2018-06-18 by Liam Del Carme
Sharks XV v Free State XV
The Sharks XV, perhaps predictably, slipped to a home defeat at the hands of section leaders Griquas on Sunday. It dented their chances of securing a home quarterfinal.The Free State XV can reclaim the lead in the Central Section if they beat the Sharks XV. They have been more consistent than the Sharks this season. The visitors should have the edge in the closing minutes and could win inside eight points.
EP Elephants v Boland Cavaliers
The EP Elephants recorded their maiden win in the competition against neighbours Border Bulldogs last weekend. Boland suffered what yet may be a significant defeat to the SWD Eagles. They could have cemented second place in their section behind Western Province, but the Eagles have now claimed that position with their fifth win from seven matches and will take some catching. The Cavaliers have to win against the bottom placed team in the section to revive their chances.
South Africa v England
The series has been clinched and although they have nothing more than pride to play for, England will be formidable opponents at Newlands. They need to break a sequence of five consecutive defeats and the clash in Cape Town may give them a fair chance of doing so.The Springboks are likely to make changes to their side that clinched the series in Bloemfontein. This may prove disruptive but coach Rassie Erasmus wants to expose more of his players to the furnace of Test rugby. This should still be a close encounter with the victory margin either way unlikely to be more than seven points.
Argentina v Scotland
Argentina’s home series defeat at the hands of Wales has had dramatic consequences. Coach Daniel Hourcade has resigned following a second consecutive defeat to Wales which left him with the unenviable record of just two wins in their last 17 clashes.In Scotland they will also have another feisty opponent from the north but coach Gregor Townsend is travelling with a reduced squad. Five players who were in the squad that lost by a point to the United States last weekend will not travel to Argentina. Both sides are vulnerable so going wide with your selections is perhaps the best option.
Golden Lions XV v Blue Bulls
The Golden Lions XV had to rally in the second half to overcome a spirited Valke last Friday. They got the job done and sealed the win through fit again Springbok wing Courtnall Skosan. This is an important clash for the Golden Lions as they can leapfrog the Blue Bulls into second place.The Bulls, who boast five wins from their seven matches, compared to the Lions’ four from the same number of clashes, start slight favourites. This should be a high scoring encounter.