Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Cracker alert …

Tank Lanning

I get the feeling that Super Rugby will ease itself out of it’s post Test match slumber this weekend … There are a few cracker match ups that will go am long way to deciding the playoffs …

Weekend Fixtures:

Friday, July 6, 2012
09:35: Chiefs v Crusaders, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
11:40: Reds v Highlanders, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
19:10: Sharks v Bulls, Kings Park, Durban

Saturday, July 7, 2012
09:35: Blues v Force, Eden Park, Auckland
11:40: Waratahs v Brumbies, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
15:00: Toyota Cheetahs v Stormers, Bloemfontein
17:05: Lions v Rebels, Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg

The log:
Chiefs Pld:14 W:12 Pts:62
Stormers Pld:14 W:12 Pts:58
Brumbies Pld:14 W:9 Pts:54
Bulls Pld:14 W:9 Pts:54
Crusaders Pld:14 W:9 Pts:52
Hurricanes Pld:15 W:9 Pts:49
Reds Pld:14 W:9 Pts:49
Sharks Pld:14 W:8 Pts:49
Highlanders Pld:15 W:9 Pts:45
Cheetahs Pld:14 W:5 Pts:37
Waratahs Pld:14 W:4 Pts:34
Rebels Pld:14 W:4 Pts:29
Force Pld:14 W:3 Pts:27
Blues Pld:14 W:2 Pts:23
Lions Pld:14 W:2 Pts:20

The Chiefs vs Saders, Brumbies vs Reds and Sharks vs Bulls are the obvious crackers, with a multitude of ramifications depending on the results, but it’s that sneaky little visit to Bloem by the low riding and injury ravaged Stormers team that catches the eye for me … Win, and they are in the mix for a top of the podium finish, lose and they could be playing for a spot in the top six in their final match against the Rebels! Especially if all of the Brumbies, Bulls and Saders win their respective matches! And it’s not as if they were massively convincing last weekend against the lowly Lions …
 
Teams announced thus far:

Chiefs: Robbie Robinson, Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Alex Bradley, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Mahonri Schwalger, Sona Taumalolo.
Bench: Hika Elliot, Toby Smith, Romana Graham, Tanerau Latimer, Brendon Leonard, Jackson Willison, Lelia Masaga.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks.
Bench: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Tom Donnelly, Matt Todd, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Sean Maitland.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Francois Venter

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak,9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane

Waratahs: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Bench: 16 Josh Mann-Rae, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Tom Carter, 22 Tom Kingston

Cheetahs: Willie le Roux, Nico Scheepers, Robert Ebersohn, Barry Geel, Cameron Jacobs, Riaan Smit, Pieter van Zyl, Justin Downey, Lappies Labuschagné, Heinrich Brüssow, Izak van der Westhuizen, Andries Ferreira/George Earle, WP Nel, Adriaan Strauss (k), Trevor Nyakane.
Bench: Hercu Liebenberg, Marcel van der Merwe, George Earle/Waltie Vermeulen, Ashley Johnson, Tewis de Bruyn, Sias Ebersohn, Philip Snyman.

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 Rynardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Quinn Roux, 19 Don Armand, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den Heever

Blues: Charles Piutau, Lachie Munro, Francis Saili, Ma’a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Michael Hobbs, Piri Weepu, Luke Braid, Daniel Braid, Steven Luatua, Andrew Van der Heijden, Liaki Moli, Tevita Mailau, Keven Mealamu (capt), Tony Woodcock.
Bench: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta’avao, Chris Lowrey, Peter Saili, Alby Mathewson, Orene Ai’i, Hadleigh Parkes.

Brumbies:
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Dan Palmer
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Peter Kimlin
7. Michael Hooper
8. Ben Mowen
9. Nic White
10. Zack Holmes
11. Jesse Mogg
12. Pat McCabe
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Robbie Coleman
Bench:
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Leon Power
19. Ita Vaea
20. Ian Prior
21. Tevita Kuridrani
22. Cam Crawford

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Siale Piutau, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Jimmy Cowan, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Nick Crosswell, Josh Bekhuis, Ma’afu Fia, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (capt).
Bench: Jason Rutledge, Chris King, Jarrad Hoeata, Tim Boys, Aaron Smith, Chris Noakes, Kenny Lynn.

Spotted on the web …

The Queensland Reds will wear a unique indigenous jersey in Friday night’s must-win match against the Highlanders. It’s been seen in the NRL and the AFL, now it will be worn for the first time in Super Rugby. Unveiled on Monday by artist Stephen Hogarth, the jerseys will also be individually signed and auctioned after the match to raise funds for the Reds’ indigenous program. Hogarth’s artwork, titled ‘You Belong’, represents community, the sharing of knowledge and the development of young leaders.

The Faingaa twins model the jersey

Writing in the NZ Herald, rugby writer Chris Rattue jotted down the following observations that I found of interest, hinting that he and his fellow Kiwis have also now had enough of Bryce’s ineptness …

Cinderella stormed the ball in Christchurch thanks to a nice fairy godmother who looked a lot like referee Bryce Lawrence.

The rise-from-the-ashes Hurricanes caused a gigantic upset by knocking over the heavyweight Crusaders with both teams a little below full strength. What a game, largely because of the shock result. What a result, thanks to the referee and his non-assisting assistants.

But come on troops. The Crusaders were completely dudded on the obstruction front. Neither of the Hurricanes’ two tries, scored by Conrad Smith, were legitimate. Both were Crusaders penalties unawarded. Lawrence either kicked the rule book into touch or was blinded by the Smith halo.

FRANKLY, SOMETHING’S AMISS

Always keeping an eye out for news on the flat eared folk, it was also interesting to note Rattue’s take on the Crusaders handing of the legendary Frank’s brothers …

A baffling thing to my mind is why Todd Blackadder leaves Owen Franks, the best tighthead scrum merchant in world rugby, on the bench. His brother Ben is decent in the scrums and very active around the field, but Owen Franks would have demolished and demoralised the Hurricanes pack. There is a lack of hard-nosed test-type attitude in how Blackadder uses the Franks.

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Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

4 Comments

  1. The guy that designed the Reds jersey is an artist? He drew white circles!! Excellent my 7yo son is an artist!!! :)

  2. Hi Tank: With regards to Rattue’s take on the brothers Frank, it is interesting to see that Owen is in fact playing loosehead this weekend and not tighthead as Rattue suggested that he should. I think the choice of both brothers in the starting XV is the correct call. Both props of the Chiefs are short(ish) and the taller Crockett might have “struggled” a little against Ben Tameifuna. My 2 cents

  3. I am seriously conflicted about the Cheetahs game this Saturday. Stormers need the points, but I have a feeling this will be the Cheetahs annual giant-slaying.

    • Also slightly undecided Biobot … So went extreme on the Stormers side … Could go the other way though!!