Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears


Saturday Predictions

Front Row Grunt editor, Tank Lanning, fresh from getting the Cheetahs call wrong, takes a look at the Saturday Super Rugby games, offering a few predictions.

Cracker alert for the Saturday morning game as the Bulls take on the Crusaders in their back yard. Hopefully not too many chibulies to work out the system as you take in this game on a gym bike. An Aussie derby gives you the rest of the morning off, before needing to cash in a pink ticket for the Sharks game on Saturday evening while the fire burns down and the coolerbox keeps the social lubricant cold …

Saturday 16 Mar 2013

08:35 Crusaders vs Bulls, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistants: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Game of the weekend for sure! Yet another slow start to the season for the Saders, but they have building each week, showing a fair amount of patience with ball in hand, and last week they could consider themselves a little bit robbed by the Canes. They also have Franks, Read, Carter and Dagg! This while the Bulls have got off to a flyer, playing some particularly good rugby against the Blues last week, with skipper Spies showing great form. Only one change to the starting team this week as Visser replaces Mapoe on the wing, while the ever exciting Jan Serfontein gets a look in from the bench. They could easily pull off another win on the road, but second week on tour against a home side building slowly, and I am going black and red …

My prediction: Crusaders by 3

Crusaders: 1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Samuel Whitelock, 5. Dominic Bird, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Andy Ellis, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Johnny McNicholl, 12. Ryan Crotty, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Tom Marshall, 15. Israel Dagg

Bench: 16. Ben Funnell, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tyler Bleyendaal, 22. Adam Whitelock

Bulls – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Jurgen Visser, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morne Mellett.

Bench: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jan Serfontein.


10:40 Reds vs Force, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)

I will be attempting 1 arm push ups while sucking on a drawing pin.

My prediction: Reds by 9

Reds: 15. Jonathan Lance, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 12. Ben Tapuai, 11. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Will Genia (Captain), 8. Jake Schatz, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Ed Quirk, 5. Rob Simmons, 4. Ed O`Donoghue, 3. James Slipper, 2. Saia Faingaa, 1. Greg Holmes

Bench: 16. James Hanson, 17. Albert Anae, 18. Radike Samo, 19. Jarrad Butler, 20. Nicholas Frisby, 21. Mike Harris, 22. Aidan Toua

Force: 15. Will Tupou, 14. Patrick Dellit, 13. Winston Stanley, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Alifeleti (Alfi) Mafi, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Richard Brown, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Angus Cottrell, 5. Hugh McMeniman, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou Cowan (Captain)

Bench: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Phoenix Battye, 19. Ben McCalman, 20. Mick Snowden, 21. Junior Rasolea, 22. Jayden Hayward


17:05 Sharks vs Brumbies, Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistants: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Do not expect this to be pretty. With Jake White at the helm, the Brumbies are basically another South African franchise given the focus on defence, and this makes them a really tough team to beat, no matter where you play them. The same could be said for this year’s Sharks side (unlike the beginning of last year), hence both sides managing three wins from three starts. Losing Pocock is big for the Brumbies, but in George Smith they replace like with like, and Keegan Daniel and Marcel Coetzee are going to have to be on top of their game. Ludik is having a fantastic season, Lambie is growing into the role of dictating games from 10, and they have the Bok props. I am going with the home side in a bruising and rather dull derby like encounter.

My prediction: Sharks by 7

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Keegan Daniel (captain), 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Bench: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Lwazi Mvovo

Brumbies: 15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Joe Tomane, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Fotu Auelua, 7. George Smith, 6. Ben Mowen (captain), 5. Sam Carter, 4. Peter Kimlin, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio

Bench: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Scott Fardy, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Clyde Rathbone

Author: Tank

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


  1. You should have learnt from the Cheetahs Tank, it’s going to be another good weekend for SA – Bulls by 7!

    • Sharp call on the Cheetahs, not so sharp on the Bulls :) This prediction thing is a bit like playing the lottery …