New Zealand vs South Africa
28/10/2023 – 21:00
The moment has finally arrived. One way or the other, history will be made on Saturday night at the Stade de Frans.
It’s time to throw out the playbook. Forget about history. Forget about statistics. This is World Test Rugby at it’s very best with arguably the two best nations fighting for that record fourth title.
The All Blacks lost to the host nation France in a pulsating opening game. However, they grew from strength to strength and shifted through the gears to find form at the right time and cruised to the final, after smashing Argentina 44-6 in a one-sided semi-final.
Meanwhile, the Boks suffered their only defeat to Ireland in the pool stages. Many fans believed that one of those two nations would make it into the final. Unfortunately for Ireland, there were no lucky four leaf clovers around as they couldn’t overcome New Zealand and will have to wait another four years to beat their quarter-final syndrome.
South Africa and France met in the quarter-final and gave us one of the greatest games ever. It was sad for the hosts and their fans, but the Boks were magnificent and fully deserved their spot in the semi-final against England. The English were the only unbeaten team enroute to the semis, and they looked like they were heading into the final, until a late RG Snyman try and Handre Pollard penalty changed their fortunes. It was a smash and grab by the Boks, to set up the final the world has been waiting for.
Following the Curry/Bongi racial fiasco that had been going on – the Bok hooker has been cleared to play in the final and we’re going to see a 7-1 split on the bench yet again. The All Blacks have made one change, as Brodie Retallick comes in for Sam Whitelock.
Battle lines have been drawn and the stage is set for what could be the greatest Rugby World Cup final ever. With both sides able to make history, it looks like the All Blacks might just nick this one.
NEW ZEALAND TO WIN
Manchester United vs Manchester City
29/10/2023 – 17:30
The first Manchester Derby of the new season is here, and it finds both clubs on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Emotions have been running high at Old Trafford, following the death of England and club legend Sir Bobby Charlton. Since his passing, United have gone on to claim two important wins, at Sheffield United and a Champions League win over Copenhagen.
Diogo Dalot’s second half stunner gave the Red Devils the win at Bramall Lane. They followed that up with Harry Maguire’s second-half header and a stoppage-time penalty save from the under-fire Andre Onana to seal three huge points in their UCL group game. Erik Ten Hag’s side have now strung together a three-game winning sequence for the first time in the 2023-24 campaign, although not one of those victories has been convincing by any stretch.
Erling Haaland ended his European goal drought with a second half brace against Young Boys. The Norwegian will be up for the challenge at Old Trafford and looking to exploit United’s backline. The statistics do not weigh heavily in the visitors’ favour. The Citizens have now gone six games without keeping a clean sheet in all tournaments and are at risk of losing three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time in the Pep Guardiola era. We have to go back to the Manuel Pellegrini days of 2016 when they endured such a barren run in the top flight.
United have seen some of their casualties return and we’ve seen shades of better play and increased solidity at the back. But, there’s a lot to improve on and that will happen in time. A draw will be a great result for the hosts, while victory will be amazing. However, this will be a tough task and City should have that extra quality that will seem the leave Old Trafford with three points.
MAN CITY TO WIN
DO THE SUPADOUBLE – NEW ZEALAND AND MAN CITY TO WIN @ 19/10
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