The smart money is on the Cheetahs and Wales
DURBAN – While there has been turmoil on our streets, sport is at least something we can turn to for some temporary relief and entertainment.
It’s the last couple of warm-up matches on the rugga scene this weekend. The Boks played izolo in their last warm up game against the host nation Japan, where Rassie’s troopers looked the part, especially in the first half.
Namhlanje, the All Blacks played neTonga ekuseni. The other game this morning is Australia hosting Samoa, which could be an interesting encounter. The handicap is 31 points, which is crazy for an island team which has reached the knockouts at a World Cup before.
The main dish and the tightest contest will be this afternoon when Ireland host Wales. The home team are 5-point favourites, and that makes sense given last week’s results.
As Saffas, what we should really be looking forward to today is the big local dish - the Currie Cup competition winding up with the final in Bloemfontein between the Cheetahs and the Lions.
The Cheetahs will be hoping to repeat their result of 2016, when they outlasted the Bulls and lifted the cup. But the Lions, who dominated Griquas last weekend on the Highveld, will be quietly confident of being able to travel and upset the home side and their motorbikes.
The Cheetahs were down in the first half last week against the Sharks, but made a huge second half comeback. Home advantage counts a lot in these games, hence they go in as very strong favourites, with a - 6.5 point handicap. I say the Cheetahs should win the Cup, making it twice in four years for them.
And the All Blacks and Wallabies should trounce the island boys by five or more tries. That’s a given. As for the others, I fancy Wales to win at the great price of 16/10. In footy this weekend it’s an international break, and World Cup qualifiers for some African teams, excepting the likes of Bafana Bafana. Given the current unfortunate state of affairs on the ground regarding our African brothers, it’s just as well our game got cancelled. Twice.
Let’s be better neighbours, Mzansi.
The bulk of African qualifying games are being played tomorrow, with just one tie today. Most games look one-sided, considering it’s only stage one of World Cup 2022 qualifying. The highlights should be Botswana playing Malawi, and Tanzania hosting Burundi.
Over in Europe, it’s the Euro 2020 qualifiers.The best games for this weekend were played last night, but there is one game today, between Sebia and Portugal, which could be a cracker.
It’s the last showdown at Flushing Meadows too with the women’s and men’s finals being competed for tonight and tomorrow. Almost all the leading seeds were toppled this past week, both men and women. This makes for an interesting weekend, where on each end it’s one big name who will now both be heavy favourites, given that the other big names have been chopped.
Serena and Rafa are surely odds on favourites, the former hoping to equal Margaret Court’s record of major titles. Rafa, on the other hand, stands a chance of getting for him a rare US Open title.
In motorsports, it’s another big race this weekend in Formula 1 at the legendary Monza track in Italy. The prancing horse junior driver, Charles Le Clrec, was a class act last week when he notched up his maiden win in Belgium.
The question is can he follow this up?
Monza is the kind of track that has had some memorable, classic races, so motor heads are sure to be entertained. Mercedes fans will be hoping order to be restored, with main man Lewis Hamilton and the constructors team in the lead, comfortably ahead of the chasing pack.
Be safe, and kind to your neighbour. We are all fighting our own challenges.
Sangoma out - like David Warner to a Broad delivery.
Sanele TshabalalaIndependent on Saturday