This weekend sees the kick-off to the very first edition of the new-look four nations competition – The Rugby Championship. Some big matches to look out for this weekend…
The Rugby Championship will include new-comers Argentina. Although, not quite at the same level as the other top 3 nations, the Pumas are currently sitting at #8 on the IRB World Rankings, but I’m sure if you going to underestimate them, then they are likely to cause an upset.
The Argentinian players have always been very passionate, physical and skillfull players and they always play with a lot of pride, and they will come to Newlands to make their competition debut and will also want to prove to themselves and their fans, and to us, that they are worthy to play with the big boys.
However, I don’t think that they will be much threat this season already. I think they will start off with a bang, then maybe start fading out a bit. It is going to take them a while to get used to the pace of this competition, but I also feel that the Pumas might be able to upset the Wallabies when they meet later in the competition.
Here’s the team to face the Pumas at Newlands:
South Africa: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Keegan Daniel, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Jacques Potgieter, 20. Ruan Pienaar, 21. Pat Lambie, 22. JJ Engelbrecht
I don’t want to comment much on some of the selections, but leaving Pat Lambie out and playing Zane Kirchner, is just a weird move by Heynecke Meyer. I know we were all expecting this to be the case but, Zane is nowhere near world-class, a decent enough provincial player at best. He has never proven to be a class player at international level and I simply don’t understand the logic behind his selection, maybe it’s just the fact that there would only have been two Bulls players in the starting line-up if Patrick Lambie was playing…
Round 2 of Currie Cup action on this weekend, and last weeks’ results shows that the Currie Cup is still a very tough competition to win, and to predict…
Western Province needs to bounce back, I’m not too worried about the first encounter against the Sharks, as an early loss might just help us in the long run.
In Super Rugby the Stormers were able to get the wins in close encounters early on in the season, even though we didn’t always deserve the win, but pulled it through, and I feel that only the “luck” of winning those games ensured that we reached top of the table.
Now my question… If the Stormers maybe lost 3 or 4 games early on in their campaign, then who knows how Super Rugby would’ve turned out for the Stormers…??
Good to see that Demetri Catrakilis is back for WP in the nr. 10 jersey and i think he will make a big difference this weekend, here’s a look at the Western Province team for this weekend’s clash against Griquas:
Western Province: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. JP du Plessis, 12. Marcel Brache, 11. Ederies Arendse, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Jebb Sinclair, 6. Tyrone Holmes, 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Don Armand, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie (captain), 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19. Yaya Hartzenberg, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Damian de Allende
It’s awesome that Duane is getting his first start again after the knee injury that sidelined him for a couple of months, and he’s looking good according to the coaching staff, so it’s going to be nice to have him back on the field again, especially after news that Schalk Burger is finished for this season…
My weekend’s winning picks
Currie Cup: Cheetahs by 5, Western Province by 10, Sharks by 8.
Rugby Championship: New Zealand by 12, South Africa by 15.