The weekend is finally here, and there are some massive sporting encounters coming your way, including some highly-anticipated cricket, sevens rugby, Six Nations, and Premier League head-to-heads.
South Africa vs England (2nd ODI)
The first match of the ODI series saw England score 399 for 9 in the first innings from their fifty overs. The deck at Bloemfontein was flat and England’s youthful line-up capitalised. Almost all batsmen contributed with scores even though Jos Buttler’s contribution of a 76-ball 105 was easily the most significant. South Africa gravely missed the pace of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada. To overpower their emphatic visitors, South Africa will need some reparations in the pace bowling department. It is also crucial that senior stalwarts in de Villiers and Amla contribute big. England should be very pleased with the balance they have at the moment.
South Africa vs Kenya (World Sevens Series)
Obviously, watching all of the Blitzbokke’s games in the Sydney leg of the World Sevens Series is pivotal, but if one pool game stands out, it’s the battle with Kenya. SA’s African rivals had a strong tournament in Wellington last week, giving some big-name teams some serious competition, so Neil Powell’s men will need to be weary of the powerful and striding Kenyan side led by the enigmatic Collins Injera. Based on form, South Africa should push through the pool stages and challenge for the Cup in the knockout stages.
Ireland vs Wales (Six Nations rugby)
Besides a relatively underwhelming World Cup campaign, Ireland have also suffered a number of injury worries in the lead-up to the Six Nations. Ireland will be desperate to ensure they start their campaign with a home win, but Wales will come to Dublin feeling quietly confident after welcoming back some important players from injury. The dual threat of flankers Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric at the breakdown will add another dimension to the Welsh approach, while World Cup star Dan Biggar will look to continue controlling matters from flyhalf. The Irish have Jonny Sexton back in the fold, but with the loss of Paul O’Connell to retirement last year, the senior Irish players will need to take control if they’re to have any chance of fending off the Welsh.
Manchester City vs Leicester City (English Premier League)
First visits second in the Premier League this weekend as Leicester City travel to Manchester City in arguably the biggest game of the season to date. The Foxes will enter Saturday’s match three points clear of Man City at the summit and knowing that another positive result would further increase suggestions that they could secure their ever first Premier League title. It is a very tough game to call as the best home record in the league meets the best away record. Leicester have shown their credentials as title challengers this season, but it is tough to back against Man City on home soil.
Chelsea vs Manchester United (English Premier League)
With 14 Barclays Premier League games to play, United must finish strongly if the title remains a realistic ambition. A top-four finish is a more pressing target and the Reds are five points short of fourth place. Chelsea also have eyes on a surge to a European place but the champions are languishing in the bottom half of the table, despite improving since Guus Hiddink took temporary charge, with a goalless draw at Watford extending his unbeaten run at the helm.