Rugby Championship: After last week’s heartbreak (for Springbok fans) they get to do it all over again on Saturday when the Springboks again try to beat the All Blacks. But you can be sure that, wherever you are watching, you know that when Faf de Klerk shapes to do his “box kick” – right leg extended behind him, hands on the ball – there will be a collective “noooooo!” However, the kicking game is critical to the way the Springboks play these days, and while it’s not pretty, it is effective. One would think that they have a few tricks up their sleeves this week, perhaps a few more sniping runs from De Klerk himself, a few attempted line breaks by Handre Pollard, and also getting the wings into action more often. This though would play into All Blacks hands. The way to bet, if you can find the market, is more than 45 points in the match and at least four tries. I’d also go for the New Zealanders to win it by double figures.
The other Rugby Championship match is against Australia against Argentina, The margin of victory was 19 to the Wallabies last week and this week it might be more than 20.
United Rugby Championship, Fixtures and predictions:
Scarlets vs Lions (Scarlets by 8)
Connacht vs Bulls (Connacht by 2)
Benetton vs Edinburgh (Edinburgh by 3)
Glasgow Warriors vs Sharks (Warriors by 7)
Zebre vs Ulster (Ulster by 25)
Munster vs Stormers (Munster by 22)
Ospreys vs Cardiff Blues (Ospreys by 5)
Dragons vs Leinster (Leinster by 26)
English Premier League: As long as Manchester United have Cristiano Ronaldo, the job of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks safe. Ronaldo again scored the winner, in the 95th minute, against Villarreal in midweek Champions League action. And despite United losing, surprisingly, to Aston Villa in the League last week, you’d imagine that once they retrieve Bruno Fernandes’ ball from his penalty kick, in future Ronaldo will be entrusted with the penalties as well. This week United play Everton, although it’s the lunchtime kick-off, which is notorious for producing the upset. The big game of the weekend is on Sunday when Liverpool host Manchester City.
Fixtures and predictions:
Man United 2 Everton 1
Chelsea 2 Southampton 0
Wolves 2 Newcastle 1
Burnley 1 Norwich 0
Leeds 3 Watford 1
Brighton 1 Arsenal 1
Tottenham 1 Aston Villa 1
West Ham 2 Brentford 1
Crystal Palace 1 Leicester 1
Liverpool 2 Man City
DStv Premiership: Where to next for South African glamour club Kaizer Chiefs? Well, the obvious answer is to KZN for their DStv Premiership encounter against AmaZulu, but in the bigger picture Chiefs are looking directionless. They were particularly impotent in their 0-0 draw with minnows Gallants last week. After the round they find themselves in 13th position with five points after five games. Sure, that is only three points away from fifth place, but already Sundowns are eight points ahead of their fellow giants. Sundowns have yet to concede a goal in their five games and as was noted on social media this week, they are in danger of turning the DStv Premiership into a “Farmers League”.
Fixtures and predictions:
AmaZulu 0 Kaizer Chiefs 1
TS Galaxy 0 Sekhukhune United 1
Chippa Utd 0 SuperSport 2
Baroka 1 Stellenbosch 1
Cape Town City 1 Pirates 2
Golden Arrows 2 Gallants 0
Real Kings 2 Maritzburg United 1
Sundowns 2 Moroka Swallows 0
Japanese MotoGP: The next round on this season’s calendar takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan. French rider Fabio Quartararo has been in commanding form on his Yamaha so far and holds a 38-point lead over Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia in the world standings. South Africa’s Brad Binder is sixth in the world standings on his KTM, with 124 points, with Jack Miller (Ducati) above him and Aleix Espargaro on his Aprilia one below him.
Former light-heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos takes on all-action countryman Johnny Walker on Saturday, the main feature of a 13-fight card. Elsewhere, Kevin Holland squares off with “Contender Series” grad Kyle Daukaus, while Misha Cirkunov tries a new weight class against veteran Krzysztof Jotko, and Niko Prince meets Alex Oliveira in another potential war.
Alfred Dunhill Links: The strength of the South African game can be seen in the fact that there are 21 SA golfers involved in the latest European Tour event, being held at three courses in Scotland – the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. The event is one of the most popular on the annual calendar, and draws a host of celebrities each year. The host is South African billionaire. Would be great if a Saffa could pull it it! The 21 South African players are: Daniel van Tonder, Toto Thimba, Martin Rohwer, George Coetzee, Jacques Kruyswijk, Haydn Porteous, Jaco Ahlers, Ruan Conradie, Louis de Jager, Thriston Lawrence, Wilco Nienaber, Thomas Aiken, Dean Burmester, Darren Fichardt, Branden Grace, Neil Schietekat, Brandon Stone, MJ Daffue, Zander Lombard, Justin Walters and Justin Harding.