Super Rugby Round 7 Preview
This weekend is set to give us some exciting rugby once again and it is sure to be filled with heart stopping tackles and good rugby. Yet again it looks like a clear cut weekend when it comes to predictions with only the Stormers v Crusaders game that is a difficult game to predict. However that has been said before every weekend and every weekend we have seen upsets. Here is how I see the weekend playing out:
Highlanders v Reds – Friday 29 March – 8h35 CAT
The Reds should be favourites in this game especially after their win over the Bulls last weekend. They are playing strong rugby, but discipline is an issue. They gave away 9 kickable penalties in their own half last week. They also tend not to travel well. The Highlanders on their part has not won a game this season and will be in search of that first win. It will be difficult, because as winning becomes a culture so does losing. It will be a close game.
Prediction: Reds by 6.
15 Ben Smith, 14 Buxton Popoalii, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock. Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ma’afu Fia, 18 TJ Ioane, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Phil Burleigh
15 Jono Lance, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Luke Morahan, 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. Substitutes: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O’Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Aidan Toua, 22 Rod Davies
Hurricanes v Kings – Saturday 30 March – 05h35 CAT
The Hurricanes must be looking at this game and seeing a bonus point win. As easy as it might seem they will still have their work cut for them against a strong defensive unit. The fact that they are playing at home will however count in their favour. The Kings will be under new leadership once again. This is their fifth captain to start and sixth one used this season. Andries Strauss will run on as captain, He also took over from Luke Watson in the first game. They have already seen how difficult it is to play on tour. Unless the Kings control the ball and protect their possession this will once again become a long day at the office for them.
Prediction: Hurricanes by 20 or more.
15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua/Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks. Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo
15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira. Substitutes: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Bernardo, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Hadleigh Parkes
Chiefs v Blues – Saturday 30 March – 8h35 CAT
The Chiefs have returned home and won their first game back. They are looking good after only the one glitch on their SA tour. The Blues started the season well, but after two loss on the trott it seems they might be losing the way. Still these two New Zealand big guns will not give an inch when playing each other.
Prediction: Chiefs by 10-14
15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith. Substitutes: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborne
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney. Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison
Brumbies v Bulls – Saturday 30 March – 10h40 CAT
The Brumbies returns home after a disappointing loss for them against the Stormers. They will be out to get back at another South African team in the Bulls. Jake White is surely the best coach currently in SupeRugby and he will have his men going all out. The Bulls has had a disappointing tour to date with only one win. They will look to return home on a high. With the injuries they have suffered it will however not be easy.
Prediction: Brumbies by 7
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jürgen Visser, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett. Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Francois Venter
Cheetahs v Rebels – Saturday 30 March – 17h05 CAT
The Cheetahs returns home after their most successful tour ever. They won 3 games on the trot, only the second team to do this. The Stormers did it back in 2011. They are up against a Rebels team that suffered a huge loss last weekend. This should be a game that the Cheetahs can win and should win with ease. The Rebels will look at controlling the damage after losing 64-7 last weekend and will want to keep the score as low as possible/
Prediction: Cheetahs by 15 or more.
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane. Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Ryno Benjamin
15 James O’Connor, 14 Richard Kingi, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Gareth Delve, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson. Substitutes: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Cadeyrn Neville, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Rory Sidey, Tom English
Stormers v Crusaders – Saturday 30 March – 19h10 CAT
This is set to be the game of the weekend in SupeRugby. The Stormers defeated the unbeaten Brumbies with what looked like ease. They did however let them back into the game during the second half. It seems the Stormers still have that slip of gear they had last season. This year however it is from about the 50th minute to the 70th. This is something they can’t afford against the Crusaders. The Crusaders will relay not only on their good performance the last two weeks, but also the Cape-Crusaders on Saturday. This local support might however not be as strong as it has been in the past.
Prediction: Stormers by a short head. Probably between 3-10 if that much.
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gerhard van den Heever, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Pat Cilliers. Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Damian de Allende, 22. Jaco Taute
15 Israel Dagg. 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano , 3 Owen Franks 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Substitutes: 16 Benn Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Zac Guildford
Waratahs v Force – Sunday 31 March – 7h05 CAT
The Waratahs seems to have regained their mojo last week and with the Force taking a beating from the Cheetahs this will be easier to call. The Force looks like they will once again fight it out at the bottom of the log to see if they can beat the Highlanders and Kings into last place. This while the Waratahs will be knocking on the door of the play-offs but that door will not be opened.
Prediction: Waratahs by 10-15