Super Rugby Preview – Round 7, part 2
South African rugby teams seem to get the rough end of the citing stick and generally seem regarded as dirtier than other teams both nationally and in Super Rugby. This may or may not be true but one thing is for certain and that is that the citing procedure is inconsistent.
Sonny Boxer Williams was expected by many to get cited for his dangerous shoulder charge on Ryan Kankowski at Twickenham last Sunday. He was, however not cited and all he received were compliments for his general play and comments such as ‘choice tackle bro’, from his team mates.
Should he have been cited, you decide?
Awesome sleeve though it must be said.
Hurricanes vs Bulls
The Hurricanes lost last week to the Rebels. I know, I still can’t believe it myself. They were outscored, out muscled and out thought. They have the players to beat any team but are misfiring this season in a massive way.
The Bulls won a mostly dull game against the Lions last week and do not look like the champion team of old. Spies, Olivier, Matfield and Bakkies have yet to hit their straps but they are class players and surely it is simply a matter of time… The Bulls don’t always travel well but may well have the edge against a poor Canes side.
Venue: McClean Park, Napier
Prediction: Bulls by 3-7
Western Force vs Mebourne Rebels
The Force beat the Lions but were then man-handled by a dominant Stormers side the following week. They have since flown home and face the unpredictable Rebels. Although looking good in stages, they have yet to string a full quality 80min together.
The Rebels played like a seasoned Super Rugby side last week but were shocking the week before and are proving to be my downfall in Superbru. One thing is for certain, they play much better at home than anywhere else. Look out for James O’ Connor against Danny Cipriani for a bit of interest in an otherwise dull derby game.
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Prediction: Force to win
Lions vs Reds
Last week I was on the Cape Town Pub Crawl and it was glorious. Fantastic times and much beer were had by all. I did however miss most of the Lions game but the parts that I saw were incredibly frustrating. Why do the Lions insist on running the ball out of their 22? When will Jantjies not make a mistake that leads directly to a try? The Lions need to control the game more, learn when to kick to touch and stop leaking soft tries. Until they do they will keep losing.
The Reds looked very good in the early stages but have yet to play any of the top teams. They will not do that this weekend but traditionally do not travel well and hopefully will struggle with the altitude (fingers crossed).
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Joburg
Prediction: Reds by 3-7
Sharks vs Stormers
The Sharks played in a cracking game of rugby at Twickenham and although beaten by the Crusaders will have many positives to take from the game. They came back very well after being dominated in the first half. Kankowski, Ndungane, Bismark and The Beeeeast all had blinders and when the Sharks keep the ball in hand they are deadly.
The scrums will be their biggest concern as will the form of John Smit and it will be interesting to see if and where John Plumtree decides to play him.
The Stormers played one of their best games of the year so far on Saturday. They were ruthless on defense and clinical on attack. They ran in 6 tries and dominated most facets of play. The form of Bok midfield pair Jaque Fourie and Jean de Villiers is encouraging and will be an area the Stormers will look to dominate with Pat Lambie still injured and Meyer Bosman being shown up against the Cruaders. This will be a low scoring derby game but should still be a cracker.
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Prediction: Sharks to sneak it