With the weekend looming, I’m previewing the games the South African teams are involved with. This weekend is one of those weekends that the Superbru picks are going to be very difficult with a lot of games that could go either way. With two mouth watering derbies and the Lions playing against the Rebels it looks like a interesting weekend.
Sharks vs Bulls
This game is going to be hard, fast and painful (if you are a sensitive viewer), the Sharks and Bulls both need to win this game to stay in with a chance, the Sharks would be more desperate for the win than the Bulls, but if the Bulls want to finish on top of the conference they need this one.
Mouth watering match ups with Jean Deysel (if he plays) & Jacques Potgieter, Marcell Coetzee & Dewald Potgieter, Michalak (if Lambie is injured) & Steyn and Frans & Meisiekind could provide more excitement and even be more like Bok trials.
The Sharks should have the edge in the scrums and the Bulls the edge in the lineouts, everything will depend on how the flyhalves play especially their kicking to the posts. This is were Steyn will be tested due to his kicking not being up to standard this season and the clash is not at Loftus. This will be the test to see if Morne is really back or not.
The Bulls played last week against the Cheetahs and should be on a high while the Sharks had a bye, the Sharks however did not have a 3 week layoff like the Cheetahs had and I don’t think they will be slow out of the blocks. Most of them were either involved with the boks or played in John Smit’s testimonial match. Therefore the Bulls should not think they might be at the receiving end of some silly errors like those the Cheetahs made last week.
The two biggest problems for the Sharks is the avaliability of Alberts and Lambie, they’re absence could be crucial to the outcome of the game. This game should be physical and a very close affair, I think the Sharks can take it but I feel the Bulls will take it if Morne Steyn kicks well, especially with the likely unavaliability of Lambie and co.
Bulls to scrape it.
Cheetahs vs Stormers
The Stormers are coming from a possible banana skin fixture to a game I feel could go either way. The Stormers should be wary of how the Cheetahs came back last week and how they came back in their last fixture at newlands.
The Stormers have been hit by flu, and it doesn’t bode well for AC’s men. Joe Pietersen, Juan De Jongh and Bryan Habana is recovering at home, and we know that flu makes you tired and should these players be fit for the clash they may not be 100%. With all their injuries the Stormers should be thinking where is their luck and when will things start to turn around.
The Cheetahs would largely have the same team for the weekend, with the news that Phillip vd Walt are not going to come back. Not much injury problems for Naka’s men with only Smith, Goosen, Daniller and Vd Walt, Raubenheimer and Benjamin for the season. But they would want to play for 80min at make as little errors as possible against the Stormers with the dead eye boot of Grant looming.
The Stormers came of a win against the Lions last week but for a while in that game it looked like the Lions could well cause an upset. The Cheetahs however played a shockingly poor first 60min against the Bulls but came back in the last 20min scoring some great tries and giving them some momentum coming into this game.
The Stormers would want to make the game slow and keep it at the front, while the Cheetahs would want to play expansive and have a quick pace. The Cheetahs to make this season their best season yet while the Stormers would like to assure themselves of making the playoffs. If the game gets loose and the Cheetahs play for themselves and not against themselves this could be ominous for the Stormers.
The Cheetahs made three changes, Downey starts and Johnson will warm the bench. Andries Strauss drops out of the 22 after a very bad game and Barry Geel gets his chance while Cameron Jacobs comes in for the out of depth Rocco Jansen and on the other wing the exciting Scheepers comes in for Snyman. The Stormers would want their players to recover from the flu and with their injuries they are starting to look thin in resources.
With home advantage and the Cheetahs getting some momentum in the last 20 I feel the Cheetahs have enough fire power to take this one by 7.
Lions vs Rebels
The week started with the news of the Lions adding another two players to their ever growing injury list, losing Deon van Rensburg and the ever impressing Andries Coetzee while the Rebels lost playmakers Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor.
Both teams are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon, the Lions would want to play for some pride and salvage something from their season while the Rebels would want to keep their impres Lions at bay. The Rebels have played some great rugby in the year and have beaten the Crusaders while the Lions have shocked the Sharks a few weeks ago.
Both teams come from losing games against teams playing for playoff spots. The rebels had a dysmal first half last week but came back strong in the second half while the Lions had a chance against the Stormers but did not have the firepower at the end. Both teams match up quite well, but the loss of Beale and O’Connor for the Rebels adding to the fact that they are playing away form home could be huge for the Lions hopes of notching up their 3rd win of the season.
The Lions should win this one by 7-10.