Will the Crusaders’ Blues Continue?
This weekend’s Super Rugby kicks off with the Crusaders hosting the Blues in Christchurch. This is always a big game and one to look forward to. The Crusaders have dominated Super Rugby since inception and the Blues have not done to badly themselves.
The Blues won their opening game and even though it was a close game it was against the defending champions. As with most of the New Zealand sides they have had a lot of personnel changes and this makes it difficult to read too much into the first week’s result. The same can be said for the Crusaders who lost stalwarts like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. The lost they suffered to the Chiefs was significant as they were playing at home.
Does this mean the Crusaders will fall against the Blues? Well you never know although the Blues win was at home. Both sides still have game makers and breakers although not as many as in the past. The players still need to find each other as many new combinations have been created and it is only the second week of the season.
The teams have met 26 times in the past with the Blues winning only 11. This game should be much easier for them as explained. I can however not see them beating the Crusaders by too big a margin and will give it to them within 5 points
15 David Havili, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody. Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Johnny McNicholl
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Male Sa’u
Will the Brumbies stampede on or will the Waratahs stop them?
The Brumbies started the 2016 season with an impressive 52-10 win against the Hurricanes. Not that it was against the run of play, but most fans didn’t expect the margin. The Waratahs also had a good start to their campaign and it should be fair to say that the game Canberra on Friday is between the two Australian title contenders.
This is going to be a very closely contested game with both sides able to run the ball from just about anywhere on the field. Yet they both have strong packs and can dominate upfront. They have faced each other 27 times with the Waratahs winning 16. In all the average points difference is 1 but looking at the recent history the team that wins does so in style.
The flyhalves will play pivitol roles for both sides. Kurtly Beale can be an elusive runner while Christian Lealiifano has a dangerous kicking boot on him. The Tahs will have to stop Kuridrani and if they can do that the game should be theirs to win.
In this game discipline will play a big role as neither side will want a player sent off. My gut feel is telling me the Waratahs will win this game. The margin 10+ points.
15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio. Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong
15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Taavao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan. Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Matt Sandell, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Bryce Hegarty
Can the Chiefs scalp the Lions?
The first game on Saturday will be the Chiefs hosting the Lions in Waikato. Both sides have their tails up after scoring wins away from home on the opening weekend of 2016. The Lions probably feels better than the Chiefs seeing as they had to make the big trek from South Africa to Japan. Still they played the new boys on the block, The Sunwolves, while the Chiefs beat the mighty Crusaders in their own back yard. If you want to see full on running rugby, both these sides can bring that to the party and will probably do so again this weekend.
The chiefs should be the favourites this weekend. Not only because the Lions had to make two day long flights across numerous time zones in the last 14 days, but also because they have won 13 of the 18 encounters between the two sides. It will be a high scoring game should history be anything to go by. Don’t be surprised by a 20+ victory margin either. I believe it will be closer than that but purely because of the traveling by the Lions the Chiefs will win by around 7 points
- Damian McKenzie, 14. Latu Vaeno, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Maama Vaipulu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Allardice, 3. Hiroshi Yamashita, 2. Rhys Marshall, 1. Pauliasi Manu. Substitutes: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Mitchell Graham, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Michael Leitch, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Glen Fisiiahi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Can the Hurricanes bounce back or will the Highlanders do it?
This is a game that both sides will want to win after losing their opening encounters last weekend. The Highlanders did so by a narrow margin and will look back at the game and wonder why? Probably because of ill-discipline and poor goal kicking. The Hurricanes, well they will know it was just because the Brumbies were too good for them.
This is a tough call to make as the Highlanders are defending champions yet the Hurricanes have won more games against them than what they have lost. Both sides have the players to make this a close fought affair and that it will probably be. The Hurricanes will try and dominate up front before setting their backline loose. The Highlanders will play the percentage game but can run it from anywhere on the field. The Highlanders to win by less than 5.
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds. Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Jason Emery
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes. Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall/Jason Woodward, 23 Willis Halaholo
Reds or Force who will it be?
This might look like an obvious pick to make. The Reds are at home and therefore they should win against the much weaker Force side. Well if that is what you think, think again. These two sides have met 12 times with the Reds winning 6 and there has been a draw as well. The Force had 4 wins and the draw in the last 6 games between the two sides. The last game did go to the Reds however.
This is one of those encounters where you know that the scores will be high or the victory margin will be huge. To be honest the Force has always been a much better team away from home as long as they played in Australia. The Reds on the other hand has underperformed for a couple of seasons now. I am going with the Reds b y between 10 and 15 points
15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley. Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Balakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Junior Laloifi
- Dane Haylett-Petty, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Junior Rasolea, 11. Semisi Masirewa, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Angus Cottrell, 7. Matt Hodgson (captain), 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Adam Coleman, 4. Steve Mafi, 3. Guy Millar, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou Cowan. Substitutes: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Jermaine Ainsley, 19. Ross Haylett-Petty, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Peter Grant, 23. Marcel Brache
Bulls to trample Rebels?
The Bulls might have lost against the Stormers last week while the Rebels won away from home against the Force, but that will mean nothing come Saturday. The Bulls have a young side while the Rebels side is more set. Again it will not mean much.
The Bulls have not lost to the Rebels and they will not be looking to do so at their holiest place, Loftus Versfeld. The Closest the Rebels has come to a win was in 2012 when they lost 41-30. Other than that they have not scored more than 10 points in a game against the Bulls, this while the Bulls have never scored less than 40. It might not be such a big score by the Bulls this weekend but they should win this one by no less than 10 points.
15 Warrick Gelant , 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel
Will the Storm be too much for the Cheetahs?
For South Africa this will be the game of the weekend. Both teams are known for the running rugby they can produce through their backs. Both sides have strong forwards and can get the rolling maul to the work as well (ask the Bulls how well the Stormers make theirs work). The Cheetahs has never won this encounter by a huge margin and even though the Stormers has done so on more than one occasion it is never a one sided affair.
The teams have met 14 times with the Stormers winning 9. With an average of 50 points in a game and a winning margin of around 5 on average it does say a lot about these two sides. They like to play against each other and do so running the ball. The Stormers should win this one with ease and it will be with at least 10 points.
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble. Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones
Can the Jaguars pounce again?
The Sharks did record a win in their opening game and yes it was away from and it was by 33 points, but it was against the Kings. Not South Africa’s strongest rugby province at the current moment or even for the last 20 years. The Jaguars also recorded a win and yes it was also away from home and yes it was a close call winning by 1 point. Still they did it against the Cheetahs, a team known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
That it will be a good game I have no doubt. The Sharks will hope to build on the momentum they have. The Jaguars will want to show that they can continue winning and they should as the bulk of the team has played for Argentina at the international level. This game will be won up front and if that is the case it should go to the Jaguars, but discipline will be important as well and here they lack a bit. All I have to go on here is my head, my heart and my gut. My head says Jaguars, My heart says Sharks, and my gut says it will be a brilliant game won by a kick in the last minutes by the Jaguars.
- Willie le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain). Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Philip van der Walt, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. S’bura Sithole
Last weekend I got 8/8. Let’s see how I do this week. Follow me on twitter @djvanman or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vanman1979 and let me know your predictions.
Super Rugby is just short of 6 weeks from kicking off and if anyone can make heads or tails of the new format then they will do good in grade 12 maths as well. 18 teams will compete in this year’s competition with 5 teams each from Australia and New Zealand, 6 from South Africa and 1 each from Argentina and Japan. What is making this new 18 team format so confusing is how they have created the conferences that will compete against each other and then how they will compete.
There will 2 Australasian conferences consisting of 5 teams each and 2 African conferences consisting of 4 teams. The Australasian conferences will effectively be a Australian conference and a New Zealand conference. The two Africa conferences will consist of three South African teams each and then one will have the Japanese team and the other the Argentinian team. Now from here it starts getting very interesting as well as very confusing.
The Australasian conferences will see each team playing two of the other teams in there group home and away. They will then play one away game and one home game against one of the other teams in the conference. The African conferences will play each team in their group home and away. The Australasian conferences will then proceed to play a game against each of the teams in the other conference. The dame for the two African Conferences. We will then see Africa 1 playing against Australian conference and Africa 2 playing against the New Zealand conference.
The top team in each conference will proceed to the quarter finals joined by 4 wildcard teams. The wild cards will be selected 2 from each of the Australasian conferences and 1 each from the African Conferences. Effectively the runners up in Africa and second and third place in the Australasian conferences.
From there it is highest placed against lowest and so on. The winners will play against each other in the semi-finals. Again the highest placed against the lowest placed. An then we will have the final. All in all it will tae 135 matches to decide the winner of the competition. 59 more than in the European equivalent that has 24 teams. SANZAR could not make this any more difficult if they wanted to.
Why they didn’t just add 4 teams and made it 20 teams is beyond me. That way we could have had 4 groups or if you want conferences with 5 teams each. Had they added say Namibia and a team from Fiji this could have worked. Groups being drawn from a hat to make up the groups. Each team playing the others in the group Home and away and from there the top 2 teams in each group proceeds to the quarter finals and so on.
If SANZAR didn’t want to go this route they could well have gone back to each team playing each of the other teams once. This way the competition would still have been the same number of games but at least you would face all the competition not just some.
Now we have a competition that can potentially see a winner that has not played once against a New Zealand team or on the other hand an Australian team. How can you claim to be the best in the Southern Hemisphere if you did not once face a team from one of these countries? The same can be said if a team wins but they did not play against the Stormers or Bulls or for that matter the Lions or Sharks.
This might be the premier rugby competition for clubs/provinces/franchises in the world but currently it is nothing more than a farce.
Here is the conferences and inter conference setup with games to be played:
|South African Group|
|New Zealand Conference|
|Africa 1 Conference|
|Africa 2 Conference|
|26 February 2016||Blues||v||Highlanders||Eden Park, Auckland|
|26 February 2016||Brumbies||v||Hurricanes||GIO Stadium, Canberra|
|26 February 2016||Cheetahs||v||Jaguares||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein|
|27 February 2016||Sunwolves||v||Lions||Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo|
|27 February 2016||Crusaders||v||Chiefs||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|27 February 2016||Waratahs||v||Reds||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|27 February 2016||Force||v||Rebels||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|27 February 2016||Kings||v||Sharks||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|27 February 2016||Stormers||v||Bulls||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|4 March 2016||Crusaders||v||Blues||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|4 March 2016||Brumbies||v||Waratahs||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Chiefs||v||Lions||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Highlanders||v||Hurricanes||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Reds||v||Force||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Bulls||v||Rebels||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Cheetahs||v||Stormers||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|5 March 2016||Sharks||v||Jaguares||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|Bye/s: Sunwolves, Kings|
|11 March 2016||Blues||v||Hurricanes||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|11 March 2016||Force||v||Brumbies||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|12 March 2016||Highlanders||v||Lions||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|12 March 2016||Rebels||v||Reds||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|12 March 2016||Sunwolves||v||Cheetahs||National Stadium, Singapore||[show]|
|12 March 2016||Kings||v||Chiefs||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|12 March 2016||Stormers||v||Sharks||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|Bye/s: Bulls, Crusaders, Jaguares, Waratahs|
|18 March 2016||Hurricanes||v||Force||Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North||[show]|
|18 March 2016||Waratahs||v||Highlanders||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|18 March 2016||Bulls||v||Sharks||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Sunwolves||v||Rebels||Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Crusaders||v||Kings||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Reds||v||Blues||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Lions||v||Cheetahs||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Stormers||v||Brumbies||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|19 March 2016||Jaguares||v||Chiefs||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|25 March 2016||Hurricanes||v||Kings||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Chiefs||v||Force||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Rebels||v||Highlanders||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Sunwolves||v||Bulls||National Stadium, Singapore||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Cheetahs||v||Brumbies||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Sharks||v||Crusaders||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|26 March 2016||Jaguares||v||Stormers||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|27 March 2016||Reds||v||Waratahs||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|Bye/s: Blues, Lions|
|1 April 2016||Highlanders||v||Force||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|1 April 2016||Lions||v||Crusaders||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|2 April 2016||Blues||v||Jaguares||QBE Stadium, Albany||[show]|
|2 April 2016||Brumbies||v||Chiefs||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|2 April 2016||Kings||v||Sunwolves||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|2 April 2016||Bulls||v||Cheetahs||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|3 April 2016||Waratahs||v||Rebels||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|Bye/s: Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Stormers|
|8 April 2016||Chiefs||v||Blues||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||[show]|
|8 April 2016||Force||v||Crusaders||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|8 April 2016||Stormers||v||Sunwolves||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|9 April 2016||Hurricanes||v||Jaguares||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|9 April 2016||Reds||v||Highlanders||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|9 April 2016||Sharks||v||Lions||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|9 April 2016||Kings||v||Bulls||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Rebels, Waratahs|
|15 April 2016||Crusaders||v||Jaguares||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|15 April 2016||Rebels||v||Hurricanes||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|15 April 2016||Cheetahs||v||Sunwolves||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|16 April 2016||Blues||v||Sharks||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|16 April 2016||Waratahs||v||Brumbies||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|16 April 2016||Bulls||v||Reds||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|16 April 2016||Lions||v||Stormers||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|Bye/s: Chiefs, Force, Highlanders, Kings|
|22 April 2016||Highlanders||v||Sharks||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|22 April 2016||Rebels||v||Cheetahs||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|23 April 2016||Sunwolves||v||Jaguares||Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo||[show]|
|23 April 2016||Hurricanes||v||Chiefs||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|23 April 2016||Force||v||Waratahs||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|23 April 2016||Stormers||v||Reds||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|23 April 2016||Kings||v||Lions||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|24 April 2016||Brumbies||v||Crusaders||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|Bye/s: Blues, Bulls|
|29 April 2016||Chiefs||v||Sharks||Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth||[show]|
|29 April 2016||Force||v||Bulls||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Highlanders||v||Brumbies||Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Blues||v||Rebels||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Reds||v||Cheetahs||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Lions||v||Hurricanes||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Stormers||v||Waratahs||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|30 April 2016||Jaguares||v||Kings||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|Bye/s: Crusaders, Sunwolves|
|6 May 2016||Crusaders||v||Reds||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|6 May 2016||Brumbies||v||Bulls||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|7 May 2016||Sunwolves||v||Force||Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo||[show]|
|7 May 2016||Chiefs||v||Highlanders||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||[show]|
|7 May 2016||Waratahs||v||Cheetahs||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|7 May 2016||Sharks||v||Hurricanes||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|7 May 2016||Kings||v||Blues||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|Bye/s: Jaguares, Lions, Rebels, Stormers|
|13 May 2016||Highlanders||v||Crusaders||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|13 May 2016||Rebels||v||Brumbies||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Hurricanes||v||Reds||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Waratahs||v||Bulls||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Sunwolves||v||Stormers||National Stadium, Singapore||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Cheetahs||v||Kings||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Lions||v||Blues||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|14 May 2016||Jaguares||v||Sharks||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|Bye/s: Chiefs, Force|
|20 May 2016||Crusaders||v||Waratahs||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Reds||v||Sunwolves||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Chiefs||v||Rebels||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Force||v||Blues||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Lions||v||Jaguares||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Sharks||v||Kings||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|21 May 2016||Bulls||v||Stormers||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Highlanders, Hurricanes|
|27 May 2016||Hurricanes||v||Highlanders||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|27 May 2016||Waratahs||v||Chiefs||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|27 May 2016||Kings||v||Jaguares||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|28 May 2016||Blues||v||Crusaders||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|28 May 2016||Brumbies||v||Sunwolves||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|28 May 2016||Stormers||v||Cheetahs||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|28 May 2016||Bulls||v||Lions||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|29 May 2016||Rebels||v||Force||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|Bye/s: Reds, Sharks|
|1 July 2016||Chiefs||v||Crusaders||ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji||[show]|
|1 July 2016||Brumbies||v||Reds||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Sunwolves||v||Waratahs||Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Hurricanes||v||Blues||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Rebels||v||Stormers||AAMI Park, Melbourne||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Cheetahs||v||Force||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Kings||v||Highlanders||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Lions||v||Sharks||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|2 July 2016||Jaguares||v||Bulls||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|8 July 2016||Blues||v||Brumbies||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|8 July 2016||Reds||v||Chiefs||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|8 July 2016||Lions||v||Kings||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Crusaders||v||Rebels||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Waratahs||v||Hurricanes||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Force||v||Stormers||nib Stadium, Perth||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Bulls||v||Sunwolves||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Sharks||v||Cheetahs||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|9 July 2016||Jaguares||v||Highlanders||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|15 July 2016||Blues||v||Waratahs||Eden Park, Auckland||[show]|
|15 July 2016||Reds||v||Rebels||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||[show]|
|15 July 2016||Sharks||v||Sunwolves||Kings Park Stadium, Durban||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Crusaders||v||Hurricanes||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Highlanders||v||Chiefs||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Brumbies||v||Force||GIO Stadium, Canberra||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Stormers||v||Kings||DHL Newlands, Cape Town||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Cheetahs||v||Bulls||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||[show]|
|16 July 2016||Jaguares||v||Lions||José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires||[show]|
|22/23 July 2016||Team 1||v||Team 8||[show]|
|22/23 July 2016||Team 2||v||Team 7||[show]|
|22/23 July 2016||Team 3||v||Team 6||[show]|
|22/23 July 2016||Team 4||v||Team 5||[show]|
|29/30 July 2016||First-seeded Quarter Final winner||v||Fourth-seeded Quarter Final winner||[show]|
|29/30 July 2016||Second-seeded Quarter Final winner||v||Third-seeded Quarter Final winner||[show]|
|6 August 2016||Higher ranked Semi-Final winner||v||Lower ranked Semi-Final winner||[show]|
The schedule and conference groups care of Wikipedia.com
The Springboks came back from 28-16 down with 20 minutes to go to win 33-31 against Argentina on Saturday in Salta. This was mainly due to the impact the bench made late in the game. Many hailed it to be a well deserved win by the Springboks.
Although we all know that it is not easy to go to Argentina and just came back with a win, especially these days, it was still a closer game than the Springboks expected. Overall the Springboks have won 18 tests against Los Pumas and one test was drawn. This is at an average of 39-19. That puts the 33-31 score a bit more into perspective.
As captain, Jean de Villiers put it:
“I’ve said it before, but I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows, and they showed it again today,” said De Villiers after the match.
“We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”
He went on to praise the effort of the bench:
“That is not saying that the players who started did badly, but our bench, whom we see as impact players rather than replacements, certainly made an impact today and that is probably where the difference was.”
Heyneke Meyer added to this:
“All credit to Argentina though – they’ve been together for a month and you could see that today as they played some great rugby,” said Meyer.
“We don’t want to say every week that we’ve shown great character, but we’ve now won nine out of our last 10 away games and I think the guys have shown that they know how to win.
“At one stage, we were down and out and the team came back. We know there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but we’re still in this competition.”
The Springboks next faces Australia and then New Zealand away from home. They will then return to play the same teams in South Africa. As it stands the Springboks top the log by 1 point from New Zealand.
They will have a lot of work to do before the next leg of the Rugby Championship. One of these being the scrums where the Springboks were decimated two weeks in a row. Wales also out scrummed them earlier this year.
The Springboks arrived in Buenos Aires after 22 hours of travelling via Sao Paulo in Brazil. They left on Sunday night after beating Los Pumas on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in the worse condition possible.
Meyer called on the Boks to make a step up after what many called a lacklustre performance.
“It was a tough start in difficult conditions for both teams, but we simply have to execute better this weekend in Salta,” said Meyer upon the team’s arrival in the Argentinean capital.
“We have first-hand experience on how tough it is over here from our last two visits to Argentina. They are a very proud rugby nation and have improved immensely over the last number of years.
“The players know they have to be 100% sharp and focused when we hit the training field this week. It’s a great challenge to improve on our results here from 2012 and 2013, but we have to be at our best.”
The team will have a light session on Tuesday while the medical staff sort out the bumps and bruises of the past weekend. Warren Whitely has joined the team. The Xerox Golden Lions Captain replaced Willem Alberts and flew out with the squad from OR Tambo.
The Qantas Wallabies have announced an unchanged 23-man line-up for Saturday night’s second Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Auckland.
Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has remained consistent with his selections by giving those who participated in the 12-all draw in Sydney at the weekend an opportunity to topple the All Blacks at their spiritual home, Eden Park.
“We were impressed with the pressure we were able to apply in the opening Test and, despite some errors, were pleased with the intent of the group to continue attacking despite the poor weather conditions,” McKenzie said.
“I imagine both teams are excited by the prospect of a dry evening in Auckland on Saturday night, which will have an influence on the way the game is played.
“For us, we know we need to be more clinical in certain areas, but overall we feel the same group of guys deserve the opportunity to have another crack.
“Selection is never easy, although we’ve made a lot of tough decisions in this space over the past 12 months with the ultimate goal of winning games. You’re always looking to improve and I’m confident the sum of those hard choices has put us in a better position today.
“While we didn’t quite get there on Saturday night, I do know that we’ve made good progress since our first Test against New Zealand a year ago.
“That gives us some confidence heading into what will be an extremely tough challenge in Auckland on Saturday night.”
After a draw ended New Zealand’s 17-game win streak at the weekend, the Qantas Wallabies will now turn their attention to one of Rugby’s great challenges, playing the All Blacks at Eden Park.
Australia has not won at the venue since 1986, while the All Blacks have won 32 straight games at Eden Park against all opposition dating back to 1994.
However, McKenzie said his players wouldn’t be daunted by the Eden Park history.
“Recent results would suggest Eden Park hasn’t been a happy place for Australia and already this week we’ve seen that not many people are giving us a chance in Auckland,” he said.
“Sporting records are there to be broken and we’ll look forward to the opportunity of playing the All Blacks in their own backyard on Saturday night.”
The Qantas Wallabies side to play New Zealand in the second 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash at Eden Park on Saturday 23 August is:
- James Slipper (vc – Queensland Reds)
- Nathan Charles (Western Force)
- Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
- Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies)
- Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
- Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
- Michael Hooper (c – NSW Waratahs)
- Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
- Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
- Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)
- Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)
- Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
- Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc – NSW Waratahs)
- Pat McCabe (ACT Brumbies)
- Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
Reserves 16. James Hanson (Queensland Reds) 17. Pek Cowan (Western Force) 18. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies) 19. Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs) 20. Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels) 21. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs) 22. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs) 23. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)
24th man – Ben McCalman (Western Force)
The Incoming Tours from Europe is less than a week away and we are all set to watch some Test rugby. A welcome relieve from the ongoing Vodacom Super Rugby series still being played here in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Springboks, All Blacks and Walabies all have one thing in common with the upcoming test matches: Injuries and player management. Hence the question: “Is Super Rugby weakening Test Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere?”
Heyneke Meyer named his squad of 34 players and some notable names were missing from this sqaud. JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Schalk Burger, Lionel Mapoe, Akona Ndungane, all suffering from injury or being over played. His first choice hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, has not played at top level this season and second choice, Adriaan Strauss, has played 13 games with only a one week break.
Steve Hansen is sitting with the same problem. Same Whitelock (finger), Charlie Faumuina (calf) and Cory Jane (knee) is unavailable for selection. Add to this some stars that have not missed a game for their franchises and it looks like a depleted team will face France.
Australia suffered another set back at lock and there is once again mention made of a recall from retirement for Nathan Sharp. Although that is unconfirmed. But they have as many injury problems as the rest and they are facing the British & Irish Lions.
Right after the Super Rugby competition concludes it is straight into the Rugby Championship and 6 hard tests for each team. Yes it is building rugby in the region, but only Argentina is benefiting from it as they have a much easier work load. Come the year-end tours some of the best players are either injured or just plainly overplayed.
The Northern Hemisphere have their Heineken Cup, domestic competitions and the like but they play at least 5-8 games less per team each season. This makes one think about the question again.
True, Vodacom Super Rugby is bringing in big money and we are seeing some of the World’s best players competing every week, but it must be time that SANZAR realises that the current format is just not sustainable. They need to reduce the number of games played if the want to keep the players fit and available for Test rugby. That is after all what it is all about.
follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter
A schoolboy from Noord-Kaap High School got a 80 week ban for punching and then head butting a player from Waterkloof High School. News 24 reported the incident as follows:
“A schools rugby player from Noord-Kaap High School has been banned from playing rugby for 80 weeks for foul play.
According to a report on the Beeld website, 18-year-old Luaan Dowie, who plays flank for his school’s first team, will only be allowed to play rugby again in 2015 after punching a player from Waterkloof High School before also head-butting him.
The incident occurred two weeks ago when the schools clashed in Kimberley.
Arni van Rooyen, CEO of the Griqualand West Rugby Union, said the ban will send “a very strong message out that foul play like that won’t be tolerated”.
Juandré de Beer, Waterkloof’s lock who suffered the attack, said the punishment is harsh but “one has to think twice before committing foul play”.
De Beer described the incident: “It was early in the game. There was a ruck and I had to clean out the player (Dowie). When I turned around he pulled me back. I fell on my back.
“My hand scraped him during the fall. Then I felt a punch in the face. I stayed on the ground. He received a red card.
“Then he approached me again. I only saw him out the corner of my eye when the first aid people were already attending to me. He head-butted me on my lip and I fell. There were more punches, but I just held on to my head and closed my eyes.
“My head hurt and my lip was split open, but I played on. You always expect a tough game.”
Dowie reportedly head-butted De Beer while the referee put the red card back in his sock. He claimed De Beer provoked him by poking him in the eye.
Hats off to Griqualand West Rugby Union for taking such a strong stand against foul play. The problem is however that this is not followed through at higher levels in rugby.
Had this happened between two club, provincial or international players, the ban would probably have 6-12 weeks. This is were the problem is lying. It is like arresting a small time drug dealer and sending him to jail for life. Yes it stops him from doing it again and maybe even stop a couple small timers from starting to deal. It does however not stop the drugs from being produced and distributed.
If this type of ban gets handed down for foul play at international and provincial level it sends out a stronger and clearer message. It says rugby is serious about foul play. Schoolboys watch their heroes play and get away with foul play. Bans of a week or two handed down and they think it is ok. Sure the youngsters will now think twice but does it really stop them? Two years from now most school kids will not remember this, because it was an unknown player. They will however remember it if it was a Bakkie Botha or Eben Etzebeth.
A fit punishment for the crime but this should be carried through to a high level.
follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter
I hope the whole bunch of you are happy with what your referees are doinbg to the state of rugby, while you sit back and do nothing. It is a crying shame the way you handle issues surrounding them.
The Stormers gets slapped with a nice big fine of ZAR 230,000 becuase they insulted an incompetent match official. Yes I agree they were in the wrong to do it, but have you guys really thought why they did it? Week in and week out I sit and watch super rugby and other rugby games. Every week there is at least one game with a referee that doesn’t know his head from his backside. Making calls and costing teams games. Every now and again a guy like you, Lyndon Bray, will come out and say it was a mistake. Yet the same referees still officiate matches.
Now I have come to referees defence time and time again. Saying that they are only human and that they get blamed to much for teams losing games. No more. Not after the pathetic display earlier today by Mr Fraser and his fellow officials in the game between the Stormers and Rebels.
It is time referees get called out by the coaches and players for the mistakes they make and that they start paying fines and get banned from officiating for these blatant errors. You should take a stand and do it very quickly. The time is going to come when teams are going to sit down on fields of play if a referee is officiating, because he is incompetent.
Get your heads out of the sand or what ever dark place it is up and realise that the referees are bringing the game into disrepute more than the teams themselves. They are creating an environment where fans are going to rebel and take to the field like one Piet van Zyl did. And it will become ugly.
I mean how do you miss a knock on in slow motion replay? And to then award a penalty try when only a probability existed for a try to be scored? The laws are clear a certain try must be prevented before a penalty try can be given. The same with the earlier penalty when Woodward kicked for touch from the tee. It is clear according to your laws that this can’t happen. A scrum being the end result. Not a retake of the kick. At least Fraser didn’t give him the full minute to retake it. Still it cost the Stormers 3 points.
This brings the next thought to mind: Was the game fixed? Well looking at it this is what most people would asked. Had it been a cricket match an investigation would be ongoing by now. The same as the incident in the quarter-final between the Springboks and Wallabies in the 2011 World Cup. That referee got awarded “Referee of the year” in 2011 by New Zealand. Yet he was hopeless. Makes one think doesn’t it.
To be honest my 7 year old daughter nows more about the laws of rugby than some of your officials.
follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter
The Stormers lost to the Rebels in the most bizarre and controversial manner any side could. The Referee and TMO should probably have gotten the “Man of the Match” award as they had more influence on the game than should be the case.
Mike Fraser made more mistakes in the game than Julius Malema made in his woodwork exams. Communication skills is also not something that Mr Fraser is apparently very adapt too. At one point the Stormers asked him if the ball was taken back twice before kicking the ball directly into touch. It was deemed to have been taken back by Fraser, yet he never answered the players. His response when questioned on the awarding of the line-out: “I didn’t say anything.” Yip you didn’t.
Next came a cheeky little play by the Rebels. On being awarded a kickable penalty, they indicated they were going for posts. The kicking tee arrived and the ball was set up. The Stormers huddled together as the kick was to be taken. Jason Woodward saw a gap and kicked the ball from the tee across field towards the touchline for one of his players to chase and score. Mr Fraser correctly stopped the play, but then went on to give Woodward a second attempt at post. His reasoning was that you must make a genuine attempt at goal whenm kicking from the tee. Problem is the laws (law 21.4d) clearly states that that you can’t kick at touch from the tee. A scrum to be awarded to the defending team. Oops. That cost the Stormers 3 points.
The shocker of shockers came with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. After a couple of kicks on a lose ball Martin Bezuidenhout got hold of the ball. He got tackled at the same time and the ball knocked from his hands. A knock-on according to the laws. The ball got kicked through by a Rebels player. Bezuidenhout did hold on to his jersey, but Habana was flying through in defence. Fraser referred it to the TMO. The poor sod must have forgotten his glasses at home as he missed the knock on. He ruled that the player was held back, justly so. He went further to say that there was a probability, key word being probabilty, that a try would have been scored. A penalty try and yellow card to ensue. Now last I checked a penalty try should only be awarded when it is clear that a try would be scored. Not if a probability exists but when certain. Fraser, the on field referee, had the last say, but still went with the call even though he looked confused with the call.
The Stormers ended up losing by 9 points after the Rebels had been given 10 by the referee and his fellow match officials. True the Stormers did elect not to go for posts on 3 occasions which could have seen them draw the game. Silly by them, yes, but not as silly as the calls from the referees. You know the referee is bad when the Australian commentators makes mention of his errors against a South African team.
All of this came after the Stormers were handed a nice big, fat fine by SANZAR for bringing the game into disrepute and calling the match official incompetent during their clash against the Hurricanes four weeks ago. Another game where Steve Walsh and his fellow officials were not at their best. Hopefully SANZAR. Will use this money to educate their referees on the laws of the game as well as the application of the laws.
I will however put my money on the fact that Lyndon Bray will come out on Monday and apologise for the mistake and that will be the end of it. That is if we are lucky.
Rebels 30 – Tries: Scott Higginbotham, Hugh Pyle, penalty try. Conversions: Jason Woodward (3). Penalties: Woodward (3).
Stormers 21 – Tries: Louis Schreuder, Bryan Habana, Andries Bekker. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3).
follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter
With only the Kings having a bye this weekend we are in for 7 games of Super Rugby once again. The question this week is who is going to win? Will it be the Stormers and the Sharks or will the Rebels and Force record wins over them? True there are some other great match ups but these two games have made the news a bit more due to the South African teams struggles of late.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
This game is not as predictable as many would think. To me it is as predictable as Cape Town weather. The Hurricanes have shown that they are up for it against some of the better teams this season. The Chiefs are still not at top form and that is what might sink them. It will be a good game to watch if you can. If not catch the highlights later.
Prediction: Chiefs by 5
Rebels v Stormers
Seven changes to the Stormers team while the Rebels are looking the part. As a Stormers supporter I truly hope this weekend will be the one. Tthe Rebels have been unlucky in a couple of games while the Stormers can say the same. Question remains will defence be better than attack this weekend or will we see both sides playing open rugby. If that happens I have to give it to the Stormers.
Prediction: Stormers by a hair.
Force v Sharks
Is there a rift in the Sharks team? They say not and I believe them. That they have more problems than Zuma has wifes is apparent. The force is however in my view not the team to exploit it. The Sharks will rally like a Cosatu march and probably win by a country mile.
Prediction: Sharks by 10
Crusaders v Blues
A classic New Zealand clash. Both sides fighting for a place in the top 6. And if they are lucky a conference win is still on the cards. The Crusaders must be favourites although the Blues are not far behind them.
Prediction: Crusaders by 7
Waratahs v Brumbies
The Waratahs are on a role but Jake’s boys top the log. This game will be one of pride. Australian derby at its best so don’t expect to many tries. Still will be interesting to watch.
Prediction: Brumbies by less than 7
Bulls v Highlanders
Easy pick this one and I never thought I’d say this, but go the Bulls. The Highlanders are struggling and a win by the Bulls will see the Kings stay clear of the wooden spoon. Hopefully the Bulls keep on running the ball and not kicking it.
Prediction: Bulls by 20
Cheetahs v Reds
The Cheetahs will need to play 80 minutes of rugby and improve on the last 10 minutes of their last game. The Reds are out to prove a point and want the top spot back. This will be a game of the Reds kickers against the Cheetahs runners at the back. My money will go on the running game.
Prediction: Cheetahs by 10
follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter