Super Rugby Preview, Round 17, part 1

A mixed bag of rugby clashes this week, with some must-win at all costs intermingled with some, who gives a flying firetrucks. If last week proves anything it’s that any team can beat any other team on the day, as shown by surprise victories to the Chiefs and Brumbies.

Special Maverick thumbs up to Matt Giteau for opting to take a penalty shot at goals in the dying seconds and thus deny the Reds a bonus point.

When asked for comment he may or may not have had this to say “There is no place for favours in this tournament. Greater good of Aussie Rugby be damned and such”.  Struth mate!

Chiefs vs Hurricanes

New Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has controversially excluded Ma’a Nonu and current captain Andrew Hore from next season’s squad, saying they are surplus to requirements. Interestingly both are included in this week’s starting 15. I am not sure I agree with his coaching methods but who am I to judge.

The Chiefs are coming off a good victory over the Blues and the Canes recently beat a spirited Lions side, albeit with the aid of some forward passes and blind officiating. Unhappiness in the camp of the Canes and home ground advantage both point to a solid Chiefs victory on Fri morning.

Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Kick-Off: Fri, 9:35am

Prediction: Chiefs by 5-10

Brumbies vs Rebels

The Rebels surprisingly beat the Brumbies when these teams first met at the start of the competition at home but have looked dreadful in the last few games. Boozer Cipriani is back in the team though and should bring some creativity to the backline, taking over from Julian Huxley, who had a mare of a game against the Stormers.

The Brumbies played with heart, purpose and a determined defense to beat the Reds last week and will be looking to build on that in this game. The Rebels are capable of an upset here but I would not put money on it. Meaning you probably should.

Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Kick-Off: 11:40am

Prediction: Brumbies by 14

Crusaders vs Blues

This game is going to be worth waking up for. The winner will move to the top of the Kiwi conference and the loser may well find themselves in danger of having to win their last game just to make the play-offs. Traditionally a big derby anyway, this promises to be a classic. Captain Charming, McCaw is injured again (sheesh, do some stretches before you play, man) but is replaced by the impressive Matt Todd.

The Blues are on a bit of a losing streak and will need to rediscover that early season form and fast. Stephen Brett vs Dan Carter and Corey Flynn vs Kevin Mealamu will be match ups to look out for. The Crusaders are coming off a bye which can lead to erratic performances but they should have the measure over a faltering Blues side.

Venue: Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru

Kick-Off: Sat, 9:35am

Prediction: Crusaders by less than 7

Waratahs vs Highlanders

Huge game for both these sides. HUGE. The Highlanders have done themselves no favours with losses to the Lions and then the Force but are still in with an outside chance. It is never easy winning in Sydney however and unlike last week, will need to convert all of the scoring opportunities that come their way.

The Tahs were unlucky to have a man red-carded against the Bulls as they looked to have the momentum in the match up until then. It was a piss poor call from the ironically name PRO Legoeta, who has been suspended from future officiating duties and all in all it may well cost them the game. Maybe he should change his name to Amateur Legoeta. I thank you. Kurtely Tache Beal once again had a blinder and is looking in fine form for the Tri-Nations and RWC later this year. This should be a great game with the home side sneaking a close one.

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 11:40am

Prediction: Waratahs by less than 7

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on June 9, 2011.

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