All eyes on PG and Eden Park

United hooker Jonathan Botha at the centre of a battle for the ball.

Ladies and gentlemen, get your popcorn and beverages ready, the two most anticipated rugby matches locally and internationally are finally here.

The British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand has reached its business end and Test match time is here.

Rugby is the name of the game this weekend and viewing it is the order. These are the kind of games that force rugby lovers and followers to clear the trickiest of schedules.

Not to mention that the B and I Tour comes around once every four years.

Following a build-up dominated by an exchange of verbal jabs between All Blacks coach and his opposite Warren Gatland, this will only fuel both sets of players to make their opposites eat humble pie.


The build-up to the Test has been filled with taunts such as Hansen was “worried”, the All Blacks cheated, the Lions are too predictable and that Hansen had inside knowledge of what was going on in the Lions camp.

Following a slow start where the Lions squeaked past the New Zealand Barbarians 13-7, the pride has since grown secretly bullish, with their confidence aided by convincing wins during their toughest preparation games against the Crusaders and Chiefs.

For the Lions, it’s about avenging the humiliation they suffered under Clive Woodward against the might of the All Blacks in the 2005 series, when they were whitewashed 3-0.


For the All Blacks, it’s about defending the land and burying the Brian O’Driscoll saga. The star centre was injured following a collision with then All Blacks captain Tana Umaga in the first Test of 2005, the last time the pride visited The land of the Long White Cloud.

It was an incident that would go on to mare the whole tour. It was also an incident the British media would go on to use to deflect the attention away from the fact: the Lions were simply outclassed.

Kick-off at the Eden Park Stadium is at 9.35am.

  • Boksburg Rugby Club vs East Rand United

The two local clubs are set to thrill again tomorrow with Prince George Park being the venue.

Kick-off is at 4pm.

With four games remaining in the round-robin phase, only a point separates the cross-street rivals. But this time, there’s more than just bragging rights on the line; there’s the coveted semi-final spot rewarded to the top four finishers out of the six-team Valke Peregrine League.

United are currently in the last semi-final spot at fourth but have not been able to beat the Owls since their ascension to the Premier League.

The Owls have rendered themselves as United’s bogey team with a 19-12 win last year coming before a last-minute win in the reverse clash at PG Park. Fullback Jason Jonker broke United hearts with a last-gasp try to give the Owls a 21-20 win on that occasion.

The sides’ most recent meeting at United’s home, The Graveyard, ended in an absorbing 25-all draw.

Owls lock Willem Botes is always at the thick of things.

It’s 2-0-1 to Boksburg, who will improve their record come tomorrow? Here’s how both camps see it.

Owls captain Danie Schultz commented: “It’s a must-win situation for us, I trust we’ll pull through.”

His opposite number, Fanie van Staden, showed the respect the two teams have for each other with his views.

“The derby is big because we don’t get to play each other often,” he said.

“The stakes are high because the winner will likely make it to the semis; it’s going to be a close game, the team that will have the most discipline will win.”

Try-scorer Shaun de Wet was immense in the recent rain-soaked draw at The Graveyard.

Van Staden was also quizzed on what it will take to break the Owls’ stranglehold on the tie.

“It’s a mental thing. Previous fixtures between us were more personal than rugby. We have to keep our emotions in check and focus more.

“It’s going to be a physical game, it’s going to be decided by the bounce of the ball. I hope for our community’s sake, we make it to the semis.”

Meanwhile, both coaches, Marcell Fourie for the Owls and Stephan Nel for United, agreed that it’s going to be a great spectacle of running rugby.

The two mentors also admitted that the derby is never easy.

Still not convinced to clear your Saturday schedule?

Teams: Boksburg. 1 Travis Howell 2 Juan Brummer 3 Jamie Evans 4 Willem Botes 5 Dean Basson 6 Kyle Lewis 7 Daniel Schultz (c) 8 Jacques Carelse; 9 Johan Labuschagne 10 Ashley Buchler 11 Barend Peens 12 Jacques Bouma 13 David Woolls 14 De Wet Botha 15 PJ Beaukes 16 Ettienne Louw 17 Gary Woolls 18 Chris Ras 19 Francois Malherbe 20 Brandon van Eeden 21 Jason Jonker 22 Ruben Carelse

United: 1 Dirk van Wyk 2 Shaun de Wet 3 Saki Klaas 4 Kholekile Bakimeni 5 Jacques van Tonder 6 Peter Mnguni 7 Ruan Noeth 8 Fanie van Staden (c); 9 Johan Pretorius 10 Andy Huysamen 11 Cameron Lentoor 12 Waylon Thompson 13 Jackie Jonkers 14 Tiaan Ramat 15 Clayton Gindan 16 Johan Vos 17 Andre Myburgh 18 Kieran Campbell 19 Stanley Stewart 20 Monde Petela 21 Jan Harm 22 Igor Engelbrecht – @SabeloBoksburg

Sabelo Mashego
Sports Journalist

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