Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 6, part 1
It is hard to believe that we have already had 5 glorious rounds of Super Rugby this year, time certainly flies when you are drinking all day Friday and Saturday.
So far the SA and Kiwi sides have been setting the early pace. The defending champion Reds side has been dick punched by injuries but the Brumbies have made a big step up for the Aussie sides and surprised many with their quality play under Jake White this season.
Some teams (the Reds, Waratahs, Lions and Highlanders) have been further hit by injuries and must be praying for an injury free game this week. Some however, have the luxury of welcoming back experienced internationals, with Dan the man Carter coming back for the Crusaders and Jean Deysel and JP Pietersen returning for the Sharks.
Speaking of the Sharks, newby flank Marcel Coetzee recently got a nose to the ground lesson in how not to tackle a rampaging lock, courtesy of a Dean Mumm hand sandwich of awesome proportions. You may have seen this already but it is worth another look…
Onto this week’s match ups with some tricky predictions all over the place, let’s get involved.
Super Rugby Round 6, 30th March 2012
Highlanders vs Rebels
The Highlanders are without Adam Thomson and John Hardy for this game and are looking a wee bit thin in the forward stocks. All Black flyhalf, Colin Slade broke his leg last week and is out for the rest of the season and all of a sardine, the early season pace setters may find themselves reeled back in.
The Rebels finally won a game last week in a surprisingly entertaining game against the Force. Danny boozer Cipriani is out injured but not to worry, all 7 of you Rebels fans, James Bieber O’Connor is back, as is pool-time partner, Kurtely Tache Beale. If the Rebels forwards can get some parity, they may well create the space needed by the Wallaby backs for a dramatic upset but it is a risky SuperBru gamble.
Venue: Rugby Park, Invercargill
Highlanders vs Rebels Prediction: Highlanders by 5-10
Hurricanes vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs did extremely well to come back into the game and secure a losing bonus point, after going behind early, against the Crusaders last week. They are certainly not the push overs overseas that they have been in the past and with flyhalf Johan Goosen impressing all and sundry with his all round play, expect a close one on Saturday morning.
The Hurricanes won in the last minutes of their game against the Blues last week and it is their ability to put points on the board with limited possession and territory that makes them so dangerous. They will be weary of this Cheetahs side but with inspirational captain Conrad Smith in fine form, they should win this, especially as the Cheetahs will be thinking of the home ‘comforts’ of the Free State after their long tour.
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Hurricanes vs Cheetahs Prediction: Hurricanes by 7-15
Chiefs vs Waratahs
The Chiefs are coming off a bye and this can often lead to a bit of rustiness and a sluggish start. They have only lost once this season though and will be keen to solidify their position at the top of the NZ conference. Sonny Boxer Williams is in all likelihood moving to rugby league next season, unless he becomes a pro boxer
hahahahaha good one, so catch him in action while you can.
The Waratahs were mostly dominated by the Sharks last week but came storming back to win at the death, courtesy of some lack lustre tackling from a tiring and jet-lagged Sharks side. They have struggled so far this season with some quality players still out injured although they have a good record against the Chiefs will fall short away from home against the much improved Hamilton side.
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Chiefs vs Waratahs Prediction: Chiefs by less than 10