The sporting weekend is upon us, with the much-anticipated Rugby Championship getting underway, Currie Cup making its return, and the Premier League diving into its second week of action; but which encounters should you keep your eye on?
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls
Currie Cup | Friday, 19:00
While the Currie Cup seems undeniably watered-down following the Super Rugby season and incoming Rugby Championship (with many of the big-name players heading abroad or on national duty), there’s still a tremendous amount of pride to play for as well as an opportunity to develop squad depth. The Cheetahs host the Bulls to get the tournament underway, and will have to deal with an inexperienced yet exciting Pretoria side now under the eye of Pote Human in a post-John Mitchell phase. The Cheetahs have more quality in their ranks, but will also be double-dipping once again with the Pro 14 set to kick-off; so squad depth will once again be a big question.
Predicted scoreline: Cheetahs by 5.
Wallabies v All Blacks
Rugby Championship | Saturday, 11:45
Another long-running rivalry gets relit this weekend, as Australia host New Zealand in the first Bledisloe Test of 2018 to mark the beginning of the Rugby Championship. Both the Wallabies and All Blacks have well-established sides at this point, with a few newcomers in the mix on their side, but there’s no denying that the Kiwis are of a higher pedigree. It’ll be a more competitive game than many expect – as is the case with these heated Bledisloe encounters – but one which the All Blacks should close.
Predicted scoreline: All Blacks by 7.
Everton v Southampton
Premier League | Saturday, 16:00
Everton are one of the sides that made some noticeable player investments this past transfer window, and after an underwhelming draw with Wolves in the opening round, they’ll be putting their spend to the test again as they face against Southampton this weekend. Marco Silva’s men are looking to break into the top six this season, and if they’re to make a legitimate shot at it, they need to fill their home fans with hope with a strong performance at Goodison Park.
Predicted scoreline: Everton 2 – 0 Southampton
Springboks v Argentina
Rugby Championship | Saturday, 17:05
While there’s an excitement around Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks following their series win over England this year, they’re still 2 for 4, losing against Wales in June and the final game against Eddie Jones’ men at Newlands; so there’s a lot of ground to cover this Rugby Championship. Argentina will be optimistic given the improved form of the Jaguares in Super Rugby along with a new head coach to lead them on. However, the Springboks, while also featuring a handful of inexperienced faces, have enough quality along the spine of the team to take the win.
Predicted scoreline: Springboks by 10.
Chelsea v Arsenal
Premier League | Saturday, 11:45
The London derby swings back around this weekend as Chelsea and Arsenal go head-to-head for the first time this season. Both teams are eager to redeem themselves following admittedly-poor 2017/2018 campaigns, and who also experienced vastly different opening matches, where the Blues downed Huddersfield 3-0 while Arsenal lost 2-0 to Manchester City. Arsenal’s poor opener aside, they’re not a bad team, but Chelsea’s confidence and home-ground advantage should prove difficult for the Gunners to top this weekend.
Predicted scoreline: Chelsea 1 – 0 Arsenal.