Opinion / 24 August 2019, 08:58am / sanele tshabalala
On the rugby scene it’s the last round of games in the Currie Cup before the play-offs. All the teams competing today have a mathematical chance of making it into the semis.
Expect fireworks as all the teams have something or other to play for. Some of the teams will be hoping just to make it in, like Bulls, Lions, Province and Sharks, whereas others like Griquas and Cheetahs will be hoping to secure home ground advantage for next weekend.
Griquas are at the summit of the log, and are at home to the Lions. Both teams will be playing all out for a victory, with two slightly different objectives. The Lions are hoping to secure a semi-finals spot, with the home team trying to secure a home final, should they win today and next weekend.
The second team on the log, Cheetahs, are hosting Western Province. Similar to the game above, the hosts are playing for home advantage and the visitors for survival.
Last up it’s the Bulls playing Sharks at Loftus. The Bulls must win with a bonus point and by two clear tries to have any chance of a spot next week, but will be aware of their fate before kick-off.
In other words, should Province upset the Cheetahs at home, then the Bulls can say bye-bye to their chances, play for pride and to stop the Sharks from progressing.
The same goes for the Lions - should they lose and Sharks and Province win away from home, in their respective matches, Lions will miss out.
I fancy Cheetahs, Sharks and Lions to join Griquas in next week’s semi-finals. Griquas and Cheetahs go into today’s games as 7/10 favourites, with their opponents priced at 12/10 each. Bulls versus Sharks has the bookies on the fence, as they are priced evenly at 9/10 the pair.
I favour all the home teams to get the job done today, making Bulls and Province the teams to lose out along with Pumas.
In football the match of the weekend on either end of the pond is Liverpool versus Arsenal. It’s the top of the table clash early season, and it excludes City - what are the chances? The winners will have an early lead on the table, and some early season confidence.
Liverpool go in as favourites at 5/10, with Arsenal being outsiders at 5/1. All Gunners supporters should not bat an eyelid on this one, and climb in on that juicy price all day long.
It’s been four years since the Gunners last got the better of the Reds in the league. That statistic, coupled with last year’s 5-1 defeat of Unai Emerys troopers, explains why Liverpool are expected to win at home.
My fancied bets for today’s matches has Frank Lampard getting his first ‘W’ away to Norwich, with Man United and Brighton winning at home.
In tomorrow’s matches Spurs to win at home, with Man City and Burnley to win away from home. In the red ball game there is a bunch on the go, with thee saucy series matches that started on Thursday. The big game is the third game of the Ashes, which got off to an electric start. The youngster Jofra Archer is the talk about town, it seems like the young man is born for big occasions. On Day 1 of the third test match, the Barbados boy cleaned up the baggy green fellas, when he collected the amazing stats of 6/45, in only his second test match for England.
England will be desperate for a win to be able to keep their hopes alive in the series. A big first innings lead will go a long way in securing the series 1-1, heading into the last two matches.
In other ball news, all roads lead to Flushing Meadows, New York. Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic head into next week as defending champions.
There is the final golf hooray with the FedEx Cup ending this weekend. It’s a $15 million dollar purse, with a new scrambled start. Let’s see how it rolls out.