This weekend, the sporting attractions shift heavily to the oval ball, with Super Rugby hitting the do-or-die stage. However, there’s still some football feuds to settle in the Champions League, and the IPL coming to a climactic conclusion. Here’s the matches you can’t afford to miss this weekend:
Hurricanes v Highlanders (Super Rugby)
Another massive New Zealand derby that’s sure to entertain, the Hurricanes play host to the defending champions in a repeat of last year’s final. Both sides should be fresh after a week off, and the battle between All Black wingers Waisake Naholo and Julian Savea should be worth the entry fee alone. If the Hurricanes don’t find their gear early on, they could be on the receiving end of a beating from a clinical Highlanders team.
Prediction: Hurricanes by 3
Waratahs v Chiefs (Super Rugby)
Two Super Rugby winning sides go head-to-head in Sydney, as the Waratahs and Chiefs collide in a big Aus/NZ franchise clash. The Waratahs haven’t beaten a Kiwi side this season, and have struggled at home to a degree. The Chiefs overcame the Rebels in an unconvincing win last week, which they’ll have to improve upon if they’re to challenge the Waratahs. The Chiefs are undeniably the more well-rounded side and if they fire on attack as they have been this season, the Waratahs will be chasing shadows.
Prediction: Chiefs by 5
Royal Challengers Bangalore v TBA (IPL final)
When Royal Challengers Bangalore step into the M Chinnaswamy stadium to play in the Indian Premier League final, they will have their best opportunity to finally ease the pain of underachievement. Talented, but overly reliant on individual brilliance over the past eight seasons, they have faltered in two finals (2009, 2011) but 2016 offers hope to change all that. After a slow start to the the ninth edition, they have risen to dominate the opposition and lie one step away from the crown.
Prediction: Awaiting opponent
Bulls v Lions (Super Rugby)
The Bulls’ unsuspecting resurgence has seen them challenging for the South African conference. The Lions, on the other hand, have had a few slips, but for the most part have been the undeniable in-form team of SA. The Joburg side is struggling with some team omissions due to injury, causing a bit of uncertainty in the team chemistry for this weekend, but the Lions’ expansive gameplan has seen them exploit defensively superior teams in past rounds, so we’re backing tie Lions for this one.
Prediction: Lions by 7
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (Champions League)
Once again, it will be a side from Spain taking home the most iconic trophy in European football. After outstanding performances over the last nine months, Atlètico Madrid and Real Madrid will fight for the title on Saturday. This is a game that can certainly go either way. Both teams have been severely tested throughout not only this competition but also La Liga, where they both fell short of FC Barcelona. With the most number of Champions League titles (10), Real Madrid certainly know how to win these blockbuster fixtures, so we’re edging them for the win.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2 – 1 Atletico Madrid
What match are you most excited for this weekend? Let us know in the comments below and tweet us at @MenStuffZA.