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Super Rugby Unlocked: Round 4 Preview

Darry Worthington previews the three Round 4 Super Rugby Unlocked 2020 fixtures, with the first getting underway on Friday the 30th of October. 

Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Super Rugby Round 3 may have had a game cancelled due to a number of Lions squad members picking up COVID-19 but it was still an intriguing round with the Stormers pulling a Houdini-esque escape act to be the Pumas and the Bulls racking up a big win over an out of sorts Sharks side. 

We’re in for another fascinating round of rugby action this weekend with the headline game seeing the Bulls and Stormers go head to head at Loftus. 

Lions v Griquas
Friday 30 October
Emirates Airline Park


To Win (80 Mins)


The round will get underway in Johannesburg on Friday evening where the Lions will tackle the Griquas. There’s still a good chance that this game may actually be called off as the Lions had a large number of players show contract COVID-19 or forced into quarantine. 

Should the game ahead, we could well be in for a cracker as the Lions may well be missing a few big guns with Jaco Kriel, Bruger Odendaal and Dylan Smith all placed in quarantine, while EW Viljoen, Willem Alberts and the promising Hacjivah Dymani all tested positive for the disease. With this in mind, it will be well worth keeping a close eye teams news this week. 

Like the Lions, the Griquas were off last week. Unlike the Lions, they weren’t combating a COVID outbreak but rather enjoying a bye week. The week off couldn’t have come sooner for the Griquas who followed up their narrow 30-23 opening-round loss to the Bulls with a dire performance that saw them beaten 21-27 by the Pumas at home. 

Verdict: Griquas 

I’ll be jumping into any plus handicap in excess of five points as I believe we will see an understrength Lions side take to the park this Friday evening. 

Pumas v Sharks

Saturday 31 October
Mbombela Stadium


To Win (80 Mins)
Pumas 33/10

Draw 25/1
Sharks 2/9

Pumas 9/10 (+9.5)
Sharks 9/10 (-9.5)

The impressive Pumas will be looking to bounce back from their narrow 37-42 defeat to the Stormers when they lock horns with the Sharks in Saturday’s first fixture. 

Jimmy Stonehouse’s men will be extremely aggrieved after what transpired last weekend. They were well in the driver’s seat headed into the final quarter of their fixture only for the Stormers to come roaring back into the game and knick the win at the death. While the Pumas can be blamed for a lacklustre defensive showing in the final quarter, questions also have to be asked of the officials as they missed a forward pass in the lead up to the match-winning try. 

The Sharks were far more abject last weekend as they suffered a 41-14 defeat at the hands of the Bulls. The men from Natal lacked ideas on attack and were bullied at the set-piece. They will need to improve tenfold if they are to avoid a defeat here. 

Verdict: Sharks (-9.5)
While I totally respect the Pumas, I also expect a massive backlash from a Sharks side that will have gotten the hairdryer treatment midweek. My money is on the Natalians finding their groove and registering a big score in Nelspruit. 

Jockeys Ride Horses

Bulls v Stormers
Saturday 31 October

Loftus Versfeld

To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls 5/10

Draw 25/1

Stormers 31/20

Bulls 9/10 (-4.5)

Stormers 9/10 (-4.5)

The round will once again come to a closeout at Loftus where Jake White’s Blue Bulls will welcome John Dobson’s Stormers side for what should be a classic North versus South derby. 

White’s men had a great time of it last week as they secured an impressive 41-14 win against the Sharks. They looked extremely good with ball in hand last week with their forwards laying a solid platform for their backs to flourish off. It was also the ideal way for the men from Pretoria to bounce back from their 19-17 defeat to the Cheetahs the week prior. 

While the Bulls were extremely convincing, the Stormers were far from it as they pulled a controversial snatch and grab job to pip the Pumas by five points at the Mbombela Stadium. This was the second game on the trot that the Stormers found lady luck smiling upon them as a late penalty offence for the Lions deep inside their half was picked up upon the week prior when they went on to beat the Lions 23-17. 

Verdict: Bulls 9/10 (-4.5)
I think the hosts have found their groove, and my money is on them clearing the ‘cap against their old rivals from the North. 

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