You could be on your couch in front of the TV from 15h00 to 21h00 on Saturday and not have to use the remote control once! OK, so I lie, a little Discovery Channel or Fashion TV while the inane pre match and half time banter is on the go is definitely called for … But with the Eden Park warm up from 09h30 to 11h30, that makes it a solid 10 hours of rugby to get through! Got your pink ticket sorted?
I will be in the air on my way to Durban for the big Murray Cup clash in Durban (live commentary on Ballz.co.za) during the All Black demolition of the Aussies, and it worries me greatly that I am more concerned about missing that match than I am about also potentially missing the Bok game … Please Heyneke and Jean .. restore my faith in the Green and Gold by actually playing some rugby … Please!
09:35 New Zealand vs Australia, Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistants: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Lourens van der Merwe (SA)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Sportingbet will give you 9/1 on the Aussies and on 1/9 on the Kiwis! Yet even at those radical odds for a so called top of the table clash, I still would not take a flutter on the Aussies! Ashley-Cooper at fullback, Cooper back at 10 after a long layoff, Pocock and Kepu out … I smell a massacre at Eden Park. The knives are already out for Robbie Deans (one ex coach said the best thing that could happen to Aus rugby would be for Deans to shut up and go back to sleep), and one can actually smell the blood. Kiwis lose the other “Cock”, Tony, but get to replace him with arguably a better player in Wyatt Crockett. Just amazing depth in the land of the long white cloud.
My prediction: All Blacks by 19
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Bench: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
15:00 Griquas vs Cheetahs, GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistants: Sindile Mayende, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Last meeting: 15 October 2011 in Bloem: Cheetahs won 49-39
Sportingbet will give you 9/4 on Griquas and 4/9 on the Cheetahs. Probably about right, but definitely scope for an upset with the little brother in the Super Rugby franchise always keen to show up big boettie. Lots of talk about the return of Johan Goosen, and while an obvious talent, the man has been out of the game for a very long time. Must be some rust needing to be wiped away? Tewis du Bruyn and Sias Ebersohn on the bench does show the increasing depth in Bloem though.
My prediction: Cheetahs by 7
Griquas: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. Jannie Boshoff, 13. Stefan Watermeyer, 12. Walter Venter, 11. Rocco Jansen, 10. Francois Brummer, 9. Jacques Coetzee, 8. Leon Karemaker, 7. Justin Downey, 6. Wesley Wilkins, 5. Martin Muller, 4. Ligtoring Landman, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Ryno Barnes (captain), 1. Steph Roberts
Bench: 16. Matthew Dobson, 17. Janro van Niekerk, 18. Ivann Espag, 19. Frikkie Spies, 20. Chase Minnaar, 21. Marnus Hugo, 22. Marnitz Boshoff
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn (captain), 12 Barry Geel, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Andries Ferreira, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Bench: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Tewis du Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers.
17:05 Lions vs Western Province, Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistants: Ben Crouse, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Johan Greeff
Last meeting: 22 October 2011 in Johannesburg (Premier Division): Lions won 29-20
Sportingbet will give you only 11/10 on the Lions and 10/11 on WP, and after last week’s dismal first half against Griquas, one can understand these odds. Just so much behind the scenes poo being thrown around in Jozi, though, and it has to be affecting what is going on between the white lines. This Lions pack can scrum! JC Janse van Rensburg must be the most under rated prop in the country. Frans Malherbe will not be sleeping well on Friday night. And with Jantjies and James back in the frame as a fairly dangerous combination at this level, a second win of the season for the defending champs would not surprise. But with De Jongh and Kolisi back, and Vermeulen in game 2 of his comeback, I think the visitors will edge it.
My prediction: WP by 2
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain)
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruan Combrinck
WP: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain), 12. Marcel Brache, 11. Ederies Arendse, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Tyrone Holmes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Don Armand, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie (captain), 1. Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 JP du Plessis, 22 Kurt Coleman
19:10 Blue Bulls vs The Sharks, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistants: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee
Last meeting: 3 September 2011 in Pretoria: Sharks won 39-27
As tough as the Coke Tin game to call … Sportingbet will give you 5/6 on the Bulls and 6/5 on the Sharks so no one really knows which way this game is going to swing. Bulls at home and Sadie back at centre with a point to prove probably edges it for me, especially given that the Sharks have had to welcome back Marius Joubert who has not had a start in months. Deysel vs Stander will empty a few cooler boxes. Sensational build up to the Test …
My prediction: Bulls by 3
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn
Bench: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Jan Serfontein
Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik 14. Odwa Ndungane 13. Paul Jordaan 12. Marius Joubert 11. S’bura Sithole 10. Riaan Viljoen 9. Charl McLeod 8. Jacques Botes 7. Jean Deysel (Captain) 6. Francois Kleinhans 5. Anton Bresler 4. Steven Sykes 3. Wiehahn Herbst 2. Monde Hadebe 1. Dale Chadwick
Bench: 16. Franco Marais 17. Julian Redelinghuys 18. Jandre Marais 19. Lubabalo “Tera” Mtembu 20. Brynard Stander 21. Cobus Reinach 22. Gouws Prinsloo
21:10 Argentina vs South Africa, Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistants: Jérôme Garces (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Argentinian appointment
Sportingbet will give you 2/11 on the Boks and 5/1 on the Argies, no doubt because they are playing away from home, but the bookies should not even be offering odds on a Bok win. That said, bringing in Potgieter at 7, without doubt a less effective blind-sider than Alberts, and moving the latter to 8, where he has yet to prove himself, at the expense of the whippet, Daniel, certainly plays into the physical Argies hands. Sad that the Boks have selected according to the opposition game plan rather than according to what should be a more free flowing, get the ball away from the big guys, take a dip out wide plan that would quite literally take the home side’s breath away. Especially in dry conditions on a quick field – one that Meyer said would suit the Boks better. Look, they may still do that, and against the Pumas, it should not really matter who gets selected, but I am expecting another rather dour physical battle that the Boks will edge.
My prediction: Springboks by 21
Argentina: 15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
Bench (from): TBC
South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
Worth being aware of …
15:00 College Rovers vs Crusaders, Riverside sports club, Durban North
The final of the Castle Murray Cup – I will be joining Darren Scott and Simon Hill of the Ballz Radio team to do a live build and commentary on the game on ballz.co.za.
Currie Cup 1st division
15:00 Boland vs Pumas
19:10 SWD vs Eastern Province
15:00 Leopards vs Griffons
15:00 Valke vs Border
12:50 – Boland vs Pumas
17:05 – SWD vs EP KIngs
12:45 – Griquas vs Griffons
13:00 – Leopards vs Sharks
15:30 – Western Province vs Border
16:45 – Blue Bulls vs Cheetahs
Proper Saturday of rugby viewing that … Stock the coolerbox and Weber people … Enjoy …