Warriors v Knights, 4pm Sunday, Mt Smart Stadium
The Warriors head in to round eight with stars Blake Green and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck back in the side to take on Newcastle this Sunday at Mt Smart. Centre Patrick Herbert has also been retained in the side after his strong debut performance last week against Melbourne.
Key storylines: It’s been another week of drama at the Warriors, as rumours abound that Kodi Nikorima is on his way over. The bigger issue here though, is Stephen Kearney’s backtracking on his statement earlier in the year that the club wasn’t looking for another half. On top of last week’s team naming debacle, can we trust anything he says?
Will it be sweet or stink? This should be a pretty sweet game, now the Warriors have RTS back they’ll be a lot more potent on attack. Plus just seeing him and Kalyn Ponga on the same field together will be worth the price of admission. Prediction: Warriors by 6 (they’re due!).
Elsewhere in the NRL, the Broncos and Rabbitohs played their much hyped 2019 clash last night with <result, score>. Tonight the Cowboys play the Titans in Townsville, followed by the Sharks and Storm in Cronulla. Saturday night sees the Raiders host the Panthers in Canberra, then the Sea Eagles take on the Bulldogs in Manly before the Roosters play the Tigers in Sydney. The other Sunday game sees the Eels play the Dragons in the lovely new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta.
Crusaders v Sharks, 7:35pm Friday, Christchurch Stadium
The Crusaders have another South African opponent tonight in the Sharks, and it’s highly likely it’ll be one-way traffic again. Richie Mo’unga has the week off and is replaced by Mitch Hunt at first five, and exciting Will Jordan gets a start at fullback.
Key storyline: Not much, really, other than this should be a regulation hiding. Prediction: Crusaders by 25
Will it be sweet or stink? See above.
Hurricanes v Rebels, 5:15pm Saturday, Westpac Stadium
The Hurricanes welcome both the Rebels and an early kickoff on Saturday. They are coming off probably their best performance of the season last weekend, which saw them smash the Chiefs.
Key storyline: The Canes haven’t exactly looked rock solid without all their All Blacks on the park at once (TJ Perenara is sitting this one out), and this Rebels side is actually pretty good. It will be a big ask for the Aussies, though, they’ve never won in Wellington.
Will it be sweet or stink? Should be a fun watch, both these sides like to chuck the ball around. If the Rebels show up to play, it will probably turn into a shootout before long. Prediction: Canes by 10 in a game with a lot of tries.
Highlanders v Chiefs, 7:35pm Saturday, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The desperate Chiefs have a tough assignment awaiting them in Dunedin, where an in-form Highlanders lie in wait in their glass fortress. Ben Smith is back at fullback for the home side, they now have their full contingent of All Blacks on deck for this one.
Key storyline: The Chiefs can’t really get much worse than the way they started last week, and if they do that again they’ll get pummelled by Highlanders pack intent on picking up where they left off against the Blues a couple of weeks ago.
Will it be sweet or stink? Depends on who you’re supporting. The Highlanders are extremely tricky to play at home and should take this one. Prediction: Highlanders by 15
Brumbies v Blues, 9:45pm Saturday, GIO Stadium
The Blues come off a bye week and two losses, so this is a big game for them. The Brumbies haven’t been up to much this year, so the Blues have a great chance to get themselves back on track.
Key storyline: If the Blues lose, or even struggle, expect the heat to go right back on Leon MacDonald and his coaching staff. They may have won four in a row earlier in the year, but that isn't going to count for much if they bomb out again by the end of this month.
Will it be sweet or stink? For the casual observer, this may be a bit stink because the Blues are probably going to shut down a bit and go all out to win. Prediction: Blues by 5
Other games this weekend see the Reds play the Sunwolves tonight in Brisbane, the Bulls and Waratahs in Pretoria, and Los Jaguares and the Stormers in Buenos Aires.
ANZ Netball Premiership
All the action in our top national netball competition takes place in the deep south this weekend, with three back to back games at ILT Stadium Southland. First, the Pulse take on the Magic, then Steel play the Mystics, with the final game between the Tactix and Stars.