Tank’s weekend predictions

What kind of freak coach can leave out both Wyatt Crockett and Sonny Bill-Williams and still be in charge of the team favoured to beat Australia away from home? I did enjoy this quote from Graham Henry earlier in the week, though: “Sonny Bill’s challenge is, I think, is that he’s competing against the best number 12 in the world and that’s great.” Great for Henry and Nonu perhaps? Not for SBW, who drops out the 22 completely…

Leaving Crockett out of their RWC squad and team to play the Aussies in Saturday’s Tri- Nations decider borders on the insane, especially after the working over Tony Woodcock got from none other than Jannie du Plessis on the weekend. But with the likes of Carter, McCaw, Nonu, Franks, Read and Thorn coming back into the side, one can perhaps understand a slight lack of focus on the loosehead prop …

Ben Alexander must be loving life knowing that he might actually get some sleep on Friday night now! And if he, Moore and Kepu can somehow keep the Black pack at bay, it will go a long way to the Aussie half backs being part of the game … Unlike the last encounter between these two sides, where Cooper crumbled under the pressure put on him by the likes of McCaw and Read.

Cooper in the game, and the likes of Beale, Ioane and Ashley-Cooper become real factors … Mouth watering stuff. And it 12h05, it’s an outstanding time to catch it with a mountain of biltong, boerrie and beer close at hand …

Locally, the first round of the Absa Currie Cup ends this weekend with a clash between the two teams that top the log when the Lions host The Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Friday’s two games see the two most successful teams in the history of the Currie Cup, Western Province and the Blue Bulls, face tricky away-encounters against the Pumas and the Leopards. The fourth is the derby between Griquas and the Cheetahs in Kimberley.

In the First Division, the EP Kings travel down the N2 to George where they will try and hang on to their top position on the log, Boland take on the Border in East London, and the Griffons face the Valke in Welkom.

Off the fence then …

Australia vs New Zealand

Date: Saturday, August 27, Kick-off: 12h05
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

My prediction: All Blacks by 7

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga’a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu
Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 TBC

New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Isaia Toeava

And locally ….


Pumas v Western Province, Witbank – 19:00
Venue: Puma Stadium, Witbank
Referee: Stuart Berry
Last  year: WP won 54-13 in Cape Town, and 62-10 in Nelspruit

My prediction: WP by 24

Pumas: 15. MJ Mentz, 14. Deon Scholtz, 13. JW Jonker (Captain), 12. Tian Meyer, 11. Wilhelm Hendrik Loock, 10. Coenie van Wyk, 9. Hendrik van der Nest, 8. Christo le Roux, 7. Siphiwe Martin Sithole, 6. Jaco Bouwer, 5. Marius Coetzer, 4. Eduan Van Der Walt, 3. Ashley Buys, 2. Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1. Michael de Neuilly-Rice
Substitutes: 16. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17. Brett Nel, 18. RW Kember, 19. JP Mostert, 20. Tiaan Marx, 21. Johan Jackson, 22. Siviwe Magaba

Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Steven Hunt, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Nizaan Carr, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg (captain) 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Substitutes: 16 Skarra Ntubeni, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Quinton Roux, 19 Tertius Daniller, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache 22 Danie Poolman.

Leopards v Blue Bulls, Royal Bafokeng Stadium – 19:10
Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng
Referee: Joey Salmans
Last year: Blue Bulls won 43-38 in Pretoria, and 39-26 in Potchefstroom

My prediction: Bulls by 19

Leopards: 15. George Tossel, 14. Hoffman Maritz, 13. Jovan Bowles, 12. Joubert Engelbrecht, 11. Vainon Willis, 10. Wesley Dunlop, 9. Whestley Moolman, 8. Morne Hanekom (Captain), 7. Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6. Siyabulela Mdaka, 5. Bradley Mockford, 4. Brendon Snyman, 3. Stephan Bezuidenhout, 2. Jacques Moller, 1. BG Uys
Substitutes: 16. Marius Fourie, 17. Dewald Coetzee, 18. Roan van Heerden, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Johann Laker, 21. Henry Skorbinski, 22. Clayton Durand

Blue Bulls:  15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Louis Fouch, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Fudge Mabeta, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Dean Greyling.
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Francois Venter.


Griquas v Cheetahs, Kimberley – 15:00
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Last year: Free State Cheetahs won 33-26 in Bloemfontein, and 33-28 in Kimberley

My prediction: Cheetahs by 9

Griquas: 15. Rudi Vogt, 14. Riaan Viljoen, 13. Jean Stemmet, 12. Barry Geel, 11. Dusty Noble, 10. Earl Rose, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Jonathan Mokuena (Captain), 7. Davon Raubenheimer, 6. Justin Downey, 5. Martin Muller, 4. Hendrik Roodt, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Ryno Barnes, 1. Ivann Espag
Substitutes: 16. Simon Westraadt, 17. Kevin Stevens, 18. Frederik Spies, 19. Marnus Schoeman, 20. Marnus Hugo, 21. Hanno Coetzee, 22. Wilmaure Louw

Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Smit, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 W.P. Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Pieter van Zyl, 21 Johan Goosen, 22 Philip Burger.

Golden Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg – 17:05
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Last year: Sharks won 48-19 in Durban, Lions won 22-20 in Johannesburg

My prediction: Lions by 3

Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Josh Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Johan Snyman, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Doppies La Grange, 22 Burton Francis

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. Sibusiso Sithole, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel (Captain), 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Jandre Marais, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Jacques Botes, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Adrian Jacobs

And in the First Division:

Date: Friday, 26 August, Kick-off: 17:05
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Referee: Marius Jonker
15 July 2011: EP won 28-20 in PE

Border vs Boland
Date: Friday, 26 August, Kick-off: 19:00
Venue: Buffalo City Stadium, East London
Referee: Lourens vd Merwe
16 July 2011: Boland won 69-12 in Wellington

Griffons vs Valke
Date: Saturday, 27 August, Kick-off: 17:00
Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Pro Legoete
16 July 2011: Valke won 38-27 in Kempton Park

The race for the Front Row Grunt shirt is hotting up … Michael Clarke (aka Rugby Monster) leads the Grunt SuperBru pool on 27 points, with Aniaback, Sieg and Team Legend less than a point behind …

Enjoy …