Dead eye dick, Morné Steyn joins Bryan Habana as the latest South African to reach 100 Super Rugby appearances. According to SARU, Steyn reaches the century a week after Habana made it to a century of caps in Cape Town last Saturday evening. But a few chirps on Twitter are suggesting that this weekend is indeed the Cape flyer’s 100th Super Rugby game …
Either way, it’s a pretty good effort from both Boks, given that only 11 South Africans and 54 players in total have reached the magical mark.
Steyn also holds the record for the most points by a South African in Super Rugby with 1,134 points. He is second on the list of all time points’ scorers behind Dan Carter (1,289), who is back at 10 this weekend …
OK, enough gay banter … Time for those pesky predictions …
FRIDAY, MAY 18
Hurricanes v Brumbies, Wellington – 09:35
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
AR: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Brumbies off a bye and a solid hammering of the Tahs, Canes at home after getting past the high riding Highlanders … Jake White’s Brumbies are without doubt the real deal this year, and are playing proper “Wen-Rugby” as those of us Saffers up North like to call it. Canes on the other hand, are probably the most exciting team in the tournament this year, and could beat any time on their day. Inconsistency, as has been the case forever, is their Achilles heel. But going with the home side here …
My prediction: Canes by 3
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 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 Reg Goodes
Bench: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Jayden Hayward
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen (captain), 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander
Bench: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Ita Vaea, 20 Nic White, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Tevita Kuridrani
SATURDAY, MAY 19
Highlanders v Bulls, Dunedin – 07:30
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)
AR: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Matthew Muir (New Zealand)
Bulls got out of jail last weekend while Landers will be smarting after their loss to the Canes. Third week on tour for the Men in Pink, and either they are gelling as a team or aching to get back to the wife’s waterblommetjie breedie. Steyn never ever misses these days and that is a massive plus factor for them. Olivier back at centre with Sadie, and Potgieter back on the side of the scrum. Itching to go or slightly ring rusty? I am going with the latter …
My prediction: Highlanders by 5
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Siale Piutau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Bench: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Hoani MacDonald/Josh Bekhuis, 19 Scott Fuglistaller, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Chris Noakes, 22 Kenny Lynn.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht
Crusaders v Blues, Christchurch – 09:35
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
AR: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Jonathon White (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Carter back at ten, McCaw building in confidence, Blues having their worst season in history. No brainer? Not so fast, Luke. Blues got past the inept Lions last week and that might be just what they need to trigger a revival. This while the Saders gave up a lead against the Rabble, and lost! I still think the Saders will be too good, but not as big a given as one might think. Fruean (not selected for the All Black squad) vs Nonu (selected) will be properly spicy …
My prediction: Crusaders by 7
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Bench: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall.
Blues: 15 Hadleigh Parkes, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Benson Stanley, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Luke Braid (c), 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Tevita Mailau, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Bench: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Sherwin Stowers.
Reds v Lions, Brisbane – 11:40
Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
AR: Angus Gardner (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Lesczcynski (Australia)
Enter stage right, Quade Cooper … Exit stage left, the inept Lions …
My prediction: Reds by 19
Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes
Bench: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Eddie Quirk, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Chris F’sautia, 22 Luke Morahan
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ Van der Linde, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana
Cheetahs v Sharks, Bloemfontein – 17:05
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
AR: Rasta Rashivenga (South Africa), Tiaan Jonker (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)
Just add dynamite! Cheetahs off a very good second half against the Stormers, Sharks off a rampage against the Force. Players playing for a spot in the Bok side, with Adriaan Strauss vs Bismark du Plessis being perhaps the pick of the one on one’s – well in Heyneke Meyer’s eyes at least. Ebersohn vs Whitehead, Coenie vs Jannie, and Brussow vs Coetzee and Botes will be the head to head’s that get my Black label flowing. Odds on a few flare ups like we saw at Newlands? Guaranteed!
My prediction: Sharks by 7
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brussouw, 5 George Earle, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Bench: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Philip Snyman
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Willem Alberts, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Meyer Bosman
Stormers v Waratahs, Cape Town – 19:10
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
AR: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
Tahs fresh of a an implosion against the Bulls, while the Stormers will be doubting themselves after that dreadful second half against the Cheetahs, and the loss of their 4th 8th man to a knee injury. Enter the Canadian journeyman that is Jebb Sinclair, a man who got lost on the way to Newlands during the week. Ashley-Cooper is back at centre for the Tahs, while Barnes is doing the business at flyhalf – a very direct player that could get into the Stormers face’s. Going with the home side, but would not be surprised to see Tahs take this …
My prediction: Stormers by 3
Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Jebb Sinclair, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Don Armand, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Gerhard van den Heever
Waratahs: 15. Bernard Foley, 14. Tom Kingston, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 11. Atieli Pakalani, 10. Berrick Barnes, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8. Dave Dennis, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Rocky Elsom (c), 5. Sitaleki Timani, 4. Dean Mumm, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. John Ulugia/Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson
Bench: 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Kane Douglas, 19. Jono Jenkins, 20. Wycliff Palu, 21. Sarel Pretorius, 22. Daniel Halangahu
SUNDAY, MAY 20
Force v Rebels, Perth – 08:35
Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
AR: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina), Johan Hoffman (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
My oath, do we really deserve this? At least the pool will get cleaned and the lawn will be mown this weekend …
My prediction: Rebels by 5
Force: 15 Dave Harvey, 14 Sam Wara, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Bench: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Lachlan McCaffrey, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Alfie Mafi.
Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Tim Davidson, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Bench: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Hugh Perrett, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock.
Look, that is a Saturday of rugby viewing that will be tough to get past even the most forgiving woman in our lives … Might just have to pick your battle, perhaps giving the Lions a miss, or at least catching that on the gym bike while you pick up valuable brownie points as the lightie catches CBeebies in V-Club …
Adding spice to an already crowded Saturday is the Heineken Cup final … 18h00 at Twickenham – Leinster vs Ulster!