Super Rugby predictions …

Brendan Venter is spot on when he says that “Coaches are now paying more attention to defence because they will do whatever is necessary to win matches.”

“Until referees start making it worthwhile to attack, you will see coaches spur their teams on to kick and rather play without the ball. The referees are making it too easy for the defensive team and (too) hard for the attacking team,” he went on to say …

And it is making the game less of a spectacle … With many people just losing interest! Mates of mine who used to watch every Super Rugby match just can’t be bothered any more. Throw in the fact that there is just too much of the stuff these days, and it has to be a concern for the powers that be. Well, one would hope so …

Any hoo … Here’s to fewer penalties and a little more attacking rugby this weekend … Late changes to both the Lions and the Bulls … The below teams are the revised and correct ones …


Crusaders v Chiefs, Napier 08:35
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
Head to Head: Played 17, Chiefs 4, Crusaders 13
Last match: Crusaders 25 – 19 Chiefs @ Napier

Suddenly not such an easy pick given the results last weekend, and while the double Franks front row has me drooling, I am not sure what Blackadder is doing not playing Dagg at fullback. Chiefs are clearly more than the SBW show, but I am backing the black and red.

My prediction: Crusaders by 7

Crusaders: 15. Sean Maitland, 14. Israel Dagg, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Adam Whitelock, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Tom Donnelly, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Ben Franks
Bench: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Sam Whitelock, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Taylor, 22. Tom Marshall

Chiefs: 15. Robbie Robinson, 14. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13. Richard Kahui, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Tim Nanai-Williams, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Kane Thompson, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke (Captain), 3. Ben Tameifuna, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 1. Sona Taumalolo
Bench: 16. Hikawera Elliott, 17. Shane Cleaver, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Jackson Willison

Force v Hurricanes, Perth 13:05
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Simon Moore (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
Head to Head: Played 6, Force 1, Hurricanes 5
Last match: Hurricanes 34 – 28 Force @ Palmerston North

It should be Canes all the way, but after sneaking a win against the Lions they have travelled half way round the world. Well, almost, one has to remember that Perth is a whole 5 hours away from Sydney, and for that reason I will go with the Kiwis. Longbottom vs Toomaga-Allen should get the commentators going …

My prediction: Canes by 3

Force: 15. Cameron Shepherd, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Patrick Dellit, 12. Rory Sidey, 11. Napolioni Nalaga, 10. James Stannard, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Matthew Hodgson, 7. David Pocock (Captain), 6. Richard Brown, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Kieran Longbottom
Bench: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Pekahou Cowan, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Angus Cottrell, 20. Justin Turner, 21. Ben Seymour, 22. Alfi Mafi

Hurricanes: 15. André Taylor, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Conrad Smith (Captain), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben May
Bench: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Michael Bent, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Brad Shields, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Dan Kirkpatrick, 22. Charlie Ngatai


Brumbies v Cheetahs, Canberra 06:35
Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Julian Pritchard (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
Head to Head: Played 6, Brumbies 4, Cheetahs 2
Last match: Cheetahs 47 – 36 Brumbies @ Bloemfontein

Coenie or no Coenie, these Bloem boys were hammered last week, and now find themselves staring down Jake White in the middle of Canberra … Jake might have his eye on the red rose and white jersey, but every game is now part of the interview, and they are fresh off a bye.

My prediction: Brumbies by 9

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Pat McCabe, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Ita Vaea, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Ben Hand, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Bench: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Michae Hooper, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Zack Holmes, 22 Joseph Tomane.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earl, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Bench: 16 Trevor Nyakane, 17 Hercu Liebenberg, 18 Davon Raubenheimer, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Rayno Benjamin

Highlanders v Waratahs, Dunedin 08:35
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
TMO: Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Head to Head: Played 16, Highlanders 4, Waratahs 12
Last match: Waratahs 33 – 7 Waratahs @ Sydney

Any team who can beat the Saders can beat the Waratahs, but can they put two performances in a row together? Tahs off a pretty good win against the Rebels, but my oath those troops are poor. I think one has to go with the home side and hope Adam Thompson comes good … again!

My prediction: Highlanders by 7

Highlanders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Bench: 16 Jason Rutledge,17 Bronson Murray, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 James Haskell ,20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Kurt Baker,22 Buxton Popoali’i.

Waratahs: 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Daniel Halangahu (captain), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Bench: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Tom Carter, 22 Brackin Karuaria-Henry

Reds v Rebels, Brisbane 10:50
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia), Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
TMO: Steve Lesczcynski (Australia)
Head to Head: Played 2, Reds 2, Rebels 0
Last match: Rebels 18 – 33 Reds @ Melbourne

The game to miss …

My prediction: Reds by 14

Reds: 15. Luke Morahan, 14. Dom Shipperley, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Jonathan Lance, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Mike Harris, 9. Will Genia, 8. Jake Schatz, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Scott Higginbotham, 5. James Horwill (Captain), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. James Hanson, 1. Ben Daley
Bench: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. Greg Holmes, 18. Van Humphries, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Beau Robinson, 21. Ben Lucas, 22. Rod Davies

Rebels: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 James O’Connor, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Richard Kingi, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Tim Davidson, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Nic Henderson.
Bench: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Lachlan Mitchell, 22 Julian Huxley.

Sharks v Lions, Durban 17:05
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Head to Head: Played 16, Sharks 12, Lions 2, Draw 2
Last match: Lions 30 – 30 Sharks @ Johannesburg

Losing one prop is tough, but three (Cilliers a late withdrawal) in one week is industrial. Thankfully for them theLions are up against a front row that came second to the Stormers last week though. Alberts, Whitehead and Ndungane are back for the Sharks which should stiffen the resolve, and against the hard hitting Butch (now at flyhalf given the late withdrawal of Jantjies), this might be needed. Tough one to call, and it could go either way.

My prediction: Sharks by 4

Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick
Bench: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Jordaan

Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies La Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss (captain), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Stephan Greef, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Andries Coetzee, 22 James Kamana

Bulls v Blues, Pretoria 19:10
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Pro Legoete (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)
Head to Head: Played 13, Bulls 5, Blues 8
Last match: Blues 32 – 17 Bulls @ Auckland

Nonu and Weepu might be grabbing the headlines, but it’s those Braid boetties who will be giving the Bulls loose trio nightmares – especially given the late withdrawal of Dean Stegmann. This Blues side has blown cold thus far, but will pull something out the microwave quite soon. Even though playing for a team mate’s father, Jock Hobbs, I am not sure it will be after a flight from Auckland. Fortress Loftus to do it for a side looking more and more like conference winners by the day …

My prediction: Bulls by 5

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Gerrit Jan van Velze, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Blues: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Sherwin Stowers, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain) 1, Pauliasi Manu
Bench: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Bradley Mika, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Hadleigh Parkes, 22 David Raikuna

Definitely worth getting up a little early on Saturday morning to see if the Cheetahs can upset the Jake White applecart, but do whatever you have to do to get Saturday evening free. Light the fire during half time between the Sharks and Lions, then braai after the game and settle into the Bulls game with a plateful of tjoppies to go with that coolerbox …


Not too cold now ....


  1. While the Reds v Force game may be the biggest margin of the weekend, I don’t think it’s a game worth missing. There a few things to watch out for: Kurtley Beale in his first game back and first in the new jersey, and Mike Harris missing his first kick of the season! Haha. Digby had a below par game last weekend, as did O’Connor and Cipriani. Quality players will eventually come right, and it could be a great clash if they do! If it’s rubbish at half-time you have full licence to turn off the tv and watch the test highlights… 😉

    1. Ok ok, it was not a bad game of rugby to watch 🙂 Iaone was tremendous … Now that is what Habana should be doing when the ball does not come to him …

  2. And that is another bloody shocking start to my predictions weekend … The Crusaders slumped to back-to-back defeats on Friday, beaten by a committed Chiefs side 24-19 in Napier. Scrumming form the Chiefs was sensational. Ellis unlucky not to have scored after being unfairly pinged for off-side, but Chiefs deserved winners, and now early contenders! Great game of rugby … The Kiwis seem to want to play rugby whereas the SA teams just seem to want to moer each other …

    1. And it was the Canes all the way … Who says travel is tough? Force are the bottom feeders, but that was impressive from the Canes. Smith seemingly loving the captaincy and Jane on fire … Righto, what can the Cheetahs do?

      1. Cheetahs lose 24-23 to a last minute penalty …. Not one to normally get in a froth re refs, I am absolutely spitting mad about Keith Brown’s performance today. Either inept or a cheat! Brumbies engaged early in evey scrum, yet he penalised the Cheetahs …

        1. I’m not so sure about cheat – I have noticed though that some of the calls against front rows so far in the S15 are bewildering – even more so than the past. The quicker the IRB get rid of crouch,touch,pause….crap the better. Jaco Peyper yesterday……well you could probably make a cup a tea in between each call.
          I would also like to know from refs how on earth do they expect a player to roll away when he is genuinely pinned down immediately – refs need to start using a bit of licence that they are given.
          Now if anyone thinks that the refs are below par in the S15 – go and watch one of the Vodocom Cup matches this afternoon – there you will see some interesting calls being made. You will however need a gps to find the ground where these games are played.

          1. Ha Ha … Nice chirp re the GPS … Although WP playing at what will no doubt be an empty Newlands … It is very sad to see how influential the referee has become in rugby. Can seriously influence results

        2. Agree wholeheatredly that the ref stole the game from the Cheetahs. After earlier penalising the Cheetahs in the scrums, he continued to do so even when the Brumbies then were transgressors of engaging too early on last couple of occassions. When there was no way he could call an early transgression he resorted to wheeling the scrum- what a bunch of BS. The referee has for far too long had way to much influence on the outcome of a game – after the Bryce Lawrence World Cup debacle and numerous others. When will the IRB finally wake up and introduce the rule whereby a team can challenge a referee’s decison (as per American gridiron). I am sick and tired of watching teams lose games because of poor ref decisons. The Boks world cup quaterfinal experience was farcical. with two minutes to go in the Cheetahs game I called the fact the ref would award a penalty – his performance was dispicable and I am not a Cheetahs fan. Sadly nothing will be done – but the game is losing me and many others as once devoted fans.!!!

  3. No way! Capetonian and die-hard Stormer. I do enjoy the Australian backlines though.

  4. Final Result in Brisbane: Reds 11-6 Rebels … That is 4 from 5 for the Grunt, but not a margin point in sight … Rebels so much better this week. Came close to upsetting the applecart, but stuffed up a lineout 10 metres out with 2 minutes to go …

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