Opinion / 27 July 2019, 09:05am / Sanele Tshabalala
It’s a massive weekend for the Springboks who are facing New Zealand in Wellington this morning.
South Africa should be heading into this game with a certain amount of confidence, based on their convincing win last weekend against Australia, and also having great memories from beating the All Blacks a year ago, at the same Westpac stadium.
New Zealand are also coming off a victory last week in Argentina, which was a lot less convincing than the Boks’ win. In fact, in my opinion they should have lost.
Both teams are at full strength, after the two squads rested a few of their usual starters last week, the Boks more so than the All Blacks. This game looks like going either way, as both teams have an eye on the Rugby World Cup. The next time we play New Zealand will be at our opening World Cup game on September 21, in Japan.
The hosts are 12-point favourites according to the bookies. As to whether they are currently that much better is debatable.
Based on last week’s performances the Boks should be good for +11.5 points at 9/10. However if you are on a high from last weekend, and are keen to take a proper gamble with some of that month-end spare change, the Boks are going at the lovely jubbly price of 3/1 for the win.
In the other Rugby Championship game, Australia are at home to Argentina, with both teams coming off defeats last weekend. The South Americans will be reeling after their close loss to the All Blacks, where they missed out on a great chance to get their first win against them. Australia are the favourites to win, priced at 5/10, whist the Pumas are 15/10. Shammy boy and I reckon ba bathatha kancane (taking them lightly), and that price is a gift for the Argies, so get involved. The handicap is five points.
Locally in the Currie Cup, the Cheetahs play their first home game today, against the Griquas. The home span come off a great game last week against the Bulls, so they are rightful favourites at 1/5 with a 9.5 handicap.
Then Western Province host the Lions in Kaapstad. The host team need to bounce back after last week’s loss to the Sharks, and as for the Lions, they are just seeing flames. I’m sure you know where my mula is going...
Onto football, with the season being just around the corner. It’s the International Champions Cup, and a Madrid derby, Real Madrid facing Atletico Madrid. It’s never smart to bet on these pre-season games, but if you must, I would say back Zizu Zidane’s boys, as they haven’t been shy on spending.
Talking about pre-season, locally it’s the huge Soweto derby, with the Carling Cup (the fans’ competition), with two super fans taking up the managerial seats at FNB Stadium in Soweto. The Sea Robbers have had the upper hand in recent times, and Pirates are priced at 14/10 with Kaizer Chiefs going at 2/1. Back the Bucs bafethu, and sit back to enjoy, but beware of a mundane Mzansi draw.
It’s all systems go for the German Grand Prix, the home of Mercedes. The current team leaders, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, should both place, with the Englishman to take the ‘W’!
Golf’s Senior Open is on the go. After round one Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke was one shot behind the leaders. This could mean back-to-back Senior Open and normal Open Championship (Shane Lowry) Irish winners in one year. Oh, how myself and the Irish wish it would happen, but who knows?
Next week Thursday the much anticipated Ashes start, which is going to be one hell of tournament after the World Cup. England are busy with a one-off Test against Ireland this week, where they lost 10 wickets in the first innings for 85 runs. Unreal.
So ladies and gents, take your pick, mara I’m going in on Australia to take the Ashes. The current record is five wins apiece in the last decade.