We’re back with another edition of White Line Fever and Super Rugby 2019 is upon us and of course it will steal more of my attention than the Pamela Anderson poster I had on my bedroom wall as a teenager. But that doesn’t mean it is the only sporting action to look forward to.
Those lads out there who didn’t quite hit the mark with their V-Day spoils might have to box clever to be “allowed” enough time in front of the telly to satisfy that ever present sporting thirst. Here’s what not to miss this weekend.
Chiefs vs Highlanders – Rugby (08:35)
It’s the season opener! Get your DStv Now account activated and watch it on the sly from behind your desk or schedule the department meeting in that boardroom on the 2nd floor which has the flat screen. Alternatively set up a small inter-office strat session at your nearest coffee shop with a tv.
The big pre-season argument is often about who of the Crusader and Hurricanes should be considered favourites for the title. With regard to the Blues regular flops have taught us not to expect anything from them. The real question for most Super Rugby supporters is around teams like the Chiefs and the Highlanders – which one of these two are going to be possible title contenders in 2019 and how will some of their youngsters take to the bigger stage? Much will be known in this regard by 10:30 on Friday. Expect some quality Kiwi skills to be on display to kick of the tournament.
Waratahs vs Hurricanes – Rugby (10:45)
The first of the cross-conference clashes will give us an early indication of what we can expect from the Aussie contingent this year. Will the Canes pull into Brookvale and blow the Tahs apart in front of a filled to the brim local fan base excited to see some Super Rugby in their town or can the Aussie team give not only their own supporters but all Aussies something to be optimistic about?
Bulls vs Stormers (17:15)
Loftus will host the age-old North-South derby between the Bulls and the Stormers. No inch will be given in this one as it is not only pride but also a crucial positive start to the campaign that is up for grabs.
SA vs Sri Lanka (from 10:00)
After demolishing Pakistan few will expect the first test against the Sri Lankans to even still be on the go by this stage (Day 4). However, it is Durban and light and weather often plays a part here so it is my best guess that you might very well see the game come to its conclusion on Saturday. If you have some spare time between the rugby then have a gander at Dale Steyn, Rabada and Olivier making the islanders duck and dive for safety.
Titans vs Dolphins – Cricket (10:00)
The Proteas might be in action in test match cricket but this is a battle between stalwarts of the local game. Domestic veterans will clash in this one and the loser will certainly not be determined based on a lack of experience from either team. Watch out for the talents of Ngidi and Phelukwayo, the street smarts of Henry Davids and Vaughn van Jaarsveld, the spin battle between Shamsi and Tahir and of course Morris trying to delay Miller time for as long as possible.
Chelsea vs Manchester United or Tuks vs Maties (21:30 and 19:00)
Man U have surely exited the Champions League with their tail between their legs after faltering against PSG but they are still comfortable in the top four of the league though and Solskjaer might just decide to throw some of his bigger names into this clash to try and take a step toward bagging some silverware in his time. Chelsea for their part need to stop the rot and it could be between the Europa League and the FA Cup to try and save face. It might be a “lesser” trophy but two old rivals could still be going at it hammer and tongs on Monday.
On the topic of old rivalries, if you still feel the need for some more rugby then don’t miss another version of the North-South battle as the University of Pretoria have the unenviable task of standing in the way of a team who have owned the Cup (8 finals appearances in 11 additions).
If the action itself doesn’t quite raise your excitement levels enough then it means you are in need of having a punt to raise the stakes! If you’re feeling Olympic then here are a few bets of the weekend that could catch your eye, offered by my friends at BETOLIMP:
- I’m sticking with the Jacarandas this week and taking a double on the Titans and Bulls to win @ 2.63 (thus for R100 invested you get a return of R263 inclusive of your stake)
- Waratahs to cover the extended handicap of +14.5 onto both teams to score in the FA Cup game @ 2.22
Enjoy all the sporting action my fellow feverish fans and join me for some banter on Twitter @HDCouchCritic using #WLF!