This weekend we will see a repeat of the URC fixtures just played, albeit in the opposite stadiums this time. The Blue Bulls will host the Lions at Loftus at 15:00 in the battle of the Jukskei. Later on at 17:05 the Stormers will play host to the Sharks, having drawn their game just 5 days ago.
The Bulls dominated the Lions last weekend, with their pack putting the Joburg side under immense pressure leading to a commanding 34 - 10 win for the men from Pretoria. Whilst the win doesn't mean much for Jake White's side as most teams are getting a full 5 points from these fixtures at the moment. They did however manage to left themselves to 134th on the log after previously having been SA's lowest ranked side.
The Lions are in dire straits at the moment, having only won 5 games out of 24 since 2020, a record that makes their previous Super Rugby prowess under the tutelage of Johann Ackerman seem like a distant memory. Not so long ago the Lions were the premier franchise in SA, playing in 3 consecutive Super Rugby finals, they now don't even play host to a single current Springbok. The game between the two sides from Gauteng is likely to be a one horse show again and the Lions will need to dig very deep if they are to lift themselves from their current slump.
The return clash between the Stormers and Sharks should make for better viewing however as a 22 all draw left little between the sides when the day was done. The Sharks were well ahead for most of the fixture, but their discipline cost them the win. The Sharks coach, Sean Everitt showing his frustration after the fixture.
"The plan came off smoothly, the pressure was applied, we did everything right for 71 minutes and then we threw it away."
The Stormers boast a better record away from home than they do in their new stadium, but they're surely hoping their home crowd will buoy them to a better showing on attack this weekend. If the Stormers come out firing, the Sharks ability to keep their heads will be more crucial than ever. Both teams desperately need the win as the Sharks currently sit at 10th on the log with the Stormers at 12. The many carded Springboks (3/4) will be looking to atone for their indiscretions, so a big game could be on the cards.
A blow-out Bulls win followed by a 10 point victory for the Sharks are my bets for the weekend and I am seriously looking forward to the Sharks v Stormers clash. There is plenty of top notch rugby on this weekend, so make sure that cooler box is ready.