With only one of the Saturday teams announced thus far, Grunt editor Tank Lanning takes a look at the Friday Super Rugby games, offering a few predictions.
The two Kiwi bottom feeders get the weekend off to what should be a pretty entertaining start, then it will be a battle of patience as the Barnes infused Tahs take on the Brussow inspired Cheetahs, and then it’s eventually beer time as we take in the gritty Kings trying to reign in the defending champs.
A nasty dentist appointment for the Tahs game perhaps, and then the local watering hole or a Weber and coolerbox extravaganza for the evening game? Bearing in mind that you need to keep a pink ticket in hand for the Sharks game on Saturday evening …
Friday 15 Mar 2013
08:35 Highlanders vs Hurricanes, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Sure he might not be showing the truly magnificent form of last year yet, but it’s a huge call from the Canes to drop Andre Taylor. Perhaps a knee jerk reaction to their slow start to the season? Not as sluggish as the Highlanders though, who were properly beaten by the Cheetahs at home last week. Slade starts but I thought he was still carry a fair amount of rust last week. Still no Nonu as he nurses a knee injury. Got to go with the legend that is Conrad Smith.
My prediction: Canes by 9
Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Jason Emery, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, Elliot Dixon, John Hardie, Joe Wheeler, Jarrad Hoeata, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Andrew Hore (c), Tony Woodcock.
Bench: Brayden Mitchell, Ma’afu Fia, Jake Paringatai, TJ Ioane, Fumiaki Tanaka, Lima Sopoaga, Buxton Popoalii.
Hurricanes: 15. James Marshall, 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. Ben May, 2. Motu Matu’u, 1. Ben Franks
Bench: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Reg Goodes, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Faifili Levave, 20. Chris Smylie, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. André Taylor
10:40 Waratahs vs Cheetahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistants: Andrew Lees (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
The Cheetahs were fantastic against the Highlanders last week. Not especially flamboyant, with the ball not going past Ebersohn much, but they put the Highlanders under enough pressure to force the mistakes. And with the loose trio playing some excellent rugby, the ruled the breakdown. With porn star look alike Berrick Barnes back for the Tahs, this side will be a lot more patient than the Highlanders, perhaps forcing the Cheetahs to play a bit more rugby. Big call for the Tahs to drop Drew Mitchell – perhaps a little bit of panic after the hammering from the Brumbies? Very tough game to call, and definitely think it could go either way. So going with the home side.
My prediction: Tahs by 4
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Bench: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Rob Horne.
Cheetahs: 5 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.
Bench: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Landman Ligtoring, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
19:10 Kings vs Chiefs, NMB Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistants: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)
Gritty and Gutsy with lots of Passion and Gees from the Kings thus far, and it has added a different (and good) dimension to the tournament. I keep writing them off and they keep proving me wrong! Nothing pretty as yet, as they play a more spoiling type game, but Allan Solomons is talking about “Playing more rugby” this week. Not sure that is the best option against the defending champions though! No changes for the Kings as Watson struggles with a throat injury, and a good few changes for the Chiefs as they look to bounce back from Newlands. I have a feeling the Kings battered and bruised bodies might just fail them in the second half. Cooke vs Nanai-Williams and Catrakilis vs Cruden should be interesting!!
My prediction: Chiefs by 28
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 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Bench: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.
Chiefs: Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ross Filipo, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Michael Fitzgerald, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Afeaki, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith.
Bench: Rhys Marshall, Pauliasi Manu, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Charlie Ngatai, Patrick Osborne.