Weekend predictions

You just have to make a plan to watch that first game of the weekend on Friday morning says Tank Lanning, who previews the Super Rugby weekend …

Stormers and Sharks in the land of the long white cloud, playing a mere 400km from each other on New Zealand’s North Island. The Sharks had a stop over in Manly, while the Stormers went straight into Kiwi land. Which will be the better strategy? Although the Sharks might be a little beyond strategy right now …

In Pretoria, the Waratahs will be aiming for only the second Australian win in South Africa this weekend (our teams lead the Aussies by 5-1 locally in 2013). They have not beaten the Bulls since 2005, though! And on Saturday evening, the teams captained by the Strauss cousins face off at the Free State Stadium.

Make a plan for that first game of the weekend on Friday morning people. Humdinger, Cracker, Season decider, Big one, Nail biter, Anyone’s game … You pick the cliché. Just do not be at an office chair without a TV! And we have a proper pudding game this weekend … An ice cold Energade to clear the head, and then coffee and rusks for Sunday morning rugby while the rest of the family sleep in!

To those predictions then …

Friday 26 April

09:35 Hurricanes vs Stormers, FMG Stadium, Palmerston North

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

Assistants: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)

TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

The bookies have the Canes at 4/5, and the SuperBru community (thanks to the Energade Facebook page) reckon it’s the Canes by 1. Seriously, this is almost too tight to call, and it is the first of the weekend! No Savea for the Canes, which is a biggie, but Taylor is back at 15 and Barrett back at 10, which is where they should always have been. Much talk about a “4 from 4” tour from the Stormers, and while they were good against the Sharks, they have also been very poor. Van Aswegen at 10 is the right call, though, but problems at flyhalf if he goes down early. Stormers off a bye, but they have travelled a long way … That said, they do tend to travel well. Canes off a fairly narrow win against the Force. Some fitness concerns re Siya Kolis which might see a big reshuffle in the pack. Franks vs Cilliers will be fun, and might influence the result!

My prediction: Stormers by 2

Hurricanes:  15 Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Matt Proctor, 10. Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito, Karl Low, Brad Shields, 5. Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Motu Matu’u, Ben Franks.

Bench:  Ash Dixon, Ben May, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Chris Smylie, Tusi Pisi.

Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Gary van Aswegen, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Rynardt Elstadt, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Nic Groom 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Damian de Allende


11:40 Reds vs Blues, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

The Blues on song can beat any side in this tournament, and they look a lot stronger with Ranger at 13. Luatua put on one of the best displays I have ever seen from a loose forward last week, and he will again be a factor … As will Ioane’s squabbling with the Reds management. But in Cooper and Genia the Reds have the form half back pairing of the tournament and my oath, they looked good against the Blrumbies in the second half.

My prediction: Reds by 7

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.

Bench: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Ed O’Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22 Dom Shipperley.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Albert Nikoro, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.

Bench: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Francis Saili.


Saturday 27 April

09:35 Chiefs vs Sharks, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Assistants: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

“Calling all pockets” is how I described John Plumtree’s selection policy this week … Shame, the poor fellow has had it tough with injuries, but to not take Kankowski on tour borders on the redonculous, and can only mean that something is a smidgen rotten in camp Shark. Clearly all is not well between the coach and the chunky Steyn – now at 13! – either. This against Nani-Williams and Kahui! A bit like watching grass grow vs watching U2 at Red Rocks. Look, they might pull off a miracle, but I doubt it.

My prediction: Chiefs by 19

Chiefs: 15. Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Richard Kahui, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, August Pulu, 8. Nick Crosswell, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), 3. Mike Kainga, Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith.

Bench: Rhys Marshall, Ben Tameifuna, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Bundee Aki, Charlie Ngatai

Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Francois Steyn, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Piet Lindeque, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Lubabalo Mtembu, 7. Jean Deysel (captain), 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Wiehahn Herbst

Bench: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Danie Mienie, 18. Franco van der Merwe, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Marcell Coetzee, 21. Cobus Reinach,  22. S’bura Sithole


11:40 Brumbies vs Force, Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)

My prediction: Brumbies by 15

Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Ben Alexander, 4. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Ben Mowen, 7. George Smith, 8. Fotu Auelua, 9. Nic White, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Joseph Tomane, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Jesse Mogg.

Bench: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Leon Power, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Pat McCabe, 22. Robbie Coleman.

Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Ed Stubbs, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.

Bench: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, , 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Winston Stanley.


17:05 Bulls vs Waratahs, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)

Assistants: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Ben Crouse (South Africa)

TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

These Tahs can scrum! This against first game back Greyling who loves to ease down the side of the tighthead like Coenie, and Kruger who has looked decidedly second rate this year. And against a side who beat the defending champs last week, and can defend. Sure the Bulls looked good last week, but that was against a Kings side who looked half the team they normally are after bringing Watson straight back into the starting team as skipper. Bookies have this as an easy win for the Bulls, but I am not so sure. Loftus will lift Spies and the boys, and the Tahs have travelled, but I think this will be close.

My prediction: Bulls by 2

Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8  Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling

Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Wilhem Steenkamp, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Lionel Mapoe

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.

Bench: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Peter Betham.


19:10 Cheetahs vs Kings, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)

Assistants: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)

TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Well, at least Solly has been man enough to admit his error in bringing Watson back into the starting XV too soon after injury, but one has to wonder if the damage has already been done? Coenie talking up the power of the Kings scrum in the build up to the game? Perhaps he gets a different feed to the rest of us? That said, Kevin Buys has not been bad, and things will be solid enough up front. It’s out wide where Willie le Roux, Johan Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, and Raymond Rhule could do some proper damage on a dry wintery day on a hard Bloem field. The Kings defend in a very structured way and play a spoiling game. The Cheetahs like the throw the ball around and attack in an unstructured way. I think the latter will take the cake.

My prediction: Cheetahs by 16

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk De Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.

Bench: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin

Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira

Bench: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi


Sunday 28 April

06:05 Crusaders vs Rebels, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)

Rabble off a bye, but they lost to the Kings at home the week before that! No amount of introspection can get you right for the Crusaders at AMI. Bet you they are happy not to have bus boy Cipriani in their ranks this week though!

My prediction: Saders by 42

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg; Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford; 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, Willi Heinz; 8 Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock (captain); 5 Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; 3 Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Joe Moody.

Bench: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, Adam Whitelock.

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward; Tom English, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, Cooper Vuna; 10 James O’Connor, Nick Phipps; 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), Scott Fuglistaller, Jarrod Saffy; 5 Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle; 3 Laurie Weeks, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson.

Bench: Shota Horie, Paul Alo-Emile, Luke Jones, Gareth Delve, Nic Stirzaker, Angus Roberts, Lachlan Mitchell.


  1. Nice start to your Superbru weekend Tank! I’m just sorry that when I read your predictions I didn’t listen on this one…

      1. Nice GSP there Tank! Margins still need some work, but I think you are working up to a hot streak.

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