Photo Credit: Frans Lombard (Actionpix)
This is going to be a mammoth task for the traveling Sharks but one they will most certainly relish. The Sharks will know that they have to not only match but disrupt the WP scrum and lineout, to give themselves a chance in the game, this is paramount when playing away. In the same way, WP will know what has worked for them, albeit at times quite predictable but their forwards will want to get into the game early and lay the platform upfront.
If the young Sharks side are to have any chance, they need to get the ball into the hands of their dangerous backline, not only from their own set-piece but from potential open play phases. Defence as always is paramount when playing away from home which filters into the penalty count. If they can do this and limit the ascendency that WP gets from their forward pack, they will give themselves a chance, but they are going to have to fight like hell!
Western Province to win by 15.
These two sides need no introduction to each other with the Bulls victory at Loftus being the last time the sides met. The Bulls will be under no illusions how close that game was and how the Lions dominated a lot of the game.
The Lions will have nothing to lose and if they can immolate the same pressure they put the Bulls under last time, especially at a set piece and for 80 minutes, I think they will put themselves in a great position. However with home advantage and players well rested I think we will see a Bulls victory but it’s going to be a hard-fought battle which is what we would expect from a fixture of this magnitude.
Bulls to win by 5.