Super Rugby Preview – Round 11, part 1

We have now passed the midway point of the season. A time when squad depth and management make all the difference. A time when John Mitchell has finally asked for new players. A time when the Bulls will hopefully realise that their play is out dated, badly executed and downright not good enough.

In other news, congrats to Jake White, who will take over the Brumbies coaching role in July. He has been given a 4 year contract and should make a big difference to the struggling franchise. Whether or not his more pragmatic, defensive orientated approach will work with the historically attacking team, only time will tell. I will say this though, good luck living in Australia. I have heard it is chock-a-block filled with Aussies. Just saying.

Onto Supe Rugby. Best thing about this week… Lions get 4 points. BOOM.

Highlanders vs Blues

The Highlanders upset the proverbial apple cart last week when they beat the mighty Crusaders. They were without Jimmy Cowan and Adam Thompson who are back this week and will be looking to beat the table topping Blues at home to edge closer to the top of the table.

The Blues are playing good rugby and should have smashed the Rebels by even more had Brett kicked more accurately. They do blow hot and cold but this game should be a cracker. Tony WoodCOCK is out and I expect the Landers to have the slightest edge in the forward battle.

Venue: Carisbrook, Dunedin

Kick-Off: Fri, 9:35am

Prediction: Highlanders to sneak a close win

Cheetahs vs Brumbies

The Cheetahs have Heinrich Brussouw and Adriaan Strauss back in the starting team and although still missing Captain Awesome Juan Smith, will field their strongest line up in weeks. Expect defense to be mostly overlooked as a bad idea with tries aplenty once again the order of the day.

The Brumbies have brought in Pat Phibbs at scrumhalf as the Brumbies look to salvage some pride after a poor season so far. They have done well against the Cheetahs in the past and will look to kick-start their SA tour with a confidence boosting win. They are currently SHITake though so this could go either way.

Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-Off: 7:10pm

Prediction: Cheetahs by less than 7

Hurricanes vs Reds

Both these teams have been hit by injuries and this game may well be decided on the performances of the fringe players. The Reds are without prop Ben Daley and speedsters Digby Ioane and Rod Davies while the Canes are without Ma’a Nonu, Cory Jane and Serge Lilo.

The Hurricanes were competitive for 60min against the Sharks but faded badly towards the end. They will have just come back home and the travel factor may be a …er.. factor. The Reds have the ability to vary their game depending on their opponents and have proven hard to beat as a result.

Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: Sat, 9:35am

Prediction: Reds by 7-15

Waratahs vs Rebels

The Waratahs are without try scorer extraordinaire Drew Mitchell, who is doubtful for the RWC2011 after he broke his ankle in a hibby jibby inducing fall against the Reds (shudder). Strangely he literally ran into a Reds player and his ankle said “Thanks for nothing, Douche”. The Tahs are without Phil Waugh but welcome back plucky Berrick Barnes at flyhalf.

The last time these two teams met, the Tahs schooled the Rebels 43-0. The Rebels have improved since then but will struggle in Sydney. They have dropped Cipriani to the bench and brought in the experienced James Hilgendorf. Will this make a difference and lead to an upset… No.

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 11:40am

Prediction: Waratahs by 15-20


~ by bowlphilosophy on April 28, 2011.

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