Weekend predictions

Bulls change nine and that makes Tank Lanning a little nervous, but the big man likes how tough Plumtree has been on the Sharks. The weekend’s teams, times and predictions.

The term “Super Saturday” has been bandied about a little too freely in recent times, but I am thinking that 10 hours of rugby that includes all 5 South African franchises playing in different matches over a 13 hour period might just deserve to be called “Super Saturday” …

Whatever you call it, it is going to take some serious willpower, and perhaps two pink tickets, to watch all 10 hours …

Kings on a gym bike, Bulls over tea and scones to appear semi decent, Cheetahs with a shandy in hand while the first fire of the day burns down, Bulls post first boerrie rolls with ice cold beer in hand, and then Stormers with a Vodka Redbull or three while the second fire burns down?

However you do it, make sure that Coleman coolerbox is properly stocked and filled with ice! Proper planning makes for a proper performance …

Friday 22 Mar 2013

08:35 Chiefs vs Highlanders, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)

Got to love the return of the Nonu, but just not sure he has that much of an impact on games anymore, especially with the organised defences. Nanai-Williams on the other hand, is a real nuisance with his hot stepping and blistering pace. Mixed bag for the Chiefs down here in SA, and they will have travelled, but still think they will have too much in the tank for Brad Thorn’s men.

My prediction: Chiefs by 9

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Nick Crosswell, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.

Bench: 16 Rhys Marshal, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Romana Graham, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 August Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Richard Kahui.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (captain), 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Bench: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Phil Burleigh.

Saturday 23 Mar 2013

08:35 Crusaders vs Kings, AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch
Referee: Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
Assistants: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

Turmoil in Camp King this week as SARU turn the screws and force them to send two foreigners home. Cheeky is on his way to have a word with the boys in New Zealand while his son is hoping to be fit for the last game on tour. They have far exceeded my expectations and it’s been a pleasure to see a team come together despite fighting the odds, but passion, guts and gees can only take you so far … Now it’s the bleeding Crusaders in Christchurch with Dan Carter and Kieren Read at the helm, and my oath did they look good when dishing out a rugby lesson to the Bulls last week.

My prediction: Crusaders by 54

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Bench: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Zac Guildford.

Kings: 15. George Whitehead, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Ronnie Cooke (Vice Captain), 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 11. Marcello Sampson, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Shaun Venter, 8.  Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 6. Cornell du Preez, 5. David Bulbring, 4. Daniel Adongo, 3. Kevin Buys, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. Schalk Ferreira (Captain)

Bench: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Jaco Engels, 18. Rynier Bernardo, 19. Devin Osthuizen, 20. Nicolas Vergallo, 21. Waylon Murray, 22. Elric van Vuuren


10:40 Reds vs Bulls, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistants: Andrew Lees (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

Tough one to call. Bulls absolutely schooled last week, while the Reds will be embarrassed by their loss to the Force last week. Frans Ludeke has made more changes than a chameleon sitting on Joseph’s coat, including benching Morne Steyn and Juandre Kruger. Potgieter is back, but must have a little rust in the joints. I just cannot see the visitors pulling it together in these circumstances.

My prediction: Reds by 7

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Ed O’Donoghue, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.

Bench: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Curtis Browning, 20 Nigel Ah Wong, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Mike Harris.

Bulls:  15  Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouchè, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett.

Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Juandrè Kruger, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Mornè Steyn, 22 Jan Serfontein.


12:45 Force vs Cheetahs, NIB Stadium, Perth
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistants: Angus Gardner (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

How sensational have the Cheetahs been on this tour? And so soothing on the optics in the process as well. Phillip van der Walt and Lappies Labuschagne have been super human, and this weekend they are joined by boy wonder Heinrich Brussow. The Force will be up after last week’s win against the Reds, and it will be good humour watching the Ebersohn brothers going head to head. The Bookies say the Force, while the Superbru community say the Cheetahs. We love SuperBru!

My prediction: Cheetahs by 7

Force: 15 Will Tupou, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan (captain).

Bench: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jayden Hayward.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 2 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip 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 Oosthuisen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Ryno Benjamin.


17:05 Sharks vs Rebels, Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistants: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Never ever have I seen such a sleepy performance from the Sharks as the one on display in the first half against the Brumbies last week, and sleepy is being kind! Plumtree obviously agrees and in a fairly drastic move, he has dispatched his captain to the conditioning sweat pit in an effort to rid the man of a few pies picked up in the off season. Not ideal to have one of the top paid players in the country being too friendly with the buffet! Kankowski also gather splinters this week as skipper Daniel moves to 8 to make space for 2 fetchers in Botes and Coetzee. I think these moves will work.

My prediction: Sharks by 12

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Francois Steyn, 22 Riaan Viljoen.

Rebels: 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitchell Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.

Bench: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Aleo-Emile, 18 Caderyn Neville, 19 Jordy Reid, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Rory Sidey, 22 Richard Kingi.


19:10 Stormers vs Brumbies, Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistants: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Not quite a get out of jail card against the Chiefs, but close, and then a week off for the Stormers. Good timing as it allows the return of Juan de Jongh and Jaco Taute, the latter from the bench, which is a good call given Pietersen’s form. Peter Grant is out for a month (no surprise given that he aims to play rugby all year round) so the pressure will be off Elton Jantjies for a bit, and with Pietersen taking the kicks, there are no more excuses. But with Duwenhage back at 9 (and the flyhalf backup) and Van den Heever on the wing, expect a more conservative gameplan. Against a side with a truly world class defense, a mean fetcher in Smith, and exceptionally well drilled by Jake White, I do not see this being remotely pretty. And it could quite literally go either way, so going with the home side.

My prediction: Stormers by 3

Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gerhard van den Heever, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain), 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Damian de Allende, 22. Jaco Taute

Brumbies: 15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Joe Tomane, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Ian Prior, 8. Fotu Auelua, 7. George Smith, 6. Ben Mowen (captain), 5. Sam Carter, 4. Peter Kimlin, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio.

Bench: (from) Siliva Siliva, Ben Alexander, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Nic White, Robbie Coleman, Clyde Rathbone, Mark Swanepoel.

Sunday 24 Mar 2013

07:05 Waratahs vs Blues, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)

Tahs off 2 losses to the Brumbies and Cheetahs, the Blues off a loss to the Bulls, but with a bye to recharge. The Blues were the form side prior to the upset against the Bulls (with Rene Ranger scintillating) and will be looking to regain a bit of that against a side who had Berrick Barnes back for all of about 35 minutes last week.

My prediction: Blues by 11

Blues: 15. Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Francis Saili, George Moala, 10, Chris Noakes, 9. Piri Weepu; 8. Peter Saili, Luke Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (c), Culum Retallick, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. James Parsons, 1. Tom McCartney.

Bench: Quentin MacDonald, Angus Ta’avao, Anthony Boric, Brendon O’Connor, Jamison Gibson-Park, Baden Kerr, Jackson Willison

Waratahs: 15. Israel Folau, Peter Betham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8. Pat McCutcheon, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis (c), Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, 3. Paddy Ryan, John Ulugia, Benn Robinson.

Bench: Luke Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Mitchell Chapman, Jed Holloway, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Tom Kingston.


  1. I have all my wins same as you, Tank! Not sure if that is a good or bad thing though? Hahaha!

    1. Been desperate thus far, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then!

  2. Good selection. I dont agree with the Cheetahs for a win. Goosen out and Force home ground, I give it to the force!

    1. With Ebersohn keen to impress, you could well be right, but perhaps he will try just a little too hard 🙂

      1. That is the exact reason why I backed the Cheetahs. I think Sias will be out to prove a point and he will go over the top. Besides that, one rarely see him play 2 decent games in a row and he has had 2 good ones in a row. I dont see him having another.

  3. I agree that the game of the weekend will be Stormers/ Brumbies. I just hope that Stormers can put together a good game. I have only backed them by 1 point.

    I think the Cheetahs will take the Force.
    Kings are in line outside the teachers office for a solid caning but I reckon they will keep it to below 25 points.

    Enjoy the weekend folks, its time to have some fun.

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