Mzansi, we have made it to the finale – something we haven’t done since we lifted the old Webb Ellis in 2007, where we chowed England, who happen to be our opposition today! Eintlik, the big difference is that the best rugby coach in the history of the game, (soon to be) “Sir” Eddie Jones, has crossed the floor, swopping green and gold for roses and whites.
The English Roses go in unchanged, and the Boks make one change from last week – with Cheslin “jou lekker ding” Kolbe back in the starting line-up.
Jones will be notching up his 50th Test for England, and on the other end Siyamthanda Kolisi will join the prestigious club of Francois Pienaar and Jon ‘Barney’ Smit in being the only Mzansi players to captain a Boks team in a final.
What makes it more poignant for intwana yaseZwide is that he watched the 2007 final in a tavern, because he didn’t have a television set at home. Talk about a full 360, where he started at the bottom – and is now 80 minutes away from the top of the world.
And, while we are on omens, it is also a South African ritual to notch a World Cup win every dozen years. 1995… 2007… even the standard grade mathematicians can work out that we are due another day in the sun today.
Most rugby minds have called the win for the Roses. But, mina, my loyalty forces me to bleed green for vandag. I see the game being a typical final with less than 35 points in total, with the Boks winning by a handful of points.
The Springboks are priced at 31/20, with the spread at a sensible 4,5 points.
We need this. More than England do. This country has been through the most in recent times, but nothing pulls us together like a sporting victory of this magnitude. It would be nuts to see Siyamthanda “The Bear” Kolisi lifting the most prized possession, and you can only imagine the scenes when they come back to Mzansi.
There is also Formula 1 this weekend in the US of A. This is not the best of race tracks technically, but it’s always a good spectacle. Lewis Hamilton can wrap it up, but as loyal a Lewis fan as I am, it won’t happen this weekend.
My picks are between the young un Charlie Le Clerc and the volatile Max Verstappen. Maxi boy has been loose of late; well, always in fact, but Sangoma has an itch that he will pull it all together tomorrow. So, the Sangoma call is Red Bull or the prancing horse for the win.
Digging into slightly less important footy matters in the EPL, Bournemouth hosts an ever improving Red Devils side, and United could well build on their promising fortnight of form.
Arsenal face Wolverhampton in what should be an interesting game. The Gooners hate to make their lives difficult, as the midweek league cup farce at Anfield proved. I would even take a return to the good ol’ 1-0 to the Arsenal of the ‘90s.
Manchester City face Southampton in what should be a complete drubbing for the visitors, fresh off their 9-0 Friday night klap from Leicester. Punchy Aston Villa welcome Liverpool, and that will be a cracker of a game – and goals should be in plentiful supply.
Don’t underestimate Villa, baba, as they are the best promoted side I’ve seen in a very long while. Unfortunately, they are facing Klopp’s kinders who are soeking more comfort at the top of the Kop. The Hammers take on the Magpies which is bound to be a great match, though I fancy The Irons to press and fold their visitors in a game where both teams will score.
Locally, it’s the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals. Maritzburg hosted Highlands Park last night, and I suspect the Park fellas would have prevailed.
The pick of the round is one of the biggest derbies in the world, as Soweto is divided for 90 minutes – and quite possibly extra-time and penalties, too.
My man Guma and I are massive Buccaneers, mara we need to be real about namhlanje. We see the gold and black zebras grazing in the promised land of the semi-finals. Vele we will meet them again in the league next week, in case you don’t have enough derby fever.
SuperSport are matched against Steve Komphela’s Golden Arrows, and the pay TV boys should dala a laka klap on Abafana Bes’thende, especially after they chowed so many bets with a careless draw to Celtic in midweek action.
Finally, Chippa hosts Sundowns and Pitso, the sore loser. At least we won’t hear him moaning about privilege this time, because he won’t be playing against Middendorp.
To Kolisi, Rassie and the rest. Over to you, gents! A rainbow nation expects.