This weekend sees some notable encounters on the Super Rugby front, some high-octane sevens action, and some English and Spanish football to keep an eye on; but we’ve rounded up the particular games you can’t afford to miss:
Stormers v Rebels (Super Rugby)
The Stormers have endured a streak of losses to South African opposition, going down to the Bulls, Lions, and Sharks in subsequent weeks, but the Cape side have a chance to redeem themselves against an admittedly impressive Rebels side at Newlands. The Stormers are looking less and less likely to make the play-offs, but they have a stretch of home games ahead, so if they’re to salvage a hint of a play-off possibility, Friday’s clash is where it begins.
Predicted result: Stormers by 7.
Reds v Lions (Super Rugby)
The Lions’ 29-0 win over the Waratahs in Sydney last week was a great victory for the Joburg side, but, the lopsided scoreline was more flattering than it should’ve been. The Lions weren’t particularly good, and the Waratahs were horrendous. The Reds will likely be a lot better, but are yet to hit their stride in 2018, putting the Lions as favourites for this encounter. That said, the Swys de Bruin’s side will need to iron-out their errors if they’re to secure a second win on tour.
Predicted result: Lions by 10.
South Africa v Canada (World Sevens Series)
Following an underwhelming Commonwealth Games stint, the Blitzbokke head to Singapore to try and round off their more favourable World Sevens Series campaign. Their pool consists of Samoa, Argentina, and Canada, but it will be the Canadians who will likely put up the biggest fight, as the men in red have improved dramatically in past seasons. The South Africans should have too much firepower and experience to falter to Canada, though.
Predicted result: South Africa by 14.
Bulls v Highlanders (Super Rugby)
The Bulls continue to impress with every game in 2018, but face a notable opponent in the Highlanders, who visit Loftus after overcoming the Blues last weekend. The Bulls have performed better away from home than at their fortress, so they’ll need to remain vigilant against the Otago side, who, since being crowned maiden champions of Super Rugby in 2015, have won three from three in SA. This should be a great encounter consisting of two of the season’s most exciting teams.
Predicted result: Bulls by 5.
Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion (Premier League)
With the Premier League title already nestled in Manchester City’s trophy cabinet the opposite side of the log is a better talking point at this point of the season. West Brom could be the first team relegated this season if they don’t manage a victory against Newcastle this weekend, and in addition they have to win all their remaining games and hope teams around them lose successive matches. It’s an exceptionally unlikely outcome, especially considering how impressive Newcastle’s form has been lately. Benitez has managed to get four wins in six matches, the most recent of which was against Arsenal. The deck seems stacked against West Brom’s bid for Premier League survival, and Newcastle are looking like they’ll be the hatchet men this weekend.
Predicted Result: Newcastle 2 – 0 West Brom
Liverpool v Stoke City (Premier League)
Stoke is another team that’s in grave danger of finding themselves relegated from the Premier League. Their plight is only going to be exacerbated as they visit the team with the most in form attack at the moment: Liverpool. Mo Salah put in a master class performance against Roma in midweek, scoring a proficient hat trick against tough opposition, so a struggling Stoke side is unlikely to put up much resistance. Stoke haven’t got a single victory in their last six matches, four of which have been defeats, so the 19th placed side could see the another nail driven into their coffin by the end of the afternoon as Liverpool are likely to be comfortable victors.
Predicted Result: Liverpool 4 – 0 Stoke City
Deportivo La Coruna v Barcelona (La Liga)
Barcelona currently hold a comfortable 11 point lead over nearest rivals Atletico in La Liga, meaning that two more victories would secure another La Liga title for the Catalans. Their form has dipped considerably in the last few weeks, though, as the first choice XI has been overplayed during the course of the season and they’re visibly fatigued. Their ability, in away games particularly, has been labored, and they tend to give the opposition too many opportunities to get back into the game. Despite that, Barcelona will know that with a victory against Deportivo they’ll be able to win the league against Real Madrid in the first week of May at the Nou Camp – which should be all the motivation they need to put their 18th placed opposition to the sword this weekend.
Predicted Result: Deportivo La Coruna 1 – 3 Barcelona