2017-03-10 by Liam Del Carme
SOUTHERN KINGS V STORMERS
The Kings kept the Stormers in check in their first two outings but shipped 50-plus against them last year. Injuries are already catching up with the Kings, especially in their second row. Wilhelm van der Sluys has been roped in on loan from Worcester Warriors, while the Lions have agreed centre Stokkies Hanekom's services on a temporary basis. The Kings earned a morale boosting win in Singapore over the Sunwolves last week but the Stormers are busy developing into a very competitive outfit. The visitors should win by around 15 points.
CHEETAHS v SUNWOLVES
Last season the Cheetahs won by a point in Singapore and then by 75 in the return fixture in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs are on a high after their win over the Bulls but they've suffered many injury setbacks. They may not be able to post last year's record score but they should still comfortably have the beating of the Sunwolves.
ENGLAND v SCOTLAND
This is one of the most eagerly anticipated Calcutta Cup matches in recent times. Substitute Billy Vunipola will bring big ball carrying ability to the back of the England scrum. Scotland are a little thin after suffering several injury setbacks. Scotland have not won at Twickenham since 1983 but they boast wins over Ireland and Wales this season. If Scotland beat England and beat Italy with a bonus point it may be enough to win the Six Nations.
SHARKS v WARATAHS
These teams have two wins each in their last four matches. The Sharks come off a good win over the Brumbies in Canberra and they appear to have more than a hardnosed defence this season. They are showing some purpose in attack and the Waratahs following their mauling at Ellis Park may again have their hands full. The Waratahs haven't won in Durban since 2009. The Sharks just five wins over the Waratahs since the inception of Super Rugby but over the last while the home side has held sway in this match-up.
JAGUARES v LIONS
These two teams produced two high scoring matches last season. The Lions ran riot at Ellis Park before taking a weakened side to Buenos Aires for the return fixture. They lost that match and the consequences were grave. Again Coach Johan Ackermann has assembled a weakened since, although not as unrecognisable as the team he took to South America last season. The Lions will be without Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe, which lengthens the odds on them winning this one.