Weekend predictions

As fun as it is watching the myriad of Saffas turning out for their European clubs in between visits to Clifton 4th, and as annoying as the current format is, there is nothing on earth quite like Vodacom Super Rugby.

Tank Lanning

On Friday alone, we get to see Sopoaga take on Cruden as a curtain raiser to Cooper vs Lambie, with both paling into insignificance when compared to James Slipper feasting on the omnipresent Coenie Oosthuizen – again picked at tighthead ahead of Lourens Adriaanse.

Where else would you rather be?

And this year it all gets going on a blerrie Thursday nogal!

This is the line-up:

Thursday, Feb 23

Rebels v Blues (AAMI Park) – 10:45

Friday, Feb24

Highlanders v Chiefs (Forsyth Barr) – 08:35

Reds v Sharks (Suncorp) – 11:00

Saturday, Feb 25

Sunwolves v Hurricanes (Prince Chichibu Memorial) – 06:15

Crusaders v Brumbies (AMI) – 08:35

Waratahs v Force (Allianz) – 10:45

Cheetahs v Lions (Toyota) – 15:05

Kings v Jaguares (Nelson Mandela Bay) – 17:15

Stormers v Bulls (Newlands) – 19:30

So it’s a 9 game corker to get us going, with 12 hours of it happening on Saturday, culminating in 5 of the SA sides playing in a 6 hour extravaganza on Saturday arvie/evening …

19h30 games on a Saturday night suck serious eggs, so I will be skipping the trip to Newlands, instead loading up both the coolerbox and grid for what should be a properly fun game to watch. The Bulls, with Pollard back at the helm, and after a year learning the Nollis way, are my pick of the SA sides this year.

In need of a little refresher on the 18 team format and who plays who this year? Head to All Out Rugby’s Super Rugby 101 feature.

And for previews of every game, head to their Breaking news section, while the weekend’s teams can be found HERE.

OK, enough gay banter …

What the Bookies say:

Blues (1.6) over Rebels (2.6)

Highlanders (1.64) over Chiefs (2.4)

Reds (1.55) over Sharks (2.7)

Hurricanes (1) over Sunwolves (17)

Crusaders (1.14) over Brumbies (6.3)

Waratahs (1.16) over Force (6)

Lions (1.2) over Cheetahs (4.2)

Jaguares (1.2) over Kings (5)

Stormers (1.5) over Bulls (2.7)

The SuperBru Community picks:

Blues by 5

Highlanders by 3

Sharks by 3

Hurricanes by 21

Crusaders by 9

Waratahs by 10

Lions by 7

Jaguares by 7

Stormers by 3

My picks:

Blues by 12

Highlanders by 3

Reds by 4

Hurricanes by 18

Crusaders by 6

Waratahs by 9

Lions by 9

Jaguares by 12

Bulls by 5

Bookies and the Bru’s disagreeing on only the Reds vs Sharks this week. It is a tough call. The Bru’s love a Saffa win, but I think new coach Nick Stiles has something good brewing in Brisbane, with the calm head of Aussie skipper Stephen Moore set to add real value. And I just cannot pick a side with Coenie starting at tighthead to win a game away from home. That said, the young blood coach Rob du Preez is backing is an exciting combination with good depth, and I certainly would not be that surprised to see Pat Lambie’s men in black and white take the win.

Interesting to see both the Bookies and Bru’s backing the home side at Newlands. Well, they have won the last two encounters, but given the return of Handre Pollard as both skipper and a flyhalf happy to take the ball flat, I have this as the year of the Bull. That said, with Roelof Smit, Jannes Kirsten, Arno Botha, Adriaan Strauss, Jan Serfontein, Martin Dreyer and Shaun Adendorff all MIA this weekend, it will be hard work in front of the 45 000 odd Newlands faithful on Saturday night.

Feeling lucky? Feel the need to brag a bit? Join the FRG SuperBru megapool. No prizes, perhaps the odd Tweet about yellow caps and pool winners, but just for good old fashioned SuperBru fun and pride.