2010-01-01 by Liam Del Carme
M1 Pumas v Blue Bulls: The Pumas lost ground last week, while the Blue Bulls’ campaign has already descended into one in which they have to salvage pride. The shortened Currie Cup leaves teams with little room for slip-ups.The Pumas will be desperate to sustain their Currie Cup effort and it will be a surprise if they are defeated here. The Pumas to win by a dozen or so points.
M2 New Zealand v South Africa: The Springboks are out to repeat their heroics from last year when they downed the All Blacks in Wellington. They have devised similar logistical arrangements in travel and selection to help combat jet lag and fatigue and are likely to launch another huge assault in the New Zealand capital. The All Blacks, of course, are keen to atone for that aberration in front of their home crowd last year. They rested eight Crusaders players for last week’s trip to Argentina and got the desired result in the end. They too will be rested and perhaps a little more desperate to get this win. The hosts start favourites to win narrowly.
M3 Australia v Argentina: Both teams can take positives from last week’s defeats. Australia looked accomplished in patches against the Boks, but their failure in the set pieces undermined their efforts. To be fair Argentina’s scrum has been devoid of grunt too, but they certainly possess sting in their attack.
This should be a free-flowing affair with more than 50 points likely to be scored and the hosts start favourites to win inside seven points.
M4 Free State XV v Griquas: The Free State XV handed the Blue Bulls a second consecutive Currie Cup defeat last weekend and looked a hugely impressive side. The Free State XV face formidable opposition this weekend. Griquas’ 37-29 defeat of the dangerous Pumas further underlines their Currie Cup credentials. They have the momentum and start favourites.
M5 Western Province v Golden Lions XV : Western Province came crashing back down to earth following their 32-27 defeat at the hands of the Sharks in Durban. They failed to reach the heights that made them such handsome winners over the Bulls a week earlier. The Golden Lions’ only match thus far is a come-from-behind win over the Pumas at Ellis Park. They come off a bye and may struggle to get going at Newlands. Western Province start favourites.
Suggested R40 permutation for this week’s Rugby 5 (pool closes Friday 19:15): M1 = 2; M2 = 1, 4; M3 = 1, 4; M4 = 4; M5 = 1, 2.
To take a bet, go to www.rugby5.co.za