We look forward to the second round of Rainbow Cup SA fixtures as the Sharks host the Lions before the Stormers head to Loftus to face the Bulls.
Sharks v Lions
Saturday 8 May
Jonsson Kings Park
To Win (80 Mins)
Sharks (-12.5) 9/10
Lions (+12.5) 9/10
The Sharks will be looking to build on their dramatic victory in Cape Town last weekend when they take on a Lions side that was extremely poor against the Bulls.
The hosts managed to turn around a 23-7 deficit to run out 33-30 victors at the Cape Town Stadium. The star of the show for the Sharks was Reniel Hugo, with the second-rower grabbing a hat-trick to turn the game on its head.
That said, the Sharks were helped by the fact that both Seabelo Senatla and Wille Engelbrecht both received their marching orders. The Senatla incident, which saw the Sevens star clatter Aphelele Fassi in the air drew widespread criticism from the global rugby fraternity.
Sean Everitt’s men will no doubt look to put in an improved performance this time around against a Lions side who failed to impress last weekend.
The Lions had a much worse time of it in Round 1 of the Rainbow Cup SA as they put in an error-strewn display against an out of sorts Bulls side to go down 22-9. To make matters worse for the Lions, they lost fullback Tiaan Swanepoel kicked at 100% last week to a leg injury for the next 10 weeks.
The men from Jo’burg will need to make a marked improvement if they are to topple a formidable Sharks outfit at Jonsson Kings Park.
In terms of recent head to heads, the Lions have actually managed to grab the last two wins beating their opponents 43-40 in a warmup fixture and then 27-12 in the Currie Cup round-robin phase.
Verdict: Sharks (-12.5) 9/10
I really wasn’t impressed by the visitors last week and I reckon the sharks will have the Lions number here. I’m on the hosts clearing the ‘cap with points to spare.
Senatla's challenge on Fassi was one of the biggest talking points win world rugby last week.
Bulls v Stormers
Saturday 8 May
Cape Town Stadium
To Win (80 Mins)
Stormers (-1.5) 9/10
Bulls (+1.5) 9/10
The Stormers will be looking to bounce back from a poor display in Cape Town when they take on a Bulls side that didn’t really get out of second gear last weekend (not that they really needed to against an out of sorts Lions outfit).
John Dobson’s men were their own worst enemies last weekend as they let a mammoth 23-7 lead slip to go down by three points to the Sharks. Ill-discipline cost the Capetonians as they received two red cards and gave away a number of penalties. Poor finishing also played a role in their defeat with Ruhan Nel only having to dot the ball down from a kick after the hooter sounded. Unfortunately for the Stormers, he completely fluffed his lines, knocking on in the process.
Certainly, a more composted and disciplined performance can see an absolutely stacked Stormers side give the Bulls a real working over.
The Bulls, while bagging a comfortable 13-point win over the Lions, were also far from impressive as they looked extremely laboured with ball-in-hand and also coughed up too many turnovers in dangerous attacking positions. They’re likely to be far more clinical this weekend as they brush off rustiness after last week’s hit out.
Looking at the recent head-to-head results, and it doesn’t make pretty reading for Stormers fans as their side has lost three of the last five games between the sides, including the last two fixtures.
Verdict: Stormers (+1.5) 9/10
All five of the last games between the sides have been one by the team with hosting rights and I do think the Stormers will give the Bulls a real run here, but I reckon the men from Pretoria will scrape it. Play it safe and back the Bulls on the narrowest of plus ‘caps.