Super Rugby predictions

Tank Lanning

Week 15 of the longest tournament in the history of the sport, and while the Sharks, Bulls and Stormers jostle for that all important top spot in the conference, the weekend also serves as final trials for those wanting to sneak a late entry into the Bok side to play the Poms. Although, let’s be honest, Heyneke Meyer will already know his 22, and this weekend will be more about the coach praying for his chosen warriors to remain free of that stretcher bearing golf cart!

No such risk for the Cheetahs who have a bye this weekend, and for Frans Steyn, Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar, who have all completed their overseas seasons and will be eyeballing this weekend’s action with a tjoppie and cold beer in hand …

Sharks go into the weekend on 45 points, and likely to be on 50 after dispatching the Lions, the Bulls are on 48, and Stormers on 50 … And with only 3 rounds left after the Pom Tests, one which will see the Sharks play the Bulls, this is a pretty damn important weekend for all three teams …
Friday 1 June

Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch – 09:35
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistants: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Both teams beat the Blues in their last outings, but the Saders have had a bye since then, and were much, much more convincing. Kieran Reid is back for the black and red while James Haskell is back from a punching ban for the Landers. Sportingbet will give you 5/1 odds on the Highlanders and less than bugger all on the Saders, and I think they have it spot on. Saders have the main okes back in the mix and are peaking nicely.

My prediction: Crusaders by 16

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

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kurt Baker, Tamati Ellison, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Chris Noakes, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Josh Bekhuis, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (captain).
Bench: Jason Rutledge, Bronson Murray, Nick Crosswell, Tim Boys, Jimmy Cowan, Mike Delany, Kade Poki.


Rebels v Brumbies, Melbourne – 11:40
Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
Assistants: Ian Smith (Australia), Simon Moore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Lesczcynski (Australia)

The Rabble returned last week against a rampant Canes team, while Jake’s wild horses will be bitter after missing a final second kick to pip the Reds. The home side do blow hot and cold, and if hot, could give the brumbies a scare, but unlikely. Sportingbet will give you 4/1 odds on the Rebels and again they have it right …

My prediction: Brumbies by 9

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

Brumbies: Robbie Coleman, Jesse Mogg, Andrew Smith, Pat McCabe, Joe Tomane, Zack Holmes, Nic White, Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Peter Kimlin, Leon Power, Scott Fardy, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Ruaidhri Murphy.
Bench: Anthony Hegarty, Scott Sio, Fotu Auelua, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani.

Saturday, June 2

Blues v Chiefs, Albany – 09:35
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistants: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen

Blues off a loss to the Highlanders, but they did look slightly better than the dogs breakfast they have been thus far. This while the Chiefs were giving the Bulls a bit of a lesson in how to hold onto the ball. All the big names are back for the Blues but Pat Lam clutching at straws. Chiefs the real deal this year, and top the log for a reason.

My prediction: Chiefs by 11

Blues: Rudi Wulf, Lachie Munro, Francis Saili, Ma’a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Michael Hobbs, Alby Mathewson, Luke Braid (capt), Daniel Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams, Liaki Moli, Tevita Mailau, James Parsons, Tony Woodcock.
Bench: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta’avao, Filo Paulo, Peter Saili, Piri Weepu, Hadleigh Parkes, David Raikuna.

Chiefs: Andrew Horrell, Maritino Nemani, Jackson Willison, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Kane Thompson, Sam Cane, Liam Messam (capt), Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Afeaki, Mahonri Schwalger, Sona Taumalolo.
Bench: Hika Elliot, Ben Tameifuna, Romana Graham, Scott Waldrom, Brendon Leonard, Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga.


Waratahs v Hurricanes, Sydney – 11:40
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistants: Julian Pritchard (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Sportingbet will give you 11/10 odds on the Canes and 5/6 on the Tahs, by far the closest odds of the weekend, and reflective of perhaps the toughest game to pick. Tahs off a heart breaking loss to the Cheetahs in Bloem, and have crossed the Indian Ocean in a toothpast tube with wings. This while the Canes were absolutely smoking against the hapless Rabble last week, scoring some of the best tries you will ever see! Bad Bryce is at the helm making this even more of a lottery, but going with the Bumble Bees, even without Cory Jane.

My prediction: Canes by 6

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

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.


Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg – 17:05
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistants: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Lions coming home after an abysmal tour, having gone down to the decidedly average Force in Perth last weekend. It’s only a 7 hour flight home, but it’s still over a few time zones, and the mostly empty Coke Can is hardly a welcoming sight these days. To play a completely rejuvenated Sharks side who made mince meat of the Stormers in Durban last week. Lions lucky to get the 7/1 odds Sportingbet are offering

My prediction: Sharks by 15

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 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 Jandre Marais, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Louis Ludik


Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria – 19:10
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistants: Mark Lawrence (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Both teams went down last weekend, the Bulls to the number one side on their home patch in New Zealand, the Stormers to the quickly re-awakening Sharks side in Durban. The Bulls have travelled, but history suggests that they really enjoy that first outing at Loftus after a tour. Not sure the Storm will be looking forward to an outing at the fortress it as much, though, having lost Andries Bekker and Steven Kitshoff during the week. Joe Pietersen is still missing and they are giving Frans Malherbe a run at tighthead – his battle with the human rhino that is Dean Greyling will be worth having a beer or 6 on hand! Sportingbet will give you 8/5 odds on the Stormers and 4/7 on the Bulls, and they are probably about right …

My prediction: Bulls by 7

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

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. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Deon Carstens
Bench: 16. Deon Fourie, 17 Brok Harris, 18. Quinn Roux, 19. Don Armand, 20. Nick Fenton-Wells, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Burton Francis

Only 6 games this weekend, and it includes a bye for the Cheetahs, and two derbies, one of which should be a mis-match. Saders on Friday worth getting out the office for, then clear the Saturday afternoon diary by earning a few brownie points in the morning. Perhaps Canes at the gym, earning the beers that will no doubt go down like a home sick mole during the evening derbies. Just remember to PVR the Bok team announcement at 21h00 on Saturday if you are going Cheerful Chunkies hard …



  1. Agree with you on most – except the Chiefs / Blues game.

    I think the margin will be bigger as the Chiefs would like to increase their Points Difference column.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  2. At last, someone (Nick Mallett) being honest about Jean De Villiers (a pathetic defender – always has been). I have argued that point ever since he came on the scene. As always, he was to the point regarding Andries Bekker (and the others he crticised)

  3. @Niel – this Mullet is a chop. He did nothing for Italy – maybe one or two famous wins, and that is that. People remember him fondly for his record winning streak – but I also remember him losing alot at the end of his bok coaching career – he thought he was bigger than rugby.
    He must stop pulling a Jake White on himself, find a team to coach.
    SHUT UP MULLET!! Let HM a chance. He will go with the players he thinks will do the job.

    Go HM, go Boks

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