The Sharks have performed well against New Zealand teams all season, but can they pull off the upset of the season against the Crusaders on Saturday? Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN - We are back with World Cup hangover straight into another, but this one features South Africa. 

It’s the sevens rugby feast with the World Cup which kicks off tonight out of San Francisco for our entertainment, and that it surely will be.

The Blitzboks have not had luck in this competition in its history, perhaps our fortunes will change with a new format. We have only reached the final once in the last six editions. 

South Africa will still be amongst the favourites for the playoffs, with New Zealand and Fiji, and England and USA as outside bets. 

The Blitzboks have selected many players on their current form and look in form at a chance at this year’s Cup. 

Pay attention and you may be able to pick the finalists. I would say go green, but umphepho la eClermont shows white and stars, read that as you may.

Then there is the Proteas, looking average, let’s be fair and call it as it is. This happens to most in Sri-Lanka, but wow that first test was terrible. 

The woes won’t be fixed because of Shamsi’s availability. Faf needs his batsmen to show up this weekend, as they were appalling at Galle. 

It is highly necessary for the top 5 to make a go of it and construct partnerships at least for the spinners to have something to bowl at. Unfortunately I see us getting a draw at best, but I suspect 2-0. 

It’s Super Rugby playoff time. This morning it’s a New Zealand derby on the go to start us off. First up, the Hurricanes for yet another encounter after last week’s thriller where the Chiefs raced into a 21-point lead in Hamilton. 

The Hurricanes came back to ensure the Chiefs would not manage the margin needed to upset the 'Canes getting a home quarter-final in Wellington. The Canes at home are formidable, winning their last nine on the trot.

Of late they have looked all over the place, not as cohesive as at the best of times. In contrast; the Chiefs look the part heading into this game, with magician Damian McKenzie, back after being rested last week. 

Chiefs are in form with them peaking just at the right time and welcoming back top players in Karl Tuinukuafe, Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick (last week), and Nathan Harris. 

Take the visitors on the spread, as they may feel this is their best opportunity since 2013.

Saturday serves up a trifecta, including our local dishes, two South African teams. The Sharks are in the doldrums in Christchurch playing the dangerous and consistent Crusaders, who are the most astute at playoff footy. 

Smart money is on home team by 10, but we tend not to play smart at times so back your boys if you have a penny to spare.

Next up; the Waratahs are hosts to the Highlanders, who will have their best back and be playing a home team that didn’t look too sharp last week. This will be a tight affair, but I don’t doubt that the away team looks strong to pip it.

Lions then take on Jaguares with our only home game eMzansi this weekend, at one game apiece with Jaguares arguably looking the better outfit this season. 

However, signs say Lions to take this at home by 5 or more we say. Enjoy the German F1 and we see a home win here, meaning look for a prancing horse perhaps? What you say? Sangoma OUT!


The Mercury

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