The big test as the Stormers and Bulls take on Kiwi opposition … Tank Lanning takes a look at the weekend’s Super Rugby, making those much talked about predictions.
A full 7 games this weekend … Together with the Cycle Tour for us Capies – which is really going to interfere with what is normally a brilliant fixture – the early morning Sunday game to go with the cheese toast and Crème Soda …
Two Aussie derbies ease the load and the “Kiwi Cracker” is on Friday morning – perfect for that urgent meeting with your rep out in Brakpan. So find some space to catch the Cheetahs on Saturday morning, then clear the diary (and stock the coolerbox) for the Stormers at home and the Kings vs Sharks …
Friday 08 Mar 2013
08:35 Hurricanes vs Crusaders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Franks vs Franks in the first game of the weekend is pure rugby porn to the Front Row Grunt … In fact, it will pretty much be downhill after this. But a hell of a tricky call to make given the poor starts to the tournament from both sides. Can a side with Dan Carter in it be that poor two weeks in a row? Can a side as talented as the Canes lose 3 games in a row? Answers on a post card please … But until then I am going with “No” and “yes” …
My prediction: Crusaders by 5
Hurricanes: 1. Ben Franks, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Jason Eaton, 6. Brad Shields, 7. Karl Lowe, 8. Victor Vito, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Julian Savea, 12. Tim Bateman, 13. Conrad Smith (c), 14. Alapati Leiua, 15. Andre Taylor
Bench: 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: 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. Tom Taylor, 22. Adam Whitelock
10:40 Rebels vs Reds, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
My prediction: Reds by 7
Rebels: 15 Angus Roberts, Richard Kingi, Mitch Inman, Lachlan Mitchell, Alex Rokobaro, James O’Connor (capt), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, Scott Fuglistaller, Luke Jones, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Bench: 16 Shota Horie, Paul Alo-Emile, Jordy Reid, Jarrod Saffy, Nic Stirzaker, 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 (c), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Bench: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia.
Saturday 09 Mar 2013
08:35 Highlanders vs Cheetahs, Rugby Park, Invercargill
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistants: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
You never know when the Cheetahs are going to sneak up on the tournament and cause a big upset, but given last weekend’s second half against the Chiefs, one has to suspect that it will not be this week. On paper, a good side, though, and Johan Goosen cannot be far away from kicking like we all know he can. And the Highlanders are perennial under achievers with Nonu no longer the factor he once was, but I just cannot see them messing this one up.
My prediction: Highlanders by 12
Highlanders: 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Andrew Hore (Captain), 3. Ma’afu Fia, 4. Brad Thorn, 5. Josh Bekhuis, 6. Joe Wheeler, 7. John Hardie, 8. Jake Paringatai, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Hosea Gear (Vice-captain), 12. Ma’a Nonu, 13. Phil Burleigh, 14. Kade Poki, 15. Ben Smith
Bench: 16. Brayden Mitchell, 17. Chris King, 18. Jarrad Hoeata, 19. Tim Boys, 20. Fumiaki Tanaka, 21. Colin Slade, 22. Shaun Treeby
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.
Bench: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Heinrich Brussow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
10:40 Brumbies vs Waratahs, Canberra Stadium
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
My prediction: Brumbies by 4
Brumbies: 1. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Dan Palmer, 4. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Peter Kimlin, 7. David Pocock, 8. Ben Mowen, 9. Nic White, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Andrew Smith, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Jesse Mogg.
Bench: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. George Smith, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Joseph Tomane, 22. Robbie Coleman.
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 (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Bench: 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, Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistans: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
As per usual, the Chiefs announce their side late to make it tricky for all us crazy enough to make predictions, but who they select actually does not affect my prediction. This Stormers side may not play the prettiest rugby, but they will come right at some stage, and their first game at Newlands seems the a fairly apt time for that to happen. Especially against a side that has travelled half way round the world and not had to take on a proper defence yet. Absolutely vital to the Stormers cause, though, is scrum parity and a lineout that actually functions. Two things they have not managed to achieve thus far against the Bulls and Sharks. Peter Grant to come on and win it for the home side …
My prediction: Stormers by 12
Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain), 7. Rynhardt 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. Pat Cilliers, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Dewaldt Duvenhage, 21. Peter Grant, 22. Gerhard van den Heever
Chiefs: 1.Pauliasi Manu , 2.Mahonri Schwalger , 3.Ben Afeaki , 4.Craig Clark (c) , 5.Brodie Retallick , 6.Tanerau Latimer , 7.Sam Cane , 8.Liam Messam , 9.Tawera Kerr Barlow , 10.Aaron Cruden , 11.Asaeli Tikoirotuma , 12.Charlie Ngatai , 13.Tim Nanai-Williams , 14.Lelia Masaga , 15.Gareth Anscombe
Bench: 16.Hika Elliot , 17.Ben Tameifuna , 18.Michael Fitzgerald , 19.Nick Crosswell* , 20.Augustine Pulu , 21.Andrew Horrell , 22.Patrick Osborne
19:10 Kings vs Sharks, NMB Stadium, PE
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Assistans: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen
The Kings showed guts, passion and team “Gees” in their deserved win over the Force – a win that was given credibility by the Bulls struggle to do the same at Loftus. And I think it will have sent up a bit of a red flag round the country, with SA sides not wanting to slip on the proverbial banana peel in PE. So I think a fired up Sharks side will arrive in the land of the Kings, and while the home side might get a try or two, I am pretty sure they will not trouble a side that looks like it will be fighting for the tournament victory in July.
My prediction: Sharks 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 Steven Sykes 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Kevin Buys , 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Bench: 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
Bench: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane
Sunday 10 Mar 2013
05:05 Blues vs Bulls, Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistans: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
The Bulls start to the season looks ok on paper, but the Stormers were extremely poor in that first game, and while slippery customers, the Force are not a side that should be causing half time heartburn for the home coach, especially if that home is Fortress Loftus. And now plenty changes with Hougaard, Kruger and Ralepelle benched, and Ndungane and Engelbrecht given runs after returning from injury. Against a rejuvenated Blues side with Graham Henry providing technical savvy to John Kirwin, at Eden Park.
My prediction: Blues by 14
Blues: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Peter Saili, Waisake Naholo, Baden Kerr, Piri Weepu, Steve Luatua, Luke Braid, Kane Barrett, Liaki Moli, Ali Williams (c), Charlie Faumuina, Quentin MacDonald, Tim Perry.
Bench: James Parsons, Angus Ta’avao, Ronald Raaymakers, Brendon O’Connor, Jamison Gibson-Park, Marty McKenzie, Albert Nikoro.
Bulls (with Super Caps): 15 Zane Kirchner (73), Akona Ndungane (84), JJ Engelbrecht (18), Wynand Olivier(105), Lionel Mapoe (30), Mornè Steyn (108), 9 Jano Vermaak (90), Pierre Spies (91, c), Arno Botha (12), Deon Stegmann (61), Juandrè Kruger (19), Flip van der Merwe (50), Frik Kirsten (17), Willie Wepener (55), 1 Mornè Mellett (2).
Bench: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle (54), Werner Kruger (77), Grant Hattingh (11), Jacques Potgieter (14), Francois Hougaard (47), Louis Fouché (12), Jürgen Visser (0).