Tank’s weekend predictions

The Boks may not be in it, but a Rugby World Cup final is still a pretty special fixture on the rugby calendar. It’s been sullied a just little by having France instead of Wales, Australia or South Africa to contest the showpiece with the hosts, but I will still be making the effort to have the gym session done and dusted by 10h00 on Sunday morning …

Of course I could be made to look pretty stupid on Sunday, but to my mind, this French side is one of the worst ever to make a RWC final, and I see the All Blacks getting past them with relative ease. And given the World Cup angst they have suffered since taking the trophy in 1987, I do not see anyone begrudging them the title this year. They have been the form side in world rugby for a long time and deserving of a trophy to prove it. I also cannot think of a man more deserving of the honour of lifting that giant Web Ellis Cup than Richie McCaw …

And as a warm up to the final, perhaps the most pointless in game in rugby, the 3rd and 4th playoff between Australia and Wales – especially as the IRB are now rightly using the rankings of the teams closer to the next tournament to determine the seedings for that tournament … But catching Philips vs Genia, North vs Iaone, and Roberts vs Barnes is not the worst way to spend a Friday morning.


Wales v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland – 09:30
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (FRA) and George Clancy (IRE)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (RSA)

My prediction: Australia by 7

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Toby Faletau, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Paul James, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Alun Wyn Jones, 19 Andy Powell, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Scott Williams

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill (captain), 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Anthony Fainga’a, 22 Rob Horne


New Zealand v France, Eden Park, Auckland – 10:00
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (IRE) and Nigel Owens (WAL)
TMO: Giulio De Santis

My prediction: All Blacks by 22

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux

Substitutes: 16. Dimitri Szarzewski, 17. Fabien Barcella, 18. Julien Pierre, 19. Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20. Jean-Marc Doussain, 21. François Trinh-Duc, 22. Damien Traille

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And in the Currie Cup …

It’s worked out rather well for the oldest competition in the land, what with the Boks not deflecting any interest, and more importantly, actually participating in the weekend’s two semi-finals, the first of which sees The Sharks host the Cheetahs in Durban, after which the relatively Bok free Golden Lions, who topped the log, host the Bok laden WP.

It’s been 11 years since the Sharks last beat the Cheetahs in a Currie Cup semi-final but the Sharks do lead the semi final battle 4-3 since they first met in such a game in 1984.

Since their last Currie Cup title in 1999 the Lions have won only two out of seven semi-finals, while WP, since their last crown in 2001, have a similar strike rate, with just the single semi-final victory and four defeats.

But history, perhaps even including this year’s results, really do count for naught given the change in the makeup of the sides this weekend. Michalak vs Goosen is a mouth watering prospect, as is Kankowski vs Prinsloo, but I think the Sharks all Bok front row will prove just a little too much for the Cheetahs to handle.

In Joburg, I think things may be a little tighther. This Lions side deservedly top the log, and it’s great to see Mitchell placing faith in Jantjies and Hollenbach rather than playing James. CJ van der Linde comes into the side, but that is more because stalwart JC van Rensburg is injured … And I don’t think he will be causing even Brok Harris too many sleepless nights! The WP side is a young and exciting one, but a lack of experience has shown them up on a few occasions this year. The likes of Burger, Aplon, Fourie and De Villiers should change that, and give them just enough to get them past the home side …


Sharks v Free State Cheetahs, Durban – 14:30
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant Referees: Pro Legoete, Marc van Zyl
TMO: JC Fortuin
This year’s results: Sharks 43-34 Cheetahs (Durban), Sharks 32-53 Cheetahs (Bloem)

My prediction: Sharks by 11

Sharks: 15. Patrick Lambie, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Marius Joubert, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Jean Deysel/Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Marcell Coetzee, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers


Golden Lions v Western Province, Johannesburg – 17:00
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee
This year’s results: Lions 26-28 WP (Cape Town), Lions 42-25 (Johannesburg)

My prediction: WP by 4

Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar/Jaco Kriel, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan Des Fountain, 22 James Kamana

Western Province: 15  Gio Aplon, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean De Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JC Kritzinger

Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Tertius Daniller, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Conrad Jantjes


Age-group rugby semi finals:


Blue Bulls vs Free State – Friday, 21 October, 15:00, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Golden Lions vs Western Province – Saturday, 22 October, 15:00, Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg


Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions – Friday, 21 October, 17:00, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Western Province vs Sharks – Friday, 21 October, 18:00, Florida Park, Ravensmead

So it is biltong and beer for the Cheetahs vs Sharks while the fire burns down, a tjop and a dop in between the games, and then proper cooler box emptying for the Lions vs WP game. A quick spin in the gym on Sunday morning to rid one of the cobwebs, then the World Cup final over eggs Benedict and perhaps the odd Pimms?

Enjoy …



  1. The Lions/WP game all depends if Schalk is playing centre or flank on Saturday. Schalk, briliant as he may be, has developed this nasty habbit of taking up the space of Fourie and De Villiers on 2nd, 3rd an 4th phase ball, making defending a simple job as the Aussies showed us.

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