Weekend predictions

A truly monstrous weekend with two of the greatest rivalries in world rugby taking place – Boks vs All Blacks, and Bulls vs Province. All the teams, times, refs and Tank Lanning’s predictions.

I actually cannot remember when I was last so excited for a game of rugby! Yes, it is a legendary rivalry, but if the truth be told, the All Blacks have had the Bok’s number in recent years. But one just gets the feeling that this game could seriously go either way on Saturday. Granny Pat from across the road might frown upon you opening your first cold one of the day for it, but the rugby fraternity expects it of you! Just keep a little in the tank to still be at least be able to keep one eye on the other great rivalry taking place at Loftus at 17h00. It is a seriously top, top day of rugby!

Friday 13 September

19:10 Free State vs Golden Lions, Bloemfontein

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant referees: Lusanda Jam, Sakkie Meyer

Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee

The return of Bees Roux! Actually not sure how I feel about the decision, but if all concerned in the death are happy with it, then who am I to argue? Either way, Trevor Nyakane will be looking to make his return to SA rugby as prickly as possible. Free State were extraordinarily flat last week, while the Lions mostly looked in control against Griquas – a seriously prickly pear in Kimberley. No doubt another bum squeaker, something we have seen plenty of in the Currie Cup thus far, but I cannot see the Bloem boys being as bad as they were last week, especially at home.

My prediction: Free State 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. Boom Prinsloo (captain), 7. Davon Raubenheimer, 6. Lappies Labuschagne, 5. Waltie Vermeulen, 4. Teboho Mohoje, 3.  Rossouw de Klerk, 2. Hercu Liebenberg, 1. Trevor Nyakane.

Bench: 16. Ethienne Reynecke, 17. Wian du Preez, 18. Freddie Ngoza, 19. Tertius Daniller, 20. Kevin Luiters, 21. Willie du Plessis, 22. Piet Lindeque

Golden Lions: 15. Marnitz Boshoff, 14. Andries Coetzee, 13. Robert De Bruyn, 12. Dylan Des Fountain, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Tian Meyer, 8. Willie Britz, 7. Derek Minnie (captain), 6. Warwick Tecklenberg, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Ruan Venter, 3. Bees Roux, 2. Willie Wepener, 1. CJ van der Linde

Bench: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Jacques v Rooyen, 18. Hugo Kloppers, 19. Jaco Kriel, 20.  Ross Cronje, 21. Deon Helberg, 22. Ruhan Ne


Saturday 14 September

09:35 New Zealand vs South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)

Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

New Zealand have taken on South Africa a total of 85 times, with the Kiwis winning 48, and the Boks 34, with 3 draws. Both sides are unbeaten in this year’s Rugby Championship and have won convincingly against Australia. Richie McCaw is out injured, and is one of 5 changes to the home side, while Heyneke Meyer has named an unchanged side. Eden Park – a fortress where the All Blacks have won every game they’ve played since 1994! In that game the Boks managed a draw. Since 1998, South Africa have only won twice in New Zealand. The go to men for the Boks will once again be those huge chunks of meat in the backrow; Willem Alberts, Francois Louw and Duane Vermuelan, who amassed a total 36 tackles between them last week. They will be looking to do something similar, especially on a day on which rain is forecast. This will be a key area for the Boks, especially with Sam Cane stepping in for McCaw and his relative inexperience at Test level. Willie Le Roux will also be key out wide, as he looks to continue on from the game deciding 100 metres he ran last week. Ruan Pienaar’s boot will also be crucial, and dependent on how the pack go against an 8 that will be vastly superior to the powder puff seen in Australia. He kicked twice as much as Morne Steyn against the Wallabies and is definitely the go to man as the Boks search for territory. It is a game plan that is designed for winning, and as Heyneke Meyer states, he would take the “ugliest win in history.” New Zealand in New Zealand is a tough ask though, even for this Bok side.

My prediction: All Blacks by 3

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock

Bench: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 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 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Adriaan Strauss , 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein


12:05 Australia vs Argentina, Subiaco Oval, Perth

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

Television match official: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Argentina have shown great character in recent weeks, bouncing back after a heavy loss to the Boks in week one, running them very close indeed in the return leg, before travelling to New Zealand, and giving the World Champs a real run for their money in their own back yard. They are real fighters and a number of individuals epitomized exactly that via their defensive heroics. Nicolas Sanchez, the Argentinian fly half, made 17 tackles – more than the entire Kiwi front row put together! They have not beaten the Wallabies since 1997, though. In the Wallaby camp, Ewen Mckenzie will be scratching around for positives. His “Throw the ball to Isreal Folau and see what happens” gameplan did not work out so well for him last week. The dropping of the inspirational Will Genia is a move that has shaken up Australian rugby, and reiterates the problems they face! Losing James Horwill is another blow. But it is week 2 on the road for the Pumas, and one feels that the Australians will have too much to play for in this encounter, and that their talent out wide will thrive if the forwards manage to gain some sort of parity.

My prediction: Australia by 7

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.

Bench: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tevita Kuridrani

Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12  Felipe Contepomi, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza

Bench: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Benjamin Macome, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Fernandez, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino


15:00 Griquas vs Sharks, GWK Park, Kimberley

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Francois de Bruin

Television match official: Willie Roos

Both sides on the back of losses. Griquas, after a great deal of promise in beating the Sharks in the opening round, have had little fortune in recent weeks and find themselves bottom of the log. The Sharks until a week ago were topping the Currie Cup standings but have now dropped down following a fairly comprehensive loss to Western province. Griquas won this fixture last year 22-15, but were on the receiving end of a 42-5 hammering when they visited the Shark Tank. The Sharks have tended to struggle in Kimberley in recent years, but then, so have a number of sides! Lwazi Mvovo is looking like he is hitting top speed once again, while Griquas centre Howard Mnisi looks to be stamping his authority down on the Currie Cup. One gets the feeling that the game will be decided up front though. And it will be interesting to see how PS du Toit goes in his first game of the season. Surely a little rusty? In game 1 of the tournament, Griquas scrummed the Sharks into submission. Last week, WP did the same. Fail again up front, and they will fail on the scoreboard. Rory Arnold has won his appeal against his suspension for biting and is back in the Griquas side. This is the home side’s game to lose.

My prediction: Griquas by 3

Griquas: 15. PJ Vermeulen, 14. Nico Scheepers, 13. JP Nel, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Rocco Jansen, 10. Francois Brummer, 9. Marnus Hugo, 8. Carel Greeff, 7. Burger Schoeman, 6. Marnus Schoeman, 5. Victor Kruger, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Nick Schonert, 2. Ryno Barnes (captain), 1. Steph Roberts

Bench: 16. Matt Dobson, 17. Brummer Badenhorst, 18. Patrick O’Brien, 19. RJ Liebenberg, 20. Jacques Coetzee, 21. Du Randt Gerber, 22. Gouws Prinsloo

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Jacques Botes (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Danie Mienie

Bench: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder


17:05 Blue Bulls vs Western Province, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Assistant referees: Marius Jonker

Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Sieg van Staden

Television match official: Johan Greeff

As if the All Blacks vs the Boks was not good enough for 1 day. Another classic rivalry to round off the day … Province are now top of the log after a well worked win over the Sharks at Newlands – powered by an amazing performance from their scrum. The Bulls have suffered a bit of a roler coaster ride this season, but seem to back on track following a comprehensive win over the Cheetahs at Loftus last week. They were good. At home again this weekend, the Bulls will take confidence from their 26-13 win in 2012 and the amazing comeback at Newlands earlier this year to earn themselves a 24 all draw. This after the Bulls went down 42-6 at Newlands last year, a result that will buoy the travellers! Hence it being a classic rivalry – Current form tends to go out the window and it is all about who wants it more on the day. I thought Paul Willemse came of age last week, and the Bulls scrum, bolstered by loosehead Marcel van der Merwe, looked good. They have made the bold call to drop Jacques Engelbrecht back to the bench, but he will no doubt have an impact from there. Wiaan Liebenberg is also starting to find his feet at this level, and it will be interesting to see how he goes against a WP pack that has replaced injured fetcher (and skipper) Deon Fourie with more of a carrier in Michael Rhodes. Lose the battle up front, and Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe will make merry.

My prediction: Bulls by 4

Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.

Bench: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 21 Lohan Jacobs, 22 Waylon Murray, 23 Clayton Blommetjies

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. Michael Rhodes, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt 5. De Kock Steenkamp (captain), 4. Taz Fuzani, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Rohan Kitshoff, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Gary van Aswegen, 22. Michael van der Spuy