Weekend predictions

Boks and Blacks were machines last week, but can they do it all again? At home the tight one has to be Griquas vs WP … All the teams, times, and Tank Lanning’s predictions.

Hello from Buenos Aires! Given that I am 12 000km from my nearest and dearest, I am basically a walking pink ticket. Bring on the rare rump steak and Malbec red wine … But for you okes in SA, it is going to take some serious negotiating to get in front of the TV all day. 09h30 is All Blacks vs Aussies and 21h10 is Boks vs Pumas. And in between, some pretty spicy Currie Cup offerings … Those poor couches …

Friday 23 August

19:10 Free State vs Sharks, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

The forward battle in Bloem will take centre stage following mixed fortunes for the teams in the set pieces last week. The Sharks pack were instrumental in putting the team on their front foot against the Lions, while the Free State forwards found themselves under pressure in the scrums against Western Province. But with the Bloemfontein team welcoming back Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane, they will be banking on a better showing in the set piece. Big call to throw him in at tighthead, though, especially with Rossouw de Klerk on the bench … The Sharks, meanwhile, will be bolstered by the presence of hard-running loose forward Keegan Daniel, which will add extra flair up-front. With the likes of exciting backs Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule and Sarel Pretorius serving as attacking threats for the Cheetahs, the Sharks will have to tighten up their defence after leaking two early tries last week.

My prediction: Cheetahs by 4

Free State: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Riaan Smit, 13. Johann Sadie, 12. Robert Ebersohn, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Elgar Watts, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Boom Prinsloo (captain), 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Teboho Mohoje, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Hercu Liebenberg, 1. Caylib Oosthuizen

Bench: 16. Ethienne Reynecke, 17. Rossouw de Klerk, 18. Freddie Ngoza, 19. Davon Raubenheimer, 20. Kevin Luiters, 21. Willie du Plessis, 22. Joubert Engelbrecht

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Jacques Botes (C), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick

Bench: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Butch James, 22. Jaco van Tonder


Saturday 24 Aug August

09:35 New Zealand vs Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Out of the 147 times the Aussies and All Blacks have played each other, Australia have lost 100 of them, with last week requiring the Aussies to raise their bat for the wrong reasons! And they were all so excited too … What with the arrival of a new coach and new fly half, but this came crashing down via a heavy defeat to the World Champion All Blacks. The Wallaby camp face an uphill task in Wellington yet again. Australia’s failure to win in New Zealand in over 12 years will play on the minds of the players who will have been demoralized by the six tries they conceded on home soil last week. However, a wounded Wallaby has proved to be dangerous in the past, and with Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett both being out injured, they will target the new man Tom Taylor. Cruden has stepped into Carter’s boots magnificently in 2013, but now with Barrett out as well, could we see a weakness at New Zealand’s beloved first five eight? Unlikely, given that the man on the bench is Colin Slade! Their depth is just amazing. Also, given their dominance up front last week, it is very difficult to see Australia causing an upset in Wellington.

My prediction: New Zealand by 13

New Zealand: 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Tom Taylor, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Andrew Hore, 1. Tony Woodcock

Bench: 16. Dane Coles, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Jeremy Thrush, 20. Sam Cane, 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22. Colin Slade, 23. Charles Piutau.

Australia: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper

Bench: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Tevita Kuridrani


15:00 Griquas vs Western Province, GWK Park, Kimberley

I have no doubt in my mind that we have a nail biter on our hands here! As with most of the Currie Cup games this year, both sides have been involved in close games, and despite a narrow loss to the Bulls at Loftus last week, Griquas will be confident going into their first home game of the year against a young WP side yet to play away from home. A last gasp Deon Fourie try, via their traditional attacking weapon, the driving maul, got WP home against Cheetahs last week, and they will look to gather momentum on their travels. Expect big things this week from the fleet footed Gio Aplon and his prodigy, Cheslin Kolbe. The pair have been hindered by the wet weather in recent weeks, but that could all change on the hard dry surface in Kimberley. Kurt Coleman gets the nod at flyhalf given the injury to Gary van Aswegen, so there will no doubt be a few nerves around. Griquas lock Hilton Lobberts, having fought back from many an injury problem since his Bok call up in 2006, will continually look for work around the field, stamping down his dominance on some of the Province youngsters, who would have watched Lobberts on the big screen growing up. Perhaps key, is how the home pack will go without Lourens Adriaanse, who is now with the Boks in Argentina. He has been monstrous this year. If the Province side can match the physicality of the Griquas pack, expect to see the Province backline fire. That is a pretty big if, though …

My prediction: Griquas by 2

Griquas: 15 PJ Vermeulen, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Carel Greeff, 5. Jonathan Adendorf, 4 Jaco Nepgen, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.

Bench: 16. Matthew Dobson, 17. Brummer Badenhorst, 18. RJ Liebenberg , 19. Burger Schoeman, 20. Jacques Coetzee, 21. Du Randt Gerber, 22. Richard Lawson

Western Province: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Michael Rhodes, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16. Tiaan Liebenberg, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Rohan Kitshoff, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Tim Swiel, 22. Ryan Nell


17:05 Blue Bulls vs Lions, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Top of the log vs bottom of the log! But let that deceive you at your own peril! That said, despite their return to Super Rugby, the Lions have now lost two games in the Currie Cup, but have been unlucky not to have racked up more points on the log. They have played with a great deal of ambition, including looking to run the ball from their own half, and even their twenty-two metre line on a number of occasions. Elton Jantjies has been kicking his goals and looks far more comfortable in the red and white, than in the blue and white. They went down to the Sharks last week, but scores some incredible tries doing so. Across the Jukskei, the Bulls have put in two mature performances in their start to the season, despite having a young and relatively inexperienced side due to injuries and Bok call ups. They have terrific depth, though, and youngsters such as the other Jantjies, Tony (what a battle this will be!) and Grant Hattingh have put their hands up to show that they are genuine title contenders. It was not pretty last week, but in gutsing out a penalty only win against Griquas last week, the Bulls showed that they can “Win ugly”. At scrumhalf, Ruan Snyman will earn his first start, swapping places with Rudy Paige, Bongi Mbonambi who will start at hooker in place of the injured Callie Visagie, while new recruit, Jacques Engelbrecht, will earn his first start for his new team should he be called upon from the bench.

My prediction: Blue Bulls by 8

Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Morné Mellett

Bench: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Clayton Blommetjies

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha 14 Deon Helberg 13 Robert De Bruyn 12 Dylan Des Fountain 11 Anthony Volmink 10 Marnitz Boshoff 9 Guy Cronje 8 Willie Britz 7 Derick Minnie (captain) 6 Jaco Kriel 5 Franco van der Merwe 4 Chris van Zyl 3 Ruan Dreyer 2 Willie Wepener 1 Jacques Van Rooyen

Bench: 16 Robbie Coetzee 17 CJ van der Linde 18 Lambert Groenewald 19 Warwick Tecklenburg 20 Tiaan Meyer 21 Elton Jantjies 22 Lionel Cronje


21:10 Argentina vs South Africa, Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza

Played 16, won 15, drawn 1. Last result 73-13 … Put me down for Boks by a lot more than 12 I hear you say. Probably a good call, but … that draw came this time last year at the very venue that the 2 sides will meet on Saturday, a week after the Boks had won fairly convincingly in Cape Town. A few fundamental changes to the make up of the 2 sides in the last 12 months though. Either to retirement or injury, Argentina have lost several players who have customarily provided their backbone. Players like captain and No 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, lock Patricio Albacete and ironman prop Rodrigo Roncero. And they just do not have the depth of their fellow Rugby Champs sides. An uncompromising and angry pack is a key pillar of their game-plan, yet last week they were forced to blood the raw, 20-year-old Matias Diaz at tighthead. And it did not work out well … This while the Boks have moved on from the under confident Francois Hougaard, stable at best Zane Kirchner, and confusing selection of Jacques Potgieter, to a stellar loose trio of Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duance Vermeulen, a Morne Steyn who as added massively to his game, and the super exciting Willie le Roux. You just feel the Boks probably have Argentina’s number at present, irrespective of where they may do battle. Expect a similar first half to last week, with the Boks looking to play in the Argentina half and just suffocate them into submission.

My prediction: Boks by 12

Argentina: 15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Gonzalo Camacho, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Martn Landajo, 8. Leonardo Senatore, 7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Mariano Galarza, 4. Julio Faras Cabello, 3. Juan Figallo, 2. Eusebio Guinazu, 1. Marcos Ayerza

Bench: 16. Agustn Creevy, 17. Nahuel Lobo, Matas Diaz, 18. Tomas Lavaninni, 19. Benjamin Macome, 20. Tomas Cubelli, 21. Santiago Fernandez, 22. Juan Imhoff

Springboks: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Bench: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Gürthro Steenkamp, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Flip van der Merwe, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Jano Vermaak, 22. Patrick Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein


  1. Hi Tank, enjoy the trip, have a cold refreshment for us poor supporters back home!
    For me the difficult game this week is the LIONS/BULLS game. Expect the LIONS to come out all guns blazing

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