The weekend is here and there are some epic encounters to keep you eye on, including some massive Super Rugby playoff matches between the New Zealand and Australian heavyweights, and some COPA America encounters that will divide the South American nations until the final whistles.
Argentina vs Colombia (COPA America)
Pre-tournament favourites Argentina are gunning to win the Copa America for a record-equalling 15th time this year. They have reached the quarter-final stage of the tournament, where the FIFA-ranked world number four nation Colombia will be standing in their way on in Vina del Mar. Both of these nations have struggled for goals so far and that could well continue on Friday. With that in mind, it would not be a surprise to see this encounter go through extra time and all the way to penalties. Of course, it will be a lottery from that point, but the Argentines may well edge the shootout.
Hurricanes vs Brumbies (Super Rugby semi-final)
The Brumbies and Hurricanes will face each other for the first time in the 2015 season in this week’s semi-final. These two sides have come up against each other 20 times in the regular season since the first year of the competition in 1998, with the Brumbies coming out on top on 12 of those occasions. The history books show the Brumbies as the dominant favourites in this match-up, having defeated the men from Wellington every year for the last four Super seasons. Yet with the Hurricane’s current red-hot form it may be time for the ’Canes to get one up.
Waratahs vs Highlanders (Super Rugby semi-final)
The closer of the two semis, the Waratahs and Highlanders go into this match-up with near identical regular season records, having both won 11 of their 16 matches and the Highlanders finishing just one point above the ’Tahs on the competition ladder. Coming off the back of a week off, the Waratahs will go into their home semi-final with a fresh squad, free of any notable injury. Chasing their first ever back-to-back Super Rugby title, and with arguably their best season ever in the competition, the Highlanders are expected to give the Waratahs’ defence plenty to work for.
Brazil vs Paraguay (COPA America)
They may have advanced through to this stage as winners of Group C with six points collected from a possible nine, but Brazil have been less than convincing so far. Of course, much of the talk heading into this contest has centred around how the Brazilians will cope without their suspended captain and talisman Neymar, who was dealt a four-game ban for his attempted headbutt on Colombia’s Jeison Murillo, which rules him out the remainder of the competition. Paraguay may have tasted defeat on 47 occasions against Brazil, winning just 12 games themselves, but they are bound to be confident ahead of this clash, because they met the Brazilians twice in the Copa four years ago and lost neither of those encounters.
What sports encounter are you most looking forward to this weekend? Any predictions on who will come out victorious?