2017-06-27 by Liam Del Carme
CHEETAHS v STORMERS
The Cheetahs have recorded just three Super Rugby wins this season. Their last match did produce a victory, but they are up against a side equally desperate to put some poor results behind them. The Stormers have won just once in their last six matches, but they've won their last four clashes against the Cheetahs. That includes a 53-10 rout at Newlands earlier this year. The Stormers start clear favourites, but expect the Cheetahs will put up an initial fight.
LIONS v SUNWOLVES
The Lions are still in hot pursuit of the Crusaders and they need to win this one as well as their last league match to stand a chance of reeling in the table toppers. The Lions are likely to rest some of their Springboks including captain Warren Whiteley for this one so don't expect their performance to be as comprehensive as one would ordinarily expect. Still, they should have the beating of the Sunwolves and by a comfortable margin. The Sunwolves have won just once this season and they will leave Ellis Park with that number unchanged.
UNITED STATES v CANADA
The teams played out to a 28-all draw in Ontario in a World Cup qualifier last weekend. It stretched the USA's run of unbeaten matches against the neighbours to six. This weekend John Mitchell's USA team will have home ground advantage in San Diego. The hosts should win this one against a team that has struggled to register anything in the win column of late.
TONGA v SAMOA
Samoa narrowly lost 19-17 to Wales last weekend. The previous week they were hammered by the All Blacks. On that weekend Tonga lost to a weakened Wales team. In their previous match they beat Italy away from home in November and they met success against the United States in the same month. This should be a close one and it won't come as a shock if Tonga upstaged their regional rivals.
NEW ZEALAND v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS
The All Blacks in the end won the first Test by a comfortable margin. As expected the Lions did show some fight early on, but they were unable to plug all the gaps. With their best chance of winning a Test now arguably gone, the Lions are expected to be on the backfoot for the rest of the series. Changes in personnel are unlikely to bring about a change in fortune in the second Test. The gap the All Blacks established between themselves and the tourists is to great to bridge in one week. The All Blacks should win again and do so with a degree of comfort.