By Chesley Daniels
EPRU SEDRU REGIONAL LEAGUE
NDLAMBE TIGERS VS SWALLOWS – PORT ALFRED (29 JULY 2023)
The hosts, Tigers, want to settle the score with log leaders, Swallows, and are out to take sweet revenge after Swallows smashed them 36-0 at the Oval on 3 June. Tigers are a decent side at home and have the ability to upset any team. Swallows are not log leaders for nothing, and are determined to extend their lead on top of the table in their quest to be crowned SEDRU Champs. It will definitely be a physical contest, very hard up front and a battle of the forwards. It will be a brutal affair with both 8th men, Roger Faku and Ethan September, as key players for their sides.
Swallows’ dominant forwards hold the key to the all-important bonus point win, while Tigers will also be looking to keep the ball amongst their big forwards. Swallows’ backline is also very dangerous lately and has been boosted by a few new players and key players who’ve returned after recovering from injuries.
PREDICTION: SWALLOWS TO BEAT TIGERS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD.
KOWIE UNITED VS RHODES – STATION HILL GROUND (29 JULY 2023)
Kowie is back at home after their home games were suspended. They are eager this weekend to turn the tables against Rhodes who beat them 31-7 at Rhodes on 6 May. The home side is currently in 5th position on the log with Rhodes in 3rd. Kowie last played against Rosebuds on 1 July and won narrowly by 14-12. Rhodes, on the other hand, has only played five matches thus far but was part of the USASSA games recently and did well up North. The Varsity side is a very complete outfit and possesses big, powerful forwards and speedy backs. Kowie’s young backline is very dangerous with the ball in hand. Will we see revenge from the United side in front of their big supportive crowd?
PREDICTION: RHODES WITH A CLOSE WIN
KLIPFONTEIN UNITED VS OLD COLLEGIANS – NEVER QUIT STADIUM (29 JULY 2023)
United are out for revenge against OC after their heavy defeat of 11-30 on 6 May at Albany Sports Ground in the first round. The home-ground advantage could favour United. That motivation should drive their will to beat OC. It will be a difficult task though, as OC are traveling from Makhanda to win at all costs. That all-important bonus point will be on the cards for both teams and is non-negotiable at this stage of the competition. Both teams also lost narrowly in recent weeks to log leaders, Swallows, and should take a lot of positives from that. Importantly, both teams like to give the ball some air and play a high-intensity game.
PREDICTION: NARROW WIN FOR OC
EPRU ADAMS CUP
ST MARKS VS EXCELSIOR – ALICEDALE SPORTS GROUND (29 JULY 2023)
The home side is in desperate need of a bonus point in order to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot, and to end on top of the log. There is no better place to do it than at home in front of their local support. St. Marks beat Excelsior in the first round in Kariega in an alleged controversial fashion and wants to prove the authorities wrong by doing it again in their own backyard. The Kariega outfit is also a decent side, currently in 4th position on the log while St Marks are in 6th position. The Bulls’ powerful and solid forwards pack holds the key in their quest for a bonus point win, while their young and exciting backs are full of running and possess flair at the back. The visitors will surely not back down from the challenge and will be ready come Saturday.
PREDICTION: THE BULLS TO WIN WITHOUT A BONUS POINT
EPRU GRAND CHALLENGE GROUP A
TRYING STARS VS DESPATCH – WENTZEL PARK GROUND (29 JULY 2023)
Stars are currently in 2nd position on the log behind log leaders Progress and want to cement their spot. Despatch is currently in 4th position. Stars are a very dangerous side at home in front of their home supporters and a bonus point win will be the order of the day for the hosts. Stars also beat Despatch away from home in the first round and are in a very good position to do the same and even better at home. The home side, dangerous and full of running backline players, is likely to again increase the pace and tempo of the game in order to put the visitors under pressure and on the back foot. Stalwarts Kelvano King, Flinn Cannon, and Ambrose Cannon are key figures for Stars and will lead the onslaught.
PREDICTION: STARS TO WIN WITH A BONUS POINT
BORN FIGHTERS VS GRAHAMSTOWN BRUMBIES – SOMERSET EAST (29 JULY 2023)
Makhanda side, Brumbies, are traveling to Somerset to take on the hosts who are waiting to get their claws on Brumbies after the controversial first-round match which ended prematurely at the Oval in the first half, with Brumbies leading 12-7 at the time. The hosts will be full of confidence and ready to take on the big powerful pack of forwards of Brumbies who are so dominant in the Grand Challenge Competition. Brumbies’ dominant forwards will again be looking to control matters up front, especially in the scrums, to give their speedy backs some quality ball. Born Fighters also play a fast-paced game and utilise their light-footed players at the backs to run with the ball out wide.
The Brumbies are banking on back Eldrico Kivitts, who is in top form, to spark some magic, and are counting on the experience of Diego Isaacs and his dominant forwards up front. Will we see a full game this time around or will it end prematurely?
PREDICTION: BRUMBIES TO EDGE BORN FIGHTERS
PROGRESS VS LILY WHITE – KARIEGA (29 JULY 2023)
The defending Grand Challenge Champs are itching to welcome the Makhanda side in the second round in their own backyard known as the “graveyard”. PRO demolished Lily White 78-3 in the first round at the Albany Sports Ground and is looking again to bury them in front of their large local crowd. As much as PRO won’t be full-strength as they were in the first round due to some players having left the club, they are still capable of winning by a bonus point and with a big margin against Blue. The Makhanda side comprehensively beat Missionvale 30-12 a fortnight ago at Lavender Valley and will carry that confidence and momentum into Saturday’s Clash. Will we see Pro putting up a 100 against Blues on Saturday?
PREDICTION: PROGRESS TO WIN WITH MORE THAN 30 POINTS
EP HIGH SCHOOLS
KINGSWOOD COLLEGE VS GRAEME COLLEGE – CITY LORDS (29 JULY 2023)
The Big Derby Clash of the weekend will take place at the Kingswood College Sports Grounds. The Finale promises to be Epic, Titanic and Humdinger. A huge crowd of thousands of fans are expected to fill City Lords Stadium to its full capacity.
KC holds the home-ground advantage and that can be a confidence booster for them, but GC will come out guns blazing in order to beat KC in their own backyard. KC beat SAC and SAC beat GC. A win for GC over KC this weekend will equal and level matters between the three top schools in Makhanda with one win each. We are in for a spectacular battle that promises to be a game not to be missed.
PREDICTION: KC WITH A NARROW WIN OVER GC