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A CRACKING START TO SUPER RUGBY 2016 AS THE STORMERS STEAL THE SHOW

The first weekend of Super Rugby 2016 has come and gone quicker than my salary. A good weekend of rugby it was though. High paced and electrifying rugby was seen. Only three really big victories and 4 games that could have gone either way. Any rugby lover would be happy with the rugby they saw.

The Blues beat the Highlanders but as predicted this one went down to the wire. The Highlanders will kick themselves for the yellow card they received. This probably made the difference in the game. Both sides struggled with kicking at goal. Blues 33-31 Highlanders.

The Hurricanes will look back at the Brumbies game and wonder what happened. Yes they missed a kick or two, but the Brumbies out played them. Even when the Brumbies were down to 14 men, and this happened twice, the Hurricanes didn’t look like they could buy a try. Brumbies 52-10 Hurricanes.

The Cheetahs once again showed us how you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Leading 24-3 at one stage, they still managed to lose. True the Jaguars played with 13 men when the Cheetahs scored their tries. Still one would think that when you have a 21 point lead you can build on that. Hats off however to the Jaguars that stuck to their guns. They did not allow the scoreboard to put pressure on them and though before the break. A well-deserved win by the new kids on the block. Cheetahs 33-34 Jaguars.

The Lions travelled to Tokyo and although the Sunwolves had 4 world cup players in their team, the Lions were not overwhelmed at all. The Wolves played good rugby and the Lions did not have it all their own way. Both teams a gain missed crucial kicks at goal. Still it was a good show of running rugby. Sunwolves 13-26 Lions. Both sides still have some work to do going forward.

The Crusaders missed Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. Although they led the game for most of 65 minutes it was the last 15 minutes that mattered. The Chiefs came back and scored two late tries giving them a victory. Missed kicks at goal could have made the result much different but only that it would have given the Chiefs a bigger winning margin. Crusaders 21 -27 Chiefs.

The Waratahs versus Reds game was true to form. Both of these sides can be contenders in Australia and it is always a hard game. The Waratahs made sure of the win in the first half and the Reds were always going to struggle to come back. The fact that they got two yellow cards didn’t help them much. Waratahs 30-10 Reds.

The Force v Rebels game remained true to history. The away side winning although this time it was with a slightly bigger margin than what we have come to expect between these two sides. The Force will rue the mistakes made on the attack as this gave the Rebels just what they needed. In the end a good old contest between two equally strong sides. Force 19-25 Rebels.

The Kings started well but then they just fizzled out against the Sharks. The Sharks were always going to win this one, but I expected much more of a fight from the Kings. The off the field woes of the Eastern Cape side has carried over on to the field. The Sharks can also not read too much into the victory taking into account the opponents. Hopefully the Kings can sort out their problems and rather sooner than later or it will be a long season for them. Kings 8-43 Sharks.

The game of the weekend was the Stormers versus Bulls game and the first half lived up to expectations with the home side leading only 9-6. The second half however was a totally different ball game. The Stormers came out with a vengeance and it showed. The play of the weekend being the driving maul from their own 22. It looked like a freight train without brakes and the Bulls could only look on as it stormed forward. At one stage it looked like the Bulls players falling back was helping the maul move towards their own tryline. The Stormers will be happy with their performance while the Bulls can’t take a lot of positives from the game. Stormers 33-9 Bulls.

SUPER RUGBY 2016 ABOUT TO KICK-OFF

The coming weekend sees the kick-off of Super Rugby 2016. A lot has been said and written about the new format and two debutant teams. Pre-season games have been played and many have read into this and what we can expect for the season to come. However until the first weekend is over we will not truly know where the teams stand. Here is a look at what the weekend holds in store for us.

The Blues will take on the highlanders in the opening game of the season. This is always a good game to watch as both teams can rate themselves as contenders for the number 1 spot in the New Zealand conference. The last couple of seasons however both of these sides struggled in the first couple of weeks. Expect some good running rugby. The Blues to take this one purely because they have the home ground advantage. Kick-off at 8h35 SA time at Eden Park.

The Brumbies will then take on the Hurricanes at the GIO Stadium at 10h45 SA time. This is another good match up with two of Australia’s top 3 teams playing against each other. The Hurricanes have never really lived up to their potential in the past, but they have been known to make the front runners stumble. The Brumbies is always a side to watch. Again I will give this to the Brumbies due to the home ground advantage, but they will have to counter the Hurricanes up front. If not they will struggle to win.

One of the games that will have most neutrals pinned to their seats will be the Cheetahs vs Jaguars game. Purely because everyone will want to see what the Jaguars are going to bring to the table. This game should be filled with fast paced action and a lot of running. However the scrum and rolling maul will play a big part as well. That is if the Jaguars will stick to the tried and tested Argentinian style of rugby. Most will give this game to the Cheetahs. But to be honest I see the Jaguars winning this one. This is the perfect game to finish off Friday’s action. Kick-off at 19h00 in Bloemfontein.

Saturday will see an early start for Lions fans. The Sunwolves host the Lions in Tokyo with kick-off at 6h15. This will have many neutrals up early as well. The Lions did not have the best of warmup games but I will not read too much into that. The Sunwolves are an unknown factor. Still if the Lions stick to what they do best, running the ball and using the forwards to get quick ball, they should win this one. Then again we all know what Japan did against the Springboks in the World Cup. I am hoping to see fast running rugby in this game.

The Crusaders and Chiefs game is one of the two games of the weekend for me. The Crusaders has lost some key players and this might impact on them in a negative way. The Chiefs, as we all know, are one of those teams that can have a brilliant game one week and the next look like they have not played together in months. This game will see some good running rugby with hard tackles and lots of turnover ball. This is another game where I am going against the main stream and pick the Chiefs to win.

In Australia the Waratahs and Reds will take each other one. Easy pick is the Waratahs to win. I just can’t see the Reds winning this one. Then we also have the Force and Rebels taking each other on. If history serves t be right the Rebels will win as they are playing away from home.

The Kings vs Sharks game should be an easy pick, but both sides have been going through some of the field issues. The Sharks struggled of last season and unless there has been a monumental mind shift in the squad i don’t believe that it has changed. Management and players are essentially the same. The Kings are in financial crisis and players are begging to get paid. This can’t be good for them either. Still the Sharks should win this one.

The Game of the weekend will end of the action on Saturday. The Stormers take on the Bulls. This is never a high scoring game and kicking should play a big part in the outcome. Still running rugby is always on the cards. The Stormers are under a caretaker coach of sorts and the Bulls have their tails up after some good warmup results. The game however is played at Newlands and it has become extremely difficult to beat the Cape side at home in recent seasons. The Stormers should win this by a slim margin.

Kings’ Super Rugby honeymoon over

The Waratahs signalled the end of the Kings’ Super rugby Honeymoon when they beat them 10-72 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night. They totally outplayed the Eastern Cape side and showed no mercy.

The first try came within the first minute and by the 20th they had secured a bonus point. To say the least it was one way traffic from the get go. Sergeal Peterson did score a brilliant individual try for the Kings, but when you are 46-10 by halftime you know it is all over and can only do damage control.

The Waratahs scored 11 tries and recorded the 3rd highest points difference win in Super Rugby history. The Supersport commentators tried their best to look for positives in the Kings play, but there were very few of these.

The Kings have put some brilliant performances in the first couple of rounds in their inaugural season. Their two wins and draw against the Brumbies were outstanding, but the cracks started to show against the Bulls. The season started to take its toll on an inexperienced side that needs to still build depth.

That they are playing with heart and determination can’t be taken away from the Kings, but they should realise that things won’t be getting any easier from here on in. In fact it will get more and more difficult. Still don’t just write them off because they will give a couple of teams a run for their money.

The fact is the honeymoon is over no matter which way you look at it.

SCORERS
Kings 10 – Try:
Sergeal Petersen. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty: Catrakilis.
Waratahs 72 – Tries: Cam Crawford (3), Israel Folau, Kane Douglas, Michael Hooper, Peter Betham (2), David Dennis, Ben Volavola, Tom Kingston. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (5), Matt Lucas (2). Penalty: McKibbin

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Waratahs steal late win against Chiefs

The Waratahs beat the Chiefs 25-20 after a late try by John Ulugia. The Waratahs probably deserved the win after leading the game for 77 minutes before the Chiefs scored what looked like the winning try.

The first half belonged to the Waratahs as they opened up a 15-0 lead by the break. A 3rd minute McKibben penalty gave them the lead that they would only relinquish in the 77th minute and regain moments later. Cam Crawford scored his debut try to take the score to 8-0 as McKibben missed the conversion, before Folua went over to make it 15-0.

What ever was said to the Chiefs at the break worked as they came back into the game and soon Anscombe opened their account with a converted try. It was in a period when the Waratahs played with 14 men as Timani was yellow carded for dangerous play. McKibben landed a penalty to extend the lead back to 11 points. But two Anscombe penalties and a converted try by Tameifuna gave the chiefs what looked like victory in the 77th minute.

The Waratahs mounted a fight back and soon were in the Chiefs 22m area. Quick ball and some good running saw Ulugia go over for the winning try. Chiefs fans will probably say there was obstruction and looking at the replays it sure looks like it. The referee however disagreed and the try will stand.

SCORERS

Waratahs 25– Tries: Cam Crawford, Israel Folau, John Ulugia. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (2). Penalties: McKibbin (2).
Chiefs 20 – Tries: Gareth Anscombe, Ben Tameifuna. Conversions: Anscombe (2). Penalties: Anscombe (2).

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Waratahs get over their Blues

The Waratahs came back from 24-10 down to win their first game in 4 outings. They beat the Blues 30-27 in a game which saw both sides score 3 tries.

The Blues opened the scoring through a penalty, before the Waratahs hit back with a try. The Blues then took control scoring three tries before the break. It looked like the Waratahs would be in for yet another long afternoon and hugh defeat. What ever the coach said at the break sure worked.

The Waratahs came back after the break and run in two tries to pull the scores level. The Blues then scored their only points for the half, taking back the lead. Penalty mistakes however cost them as the Waratahs landed two penalties to secure the win.

The captains had this to say after the game:

“Individually, we probably made too many mistake and weren’t able to apply any pressure,” said Blues skipper Ali Williams. “It is what it is and we’ll just go back to the drawing board.”

“The second half was excellent, they are a good side and that’s a good win for this group,” said Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis. “It’s all about working for each other and we showed that today so I’m really happy.”

SCORERS
Waratahs 30 – Tries:
Drew Mitchell, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin, Foley (2). Penalties: McKibbin, Foley (2).
Blues 27 – Tries: James Parsons, Chris Noakes, Charles Piutau. Conversions: Noakes (3). Penalties: Noakes (2).

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Cheetahs steal close one in Sydney

Central Cheetahs

The Cheetahs has done it. They beat the Waratahs 26-27 to ma it two wins in a row on tour for what can be their best performance in Australasia since their inclusion in SupeRugby. The Waratahs are left with a bonus point and heart ache as they came very close to beating the Cheetahs, but in the end they were just not good enough.

The Cheetahs started the game with a brilliant worked try by Robert Ebersohn but then they allowed the Waratahs back into the game. Two penalties by McKibben gave the hosts the lead. Sarel Pretorius then scored a try against his team mates of last year and the Cheetahs were back in front. A Betham try saw the Waratahs regain the lead before Goosen kicked a penalty to snatch it back. The Waratahs won a penalty and mcKibben converted it just before the break. This gave the Waratahs a halftime lead for the first time this season. It was also the first time that they could manage to score a try in the first half. Halftime Score 18-17 to the hosts.

The second half was more back and forth with the lead changing hands several times. The Cheetahs scored an converted try through Raymond Rhule that would give them the win. Goosen and McKibben trade penalties prior to this and even a late penalty by McKibben was not enough to secure the Waratahs the win. Both teams can take something from this game but the Cheetahs will take the 4 points.

The Cheetahs looked good on attack and their defence held strong at times. Pernalties conceded specially at the breakdowns will be a concern for the coach and team in a whole. This could have cost them the game had McKibben slotted all hios attempts at goal. Still a strong performance for them to win two in a row on tour.

The Waratahs will kick themselves for not slotting the penalties. They will have to work on their defence around the breakdown as well as the protectionm of the ball in this area. Still a much improved performance from last week when they never looked like scoring a try. Some fans will also wonder why they ever blamed Sarel Pretorius for their poor performance last year. The scrumhalf had them at sixes and sevens most times when he touched the ball for the Cheetahs.

Scorers:

Waratahs: Tries – Betham (2) Conversions – McKibben (2)  Penalties – McKibben (4)

Cheetahs: Tries – Ebersohn, Pretorius, Rhule Conversions – Goosen (2) Penalties – Goosen (3)

SupeRugby Preview R3

SupeRugby 2013 is well on its way and already some teams ate pulling away in their respective confrences. It may still be early days but some teams are already starting to worry as they have not won a game yet. Here is a look at the weekend’s fixtures.

08 Mar 2013

08:35 Hurricanes vs Crusaders Westpac Stadium, Wellington

A nice game to get us started this weekend. Both teams are searching for that first win this season and this will be the game to do it. The Crusaders have only played one game but didn’t look at all the team we are used too. The Hurricanes is a team that can upset big teams if they keep their discipline in check. The key players in this game will be Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett. Either one can win the game for their teams.

Prediction: Crusaders by 7.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 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 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks Substitutes: 16 Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, 17 Ben May, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo

Crusaders:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Adam Whitelock.

10:40 Rebels vs Reds AAMI Park, Melbourne

Another Australian derby but not one that should be to boring. The Rebels have played some good rugby so far this season and the Reds are starting to come into their own. Both teams have the ability and willingness to attack from deep. It will boil down to who has the best defence.

Prediction: Rebels by 6.

Rebels: 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Richard Kingi, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Alex Rokobaro, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson Substitutes: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Rory Sidey, 22 Tom English

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Ed Quirk, 5 Ed O’Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes. Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

09 Mar 2013

08:35 Highlanders vs Cheetahs Rugby Park, Invercargill

This ganme can turn the season for both sides. The Cheetahs will be desperate for a win as will the Highlanders. The Cheetahs showed last week that they can run the ball if their handling improves. Again two teams with good attacking skills, but defenses that are leaking.

Prediction: Highlanders by 10.

Highlanders: TBA

Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 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 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

10:40 Brumbies vs Waratahs Canberra Stadium, Canberra

This might be the boring Australian derby for the weekend. Jake white. Has however done some great work with the Brumbies. They are playing more exciting and attacking rugby. The Waratahs however is still know for their forward approached to the game.

Prediction: Brumbies by 14.

Brumbies: TBA

Waratahs: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson. Substitutes: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Greg Peterson, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Lachie Turner.

17:05 Stormers vs Chiefs
DHL Newlands, Cape Town

This is the game that most people envisioned for last year’s final. The sharks however had other plans. These two teams have met 14 times with the Stormers winning 8. They will also take the home ground advantage into the game. They have not shown the flair and running rugby we are used to from them. Some put this down to the small back three they are playing. Still their defense is one of the best if not the best in SupeRugby. The Chiefs will want to unlock that defense with their strong runners. Their own defense is pretty tight. This will probably be seen by many as the game of the weekend.

Prediction: a hard one to call. I’m going with the Stormers by 6.

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenhage, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever

Chiefs: TBA

19:10 Southern Kings vs Sharks
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

For me this will be the game of the weekend. The Sharks are unbeaten so far this season and they are looking the real deal. They have build on last year’s late resurgence. A team with experience and young raw talent capable of running circles around most teams. Defensively sound and attacking brilliance. The Kings have won their first game with a lot of heart but it was against a Force team that has never really set SupeRugby alight. Still this will be a chance for them to show how good they really are. They will also have a big crowd behind them. A game set for big hits and probably a bit of emotions boiling over at stages. I’m glad I’m not the referee in this one.

Prediction: Sharks by 14 minimum

Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Steven Sykes 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Kevin Buys , 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn (captain), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane

10 Mar 2013

05:05 Blues vs Bulls Eden Park, Auckland

The referees in this game will have to change into white as the Bulls will once again don their pink outfits. They have been looking good this season so far, but their first game on tour will show us how good they really are. Morne steyn seems to have found some form, but again it will be up to him to show it on tour. The Blues started with an impressive win over 8 times champions the Crusaders. They are looking a different team from last year. A great game for an early Sunday morning and to finish the weekend’s action off.

Prediction: Blues by 7-10.

Blues: TBA

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Mornè Mellett. Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jürgen Visser.

The force have a bye this weekend. Enjoy the action and let me know what you think.

SUPER RUGBY 2013: ROUND 2 PREVIEW

2012 Super Rugby season

Last weekend saw the official start of Super Rugby 2013. It was however a weekend that left me with mixed feelings regarding the rugby played. The game between the Rebels and the Force kept me interested as you never knew who would score next or win the game. The Brumbies v Reds game was the normal boring Australian derby. Not much happening and one team doing all the playing. For New Zealand and South African fans Super Rugby only really starts this weekend. And what a line-up of games we have.

Highlanders v Chiefs

The Highlanders will face the defending champions in the weekend’s opening game. This will not be an easy game for the home side but they will be looking for a convincing performance even if they lose. The Highlanders have knocked on the door for a couple of seasons. They will want to make it to the play-offs this season. The Chiefs will look to carry on where they left off last season and keep on winning and staying at the top. They will know that the Highlanders are not an easy team to just beat at home but should have the players and legs to pull it off.

Rebels v Brumbies

The two winning sides from the first round will square of against each other in the first of the Australia Derbies. I’m not expecting much from the game. The Rebels showed some good attacking skills last week, but discipline is still a problem. The Force missed 7 points at goal in that game and at one stage had only 13 men on the field. The Rebels therefore can count themselves lucky that they did win. The Brumbies squandered chances and this might cost them against a more attacking team. There defence however is solid and Jake White’s influence is starting to show. The winner of this game will be well on their way to topping the Australian log for a while.

 Bulls v Stormers

Probably the game of the weekend for Super Rugby fans. This is always a hard game with both teams going all out and not giving an inch. The Bulls had a good run in their warm-up games, but has had a couple of setbacks due to injury. The Stormers lost against the Cheetahs in the warm-ups and they have key personnel out as well. Still this derby is always one to watch even for the neutrals. It will be filled with hard-hitting tackles, good forward play and running rugby. The winner of this game will be eyeing the conference title in South Africa.

Hurricanes v Blues

The Hurricanes showed some promise towards the end of last season and will want to improve. They can be knocking on the door of the top 2 spots in New Zealand. The Blues will want to show that they are on their way back to the top of New Zealand rugby but it will not be easy for either side. Discipline hampered both sides last year as did injuries. Again this can become an interesting game to watch.

Reds v Waratahs

The Reds will want to put last weekend’s loss behind them and come out guns blazing in this encounter. They will have to improve on their goal kicking as this cost them last weekend. They have at least got their first game under the belt and will not be as rusty. The Waratahs will be a bit rusty and this might just count against them. They should however be able to beat the Reds if the Reds play anything like last weekend. In the end it will be another Australian Derby that most people will probably not watch.

Cheetahs v Sharks

The Cheetahs showed in their warm-up games that they have the ability to beat some of the bigger teams. They are however not favourites to win the conference or the title. The Sharks did not really challenge themselves in the warm-up games. This will be the first real test of how good the team is and what we can expect of them during the season.

Kings v Force

This the game that every Lions fan will watch as will most of South Africa. The Kings did not perform well at all in the warm-up games they played, managing to win only 1 game out of 3. Not much is expected of them as this is their first season in Super Rugby and we know that teams normally struggle in their first season. The Kings have however been telling everyone that they will perform better than the Lions and now it is time to put their money where their mouths are. The Force will look back at last week’s loss and know they gave the game away. 3 missed kicks and a lack of discipline cost them. If they can improve on that this should be an away win for them

Whichever team you support, may you have a great weekend of watching rugby.

 

Your Super Rugby squads for 2013

Super Rugby 2013 is set to start on 15 February 2013. All the squads have been finalised and the teams are getting for a long season. Here is the 40-man squads of the various teams.

STORMERS
Props: Deon Carstens, Patric Cilliers, Brok Harris, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe
Hookers: Deon Fourie, Tiaan Liebenberg, Siyabonga Ntubeni
Locks: Andries Bekker, Ruan Botha, Eben Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp
Loose Forwards: Don Armand, Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Michael Rhodes, Duane Vermeulen
Scrum-halves: Dewaldt Duvenage, Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder
Fly-halves: Peter Grant, Elton Jantjies, Gary van Aswegen
Centres: Marcel Brache, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, JP du Plessis
Wingers: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende,
Bryan Habana, Gerhard van den Heever
Fullbacks: Joe Pietersen, Jaco Taute

KINGS
Forwards:
Rynier Bernardo, David Bullbring, Kevin Buys, Cornell du Preez, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jaco Engels, Schalk Ferreira, Hannes Franklin, Ross Geldenhuys, Lizo Gqoboka, Virgil Lacombe, Tomas Leonardi, Bandise Maku, Edgar Marutlulle, Mpho Mbiyozo, Darron Nell, Daniel Adongo, Devin Oosthuizen, Steven Sykes, Wimpie van der Walt, Luke Watson (captain)

Backs:
Demetri Catrakilis, Ronnie Cooke, Wesley Dunlop, Siyanda Grey, Johan Herbst, Michael Killian, SP Marais, Scott Mathie, Waylon Murray, Hadleigh Parkes, Sergeal Petersen, Marcello Sampson, Shakes Soyizwapi, Wayne Stevens, Andries Strauss, Elrich van Vuuren, Shaun Venter, Nicolas Vergallo, George Whitehead

SHARKS
Props: Dale Chadwick, Jannie du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst, Tendai Mtawarira, Julian Redelinghuys
Hookers: Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe, Bismarck du Plessis (vc)
Locks: Anton Bresler, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jandré Marais, Peet Marais, Franco van der Merwe
Loose Forwards: Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel (c), Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Francois Kleinhans, Lubabalo Mtembu
Scrum Halves: Conrad Hoffmann, Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach
Fly Halves: Butch James, Patrick Lambie
Centres: Meyer Bosman, Paul Jordaan, Wandile Mjekevu, François Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Heimar Williams
Wingers: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Sibusiso Sithole
Full Backs: Louis Ludik, Gouws Prinsloo, Riaan Viljoen

CHEETAHS
Props: Lourens Adriaanse, Rossouw de Klerk, Trevor Nyakane, Caylib Oosthuizen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Schalk van der Merwe
Hookers: Ryno Barnes, Hercu Liebenberg, Adriaan Strauss, Torsten van Jaarsveld
Locks: Lodewyk de Jager, Andries Ferreira, Ligtoring Landman, Martin Muller, Francois Uys, Waltie Vermeulen
Loose Forwards: Heinrich Brüssow, Lappies Labuschagné, Boom Prinsloo, Davon Raubenheimer, Marnus Schoeman, Philip van der Walt
Scrum-halves: Tewis de Bruyn, Sarel Pretorius, Piet van Zyl
Fly-halves: Francois Brummer, Johan Goosen, Elgar Watts
Centres: Robert Ebersohn, Joubert Engelbrecht, Barry Geel, JP Nel, Johann Sadie
Wingers: Rayno Benjamin, Jannie Boshoff, Cameron Jacobs, Rocco Jansen, Dusty Noble, Raymond Rhule, Nico Scheepers
Fullbacks: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Riaan Smit

BULLS
Props: Dean Greyling, Frik Kirsten, Werner Kruger, Morné Mellett, Juan Schoeman, Basil Short, Dawie Steyn, Marcel van der Merwe, Hencus van Wyk
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Callie Visagie, Willie Wepener
Locks: Cornell Hess, Juandré Kruger, Marvin Orie, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Flip van der Merwe, Schalk van Heerden, Paul Willemse, Mike Williams
Loose Forwards: Shaun Adendorff, Arno Botha, Jean Cook, Corné Cooper, Jacques du Plessis, Grant Hattingh, Wiaan Liebenberg, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques Potgieter, Pierre Spies (c), Deon Stegmann
Scrum Halves: Francois Hougaard, Lohan Jacobs, Rudy Paige, Ruan Snyman, Jano Vermaak
Fly Halves: Louis Fouché, Tony Jantjies, Handré Pollard, Tiaan Schoeman, Morné Steyn
Centres: Ulrich Beyers, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Wynand Olivier, Jan Serfontein, William Small-Smith, Francois Venter
Wingers: Bjorn Basson, Clayton Blommetjies, JJ Engelbrecht, Travis Ismaiel, Sampie Mastriet, Akona Ndungane
Full Backs: Zane Kirchner, Jesse Kriel, Jürgen Visser

BLUES
Props: Charlie Faumuina, Tom McCartney,
Tim Perry, Angus Ta’avao, Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Hookers: Quentin MacDonald, Keven Mealamu, James Parsons
Locks: Anthony Boric, Liaki Moli, Ronald Raaymakers, Culum Retallick, Ali Williams
Loose Forwards: Kane Barrett, Luke Braid, Steve Luatua, Brendon O’Connor, Peter Saili
Scrum-halves: Jamison Gibson-Park, Bryn Hall, Piri Weepu
Fly-halves: Baden Kerr, Chris Noakes
Centres: Malakai Fekitoa, Francis Saili, Jackson Willison
Wings: Frank Halai, George Moala, Waisake Naholo, Rene Ranger
Fullbacks: Marty McKenzie, Charles Piutau

CRUSADERS
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody
Hookers: Corey Flynn, Ben Funnell, Codie Taylor
Locks: Dominic Bird, Tom Donnelly, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock
Loose Forwards: Shane Christie,Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Jimmy Tupou, George Whitelock, Luke Whitelock
Scrum-halves: Andrew Ellis, Jeremy Su’a, Willi Heinz
Fly-halves: Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Carter, Tom Taylor
Centres: Ryan Crotty, Robbie Fruean, Adam Whitelock
Wings: Zac Guildford, Johnny McNicholl
Fullbacks: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall

CHIEFS
Props: Ben Afeaki, Josh Hohneck, Solomona Sakalia, Toby Smith, Ben Tameifuna
Hookers: Hikawera Elliot, Rhys Marshall, Mahonri Schwalger
Locks: Craig Clarke, Michael Fitzgerald, Romana Graham, Brodie Retallick
Loose Forwards: Sam Cane, Nick Crosswell, Ross Filipo, Tanerau Latimer, Fritz Lee, Liam Messam
Scrum-halves: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Brendon Leonard, Augustine Pulu
Fly-halves: Gareth Anscombe, Aaron Cruden
Centres: Bundee Aki, Richard Kahui, Charlie Ngatai
Wings: Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Patrick Osborne, Asaeli Tikoirotuma
Fullbacks: Andrew Horrell, Robbie Robinson

HIGHLANDERS
Props: Ma’afu Fia, Chris King, Jamie Mackintosh, Tony Woodcock
Hookers: Liam Coltman, Andrew Hore, Brayden Mitchell
Locks: Josh Bekhuis, Jarrad Hoeata, Brad Thorn, Joe Wheeler
Loose Forwards: Tim Boys, Elliot Dixon, John Hardie, Nasi Manu, Jake Paringatai
Scrum-halves: Aaron Smith, Fumiaki Tanaka
Fly-halves: Hayden Parker, Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga
Centres: Phil Burleigh, Tamati Ellison, Jason Emery, Ma’a Nonu, Shaun Treeby
Wings: Hosea Gear, Declan O’Donnell, Kade Poki, Buxton Popoali’i
Fullbacks: Ben Smith

HURRICANES
Props: Ben Franks, Reggie Goodes, Ben May, Eric Sione, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
Hookers: Dane Coles, Motu Matu’u
Locks: James Broadhurst, Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush 
Loose Forwards: Jack Lam, Faifili Levave, Karl Lowe, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Blade Thomson, Victor Vito
Scrum-halves: Samisoni Fisilau, TJ Perenara, Chris Smylie
Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett, James Marshall, Tusi Pisi
Centres: Tim Bateman, Rey Lee-Lo, Conrad Smith
Wings: Cory Jane, Alapati Leiua, Matt Proctor, Julian Savea
Fullbacks: Andre Taylor

BRUMBIES
Props: Ben Alexander, Ruaidhri Murphy, Dan Palmer, Scott Sio
Hookers: Stephen Moore, Siliva Siliva
Locks: Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Etienne Oosthuizen, Leon Power
Loose Forwards: Fotu Auelua, Colby Fainga’a, Peter Kimlin, Ben Mowen, David Pocock, Ita Vaea
Scrum-halves: Ian Prior, Nic White
Fly-halves: Zack Holmes, Christian Lealiifano, Matt Toomua
Centres: Tevita Kuridrani, Pat McCabe, Clyde Rathbone, Andrew Smith
Wings: Tom Cox, Henry Speight, Joseph Tomane
Fullbacks: Robbie Coleman, Jesse Mogg

WARATAHS
Props: Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jeremy Tilse
Hookers: Damien Fitzpatrick, Tatafu Polota-Nau, John Ulugia
Locks: Ollie Atkins, Kane Douglas, Greg Peterson, Sitaleki Timani
Loose Forwards: Mitchell Chapman, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Pat McCutcheon, Wycliff Palu, Lopeti Timani
Scrum-halves: Grayson Hart, Brendan McKibbin
Fly-halves: Berrick Barnes, Bernard Foley
Centres: Tom Carter, Israel Folau, Michael Hodge, Rob Horne
Wingers: Peter Betham, Tom Kingston, Drew Mitchell, Lachlan Turner
Fullbacks: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Cam Crawford

REDS
Props: Ben Daley, Greg Holmes, Jono Owen, James Slipper
Hookers: Albert Anae, Saia Fainga’a, James Hanson
Locks: James Horwill, David McDuling, Rob Simmons, Adam Wallace-Harrison
Loose Forwards: Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, Beau Robinson, Radike Samo, Jake Schatz
Scrum-Halves: Nick Frisby, Will Genia
Fly-Halves: Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas
Centres: Anthony Fainga’a, Michael Harris, Jono Lance, Ben Tapuai, Aidan Toua
Wings: Chris Feauai-Sautia, Digby Ioane, Dom Shipperley
Fullbacks: Rod Davies, Luke Morahan

REBELS
Props: Eddie Aholelei, Paul Alo-Emile, Nic Henderson, Laurie Weeks
Hookers: Ged Robinson, Shota Horie
Locks: James King, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Chris Thomson
Loose Forwards: Tim Davidson, Gareth Delve, Scott Fuglistaller, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Jones, Jarrod Saffy
Scrum-halves: Richard Kingi, Nick Phipps, Nic Stirzaker
Fly-halves: James O’Connor
Centres: Mitch Inman, Lachlan Mitchell, Alex Rokobaro, Rory Sidey
Wingers: Kimami Sitauti, Cooper Vuna
Fullbacks: Kurtley Beale, Angus Roberts, Jason Woodward

FORCE
Props: Pekahou Cowan, Tetera Faulkner, Kieran Longbottom, Salesi Ma’afu
Hookers: Nathan Charles, Ben Whittaker
Locks: Phoenix Battye, Toby Lynn, Hugh McMeniman, Sam Wykes
Loose Forwards: Chris Alcock, Richard Brown, Angus Cottrell, Matt Hodgson, Lachlan McCaffrey, Ben McCalman
Scrum-halves: Alby Mathewson, Brett Sheehan
Fly-halves: Sias Ebersohn, Kyle Godwin
Centres: Patrick Dellit, Jayden Hayward, Solomoni Rasolea, Winston Stanley, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Will Tupou
Wingers: Nick Cummins, Alfie Mafi, Ed Stubbs
Fullbacks: Sam Norton-Knight

Super Rugby Week 17 predictions

2012 Super Rugby season

The second last round of the conference stages in Super rugby have arrived and with only 14 games left before the play-offs, things are really heating up with 8 teams still standing a chance of making it. The Chiefs are the only team sure of a place and this leaves 7 teams playing for 5 places. Over and above this there are also still the conference leader spot up for grabs in both South Africa and Australia. The Stormers should however be able to wrap it up this weekend by beating the Cheeatahs it still depends on the Bulls vs Sharks game. In Australia the Brumbies will need a win over the Waratahs to secure them top spot.  This all said and done we have the Hurricanes, Reds and Sharks all on 48 points with the Hurricanes in 6th place. A win for these teams sees them moving up on the over all log and closer to securing a top 6 finish. Well here is a quick look at what i think might happen the weekend. Read the rest of this entry

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