Super Rugby Preview – Round 14, part 1

Last week was a relatively good week for the South African teams with 3 out of a possible 4 victories. The Cheetahs surprised everyone, including themselves by beating the Crusaders in one of their best games for years. Years!!! I say. They defended like men possessed and perhaps gave an insight into how to deal with SBW.

I predicted the Lions would get smashed against a poor Brumbies side and have since eaten humble pie. Hmmm… delicious. Elton Carlos Spencer Jr Jantjies thrived on the front foot ball provided by the impressive forwards and played a blinder with 2 quality off loads to set up 2 quality tries.

Onto this week’s games though and excitement all over the  place.

Blues vs Stormers

The one big disappointment of last week was the 2nd half meltdown by the Stormers. They really struggle when they are trailing in a match and bar one or 2 games against the lower table sides, are still clueless on how to score tries. They will need to rectify this and fast, which will not be easy with injuries to JdV, Peter Grant and Jaque Fourie.

The Blues lost to the Reds last week by 6 points but were over 20 points down in the first 30 min. They have an incredible ability to claw their way back into games and the Stormers will need to be at their defensive best in what could well be a rainy day in Aukland. The Blues have Jerome Kaino back and although cautious of a Stormers  backlash will fancy their chances at home.

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Kick-Off: Fri, 9:35am

Prediction: Blues by less than 7

Crusaders vs Chiefs

The Crusaders have been smashed by injuries this season. Almost all of their backline is out this week bar Dan Carter, who looked rusty against the Cheetahs. He will soon be back to his best though and with Kieran Reed and McCaw both playing, the Saders will be a tough ask for the Chiefs. The Crusaders will know they cannot afford to lose many more games and will be keen to put the embarrassment loss behind them.

The Chiefs did very well to come back last week and if they can string 80 min of that calibre play together could well cause an upset. Liam Messam in superb form and Fritz Lee defended like nobody’s business last week.

This should be a typically hard-fought battle with the Chiefs just edging the Crusaders.

Venue: McLean Park, Napier

Kick-Off: Sat, 9:35am

Prediction: Chiefs to snatch a close one

Waratahs vs Lions

The Waratahs are currently second on the Australian log behind the Reds and realistically will not be overtaken by the Force or Brumbies even if they lose on Sat. They have been disappointing this season and will not be as comfortable playing the Lions after last week’s shock result as they would have been a few weeks ago. Phil hunchback Waugh is still out but Tatafu Polota-Nau is back to strengthen the front row.

The Lions played some of their best rugby last week. Yes it was against a weak team but it was the manner of the victory that was pleasing. They showed that if they play to their strengths they can and be far more competitive. If the forwards can win the breakdowns and get some mauls going, the backs could find the space needed to trouble the Tahs. Butch shoulder charge is back along with Doppies Le Grange but the rest of the team is unchanged. Look out for Joshua Strauss  and Michael Rhodes, who are in fine form.

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 11:40am

Prediction: Tricky one this. Let’s go with another upset. Lions by 5

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on May 19, 2011.

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