Weekend predictions …

Twitter rules suggest that we are only allowed to use the word in exceptional circumstances, and to some it should not form part of any “Formal” sports reporting, but this rugby weekend is an absolute CRACKER!

How else do you describe a weekend consisting of the Baby Boks winning a Junior World Cup final with the Baby Blacks, a John Smit Legends taking a hammering from the Sharks, the best club side in SA losing by a point to the Varsity Cup winners, Tuks, and the final Tests in three match Test series against UK sides for all of the Boks, Kiwis, Argies and Aussies!

My oath, that is better than sex, and can ONLY be accompanied by a rare rump steak with a perfect mushroom sauce washed down with an ice cold Black Label … ONLY!

Here’s hoping that Darren Scott and his Ballz Visual Radio cronies, Simon Hill and Nicole Flint, have read this and are duly getting the Hatfield Square Slug and Lettuce to put this on the menu … because that is where I will be again this weekend. Darren, Simon, Nicole and I will be on the couch on the Hatfield Square stage as we build up to the Test from 14h00 on Ballz …

And then come 17h00, the indomitable Simon Hill and I will team up to bring you the Ballz alternate commentary on the third Test, live from the Slug, in the company of Blades, Divvy, Plum and Stranners … Tune into www.ballz.co.za to listen …

Righto, to those pesky predictions then …
Saturday 23 June:

05:40 Fiji v Tonga
My prediction: Fiji by 7

07:00 Australia vs Wales, Sydney
Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)
Assistants: Jaco Peyper (SA), Jonathon White (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
My prediction: Wales by 3

Australia: 15-Kurtley Beale, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13-Rob Horne, 12-Pat McCabe, 11-Digby Ioane, 10-Berrick Barnes, 9-Will Genia; 8-Wycliff Palu, 7-David Pocock (captain), 6-Scott Higginbotham, 5-Nathan Sharpe, 4-Sitaleki Timani; 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1-Benn Robinson.
Bench: 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Ben Alexander, 18-Rob Simmons, 19-Dave Dennis, 20-Michael Hooper, 21-Nic White, 22-Anthony Fainga’a

Wales: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Ashley Beck, 11-George North, 10-Rhys Priestland, 9-Mike Phillips; 8-Ryan Jones, 7-Sam Warburton (captain), 6-Dan Lydiate, 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 4-Bradley Davies, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Matthew Rees, 1-Gethin Jenkins.
Bench: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Luke Charteris, 19-Justin Tipuric, 20-Rhys Webb, 21-James Hook, 22-Scott Williams.
09:35 New Zealand vs Ireland, Hamilton
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistants: Pascal Gauzere (France), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
My prediction: New Zealand by 7

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Richie McCaw (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Bench: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (captain), 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy
Bench: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Donncha O’Callaghan, 19 Chris Henry, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble
17:00 SA vs England, PE
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistants: Nigel Owens (Wales), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
My prediction: England by 3

I could just say “Wynand Olivier” and leave it at that. But I won’t. The Boks have a 50% win record with Olivier in the team and something like 35% win rate with him in the starting XV. Perhaps he will use this opportunity to prove us all wrong, and Heyneke right, but I have seen nothing to suggest that. Gio Aplon is an exciting selection, but only if the Bok pack get the ball they were getting in the first half last weekend. And they were getting that brilliant ball via hugely destructive ball carries from the big men up front, with none more prevalent than Willem Alberts. Yet this weekend the Boks have been forced to replace Alberts with rookie Jacques Potgieter. Potgieter has been impressive for the Bulls this year, and in front of his home crowd (he was born in PE), he will be as keen as they come, but it will be tough to shine in this massively physical international environment in his first game.

This while the English have made a few changes that sees them carry some serious dog-fight, and with Thomas Waldrom, James Haskell and new skipper Dylan Hartley to the fore, it seems they will be wanting to really take the Boks on up front. The one issue is discipline, with Haskell and Hartley particularly prone to yellow, but if they keep those at bay, Danny Care is as in your face as they come, and both Tuilagi and Joseph will be itching to get more time with ball in hand.

It’s the weakest Bok side of the three, and the strongest England side of the three. And with the series in the bag, I think the Poms may just be a little bit more hungry …

SA: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtwarira
Bench: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Bjorn Basson

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 James Haskell, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Joe Marler
Bench: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Paul Doran Jones, 18 Mouritz Botha, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Brad Barritt
23:10 Argentina vs France, Tucuman
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistants: Wayne Barnes (England), Christie du Preez (SA)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SA)
My prediction: France by 5

Argentina: 15-Joaquin Tuculet, 14-Facundo Barrea, 13-Agustin Gosio, 12-Felipe Contepomi (capt), 11-Manuel Montero, 10-Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9-Tomas Cubelli; 8-Leonardo Senatore, 7-Tomas Leonardi, 6-Tomas de la Vega, 5-Esteban Lozada, 4-Julio Farias Cabello, 3-Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2-Andres Bordoy, 1-Eusebio Guinazu
Bench: 16-Bruno Postiglioni, 17-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18-Santiago Guzman, 19-Benjamin Macome, 20-Rodrigo Baez, 21-Martin Landajo, 22-Gabriel Azcarate
23:00 Canada v Georgia
My prediction: Canada by 4

Sunday 24 June:

02:30 USA v Italy
My prediction: Italy by 8

03:30 Samoa v Scotland                
My prediction: Scotland by 11

And a look back at Friday’s action, and what action it was …

JWC results:

New Zealand 16 – 22 South Africa
Argentina 17 – 25 Wales
England 17 – 13 Australia
Ireland 18 – 7 France
Italy 17 – 19 Fiji
Scotland 62 – 28 Samoa
JWC player of the tournament: Jan Serfontein
Sharks 47 – 21 Barney’s Army
Sharks Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Tim Whitehead 2, Craig Burden, Chris Cloete, Kobus Reinach and Rosco Specman. Conversions: Meyer Bosman 2 and Riaan Viljoen 4.
Barney’s Army Tries: Brent Russell and Rob Linde; Penalty Try; Conversions: Butch James and John Smit 2.

Champions challenge: Tuks 23-21 College Rovers

Man of the match: Jono Janse van Rensburg, Tuks No.8


  1. “Strongest English side” is possibly where I disagree with you Tank. I think the loss of Youngs will hurt the poms; I rated him as the only real source of inspiration in the backline, and the catalyst for anything that Ashton has to offer.

    So no Youngs, combined with no Robshaw (not bad at stealing our ball) could leave them particularly vulnerable. Granted, their pack has shown that they’re capable of matching ours, but they’ve matched us, when our intensity dipped. Not dominated.

    Granted, things could change, but it’s not like we’re suddenly super vulnerable up front, and I think said loss of intensity in the previous game(s) has been highlighted by the coaches (Rassie must’ve had a few bar graphs to show the lads).

    HM, with his “contentious” selection (read: Wynand), can’t risk doing a Divvy on tomorrow’s game, and I suspect he would’ve informed the players as much. There’s a lot to play for too, as I imagine this could form the basis the next starting squad.

    I’m hoping of seeing fewer errors by the boks, and maybe slightly more venom; who can resist one last go at the roses?

    Boks by 9.

    1. Mistake fest of note … Horrible to watch, even more horrible to commentate on …

  2. The forwards are going to have to hold England at bay for the full 80 minutes with this backline. While Gio cannot be faulted on his defense and heart, he has been found wanting positionally at fullback for the Stormers before, and Toby Flood is no dunce. Morne and Wynand together form a VERY weak inside channel defense, though Wynand does nothing more or less than Francois Steyn did on attack (run at the man and bash it up). If Habana got no ball last week, he may as well tape his hands together this week. The total sum of caps for our 4, 5, 6 and 7 is now 7… Eish. As opposed to Bakkies, Victor, Schalk and Juan… This is definitely the “new” Bok forward pack! I’ve always been a Danny Care fan, but he can also be prone to yellows. I think we are going to play boring rugby this weekend. Bash with the forwards trying to win breakdown penalties, when the ball goes out we kick for touch or Habana chasing high balls. I don’t want to see it spread to Wynand! Gio and Habana can counter on turnovers, otherwise the backline is there to defend..,.

  3. Tank, I could be wrong but I don’t think I have ever seen you predict a win for any Bok team against the ABs.

    Baby Boks by 8
    Boks by 16

    1. You right, me wrong 🙂 … Yep, I do normally think the Kiwis are better than us … Based on results like their 60-0 win over Ireland … But looking at our Baby Boks, I think we might be in for a more competitive era in the near future …

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