The opening round of club rugby matches is done and dusted.
It’s usually in the second week that a truer reflection of things become evident – there’s no derby hype and no pressure if you’re travelling to play away and there’s also no homeground pressure this week.
Clubs in the Helderberg enjoyed mixed results at the weekend. Nobody wants to go into an Easter break with the negativity of a defeat, so they will want to secure victories this Saturday.
Let’s have a look at this week’s fixtures:
The Lulus got a morale-boosting derby win last week, but I feel Kuils River will be stiffer opposition. The Kuila boys travel to Gustrouw wounded after their loss to Franschhoek and will want to make it up. I’m expecting a hard-fought battle, with the team that handles pressure moments the best walking away with a narrow victory.
St George’s to win by seven or less
Saints may feel they deserved more from last week’s match, but somehow the men from Somerset West faded the longer the derby progressed. Vineyards are an ambitious outfit and will be happy with nothing less than a win against the visitors, for whom I know they have huge respect. The hosts’ pack of forwards will dominate in this match to set up the victory.
All Saints to lose by 10 or more
Berge are slowly getting back to full strength and ability. They are lucky to play their second consecutive home game, but will also be under pressure to get a positive result. Rangers won this fixture last season and will be a tough nut to crack.
Helderberg to win by five or more
Macassar need to recover after their defeat at home last week, but Die Kriefgat is not the place to try that. Collegians also come off a loss, but will be tough to beat at home.
Prediction: Macassar to lose by eight or more
Both teams wear the same colours, but they have vastly contrasting styles of play. Traditionally, travelling to Pniel is tough irrespective of what league they play in. United have high expectations this season, but these are the type of matches that will test them.
United to win by four or more
RU’s bonus-point win at home last week puts them in high spirits and they actually have a very good chance to extend their good fortunes. Jets are unpredictable, but then again so are Raithby. The visitors’ more structured play will set them apart.
Prediction: Raithby Universals to win by eight or less
Strand come off a disappointing home loss to newbies Morning Stars and now need to face a different monster in Kraaie. The hosts will always be dominant up front, but the way Strand generally play will suit the match-up.
Prediction: Strand to lose by six or more
The Navy Train will want to get their rebuilding campaign off the ground with positive results on the pitch. Their ability to compete confidently in this league will start showing soon.
Prediction: Sir Lowrians to get all five points
This has always been a keenly contested fixture; this time will be no different. The hosts are more organised, though, and will target this match for maximum points.
Prediction: Strand Pioneers to lose by 10 or more
This past week, Western Province Rugby Football Union and JP Naude hosted a media, marketing and sponsorship workshop at the South African Sports Science Institute. It was pleasing to see how clubs from the Helderberg have stepped up in these critical administrative aspects.
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