With December almost upon us many sports are already on their end of season break. Looking around while not quite a dearth the sporting action on offer certainly seems a bit sparse.
- Rugby Union – Australia versus England – The final match of the Wallabies European tour sees them travel to Twickenham to take on England. Australia has made two changes following back-to-back defeats to France and Ireland, while England has named an unchanged squad after last weeks win over Samoa, their first win in five tests. As the form shows, neither side has been performing to the level expected and this match represents a great opportunity for both to record a big win over a bitter rival.
Tip – Australia will be close again but ultimately will fall just short.
SUQ – 7 – Matches against the old enemy at Twickenham are always a great spectacle and worth watching. That said, there is not much other than pride at stake.
- Football – English Premier League – Round 13 – Southampton versus Manchester City is the most intriguing match of the round, with second playing third on the ladder. Southampton weren’t at their fluid best in Monday’s night away game with Aston Villa and had to settle for a draw. The Saints have made a fantastic start to the season and whether they can sustain their pace and challenge for a top four position will be put to the test over the coming month as they face traditional powerhouses in Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. City will be buoyed by their last gasp win over Bayern Munich, but the nature of their win papered over a number of flaws which have curtailed their season so far. Without Sergio Aguero, City would be languishing in mid table mediocrity and if Southampton can keep him quiet they will be confident of opening up a significant gap on the rest of the chasing pack.
Tip – Southampton to prove they are the real deal and beat City 2-1.
SUQ – 9 – A pivotal game for both sides, especially given most of the other top four contenders have relatively easy games that they all should win.
- Football – A League – The pick of this weekends A League matches is Friday nights game between old foes Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United and then the Sydney Derby on Saturday. Western Sydney have been well off the pace despite their Asian Champions League Victory and are in desperate need of a win. Sydney FC on the other hand have started the season in steady fashion but still have plenty of room for improvement. Melbourne Victory have been in free scoring form at home so far this season and while they sit one place behind second placed Adelaide United on the A League table they will be confident of winning in Melbourne.
Tips – Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory to win the afore-mentioned matches.
SUQ – 8 – The whole round of A League action looks worth watching with plenty of sub plots and important fixtures.
And finally to two bits of sporting news not related, directly anyway, to the weekend ahead. You may recall that Australia’s performance at the basketball World Cup raised some eyebrows, specifically the loss to Angola. Allegations of tanking followed and an official investigation was launched. This week the Boomers were cleared of the charges. The loss was surprising and ultimately didn’t work to Australia’s benefit anyway so maybe a more important lesson was learned irrespective of the findings.
And secondly, a brief word on Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes. Unless you have been living in a deep dark hole you would be aware that Phillip Hughes was hit by a bouncer while batting on Tuesday during the Sheffield Shield competition. He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but was unable to recover from his injuries and passed away on Thursday. His death has caused an outpouring of emotion, adversely affecting many far more than they would have expected. What happened was a terrible tragedy and a freak accident. No blame has or should be attributed to the bowler, Sean Abbott, with hundreds of similar balls sent down the crease every weekend at all levels of the game around the world. Hughes’ death has been mourned across the globe, with the flag at Lords in England flying at half-mast today. It seems so unfair and hard to believe that a cricket ball could cut short the life of a person in his prime and doing what he loved. Rest In Peace Phil Hughes.