The big dance this week comes out of Sydney, Australia where two conference-leading teams square off in a tussle that will have huge overall ramifications towards the playoff race.
The Waratahs host the Lions at Allainz Stadium looking to continue what has been an exceptional start to the season. The Lions themselves come to town hoping to manufacture a winning spree of their own.
Stirring the pot
The obvious distraction for the Sydney based outfit this week has been the media scrutiny on star player Israel Folau. His polarising comments have caused quite a stir throughout social media and society in general. As a result, Australian Rugby still hasn’t reached a happy medium with Folau, leaving his future availability to the Waratahs up in the air.
If the Waratahs can block out those futile distractions and front up against a sizeable Lions pack, then they are certainly a chance here.
Ready to bite
The Lions roll into Sydney comfortably ahead in the South African conference and need a big tour to stay ahead of the pack. It has been a successful start to the year considering they haven’t quite hit their stride.
I like the Lions chances in this one. If they can blunt the impact of Kurtley Beale, Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley and dominate as a pack then it could be early curtains for the home side. Contrastingly if they give these playmakers too much time and space then they could quite easily get dispatched themselves.
Player to watch: Kurtley Beale.
Kurtley has been a rock for the Waratahs this year. His return from the English Premiership has done this side wonders and he will be crucial to their title hopes moving forward. The leadership he provides both on attack and defence has helped the Waratahs find a beautiful balance between knowing when to kick and when to have a crack with ball in hand. His influence on Friday needs to be positive if the Waratahs have any chance against a tough Lions unit.
Source: BsporTV Rugby – YouTube
This the hardest match to pick in another round of exciting Super Rugby action. I think the Lions will bring too much hustle and heart for the Waratahs and the impact of Israel Folau’s comments will continue to be too much of a distraction. Lions by 7.
Author: Simon van Ryn
I am a sports mad fanatic who loves watching drama filled code. Growing up in Wellington I have been fortunate enough to witness some great sporting moments at the Cake Tin – non more satisfying than seeing my beloved Hurricanes finally lift that trophy after 21 years of hurt.