host of DJ’s and artist to entertain you at Trademarx before and after the match.
Special Gautrain busses will operate between Hatfield Station and Loftus Versfeld, with commuters being dropped off and picked up in Orient Street, north of the stadium
Gautrain buses and trains will operate until normal operating times, which is 21h00
OTHER TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
Uber & Bolt
There will be a dedicated drop-off and pick-up zone in Lynnwood Road, south of the stadium. Spectators are encouraged to utilize these services, as there is limited parking available around Loftus. Kirkness Road will be closed off.
Park and Ride
There will be a Park & Ride service available for supporters who prefer to park their vehicles off-site and get a lift directly to Loftus Versfeld and back to the designated parking pick-up points. Book your ride at www.parkandridesa.com
These pick-up points are:
• Clearwater Mall
• East Rand Mall
• Menlyn Park
• Mall of Africa
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Following an appeal lodged by the Federación Española de Rugby (FER) (Spanish Union), an Independent Appeal Committee has upheld the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee relating to breaches of player eligibility during the European regional Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification process.
On 5 May, 2022, an Independent Judicial Committee determined that the Spanish Union breached the World Rugby Eligibility regulation by fielding Gavin van den Berg in two Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification matches. The sanction imposed by the committee included a fine and points deduction resulting in the Spanish national team no longer qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
An Independent Appeal Committee comprising Wang Shao Ing (Chair), Adam Casselden SC and John Langford (former player, Australia), was convened to examine the Spanish Union’s appeal of the committee’s decision and sanction.
In accordance with the scope of the appeals process, the Spanish Union needed to prove either that: a) the decision of the Independent Judicial Committee was in error; b) in the interests of justice that the decision should be overturned and/or c) that the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.
As part of its appeal, the Spanish Union sought to introduce new evidence that was not put before the Independent Judicial Committee. The Independent Appeal Committee carefully considered the Spanish Union’s arguments regarding why the new evidence should be admitted, examined all of the new documentary evidence, and decided not to admit it because:
it determined that the Spanish Union had not adequately explained why this evidence was unavailable on reasonable enquiry ahead of the original hearing; and
in any event it would not be in the interests of justice to do so after having regard for all of the circumstances, including consideration that part of the new evidence presented was not only incomplete, but contained allegations against the player and others relating to the alteration of a photocopy of a national identity document that was subject to ongoing investigations by the appropriate competent bodies in the Spanish jurisdiction.
The Independent Appeal Committee reviewed the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee based on the evidence that was before it. Having considered detailed submissions from the Spanish Union and World Rugby, the Independent Appeal Committee dismissed the appeal.
In accordance with World Rugby regulations, the decision of the Independent Appeal Committee is final and binding with no further right to appeal.
With respect to Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 European qualification table by the Independent Judicial Committee stands, meaning that Romania qualifies as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain, and Portugal replaces Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The Airlink Pumas emerged as the Cinderella men of the Carling Currie Cup’s modern era when they pipped Windhoek Draught Griquas 26-19 in a momentous final in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon to clinch their first title.
In a historic battle of ultimate underdogs, the visitors maximised their maiden finals appearance by outscoring the hosts by three tries to one in front of a capacity crowd of 8,500 to capture the crown jewel of South African rugby.
The Airlink Pumas class of 2022, captained by flanker Willie Engelbrecht, seized the day with a heroic performance to cap a fairy-tale season under long-time coach Jimmy Stonehouse.
The two spirited unions, who defied the odds to reach the decider, largely stuck to what brought them to the doorstep of destiny, playing high-octane rugby after a nervy first 20 minutes in a final unlike any other in the history of the oldest provincial rugby competition in the world.
The Lowvelders’ temperament formed the foundation of their triumph, which was powered by superior execution, finishing and defence. Their sharpness on attack and powerful driving maul saw them score two unanswered tries, which helped them take an 18-9 lead into the break, with the hosts managing just three penalty goals via the boot of George Whitehead.
The lead grew to 17 before the Peacock Blues produced a fightback, which was sparked by a scintillating try by Munier Hartzenberg in the 57th minute. A late monster penalty goal from Whitehead, who’d also converted his wing’s try, gave Windhoek Draught Griquas a chance to force the final into extra time with a last-gasp converted try.
However, it never came as the Airlink Pumas held on. With their historic victory, the unheralded men in pink and grey rose from undesirable to undeniable on what will live on in Carling Currie Cup lore as the Nelspruit union’s greatest day.
Windhoek Draught Griquas 19 (9) – Try: Munier Hartzenberg. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalty goals: Whitehead (4).
Airlink Pumas 26 (18) – Tries: Devon Williams, Eduan Swart, Willie Engelbrecht. Conversion: Eddie Fouche. Penalty goals: Eddie Fouche (3).
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Rugby tickets “freed” to set off fan bonanza following COVID announcement
• Carling Currie Cup final expected to be 100% sold out
• Additional tickets released for Springbok Tests
More tickets to the Springboks’ six home Tests – starting with the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Wales next month – will be released following the news that more COVID restrictions have been lifted in South Africa.
South Africans woke up to the news on Thursday morning that the Government had gazetted new regulations that included the dropping of limits on both indoor and outdoor gatherings, which means rugby stadiums can now sell all available tickets instead of the only 50% capacity that had been permitted.
The response from fans was instant, with the first match expected to feature a full stadium in more than two years set to be Saturday’s Carling Currie Cup final in Kimberley, where Windhoek Draught Griquas host the Airlink Pumas from 15h00.
“It feels like we’ve been set free,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “Certainly an additional 80 000-plus tickets for major rugby events have gone into the market today.
“The news comes just in time for the Carling Currie Cup final and the three Springbok Tests against Wales next month.
“We saw the massive appetite for returning to live sporting events with the playoffs in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in Cape Town and Pretoria in the last few weeks and, as a sport, we are delighted with the news that we are moving back to normal.
“Our loyal fans have not been able to see the Springboks play in South Africa for almost three years, and we are expecting them to arrive in droves for the Tests against Wales in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town next month.”
As part of the lifting of the regulations, South Africans are also no longer expected to wear masks indoors, while mask wearing and presentation of vaccine certificates or negative COVID tests are no longer mandatory to enter any venues.
“Even though the restrictions have been lifted, we would still like to urge everyone who attend matches and events to keep their own personal safety, and those around them, in mind when entering venues and take the necessary precautionary steps, and we would also like to strongly encourage vulnerable people and those with underlying medical conditions to take appropriate health precautions,” added Roux.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The pool draws for the 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup tournaments will be staged at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, 28 June.
Both draws will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com and the event will start at 12.00 (UK-Irish time) / 13.00 (SA-Italian time) with the draw for the EPCR Challenge Cup pools which will be followed by the Heineken Champions Cup draw at approximately 12.25 / 13.25.
For the Heineken Champions Cup draw, which will feature the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks from South Africa for the first time, the 24 qualified clubs will be in four tiers based on their rankings from the TOP 14, Gallagher Premiership and the URC, before being drawn into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B. Clubs from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool. (See qualifiers and tiers below)
The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league will be in Tier 1 – this includes Castres Olympique and Montpellier Hérault Rugby who will compete in the TOP 14 final on Friday - the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs will be in Tier 2, the number 5 and 6 ranked clubs will be in Tier 3, and the number 7 and number 8 ranked clubs will be Tier 4.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away over four pool stage rounds, as will the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.
For example, the Stormers, who won last weekend’s URC Grand Final, will be in Tier 1 and will be drawn against either ASM Clermont Auvergne or Lyon, and against either the Exeter Chiefs or London Irish from Tier 4.
Similarly, Leicester Tigers, who triumphed in the Premiership final, will also be in Tier 1 and will be drawn against either ASM Clermont Auvergne or Lyon, and against either Edinburgh Rugby or Ospreys from Tier 4.
Meanwhile, the losing TOP 14 semi-finalists, Union Bordeaux-Bègles and Stade Toulousain, who will be in Tier 2, will be drawn against either Gloucester Rugby or Sale Sharks, and against either the Sharks or Munster Rugby from Tier 3.
The live-streamed draw for the EPCR Challenge Cup pools, which includes the Johannesburg-based Lions and the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein, will have 20 clubs in three tiers in order to create two pools of 10 – Pool A and Pool B. Clubs from the same league will not play against one another during the pool stage. (See qualifiers and tiers below)
The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from the URC, the TOP 14 and the Premiership will be in Tier 1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs from each league, as well as the number 5 and number 6 ranked clubs from the URC, will be in Tier 2. The Dragons, Zebre Parma, USAP, Aviron Bayonnais, Bath Rugby and the Cheetahs will be in Tier 3.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away over four pool stage rounds.
The Tier 2 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage. In order to adhere to the key principle of no same-league matches, Tier 2 clubs from the TOP 14 will only play against opposition from the URC, and similarly, Tier 2 clubs from the Premiership will also only play against opposition from the URC.
For example, in Tier 2, the Lions will play against either Stade Francais Paris or CA Brive, and against either Worcester Warriors or Newcastle Falcons.
Once the draws have been concluded, EPCR will prepare the fixture schedules for both tournaments with an announcement of exact dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage to follow as soon as practicable.
The 2022/23 season will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December, followed by a knockout stage consisting of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, culminating in the Dublin finals at the Aviva Stadium on 19 and 20 May 2023.
2022/23 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP QUALIFIERS
TOP 14: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, 3 Union Bordeaux-Bègles, 4 Stade Toulousain, 5 Stade Rochelais, 6 Racing 92, 7 ASM Clermont Auvergne, 8 Lyon
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Leicester Tigers, 2 Saracens, 3 Harlequins, 4 Northampton Saints, 5 Gloucester Rugby, 6 Sale Sharks, 7 Exeter Chiefs, 8 London Irish
United Rugby Championship: 1 Stormers, 2 Bulls, 3 Leinster Rugby, 4 Ulster Rugby, 5 Sharks, 6 Munster Rugby, 7 Edinburgh Rugby, 8 Ospreys
Heineken Champions Cup pool draw tiers
Tier 1: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Stormers, Bulls
Tier 2: Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Toulousain, Harlequins, Northampton Saints, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby
Tier 3: Stade Rochelais, Racing 92, Gloucester Rugby, Sale Sharks, Sharks, Munster Rugby
Tier 4: ASM Clermont Auvergne, Lyon, Exeter Chiefs, London Irish, Edinburgh Rugby, Ospreys
2022/23 EPCR CHALLENGE CUP QUALIFIERS
United Rugby Championship: 1 Glasgow Warriors, 2 Scarlets, 3 Connacht Rugby, 4 Lions, 5 Benetton Rugby, 6 Cardiff Rugby, 7 Dragons, 8 Zebre Parma
TOP 14: 1 RC Toulon, 2 Section Paloise, 3 Stade Français Paris, 4 CA Brive, 5 USAP 6 Aviron Bayonnais
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Wasps, 2 Bristol Bears, 3 Worcester Warriors, 4 Newcastle Falcons, 5 Bath Rugby
EPCR Challenge Cup pool draw tiers
Tier 1: Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets, RC Toulon, Section Paloise, Wasps, Bristol Bears
Tier 2: Connacht Rugby, Lions, Benetton Rugby, Cardiff Rugby, Stade Francais Paris, CA Brive, Worcester Warriors, Newcastle Falcons
Tier 3: Dragons, Zebre Parma, USAP, Aviron Bayonnais, Bath Rugby, Cheetahs
Issued on behalf of EPCR
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
One of the best female athletes in the world, the holder of four world records and two world bests, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba has announced that she will run in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K on Sunday 10 July 2022. Genzebe Dibaba is arguably the best athlete to set foot on South African soil and her appearance at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K was a massive coup for race organiser, Stillwater Sports. Dibaba, although running a superb 31:02 in Cape Town felt she could have gone faster in her 10km debut on the road and is eager to see just how much faster she can go come 10 July. Seen here: Genzebe Dibaba in action during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K in May. PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Hitchcock
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Springbok prop, Lizo Gqoboka, will return to lead the Vodacom Bulls in their crucial Carling Currie Cup semifinal clash against the Windhoek Draught Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
Vodacom Bulls head coach, Gert Smal, has bolstered his side for the domestic playoff game. In addition to the inclusion of the influential Gqoboka, a trio that was part of the traveling Vodacom United Rugby Championship squad that traveled to Ireland to face Leinster in the cross-hemisphere semifinal last week has also been added. This includes the experienced Marco Jansen van Vuren and the youthful and talented forward duo of Reinhardt Ludwig and Jan-Hendrik Wessels.
Following the inclusion of Jansen van Vuren, who will earn a starting berth at inside centre, Vodacom Bulls vice-captain, Stedman Gans, will make a shift to the wing this week.
The home side’s bench has also been strengthened with Dylan Smith providing prop cover and nippy scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde available to add firepower in the latter stages of the game.
The Vodacom Bulls expect a huge challenge from a motivated Windhoek Draught Griquas side in the clash as both sides will be eager to book a spot in the final against the winner of the second semifinal between the Toyota Cheetahs and Airlink Pumas.
“It has been a highly competitive season of Carling Currie Cup with no easy games. It now gets even tougher in the knockout stages, and we are expecting what could potentially be the toughest match so far when we go up against the Windhoek Draught Griquas on Friday,” said head coach, Smal, ahead of the game.
“Windhoek Draught Griquas are always motivated when they visit Loftus, and they will even be hungrier now that they are a step closer to the final. We have had to work hard this week following the defeat to the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend. We will need an improved performance. We hope to give our supporters something to smile about in what is a big weekend for the Vodacom Bulls.”
The match kicks off at 19h00 on Friday and will be televised on SuperSport.
The Vodacom Bulls team to face Windhoek Draught Griquas is:
STARTERS (15-1): Richard Kriel (Tuine), Tharquinn Manuel (UP Tuks), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria), Stedman Gans (Northam Rhinos), Juan Mostert (Harlequin), Keagan Johannes (UP Tuks), Muller Uys (UP Tuks), Ruan Delport (Betway Centurion), Jaco Labuschagne (Pretoria), Reinhardt Ludwig (UP Tuks), Raynard Roets (UP Tuks), Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Pretoria), Lizo Gqoboka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).
IMPACT (16-23): Sidney Tobias (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Dylan Smith (Tuine), Francois Klopper (UP Tuks), Willie Potgieter (Betway Centurion), Stephan Smit (UP Tuks), Bernard van der Linde (UP Tuks), Niel Beukes (Pretoria), Quewin Nortje (Pretoria).
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The Vodacom Bulls are under no false illusions that a tough encounter awaits them when they face the DHL Stormers in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final in Cape Town on Saturday.
The two sides have made history as the first finalists of the cross-hemisphere premier competition, and in their first season, ensured an all-South African season finale – eliminating all of their Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian opposition in the process.
If past matches would be anything to go by, the DHL Stormers will easily claim the “favourites” tag, not only because they have secured a home final but also based on the fact that they have defeated the Vodacom Bulls twice already in the round robin stages of the competition.
However, Vodacom Bulls’ electrifying winger, Madosh Tambwe, believes that the final will be a different ball game, but expects an ever-competitive opponent when they take to the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
“We are at a stage and time where there isn’t much more that we can do [about past results]. There is one more game left in the Vodacom URC, so we will have to try to replicate the performance we had against Leinster [in the semifinal] last weekend,” said Tambwe.
“The Stormers remain the only South African team we haven’t had a win against. We are obviously going into the game with the mindset of wanting to win. Like Coach Jake (White) says, we enter a competition to win. It doesn’t matter how we start or whatever happens, we just need to worry about the fact that at the time the ref blows the whistle at the end of the 80 minutes that we are a couple of points ahead of them.
“Credit to them, their back three has played well. (Leolin) Zas is the top try-scorer, (Seabelo) Senatla right behind him Boogie (Warrick Gelant) is a great player. It now comes down to Saturday – the planning, the bounce of the ball – so, we will approach it like we have been approaching every other game.”
The 25-year-old winger spoke glowingly about the Vodacom Bulls’ director of rugby, Jake White, who has steered the ship of the side fantastically through the season.
Despite a disappointing start to their campaign which even saw the team sitting second from the bottom of the log as early as January this year, White’s charges grew from strength to strength on their way to the final of the competition.
“Working with Coach Jake has been tremendous. He has honestly brought out the best out of me. He challenges me in various ways, not only as a rugby player but also a team guy off the field. So, working with him has been a great aspect of my career to date. Hopefully we can finish that relationship on a high on Saturday,” said a proud Tambwe.
“I want to give back to him. He’s a tremendous guy. He uplifted my career from the time I got here. The one thing I can do in terms of repaying him is to play my socks off, and hopefully play a role in securing that trophy and bringing it back to Loftus.
“When we started this competition, I don’t think anybody gave us a chance, especially when we lost our first game against Leinster and then went on to lose a few more games after that.
“As time went on, the bond and the relationships got stronger within the squad and the belief started growing. We found ourselves in a position where every game was like a playoff where we needed to win in order for us to secure a European spot and a playoff spot.
“So, ever since about the last three games before the playoffs we had already embraced the challenge of ‘every game basically a playoff’. I think all the guys took it well, and luckily, we have great coaches in our camp. We have a World Cup-winning coach, we have a defence coach that has been to three Vodacom Super Rugby finals. We have great personnel whom we are fortunate to work with.”
”Our main motivation now is to lift the trophy, the same way we did when we went to Leinster – we never mentioned that we owed them. We just went there to say it’s just another team that is in our way to the final
“This Saturday the objective is to win, and we have 23 guys who are aware of that. We just have to see the reward that awaits us. Hopefully, that is enough motivation for the game on Saturday.”
The Vodacom URC Grand Final between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers will kick off at 19h30 on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls will announce their team for the match on Friday.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The Vodacom Bulls have named an unchanged starting XV for their all-important Vodacom United Rugby Championship semifinal match against Leinster at the RDS Arena on Friday night.
The South African charges, who have been preparing for the precursor to season finale in Dublin this week, have opted for consistency with director of rugby, Jake White, selecting an unchanged starting lineup to the one that beat the Cell C Sharks in last weekend’s quarterfinal clash at Loftus Versfeld.
The side from Tshwane has made four changes to their bench. The experienced former Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis will provide cover from the bench, alongside loosehead prop Simphiwe Matanzima and loose-forward, WJ Steenkamp.
The Vodacom Bulls will also see the return of electrifying back, Kurt-Lee Arendse, who will be on the bench this week after being sidelined by a finger injury over the past few weeks.
The South Africans are expecting a tough challenge against a Leinster side that has dominated during the round robin stages, and also showed their intentions of dominating the knockout stages with a forceful performance last weekend when they defeated Glasgow Warriors in the quarterfinal.
“Leinster is a phenomenal side that is very well-coached and is full if international players, said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, ahead of the match.
“You look at their bench and they have players who have more caps for the club than the entire Vodacom Bulls team combined. So, we are definitely up against a quality side, and it will be a great challenge at the RDS Arena.”
The match will kick off at 20h35 SA time (19h35 UK time)
The Vodacom Bulls team to play in the Vodacom URC semifinal against Leinster is:
STARTERS (15-1): Canan Moodie (Pretoria), David Kriel (Tuine), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Chris Smith (Harlequin), Zak Burger (Tuine); Elrigh Louw (UP Tuks), Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Marcell Coetzee (ABE Midas Naka Bulle, CAPT), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Tuine), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).
IMPACT (16-23): Bismarck du Plessis (Betway Centurion), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Robert Hunt (Harlequin), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), WJ Steenkamp (Tuine); Embrose Papier (UP Tuks), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion).
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
• Stokes also moves up in rankings for batters, Jamieson rises to third place among bowlers
• Rahmat and Nabi move up in ODIs; Hazlewood, Finch and Nissanka progress in T20Is
England batter Joe Root has overtaken Kane Williamson and Steve Smith to move within 10 rating points of top-ranked Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne in the latest weekly update to the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings.
Root, who had lost the top spot to Labuschagne in December 2021 during the Ashes series, has gained 39 points after guiding England to a five-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first match of their ICC World Test Championship series at Lord’s.
Root’s 115 not out in the second innings, his 26th Test century, has taken him from 843 to 882 rating points. Smith is third with 845 points while Williamson has slipped behind Pakistan’s Babar Azam to fifth.
England captain Ben Stokes’s second innings half-century has lifted him two places to 27th. New Zealand’s Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell have also made important gains in Wednesday’s update. Blundell has progressed 15 places to 35th after scores of 14 and 96 and Mitchell 25 places to 50th with innings of 13 and 108.
In the Test rankings for bowlers, New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson is back at his career-best third position after finishing with six wickets in the match. England seam bowler James Anderson, who also took six wickets, has moved up two places to seventh while his compatriot Matthew Potts has entered the rankings in 77th position after an impressive seven-wicket match haul on debut.
Afghanistan players have made notable gains in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings after taking a 2-0 lead over Zimbabwe in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League series.
Rahmat Shah has moved up two places to 29th position after aggregating 181 runs in the two matches while spin bowler Mohammad Nabi is up eight places to 11th with six wickets. Hashmatullah Shahidi (up eight places to 50th) among batters and Rashid Khan (up one place to third among all-rounders) have also moved up the tables. Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza is up six places to joint-42nd among batters.
The ODI update, which also takes into account the last two matches of the Netherlands versus West Indies series and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 matches played in Pearland (USA) over the past week, Windies spinner Akeal Hosein has moved up 14 places to 37th among bowlers. The United Arab Emirates pair of Vriitya Anand (up 29 places to 77th) and Chirag Suri (up 25 places to 87th), and Netherlands’ Max O’Dowd (up 33 places to 81st) have advanced in the batters’ list.
The MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings, see Australia captain Aaron Finch enter the top five and his opening partner David Warner move up eight places to 45th after guiding their team to a 10-wicket win with a 134-run stand in the first match of a three-T20I series against Sri Lanka. Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who was named Player of the Match for his haul of four for 16, has moved up one place to second position.
For Sri Lanka, opener Prathum Nissanka (up two places to seventh) and Charith Asalanka (up 14 places to 29th) have moved up the rankings for batters while Maheesh Theekshana is up three places to 21st among bowlers.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]