Super Rugby - Week 10 Preview and picks

We are back to six matches this week after the marathon of upsets that I hope you had the pleasure of watching last Saturday. The Reds, Kings, Force and the Stormers all had the bookies in despair as some turned their seasons around ,others showed they belong, but all certainly made the play off race a hell of a lot more frantic! A Kiwi South-Island derby is always one for the purists, while-and I quiver when saying this-we have an all Aussie clash that just might be the fixture of the weekend! Can't see the the wild cards of last week coming out to play (Well for the sake of my superbru I hope not) but this week certainly offers some quality Rugby Porn.

Friday 19 April

Hurricanes vs Force - Westpac Stadium, Wellington - 09:35

From Superbru 'experts' to the Rugby community in general-the Force stunned them all. I wrote of the Saders tragic record in Perth in the build up to the match, but never expected it to continue. As a result, although they have lost to O'Bieber and the boy band from Melbourne twice and the newcomer Kings, the Force have now beaten the Reds (In Brisbane!) and the Crusaders this year. Put money on their fixtures at your own perril!! The Canes themselves have been the epitomy of hot and cold, but last week they were simply dreadful. When two of the most unpredictable sides clash calling a winner is easier than trying to predict how many creatures call Luke Watsons Beard home, but I just feel this match is set up for a canes five pointer.  The Force don't the the backline to exploit the woeful Canes defence while the Canes will be dead set on crossing the line numerous times to erase their memories of the blanks they shot last week.

My Call: Hurricanes by 14
Hurricanes: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Alapati Leiua , 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Ben Franks.
Bench: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Karl Lowe, 20 TJ Perenara, 21 Reynold Lee-Lo, 22 Andre Taylor.

Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Ed Stubbs, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Bench: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Alfie Mafi.

Waratahs vs Chiefs - Allianz Stadium, Sydney - 11:40
The Tahs are with out doubt the most boring team in the tournament this year and their absence last week just added to the rounds already bursting entertainment levels. The Chiefs were simply not the same team last week as they were in previous rounds, and could just be hitting a mid season slump, but even at their lowest point should have the pack and the quality to fend off the snorefest Tahs. The Chiefs have persisted with their rotation policy, which I feel is killing their momentum, and dropped one of the form players in Nanai-Williams to the wood. They may have been droth last week, but they still ooze quality and know that dropped points here could see them drop to 5th on the log where as a win could put them back on top. All to play for then.

My Call: Chiefs by 6
Waratahs: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Cam Crawford, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Rob Horne, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Dave Dennis (capt), 5. Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
Bench: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Peter Betham

Chiefs: 15. Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Charlie Ngatai, Richard Kahui, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, Brendon Leonard, 8. Fritz Lee, Sam Cane, Liam Messam (c), Brodie Retallick, Mike Fitzgerald, 3. Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu.
Bench: Rhys Marshall, Mike Kainga, Nick Crosswell, Tanerau Latimer, August Pulu, Gareth Anscombe, Tim Nanai-Williams.

Saturday 20 April

Crusaders vs Highlanders - AMI Stadium, Christchurch - 09:35

Staring your eighth straight defeat in the face and losing ground to the rookie Kings on the log is not the type of situation that inspires a team to suddenly turn it all around. The Landers, as I have often mentioned and as strange as it may seem, are littered with All Blacks and their minds will now no doubt be shifting to retaining their Black jerseys. All this will do is lead to individuals looking to excel while the team struggles further. Glimpses of which we even saw last week. The Saders won't just be angry about their loss to the feeble Force-they will be outright embarrassed. Being a south Island derby this match will be physical early on, but with last weeks loss burning thier ego's the Saders should be ruthless and  punish the weak Landers defensive line every chance they get.

My Call: Crusaders by 9

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Bench: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Reds vs Brumbies - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - 11:40

Slap me! An all Aussie clash that takes most Rugby Boner inducing potential of the weekend! Is all ok in the world? Both teams off the back of impressive wins on NZ soil and both teams now very much in the scrap for top of the over all log. I've said all year that I didn't think the Reds were worthy of their position on the log, but a win over the at the time log leaders and defending champions in such a convincing manner, has definitely softened that thinking. A win here would blow it away completely. The Brumbies had a blip against a Kings side they seriously underestimated but they will be closer to Sharks form that Kings this week I feel. In a match that offers a test match feel it is generally the better pack and tactical game that succeeds. The Reds were hot last week but I cant see Cooper being as good again and I do see Jake employing some tactical astuteness.

                                           This week leaves this picture looking rather silly

My Call: Brumbies by 3

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.
Bench: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O’Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22 Dom Shipperley.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Bench: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Jordan Smiler, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Pat McCabe, 22 Clyde Rathbone.

Sharks vs Cheetahs - Kings Park, Durban - 17:05

John Plumtree is clearly fed up with under performing senior players-rightly so-and has lashed out with a few big selection calls. Calls however, I can't help but disagree with. Ndungane has been woeful and Steyn will offer little off the bench. If not starting he should be doing conditioning work. Kankowski is the big loser dropping out of the match 22 altogether with the strangest part being that Plumtree has confirmed the Kankowski will not be touring with the squad as he is not match fit mentally. Hoping there isn't more to come here that the camp hasnt yet mentioned. On the other hand, with the exception of the injured Trevor Nyakane, the Cheetahs have named an unchanged line up from their match with Bulls and although coming off a loss carry a lot more momentum into the clash than the Banana Boys. At the moment the Cheetahs backline is light years ahead of the Sharks, but as is norm in most SA derbies, I feel the battle for supremecy upfront and in the collisions is where the match will be decided and that is where the Sharks may just have the edge. If the home team perform as they did in Cape Town they will lose not only the match but their place at that top of the log to the Cheetahs and it is when there is the most at stake that the sharks generaly kick up a gear or three. It will be an arm wrestle and it will be tight, but with home ground advantage and with the cheetahs yet to have a bye this season, I think the Sharks should have the extra push needed in the final 20 to get over the line.

My Call: Sharks by 7

Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Sean Robinson, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Lubabalo Mtembu, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Francois Steyn, 22. Andries Coetzee

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk De Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Bench: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Kings vs Bulls - NMB Stadium, Port Elizabeth - 19:10

100 point losses, fical fans, and utter embarassment. Those were the predictions, for some the hopes. Well, I could not be happier about the the big finger the boys from the Kings have given to those ideas. On the back of their inspiring showings so far many are tiping them to pull off their biggest upset yet against the two time champions from the capital. As much as I would love for it to happen I feel they will come up just short. The selection of Luke Watson in the starting line up is a big call as it could stifle the balance the loosies have had, but the biggest problem the Kings will have is finding the gas to keep going in the final minutes as their legs wobble after the draining tour. I can't see the Rugby being flowing as the Kings game is based on solid defence and spoiling the oppositions ball while the Bulls will look to play all their Rugby in the Kings half and leave it to Morne to do the rest. The PE crowd will boost the Kings by a good 20% in the first half so they could hit the change rooms with a lead, but the Bulls-and more specifically Steyn-no how to close out close matches so I think the Bulls will scrape through here.

My Call: Bulls by 4
Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Bench: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Barnardo, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi.

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett
Bench: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Bjorn Basson

The chaos that was last week resulted in the average players return on Superbru being're better off letting your girl friend do your picks with results like that! With that in mind I know how desperately you all crave a straight forward week, but with this being Super Rugby I wouldn't get rid of your magic coin or abolish the better half idea just yet..

The Oval Ball Rules All!!

No comments:

Post a Comment