South Africans love a derby, and this week we are spoilt for choice with a smorgasbord of razzmatazz humdingers gracing our televisions and stadiums nation-wide. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest games of the year taking place in the next week.
Bulls v Lions (Super Rugby)
It might be too early to call, but the Bulls’ clash with the Lions at Loftus on Saturday could decide which franchise tops the South African Super Rugby conference. The Lions have won both of their games so far, after grinding out a 26-19 victory out over the Sharks and then giving the Jaguares a hiding to the tune of 47-27. Former UJ flyer Aphiwe Dyantyi was the star performer in both games after scoring one five-pointer against the Sharks and dotting down twice against the hapless Argentines.
There was much speculation around whether former All Black coach John Mitchell could turn the Bulls around and after their 21-19 win over the Hurricanes and it looks like he might have. The Bulls were slick with ball in hand and constantly kept the Hurricanes on the back foot with a rush defence. The Trans-Jukskei Derby isn’t just about office bragging rights but who South Africa’s potential Super Rugby contenders might be.
Predicted score: Lions by 3
Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs (PSL Football)
The Soweto Derby will grace Southern Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon with Orlando Pirates taking on Kaizer Chiefs at the Stadium. The legendary bout between the two clubs has been known to reel in over 90,000 people in the past and this game holds extra gravity with both sides chasing their Northern neighbours, Mamelodi Sundowns. The Glamour Boys are one point behind the Buccaneers with the men in black having shown good form this season, sitting on 36 points and will have their sights firmly aimed on the title. A victory for either team will send a resounding message to the rest of Africa’s biggest league.
Predicted score: 2-0 to Pirates.
WSU v UFH (Varsity Shield)
A highly regarded fixture on the Eastern Cape calendar, the University of Fort Hare are coming off a bye and have won one game from two fixtures. The men from Alice have a lightning quick backline should cause a spark outside. They are led by the reserved yet powerful midfielder Somila Jho.
Walter Sisulu University have been making the headlines for all the reasons, wrong and right. The WSU All Blacks were all over the New Zealand media after footage of the East London side’s haka went viral, which sparked some not so positive feedback from the New Zealand media. Another video of the side went viral when a highlights clip of hooker and star player Maliviwe Simanga’s incredible performance against CPUT made the rounds and eventually was retweeted by the like of Kobus Wiese, Siv Ngesi and Ruan Combrinck all retweeting the video. Aside from social media WSU are looking like one of the top side in the Varsity Shield after dispatching Rhodes 47-16 and CPUT 38-21.
🔥Close-up of the Walter Sisulu University haka last night in their game against Rhodes Rugby !FNB WSU 47 – 16 FNB Rhodes#FNBVarsityShield
Posted by Varsity Cup on Friday, 23 February 2018
Predicted score: WSU by 10 points
Maties v UCT (Varsity Cup)
To round off the local derbies, we have the Cross-Cape clash between the mighty Maties versus the FNB Varsity Cup dark horses UCT Ikeys. Maties have had the competition by a stranglehold in 2018 with the men in maroon unbeaten, putting their rivals to the sword in the process. The Stellenbosch-based team will be ripe for a backlash though, when they host the Tigers after losing their lead against Wits last week, when the Braamfontein boys snatched a 7-point try in the dying minutes of the game to claim a draw.
UCT have been the surprise package this season. After a disappointing run last year, the pundits predicted relegation for UCT. But this season have shown their mettle and now sit third on the table with after three wins from five games, basing their form on a powerful set of forwards. Stellenbosch’s Danie Craven Stadium should pack out with over 15,000 fans on the day and will be quite the FNB Varsity Cup experience.
Predicted score: Maties 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.
Manchester City v Chelsea (Premier League)
Antonio Conte’s position is looking rather tenuous after Chelsea’s unfortunate defeat at the hands of Manchester United last weekend, which makes the prospect of facing the incumbent champions an even more unpleasant one. City have a draining fixture that they played against Arsenal on Thursday that may cause them some fatigue – but their squad depth should be sufficient for them to answer any questions Chelsea could pose. Chelsea still have a lot of quality throughout their own team, so Guardiola will likely be wary of a Chelsea backlash after their close defeat to United, but all past results point to City taking all three points from this one.
Predicted Result: Manchester City 2 – 0 Chelsea
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid (La Liga)
Despite a somewhat indifferent patch of form earlier in the season Atletico’s decent form of late means they’ve leapfrogged Valencia and Real Madrid into second place, only five points behind leaders Barcelona. Atletico’s French talisman Antoine Griezmann bagged four goals against Leganes in their previous La Liga match, so he’ll fancy his hot form to continue against the Blaugrana. This match is a true six pointer, with victory for Barcelona meaning their title bid is almost certainly in the bag, while a defeat will see the La Liga race become extremely interesting in its final few weeks.
Predicted Result: Barcelona 3 – 2 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Getafe (La Liga)
Real Madrid seem to have taken one step forward with their epic victory against PSG in the Champions league, and then one step back with a surprising La Liga loss against Espanyol in their last match. Real’s ability to make a title push is all but futile due to their 14 point deficit over first place, but the way they finish the season will likely have significant bearing on Zinedine Zidane’s position at the club. Best case scenario for Los Blancos this weekend is that Barcelona beat Atletico and they beat Getafe, which means they have an opportunity to usurp Atletico in second.
Predicted Result: Real Madrid 4 – 1 Getafe