Super Rugby predictions …

Tank Lanning
Week 14 in the longest rugby tournament in the history of the sport … Me, I like my rugby like a I like my beer – quick, ice cold and refreshing … This is more like that warm lager and mushy peas they serve on the mud island …

But at least we only have 2 rounds to go before we see Heyeneke’s Boks take on the Poms, and based on what he had to say to us at a fantastic function hosted by SAB during the week, he really has not made up his mind on his final 22, and certainly is still making a call on his skipper.

So these derbies now take on a Bok trial type vibe, which is pretty hair raising in terms of the injuries they might deliver, but also gives the tournament a much needed excitement injection …

Some tough bloody predictions though …


Chiefs v Bulls, Hamilton – 09:35
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Nick Briant (New Zealand)

Hell of a start to the weekend – 2 vs 3 on the log (in real terms)! Chiefs at home and fired up after a bye, while the Bulls will have one foot on the plane home after a long tour that included a loss to the Highlanders last weekend. Steyn had a rare off day, and the Bulls realised they were more effective with ball in hand rather than kicking it away far too late in the contest … There are so many great head to heads, but one gets the feeling that the winner of the 9, 10, 12 battle will dictate the result of the match, and I think SBW will again cause some trouble for Olivier.

My prediction: Chiefs by 3

Chiefs: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Bench: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Arizona Taumalolo, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 Maritino Nemani.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Juandré Kruger, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht

Hurricanes v Rebels, Wellington – 07:30
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Rebels off a morale boosting away win against the Force (only their second ever), but have crossed the Tasman while handling a 6 day week. Canes went down to the Brumbies, but are now home after enjoying an 8 day week, which will make a real difference. Rebels a brand new side without that side show that is Cipriani, but this might be a bridge too far.
My prediction:  Canes by 9

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 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 Reg Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Jayden Hayward.

Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tim Davidson, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Jono Owen, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Bench: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Tom Chamberlain, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock.

Blues v Highlanders, Auckland – 09:35
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
TMO: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Highlanders off a very good win against a good Bulls side, Blues off yet another loss, this time an embarrassing hammering from the Saders. The Auckland side has been in the ER since game 2 of the tournament, and are now the poster boys for rugby euthanasia. Pat Lam is clutching at straws, and this week that clutch sees him dropping Nonu, Williams and Weepu. He also loses Benson Stanley to concussion … Messy.

My prediction:  Highlanders by 12

Blues: 15 Hadleigh Parkes, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili/Luke Braid (c), 7 Luke Braid/Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Tevita Mailau, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Bench: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Daniel Braid / Peter Saili / Dany Pryor, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Ma’a Nonu, 22 Lachie Munro.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kurt Baker, Tamati Ellison, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Chris Noakes, Jimmy Cowan, Nick Crosswell, Tim Boys, Adam Thomson, Hoani MacDonald, Jarrad Hoeata, Ma’afu Fia, Andrew Hore, Jamie Macintosh (capt).
Bench: Jason Rutledge, Bronson Murray, Josh Bekhuis, Scott Fuglistaller, Aaron Smith, Mike Delany, Kenny Lynn.


Brumbies v Reds, Canberra – 11:40
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

At last, an Aussie derby worth giving aunty Mazie’s 89th birthday tea a skip to watch! The bookies seem to have the Brumbies edging this one, but only by a grasshopper’s hamstring.  Both sides off very good wins against Kiwi sides, and with Cooper back in the mix for the Reds, they seem to look a lot more like the defending champs. Jake has given monster number 8, Fotu Auelua, a breather, but fetcher find of the season, Michael Hooper, has escaped suspension and seems not to need any rest for his obvious concussion last week. At home, with Hooper, I am backing Jake …

My prediction:  Brumbies by 2

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

Reds: (from) Forwards – Ben Daley, Saia Faingaa, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, James Hanson, Greg Holmes, James Horwill (capt), Eddie Quirk, Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Adam Wallace-Harrison.
Backs – Quade Cooper, Chris F’Sautia, Anthony Faingaa, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Luke Morahan, Dom Shipperley


Force v Lions, Perth – 13:40
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Matt O’Brien (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Phew – a breather on this 6 game Saturday! Straight out the bottom draw this one …

My prediction:  Force by 7

Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Bench: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 David Harvey.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana.


Cheetahs v Waratahs, Bloemfontein – 17:05
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Both teams suffered losses last week, but to realistic title contenders, Sharks and Stormers. Tahs now on the Highveld, but that seems less of an issue for players these days. The attacking flair of everyone’s second favourite team vs the structured Stormers like play of the Tahs, dominted by the direct Barnes. Riaan Smit looked very self assured last week, but it just seems as if the Cheetahs are hitting a bit of a mid tournament stumble …

My prediction: Waratahs by 5

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rocco Jansen, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Andries Ferreira, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Bench: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Philip Snyman

Waratahs: Bernard Foley, Tom Kingston, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Berrick Barnes, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Chris Alcock, David Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson (capt).
Bench: John Ulugia, Jeremy Tilse, Richard Stanford, Lopeti Timani, Sarel Pretorius, Daniel Halangahu, Tom Carter.


Sharks v Stormers, Durban – 19:10
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

Freddie Michalak was on fire last weekend, and his performance went a long way toward their destruction of the Cheetahs. And this behind a pack that was not always in control up front, which says a lot for the Sharks, who have recovered from their early tournament jitters to look a lot more complete. The Stormers miss “Klein Percy” this week, and while having Aplon at the back certainly does not dent the attack, it does rob the home side of a reliable and long boot. And it’s the boot they will miss more given their relative disregard for their attacking weapons. Sharks to shade scrum battle, Stormers to take the lineouts. The latter seemingly more important in today’s kicking game … I also think the Sharks will miss Tim Whitehead … Jordaan and Meyer a military medium pairing …

My prediction:  Stormers by 3

Sharks: 15. Pat Lambie, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Freddie Michalak, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (c), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Ryan Kankowski, 20. Jacques Botes, 21. Odwa Ndungane, 22. Louis Ludik.

Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Don Armand, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Burton Francis

So it’s the Bulls while taking in your pregnant wife’s 67th 12 week scan, and then a juggling act of note if you are keen to sneak all 6 games in on Saturday. Thankfully at least 3 of them are highly missable … Perhaps the Aussie derby on gym bike at your local Virgin Active while the lightie is at V-Club, quiche for lunch with the missus as you skip the Lions, then braai and beer time for the two afternoon / evening games?

Enjoy …


    1. Got to pick with head and not heart … Tahs are a good unit who came close to beating Stormers at Newlands …

  1. Green man, the scoreline last week flaterred the ‘tahs. Picks the Cheetahs. Tank isn’t clairvoyant, that crystal ball of his or not.

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