The weekend we resume the last few rounds of Super Rugby and we have two matches on Friday.
We have all four South African teams in action with the Stormers and Bulls playing in Argentina and Singapore respectively.
It is going to be an almighty tassel in Durban with the Lions and Sharks in the Shark-Tank on Saturday.
The Sharks are the most likely other than the Lions team that will make the play-offs but it is crunch time for them.
The Jaguares are in the seat at the moment to go through as the Wild Card from the South African conference.
Here is the current log standings:
|7||Cell C Sharks||5||4||1||0|
Friday 29 June 2018
The Blues had again a season to forget but the same can be said about the Reds.
Both teams have shown promise throughout the year but had never any consistency.
The Blues are at home but their home record counts for nothing this year and will have to up their game from what we have seen so far this year.
The Blues are at the bottom of their conference and the only team that save the Reds from being at the bottom is the even worst Sunwolves team in their conference.
The Blues have been on the winning side the last three times these teams have met but that do not count for very much this season.
Both teams are couched by former All Blacks in Thorn and Umaga so the buildup has been dominated on their futures with the franchises as well.
For the Blues Ioane will be a danger man and the Reds will have to be on par in defence to keep the All Black from the try line.
The Reds have the inform Tui that was good in the Test for the Wallabies.
Prediction: Blues are in home but I give this one to the Reds by 6
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c)/Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jacob Pierce, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane/Tumua Manu
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Caleb Timu, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Aidan Toua, 23 Filipo Daugunu
No love lost between these two sides and it should be a great matchup between the two best sides in Australia this year.
This is a very important match for both teams as many teams this next few weeks will be scrambling for points to make it into the play-offs.
Currently just one point ahead of their hosts with three matches remaining, the Waratahs will be desperate to keep their noses in front in order to secure themselves a home Qualifier. Likewise the Rebels know this is a massive opportunity to usurp the ‘Tahs in that vital race.
Waratahs will be without their captain Hooper with Foley standing in as captain.
The Rebels were on a good winning streak before the June Internationals winning there last three games back-to-back.
The Waratahs has plenty of Wallabies in there backline and will be a handful to keep away from the try line.
The Waratahs ran away with the last game they played and they will be hoping for the same come this Saturday
Prediction: Tahs will be too strong for the Rebels, Tahs by 12
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English (c), 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Ben Daley
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sefa Naivalu
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (c), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome
Saturday 30 June
All New Zealand derby and all to play for as well make this a great start for Saturday morning.
The heat will be on the field and in the air with humidity and heat that will welcome the teams in Suva.
Both sides are fighting for final playoff spots with the Highlanders one higher than the Chief.
Chiefs has All Blacks McKenzie, Lienert-Brown, Tu’inukuafe and Sam Cane all playing this weekend.
This is one not to be missed.
Predictions: Again not easy to pick a winner, but away from home the Highlanders are not always great so going with Chiefs by 8
Chiefs: Solomon Alaimalo, Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai, Sean Wainui, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Liam Messam, Sam Cane (c), Luke Jacobson, Tyler Ardron, Michael Allardice, Angus Ta’avao, Liam Polwart, Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Sam Prattley, Jeff Thwaites, Jesse Parete, Mitch Karpik, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson.
Highlanders: Ben Smith (cc), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Ainley, Shannon Frizell, Kayne Hammington, Josh Ioane, Richard Buckman.
A number of the Hurricanes stars will not be available for the clash against the Brumbies Saturday.
They will have to play without Beauden Barrett, Savea and Shields.
Barrett, who sustained a concussion in the second test against France, will miss this weekend’s match, Savea is out with a high ankle sprain, while Shields has been left out for rest.
Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape and TJ Perenara all line up in the starting side after fronting for the All Blacks last week.
The Brumbies had a on-off season but at home they have been good this year.
With a few players out for the Hurricanes they might be fancy their chances this weekend.
Predictions: The Hurricanes should still take this by 11 points
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Darcy Swain, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli.
Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.
The Bulls have a very slim chance to still make the playoffs but in all respect they are playing for pride now.
They will be traveling to Singapore to face the Sunwolves who has been a much more competitive side this year although they have not won many.
The Bulls have been a team on the rise this year but the wheels did come off in the last few weeks of Super Rugby before the International break.
They had a few injuries which tested their depth in the squad and they were stretch a bit even at home.
Pollard will be leading the side this weekend, something he is used to and will be able to control from number 10 jumper.
There are a few Springboks in the side which will come off some great experience with the Boks.
Ulengo and Liebenberg will be returning to the side after some lengthy injuries.
The Bulls will have a strong pack to take on the Sunwolves and it is expected that they will want to dominate upfront for the dangerous backs to score the tries.
Papier will partner Pollard which should bring some excitement on attack. Papier is an attacking nine and his natural game is to attack the advantage line.
The Sunwolves have been great this year on attack being able to go multiple phases with ball in hand. The Bulls defence must be ready for their fast game they play.
The Bulls will have Kriel and Kotze in the midfield which may be a concern although they have played together before.
Getting of to a good start is normally the best against the Sunwolves which take them out of the game. If the Bulls allow them to stay in the game it could become a long afternoon.
Predictions: Bulls by 14 points for me.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard (c), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Morne Smith, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dries Swanepoel
The game of the weekend for us as the Sharks host the Lions in Durban on Saturday.
Important for both teams makes this a game that should be a classic as always between these two teams the last couple of years.
The Sharks is on a must win mission to fight it out with the Jaguares for that wild card spot.
The Lions should be safe but losing becomes a habit and they have done that to much already this year.
The past few years the Lions had the Sharks number when it come to these derbies.
The Lions will welcome back Combrinck, Whiteley and Marx in their starting lineup.
This will make a huge difference to the side. With them topping the South African log it is important that they start to get to their best before the playoffs.
The Sharks has a strong team that they put to the field. They have their Springboks back in Nkosi, Am, Esterhuizen, Du Preez and Bosch. With Mapimpi at wing they have all the players to go full on attack against the Lions.
The battle will start and end at the big men and both sides have strong packs with plenty of experience.
Marx back for the Lions will have a huge impact at the breakdown and hard men like Brink, Smith and Mostert, this battle will be something special comes Saturday.
The Lions will match the Sharks at the backs and if we have good conditions we should expect some great tries from both teams.
The Sharks and Lions have been the two top sides this year for the SA Teams and they need to put that on the field on Saturday.
Predictions: This is difficult to pick but I think with the players back for the Lions that they will again have the Sharks number by 12 points.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Phillip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements:16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19, Lourens Erasmus, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Marnus Schoeman, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Courtnall Skosan
The Stormers will be taking on the Jaguares on Sunday Morning with the likes of Springbok Bongi Mbonambi in the front row.
The Springbok hooker had a great series for the Springboks against England after he surprise most with his play at hooker.
Bongi will be joined by fellow Springboks Wilco Louw and Steven Kitshoff.
The bench also have quality in Ramone Samuels, JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe to come on later.
Fleck has also selected Junior Springbok captain Moerat on the bench for the game.
On the side of the scrum they also brag with Springboks in Kolisi, Du Toit and Notshe.
Duvenage will pair up with Du Plessis for the game as they hope he will provide the spark they need to take on the Jaguares out wide.
JJ Engelbrecht and De Allende will be in the midfield.
There is enough speed an power for the Stormers to take on the Jaguares if they can put early pressure on them.
The Jaguares do not like chasing games and want to control things.
The Stormers has been successful against the Jaguares in Argentina before and although they have not win on the road this year, this may be the game for them to shine.
Fleck will be hoping the Springboks will give the motivation the team need on the road for a win.
Predictions: Many will disagree with me maybe but I go with Stormers by 8
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonila, 23 Matias Moroni
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensberg, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Kobus van Dyk, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 EW Viljoen