The Lions and Stormers get things underway at Emirates Airline Park before the undefeated Bulls and Sharks clash in the late kick-off at Loftus in Rainbow Cup SA action.
Check out the hightlights from last week's game between the Sharks and Lions above.
Saturday 15 May
Emirates Airline Park
To Win (80 Mins)
Lions (+4.5) 9/10
Stormers (-4.5) 9/10
We kick things off in Johannesburg where the winless Lions and Stormers will go head-to-head. Both teams gave decent enough accounts of themselves this past weekend but were unable to bag wins with the Stormers going down 16-20 to the Bulls in Cape Town and the Lions going down 34-26 to the Sharks in Durban.
One would have possibly expected more from the Stormers as, unlike the Lions who are in a rebuilding phase, the Stormers have a decent side that boasts a number of key Springboks.
The Lions were outclassed by a Sharks side who were uncharacteristically ill-disciplined and are still showing signs of a bit of rust. Three yellow cards and numerous handling errors kept the Lions in with the faintest of sniffs.
John Dobson’s men were encouragingly in the hunt for the full 80 minutes against the Bulls. They had a full go at the Pretoria franchise in the closing minutes of last week’s game, but poor lineout execution and a lack of killer instinct on attack cost them at the end.
The Lions seem some way off the pack of the other three franchises at the minute while Stormers aren’t a million miles away from clicking into gear.
In terms of recent head to heads between the sides, the Lions have only won one of the last five games between the sides with that victory coming back in June 2019. The Stormers won the last clash between the sides 44-12.
Verdict: Lions (+4.5) 9/10
While the Stormers are the better side they really aren’t clicking at the moment. I reckon the Lions will make it tough for the men from the Western Cape this Saturday, which is why I’m tentatively backing the plus here.
Check out the highlights from last week's Stormers vs Bulls match above.
Bulls v Sharks
Saturday 15 May
To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls (-4.5) 9/10
Sharks (+4.5) 9/10
We have a top of the table clash up next with the Bulls set to lock horns with the Sharks at Loftus And if this game is anything like the Currie Cup final between these two, then we should be in for an absolute slugfest.
Both teams are off to good starts, although the Bulls haven’t really impressed on attack only managing to score five tries in their opening two games, while the Sharks – who are getting back to their electric best – have had a harder time of it on defence, shipping 56 points in their opening two games.
Last week saw the Sharks cruise to a 34-26 win over a poor Lions side with a late Vincent Tshituka – who has been one of the shining lights of the Jo’burg side’s season – bagging a late consolation to put a bit of gloss on the scoreline. At the end of the day, the Sharks were always in full control of the game, with Curwin Bosch’s metronomic kicking keeping the Lions’ at arm’s length.
The Bulls, meanwhile, were made to sweat a bit in their 16-20 win over the Stormers. A mammoth defensive effort in the final stages of the game kept the men from the Western Cape at bay in the end. Whether or not that stout defence holds up against an electric Sharks backline who also happen to boast a powerful, dynamic set of forwards remains to be seen.
Both sides will be aiming to more clinical this week, with the winner of this particular match set to gain a massive psychological advantage through the remainder of the competition
In terms of recent head to head results, honours have been pretty much even in the last five fixtures with the sides winning two apiece with the other game ending in a draw. Apart from the Currie Cup final stalemate, most of the recent games between the sides have seen their fair share of points, so it may well be worth looking at the overs points markets when they live in-play stuff opens up.
Verdict: Sharks (+4.5) 9/10
I reckon this game will be rather evenly matched and won by a very small margin. While I actually think the Sharks could upset the applecart and bag a win at Loftus, I’m going to tread lightly and back the Durban-based side on the plus.