South Africa’s Pollard sees World Cup final ‘chess match’

South Africa's Handre Pollard, right, hugs Wales' Josh Adams following their Rugby World Cup semifinal at International Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP)
Updated 27 October 2019

South Africa’s Pollard sees World Cup final ‘chess match’

  • Pollard stroked four penalties
  • England produced one of their finest performances

YOKOHAMA: South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard predicted a “chess match” against England in next weekend’s Rugby World Cup final, warning the Springboks were prepared to “grind it out” against Eddie Jones’s men.
Pollard stroked four penalties and a conversion in a man-of-the-match performance that took South Africa to within one game of a third World Cup trophy with a 19-16 win.
But he said the Springboks had a mountain to climb against an England side that played “unbelievably well” against the All Blacks in the other semifinal.
“Physically they stepped it up to a new level so we’re going to have to stop them... I think it’s two sides that really pride themselves on a good kicking game as well. So, it’s going to be a good chess match,” said Pollard.
England produced one of their finest performances to dismantle the All Blacks 19-7 on Saturday and will likely go into the final favorites after South Africa edged past Wales in a scrappy encounter.
Pollard said South Africa had been prepared to dig in for victory against Wales and would do the same if necessary come Saturday.
“Grinding it out is something we believe in. That’s what it takes to win play-off games and World Cups,” said the fly-half.
“We weren’t accurate at stages but we ground it out and that’s something we’ll take a lot of confidence off going into next week,” he added.
Pollard said he expected to come up against the England playmaking combination of Owen Farrell and George Ford, and made no effort to hide his admiration for the two English stars.
“They’ll probably go Ford-Farrell again. That’s a pretty good combo. Doesn’t get much better than that!” he told reporters.
He admitted to some nerves as he took the decisive penalty at 16-16 to break Welsh hearts but said he had trained for such moments, both mentally and in terms of technique.
“You want to be in those positions as a fly-half and as a kicker. You want to have that pressure on you and you execute,” he said.
Meanwhile, scrum-half Faf de Klerk said South Africa had learned a lot from England’s performance against the All Blacks that they could use against Eddie Jones’s men.
And de Klerk pointed to discipline as the main area for Springbok improvement after South Africa conceded nine penalties against the Welsh.
“The main thing is going to be penalty count. Our penalty count was way too high,” said de Klerk.


TV umpire to call no-balls in cricket first

Updated 06 December 2019

TV umpire to call no-balls in cricket first

  • Decision comes after TV replays showed 21 no-balls were missed in Pakistan-Australia Test series
  • Trial will be used for India-West Indies T20 series

NEW DELHI: Cricket is to trial using a TV umpire instead of the on-field official to call no-balls in the series between India and West Indies, following a rash of mistakes.
The Twenty20 and one-day games, starting with the first T20 in Hyderabad on Friday, “will be contested trialing technology to call front foot no balls,” the International Cricket Council said.
“Throughout the trial, the third umpire will be responsible for monitoring every ball bowled and identifying whether there has been any front foot infringement,” an ICC statement said on Thursday.
“If there has been an infringement on the front foot, the third umpire will communicate this to the on-field umpire who will subsequently call a no-ball.”
The on-field umpire usually calls front-foot no-balls, which are when the bowler’s leading foot lands beyond the crease. The delivery is ruled illegal and one run is awarded to the batting side.
Pressure has been building for a new approach after TV replays showed 21 no-balls were missed in two sessions on the second day of the Australia-Pakistan Test in Brisbane last month.
Trent Copeland, a former Australian player and now a television analyst, called the misses “astonishing” and said the issue had to be dealt with.
Even before the 21 no-balls, the umpires’ actions had come in for question. Australian bowler Pat Cummins’ dismissal of Mohammad Rizwan was upheld even though replays showed his foot was over the bowling line.
“The outcomes of the trial will be used to gauge whether the system has a beneficial impact on the accuracy of no ball decisions and whether it can be implemented while minimizing disruption to the flow of the game,” the ICC said.
India and West Indies will play three T20s followed by three one-day matches, which start on December 15.
India’s cricket board last month announced that it will experiment with a separate no-ball umpire in the Indian Premier League after controversies in the 2019 tournament.
International cricket already employs a Decision Review System, where players can challenge an umpire’s decision using slow-motion replays, ball-tracking, audio and heat-sensing technology.