Super Rugby Preview – Semi Finals

Two quality games ahead this Saturday and with respect to Quade’s mum’s opinion, the real mouth-watering clash is the Stormers vs the Crusaders.

Last week we had the play-off games with the Crusaders destroying an error riddled, travel fatigued Sharks outfit and the Blues doing pretty much the same to the Waratahs. It will always be very tricky for the bottom placed teams in the play-offs to win these games because of the travel factor and you have to question whether this extra game is worth it.

Either way we are now into legend creating territory. Buckle up strap on in and let’s get involved…

Reds vs Blues

The Reds won the first clash against the Blues with relative ease, although the Blues did manage a late surge which made the game look closer than it was. The Reds have been excellent this season and expect a number of this team to make the Wallaby squad for the Tri-Nations and RWC2011.

They are coming off a bye and welcome back Digby man mountain Ioane, Beau Robinson (Beau… really?) and Anthony Faingaa from injury. The backline of the Reds is key and they will have the measure of the Blues backline on current form. Expect Quade burglar Cooper to be at his dancing feet, jump in the air best.

Here he is contemplating how awesome he looks without his shirt on.

The Blues forwards could well edge the Reds pack in this game but not enough to make a difference to the result. Pat Lam will be keen on his team’s chances however as the Blues are fantastic at the counter attack and are certainly capable of an upset on Sat. All Blacks,  Kevin Meelamu and Ali Williams are key for the Blues and if they can stamp their authority on the set pieces, the Blues can unleash their explosive runners.

Apparently Stephen Brett and Burglar Copper have recently been engaging in a tweeting war online. Exciting times for their 15  many followers. Here is an example of the verbal battle:

Stephen Brett @QuadeCooper: choice bro, we gonna win on sat

Quade Cooper@Diddystevebrett: no ways mate!


Home ground advantage and the week’s rest should mean a relatively easy win for the Reds and a home final next week.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: Sat 11:40am

Prediction: Reds by 10

Stormers vs Crusaders

This game will be played with Test match intensity and with both teams playing superb rugga this season, should be a fantastic example of quality smash them in their faces Supe Rugby.

My only hope is that we do not have to be subjected to those douche bag Newlands locals shouting abuse at the Stormers players. The last time the Crusaders played at Newlands, they swore at and booed the Stomers players at every opportunity. With little rugby knowledge, manners, class or the ability to even name more than 5 players in the Crusaders team, they are the worst kind of supporters and they should go FiretrUCK themselves .

Onto the game though and the Stormers will start as slight favourites. They have had a week off and besides the loss of Duane Vermeulen have a fully fit team. They have controversially brought in Schalk Brits on the bench as cover, which is a bit of a slap in the face to all up and coming loose forwards in the Cape. He is an explosive player though and could make a telling contribution.

Alistair Coetzee has chosen Conrad Jantjies at fullback and moved Gio Aplon to wing, with Jean de Villiers resuming his explosive partnership with Jaque Fourie and Peter Grant at flyhalf. One criticism of Grant is his apparent inability to kick the ball more than 20 metres out of hand. In a game where playing in the opposition’s half will be critical, this could be crucial.

Let’s hope Fourie can replicate the form he showed last year againt the Saders… hmmm delicious!

The Crusaders have done exceptionally well this season to be in the semi finals, having played all of their games away and as much as many would like the fairy tale season to continue, the travel factor will swing the momentum to the local team. Captain charming McCaw is back but is he match fit? Dan Carter will be at his awesome best and the midfield battle between boxer Williams and Fruean against JdV and Fourie will be immense and awe-inspiring.

The Stormers have not exactly shone in pressure games and last year’s finalists will need to stamp their authority early and set the pace of the game. The Saders will struggle in the last 15 minutes and the Stormers need to be leading in order to close out the game. Schalk Burger’s men will be keen to get some revenge for their loss earlier in the season and I expect them to do just that and book their second consecutive final against the Reds next week.

Venue: Newlands, Cape Town

Kick-Off: 5:05pm

Prediction: Stormers by less than 7


~ by bowlphilosophy on July 1, 2011.

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