We are into Round 4 of Super Rugby Unlocked and the Lions are back in action after a Covid-19 enforced break while the headline match sees the Bulls host the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday night.
The weekend begins with the Lions hosting the Griquas on Friday night. On Saturday, things heat up with the Pumas v Sharks and then the big one on Saturday between the Bulls and Stormers.
Below, we provide yet more tips and predictions for Super Rugby Unlocked Round 4.
Lions v Griquas (Friday – 19:00)
The Lions enter Round 4 with a slight relief after having their fixture cancelled against the Cheetahs last weekend due to COVID-19 protocols. They were set to be without nine first-team players for that fixture. The Lions will be looking to record their first win of the season following two narrow defeats to the Sharks and Stormers.
The Griquas return to action following their week’s rest and will be searching for their first result of the season following two defeats to the Bulls and Pumas. Coach Scott Mathie has made nine changes to his side as they will be without Anthony Volmink, Victor Sekekete and Ian Groenewald. Volmink has joined the Sharks, while Sekekete and Groenewald have both joined the Free State Cheetahs.
In the last four encounters between these sides in Johannesburg, the Lions have beaten the Griquas by more than 10 points on three occasions. I predict the home side to do the business and beat the spread on Friday.
Pumas v Sharks (Saturday – 15:30)
The Pumas will be left scratching their heads after blowing a 37-14 lead with 20 minutes to play. They succumbed to an eventual 37-42 defeat against the Stormers. The men from Nelspruit have been undoubtedly the surprise of the tournament having covered the handicap in all three matches. They will be without star pivot, Eduard Fouche as he suffered a season ending knee injury.
The Sharks will look to write off their woes when they were comprehensively outplayed 41-14 in Pretoria in Round 3. The Sharks have failed to cover the handicap in both of their matches this season. However, they will be looking to big performances from Springbok hopeful Curwin Bosch to turn the tide.
History the matchups have been historically close but I foresee the Springbok- laden Sharks to put in a compelling performance. One way traﬃc in Nelspruit this weekend.
Bulls v Stormers (Saturday – 19:00)
The Bulls enter Round 4 having put their best performance of the season in dismantling the Sharks 41-14 at Loftus. They will be hoping to continue that momentum when they face their Cape rivals.
The Stormers left it late against the Pumas as they miraculously overturned a 23 point deficit to win in Nelspruit. They have looked a shadow of the Super Rugby side and have failed to cover the spread in both fixtures. The Stormers welcome back Steven Kitshoff but will be without Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi due to injury.
This may seem like a tricky fixture to call but everything points to a home side victory. The Cape side have looked unfit, with a clear lack of chemistry in the squad. I expect a polished performance from the Bulls as they look to go three from three in the tournament.