A big thank you to Andre who’s my SuperSport Rugby Challenge expert. I haven’t followed this competition before so a lot of my picks are guesses. It’s fantastic to have Andre to guide us through this South African tournament where all the provinces get to be involved. Also it’s used to help grow the game with Namibia and Zimbabwe having teams this year. Previous iterations have seen Argentina being involved. Anyway I’ll hand you over to someone who knows what he’s talking about.
This is a very entertaining and enjoyable competition that takes the game to the people, with all the rugby unions involved in the one competition. It sees the powerhouse unions test their back-up strength against the smaller unions. Traditionally most fixtures are played at club – or school grounds and in some of the more rural communities.
Pumas v Blue Bulls
The Pumas are traditionally the “best of the rest” in South African rugby. Having beaten the Blue Bulls 3 out of 4 times in all competitions in 2018, it’s hard to look past a Pumas win. The senior Bulls team is playing against the Stormers in a SuperRugby fixture on Sunday, which means very few fringe players will come into the Bulls squad. Jimmy Stonehouse returns to the Pumas franchise’s coaching structures after an overseas stint and will definitely be a major boost for the Pumas union.
Andre’s Prediction: Pumas by 12
DrivingMaul Prediction: Pumas by 3
SWD Eagles v Western Province
In this fixture Western Province take on the Eagles at the most beautiful ground in South Africa. Home ground advantage will count for little as the Eagles will struggle to keep up with the talented Province side. The Eagles did win this fixture in 2017, which offers a glimmer of hope for the home side. Western Province ran out 50 – 3 winners in this fixture last year and 41 – 26 in the return fixture. Only the most loyal locals will see anything but a Province win in this one!
Andre’s Prediction: Western Province by 26
DrivingMaul Prediction: Western Province by 5
Griffons v Leopards
This will be one of the toughest fixtures to pick this round. These two teams take turns beating each other. In the last 9 matches, the home side has only won 3 times. The Leopards are fed by Varsity Cup semi finalists NWU (Pukke), but Welkom is a tough place to travel to and I’m going for a “Purple People Eaters” home win.
Andre’s Prediction: Griffons by 8
DrivingMaul Prediction: Griffons by 7
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks
Another tough one to pick. The last 10 matches show two home wins each, two away wins each and two draws. Your guess will be as good as any! Bloemfontein is a great breeding ground for youngsters and with the Cheetahs Pro14 team at home against the Kings and the Sharks on tour, I’m going for a Cheetah win in Bloemfontein.
Andre’s Prediction: Cheetahs by 6
DrivingMaul Prediction: Sharks by 3
Griquas v Valke
Griquas arguably have the easiest start to the season and will start the favourites at home. Griquas rank right up there with the Pumas and will again hurt many big unions in the competition this year. The Valke have been struggling the last few seasons. Griquas will get their 2019 campaign off to a comfortable win and will use their first three games to build to their first real test against the Blue Bulls in Round 4.
Andre’s Prediction: Griquas by 22
DrivingMaul Prediction: Griquas by 7
Namibia Welwitschias v Lions
The Welwitschias are the whipping boys of the competition and the Lions will be looking forward to a good start under their new head coach and ex Sharks flyhalf, Herkie Kruger. The Lions will be one of the favourites again and will be blooding some exciting new talent from their impressive youth system. If they don’t trip over the “away-fixture” hurdle, they should cruise to an easy win. The scoreboard could potentially get ugly in Windhoek if the home side don’t pitch up for this one.
Andre’s Prediction: Lions by 25
DrivingMaul Prediction: Lions by 7
Boland Cavaliers v Easter Province Elephants
Another close game to call with the fixture always producing high scoring affairs. Boland do give the ball a lot of air and if they get their game going, the visitors will struggle, I also think with the Kings playing the Cheetahs in Pro14, it will stretch their limited playing resources and I’m going for a home win this week.
Andre’s Prediction: Boland by 17
DrivingMaul Prediction: Boland by 10
Border Bulldogs v Zimbabwe
This game will be a bit of an unknown to many players on Superbru. Border have been under administration and have added players from the Varsity Shield to bolster numbers. They only have two weeks to prepare, Tiger Mangweni will have his work cut out to get them ready.
Zimbabwe have an abundance of talent and the tournament will definitely be good for their rugby. They are my pick against an under prepared Border team.
Andre’s Prediction: Zimbabwe by 10
DrivingMaul Prediction: Border Bulldogs by 10
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