Super Rugby 2012 Preview and Predictions – Round 1, part 2

On Wednesday the Proteas managed to beat New Zealand’s Black Caps in the final T20 game of the series.

The beauty of the win was that the Black Caps were so far ahead that they needed less than 6 runs to the over from the 15th over with 7 wickets in hand, which in T20 terms is the proverbial triple decker chocolate cake walk. The game should have been over with 2 overs to spare but the Proteas never gave up, Jess Ryder started to care more about his 50 than his team, Botha and Marchant de Lange bowled quality overs and before you knew it the Black Caps had CHOKED.

Put that in your mouth….chew on it…. delicious!

Back to more important matters though with 4 Super Rugby games on Saturday.

Sat 25th 2012

Chiefs vs Highlanders

Sonny Boxer Williams and Aaron Cruden are now playing for the Chiefs and with Lelia Masaga and Richard Kahui they now have one of the most exciting backlines in the competition. Any one of these players can change a game with a piece of individual brilliance but it is in the forwards where the Chiefs are looking a bit vulnerable. They will struggle to impose themselves against the Landers, especially if the game is played in foul rainy weather.

sonny bill williams chiefs boxing

The Highlanders will once again rely on Adam Thomson to lead from the front and will look to build on their improved showing last year. The Highlanders have in the past lacked consistency but are well coached and have one of the better packs in New Zealand. Unfortunately they have been smashed by injuries and will struggle until they get their first choice players back.

Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Kick-Off: 8:35am (SA time)

Prediction: Chiefs by 5-10

Waratahs vs Reds

The Reds are without Quade Burglar Cooper and as much as coach Ewan McKenzie tries to play this down, it is a big loss. His partnership with Will Genia was one of the main reasons for the Reds winning Super Rugby last year and newby flyhalf Mike Harris has some big, dancing feet boots to fill. Captain Horwill is still there though and with most of the pack still in tact, the fluent Reds, will take some beating.

The Waratahs have new recruits Adam Ashley-Cooper and Saffa Sarel Pretorius in their starting side and are looking like strong contenders for top Aussie team this year. Sarel was one of the Cheetahs’ best players last year and some sketchy defense aside was one of the players of the 2011 tournament. The Tahs should win this at home.

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 10:40am

Prediction: Tahs by less than 7

Stormers vs Hurricanes

The Stormers kick-start their campaign with a home game against the Hurricanes and although the Canes struggled last year and are not rated very highly this year, they are the kind of team that you take lightly at your peril. Peril I say, Peril! Not that Alistair Coetzee would ever do that and has said as much recently.

schalk burger wedding

The Stormers are without Juan de Jongh (injury) and are starting Habana at 13. Wings at centre are all the rage this year and how he does against Conrad Smith should be interesting. With Schalk as captain and Bekker, Vermeulen and Duvenhage all back from injury, the pack is looking good although, still a touch light in the front row. If the backs get some quality ball expect some exciting running rugga and hopefully (unlike last season) tries aplenty.

The Canes have shifted their game plan to play more structured rugby, which if they get right may well reap rewards. Conrad Smith is captain and they should be up for a battle and if given a sniff of a lead could fancy their chances, especially as kiwi sides always get so much local support at Newlands (which is pretty irritating but what can you do?). The Stormers defense should get them off to a winning start at home.

Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Newlands

Kick-Off: 5:05pm

Prediction: Stormers by 7-15

Lions vs Cheetahs

The Cheetahs and specifically coach Naka Drotske rate themselves this year and with good reason. For the first time ever, they have some good depth and a draw which sees them travel early and play back in SA at the business end of the tourny. They have a fully fit squad (barring Juan Smith) and are looking to build on a string of solid performances overseas last year.

The Lions are Currie Cup champs and will be looking to take that momentum to Super Rugby, which is far easier said than done but it is a winning culture that they are building on. Coach John Mitchell has done a sterling job with a team with no real ‘big’ names and the high level of discipline, fitness and team work,  should translate into a better showing this year, starting with a home win against the Cheetahs. The Lions are looking to continue with their exciting brand of rugga and if they get it right on the day should pick up an early home win.

Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Joburg

Kick-Off: 7:10pm

Prediction: Lions by less than 7

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on February 24, 2012.

2 Responses to “Super Rugby 2012 Preview and Predictions – Round 1, part 2”

  1. My predictions for this weekends superrugby. Bulls, stormers and lions to win from the SA teams. What do u think?

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