This weekend sees a flurry of sporting action, from European football to local Super Rugby derbies, there’s a little something for everyone; but in light of catching the best of the best, we’ve rounded up the 7 must-watch games of the weekend:
Hurricanes v Chiefs (Super Rugby)
Two of Super Rugby’s big-dogs go head to head when the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Wellington. The ‘Canes have been on a great run as of late, overcoming the Sharks in the dying moments last weekend to secure their fifth win of the season. The Chiefs are just two points shy of their counterparts, but also sit with 5 wins from 6 matches. The Hamilton side have been edging past their New Zealand counterparts in recent encounters, so it should be an exciting match of two equally-talented sides, but, that being said, with the sheer star power the Hurricanes possess, it’s hard not to back them.
Predicted result: Hurricanes by 5
Cheetahs v Munster (Pro 14)
The news of the week is that Springbok flyhalf and former Racing Metro star Johan Goosen will be making his long-awaited return to rugby after “retiring” last year. The boost of the 25-year-old at 10 will assist an already-lethal Cheetahs side at home when Munster roll into town. The Irish side has been in fine form all season, beating the Cheetahs 51-18 back in Round 2, but will be exposed to their first Bloemfontein battle this weekend, which should fall in favour of the hosts.
Predicted result: Cheetahs by 5.
Barcelona v Valencia (La Liga)
Barcelona may be healthy league leaders, but after being unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League by dark horses Roma they’ll feel less comfortable going into a match against another high-energy opponent. Valencia has earned a reputation this season for playing with a high tempo and demanding a lot of energy from their opponents to contain their attack. Barcelona’s lethargic display against Roma will have to drastically change or Valencia will very likely inflict the first league defeat on the Catalans this weekend. They have decent options to bring into their attack including their record signings Coutinho and Dembele, but they’ll need to significantly improve their performance if they want to maintain their unbeaten run in La Liga.
Predicted Score: Barcelona 0 – 1 Valencia
Sharks v Bulls (Super Rugby)
The Sharks and Bulls face-off in what should be an interesting encounter to see how these old rivals stack up this season. Both the Sharks and Bulls have had fair campaigns so far, both teetering on some big wins. A Bulls win at Kings Park on Saturday will be huge boost in terms of log points and psychological damage either way; whereas the Sharks, having played such refreshing rugby in New Zealand over the last fortnight, need to keep that attitude and secure their home derbies to make an impact going forward.
Predicted result: Sharks by 3
Liverpool v Bournemouth (Premier League)
Liverpool have an opportunity to make their already great week even better when they face Bournemouth by potentially putting some distance between themselves and Spurs. Because Spurs are facing the incumbent champions, while Liverpool have what should be a fairly manageable match against a Bournemouth side that only has a single win in their last six matches. Having already made it to the semi-finals of the Champion League, and being in with a shout at winning it, Liverpool’s season will end on a triumphant high note if they finish as high as possible in the league table as well. With the form their attack is currently in, coupled with the confidence they’ll have taken from their midweek match, a resounding win is the only likely outcome for this match.
Predicted Result: Liverpool 4 – 1 Bournemouth
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (Premier League)
City spurned the opportunity to claim the Premier League title against their biggest rivals last weekend, but they have an opportunity to get closer to that target against top six opposition once again. Spurs have managed to give Manchester City tight games in the past, and with City suffering successive disappointments against United and then falling out of the Champions League to Liverpool their confidence may be dented. Spurs, on the other hand, have five wins in their last six matches with a strike force including Kane and Son that are in fine form. After City’s exhausting midweek match against Liverpool Spurs will likely fancy their chances to add to City’s woes.
Predicted result: Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 2 Manchester City
Maties v NWU (Varsity Cup final)
NWU’s Jonathan Mokuena and Maties coach Hawies Fourie will face off in chess like game of wits, when Maties host NWU in the Varsity Cup final on Monday evening. The scene will be all too familiar for Fourie and his side when they welcome NWU once again. Since NWU’s trophy win in 2016, the finalists have played each other twice, with Maties winning their 2017 bout 31–9, and again in Round 8 this year, in Potchefstroom with the score ending in a drawer, 33-33 all.
With NWU keen to claim the trophy in Stellenbosch once again, and Maties desperate to win at home for the first time since 2010, the Varsity Cup final promises to be a great spectacle to round out the tournament.
Score prediction: NWU by 5
For more on Varsity Cup:
- Daily updates on social media via the Varsity Cup Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #MakeTheTeam #FNBVarsityCup11
- For all FNB Varsity Cup fixtures, head over to the Varsity Cup site.