Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Crystal ball

Weekend predictions

Tank Lanning is not sure there will be handshakes all round at the Bok training camp after the Saturday derbies, but is picking the Sharks and Bulls to win.

All five SA Super Rugby sides will be in action on a day that will have people scrambling for pink tickets like bergies first on the scene at an accident involving an SAB truck!

The Kings will be looking to end their tour with a first win Down Under and it’s not impossible against the Rabble. Later the Stormers will be looking to get their campaign back on track when they host The Sharks at Newlands, and it will not be pretty. And at Loftus the Cheetahs take on the Bulls – one of only two sides the team from Bloem has not managed to beat since joining Super Rugby in 2006.

Six games on one day, and not a single pesky Aussie derby to offer some respite. To be honest, I am not sure I can even offer advice on how to fit them all in, but keep the evening free for those two monumental derbies to finish the weekend.

To the weekend and those predictions then …

Friday 12 April 2013

09:35 Highlanders vs Brumbies, Forsyth Barr, Dunedin

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Well, if the Kings can hold Jake’s men to a draw in Canberra, then surely even the Highlanders, who cannot buy a win this year, despite being a really top side on paper, can cause an upset in Dunedin? Having dropped All Black halfbacks Slade and Smith, one never knows how a side will react, while the Brumbies looked anything but log leaders last week. Will they bounce back and give the home side a snotklap, or is this the beginning of the end for them? I am going to go out on a limb and go against the bookies and SuperBru community …

My prediction: Highlanders by 7

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Mose Tuiali’i, 7 John Hardie, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Jamie Mackintosh.

Bench: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Chris King, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Jason Emery.

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

Bench: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Pat McCabe, 22 Tevita Kuridrani.

Saturday 13 April 2013

06:35 Chiefs vs Reds, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

Both sides off byes – I have forgotten what they look like, let alone the type of rugby they play! Chiefs beat Blues 2 weeks ago, while the Reds edged the Highlanders. Not sure about that move of Nanai Williams to wing it has to be said – my oath he has been in good form at centre. While the Genia / Cooper combo will only grow in stature. Going with the Champs though …

My prediction: Chiefs by 9

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Tim Nanai Williams, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 August Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.

Bench: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Michael Kainga, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 Fritz Lee, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Rod Davies, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.

Bench: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O’Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22 Aidan Toua.

 

09:35 Blues vs Hurricanes, Eden Park, Auckland

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

I would rather put my house on the toss of a yes/no coin then the result of this game. Should/could be a cracker, but who the hell knows what will pitch up on the day. Another switch from centre to wing, this time for Ranger, and again, I am not convinced. The move of Barrett to fullback is a spicy one, and cannot be for defensive reasons – Noakes is hardly a hard running barn storming 10. Despite playing away from home, going with the Savea brothers and Conrad Smith … But who knows?

My prediction: Canes by 5

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.

Bench: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Albert Nikoro.

Hurricanes: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 TJ Perenara , 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Ben May, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Ben Franks / Reggie Goodes.

Bench: 16 Dane Coles / Ash Dixon, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Reynold Lee-Lo, 22 Andre Taylor.

 

11:40 Rebels vs Kings, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)

Assistants: Ian Smith (Australia), Richard, Goswell (Australia)

TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Another lottery given last weekend’s results. Clearly South Africa did not agree with the Rabble, but they seemed happy on home soil last week. I have completely and utterly underestimated the Kings, with their passion and general “Gees” amazing me more and more each week. And they just never ever give up. It’s been fantastic. Why am I then not picking them to win this one? Will last week be their monster effort on tour, or will it inspire them to even bigger games? I wish I could say the latter, but I think it might be the former. Here’s hoping I have underestimated them again!

My prediction: Rebels by 7

Rebels: 15 Richard Kingi, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.

Bench: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Lachlan Mitchell, 22 Angus Roberts.

Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira

Bench: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques Englebrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi

 

13:45 Force vs Crusaders, NIB Stadium, Perth

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

If the Force are not prepared to name a team like the rest of them, then I am not prepared to preview their game. I hope the resting, Carter free Saders smash them!

My prediction: Saders by 18

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Tom Marshall, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Bench: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Zac Guildford.

 

17:05 Stormers vs Sharks, Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Assistants: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)

TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

It will not be pretty, claret will be spilled, and I am not sure there will be handshakes all round at the Bok training camp the next day. This will be brutal. The absolute key is how Gary van Aswegen holds up at flyhalf. Talented for sure, confident I am not so sure. Knife to a gunfight? Perhaps … The other biggie is up front, where both sides have been a smidgen iffy come scrum time. Du Plessis, especially, has taken strain at tighthead, and Kitshoff will need to make amends for his week’s suspension. That said, it is also at tighthead that the Stormers have felt the heat, and this week Malherbe has to tame the Beast. The scrums could spin themselves into the ground if both looseheads get going … And it’s these tense, physical encounters that suit Steyn’s big frame and even bigger boot.

My prediction: Sharks by 3

Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Damian de Allende, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gio Aplon, 10. Gary van Aswegen, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Cheslin Kolbe

Sharks: 15. Francois Steyn, 14. Sean Robinson, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Ryan Kankowski, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Bench: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Riaan Viljoen,  22. Odwa Ndungane

 

19:10 Bulls vs Cheetahs, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)

Assistants: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)

TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Can the giant slaying continue? The Bulls are back from a weekend of hunting, braaiing and biltong making, while the Cheetahs have been nursing bruised bodies following their last gasp win against the Stormers. And they have to head North to take on the light blue swathe of Loftus … It’s not impossible, but that is a big ask, no matter how high the confidence. Stegmann vs Brussow might not interest the national coach, but I will get through a beer or two watching that. And that battle of the centres, which includes some of the most exciting talent to come out of SA in recent times, should make for some top viewing. Bulls halfbacks to shade the contest …

My prediction: Bulls by 11

Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8  Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morné Mellet

Bench: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Ulrich Beyers

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 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 Frans Viljoen, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin

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Author: Tank

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

3 Comments

  1. looks good, but im gonna go with the kings….

  2. A big week on SuperBru. Might see a few folks making big jumps on the ladder … both ways! I think I’ll go with Cheetahs, Stormers and Kings!

  3. This is a coin flip week….

    Brumbies
    Chiefs
    Blues
    Rebels
    Saders
    Stormers
    Bulls

    I am trying to comfort myself with the fact that the bookies went with the same picks as me! They at least have more to lose than my measly 62.5% strike rate in 2013. :O