And then there were four, with only the Lions remaining as flag bearers for our great land. Bookies say Canes, Bru’s say Lions! Take in Tank’s picks before making yours.
Saturday July 29
09h35 – Crusaders v Chiefs, Christchurch
14h30 – Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg
No pink tickets required! Unless the Lions win, that is. Then it could get really messy on Saturday evening! Keep a pinkie at the ready just in case … Either way, though, stock the coolerbox and reinforce the braai grid.
Crusaders by 11
Hurricanes by 13
What the Bookies say:
Crusaders (4/11) over Chiefs (3/1)
Hurricanes (4/5) over Lions (17/13)
The SuperBru Community picks:
Crusaders by 7
Lions by 1
A fair amount has changed since the Canes beat the Lions 20-3 in last year’s final, primarily up front, where the Lions were forced into sporting a fairly experimental front row in the final. But I do not see too much changing on the scoreboard sadly.
Look, they definitely have a chance, and it’s not as if the Bookies are calling it a slam dunk at 4 to 5.
But they will have to be a whole lot better than they were in last Saturday’s horror show against the Sharks. And under pressure flyhalf, Elton Jantjies will not only need to be more accurate off the tee, but also in his game management. This is not a Baa Baa game!
That said, I do not see the Canes rolling away from their attacking game. But they do tend to kick unbelievably astutely, and then strike from not very far out. They also have an incredibly speedy defence that was the undoing of the Lions last year. Will Elton chip, or will a get caught?
Skipper Dane Coles will start at hooker in what will be his 100th appearance for the Wellington side. Sometimes an inspiration, but more often than not a hindrance!
In the morning game, I do not see the Chiefs having much of a chance against the Saders. It’s a tough enough gig to take them on at AMI at the best of times, but to ask them do it after jetting back from Newlands is almost cruel.
Teams and match information:
Crusaders vs Chiefs:
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Bench: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown , 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Bench: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017
SA Time: 09h35
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Glen Jackson,
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Ben O’Keeffe
Television match official: Glenn Newmann
Lions vs Hurricanes
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Bench: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Ben May.
Bench: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Julian Savea.
Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017
SA Time: 14h30
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Rasta Rasivhenge
Television match official: Marius Jonker
Good luck out there …