Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 3, part 2
Remember how England’s RWC2011 campaign went terribly pear-shaped off (and on) the field with certain players getting drunk and dwarf tossing, others getting drunk and harassing hotel staff and the balance getting drunk and jumping off ferries? How funny was that SHITake?!
I was hoping for similar stories to come out during this year’s 6 Nations but it seems like new caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster has put a stop to those kinds of shenanigans. Although certain players can’t seem to kick the ol habit, take for instance Danny Care…
The English scrumhalf was arrested recently for a 3rd drink related offence in as many months. We can confirm that none of those was for having sex with a rugby ball.
Apparently this time, it was for urinating in front of a building. Quality! Lancastar had actually dropped him from the squad after his previous drink driving arrest and plans to chat to him about his behaviour. His chat will more than likely go like this. “Next time you get wasted out on the piss, urinate in an alleyway like the rest of us do, gosh!”
Let’s focus on more important events though, like this Saturday’s quartet of rugby awesomeness.
Super Rugby Round 3 Sat 10th of March 2012
Highlanders vs Waratahs
Last year the Highlanders were on top of the NZ conference for the first half of Super Rugby before fading away as the tournament progressed. Can they go balls deep this year? If last week’s powerful performance against the Crusaders is anything to go by, then, by golly yes they can. Adam Thompson is once again showing sublime form and with new recruit Hosea Gear in their ranks and more rock solid defense, they will be looking for another home victory.
The Waratahs were a bit of alright against the Rebels but it is hard to gauge exactly how good they are at the moment. Berrick injury magnet Barnes is back in the run on side and with Sarel Pretorius looking sharp at scrumhalf and captain Halangahu running the show at flyhalf, expect a tough battle for the home side. It is in the forwards where I expect the Landers to have the slightest of edges though, which should see them through.
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Highlanders vs Waratahs Prediction: Highlanders for the toit win
Reds vs Rebels
The Rebels have included Kurtley Tache Beale at fullback and all of a sardine, their backline looks a fair bit more daunting. Alas, it is in the forwards where they will struggle against a very good Reds pack. The big question for the Rebels is when this year, will Danny Cipriani get arrested for public drunkenness…
The Reds welcome back Scott Higginbotham in place of Radike Samo, while Wallaby hooker Saia Faingaa comes back off the bench. The Reds have had a good start to the tournament and will continue their winning streak against a Rebels side that seems far more interested in off the ball niggles than playing. Reminds me of Samoa in the RWC2011… dirty bastards.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Reds vs Rebels Prediction: Reds by more 10-20
Sharks vs Lions
Heartbreak for the Lions last week as they managed to fluff a lead with less than 10mins to go. At the moment the Lions players are playing as individuals and have lost that inspiring team work they displayed in the Currie Cup. They were better in the second half but will need a big lift in their performance to topple an increasingly desperate Sharks outfit. Bummer to the max for coach Mitchell is the loss of two of his props, with newby Jacobie Adriaanse coming in at tighthead. Butch shoulder charge your face James gets his first start of the season at inside centre.
The Sharks looked very good against the Stormers, especially in the first half but are struggling to finish off the try scoring opportunities they are creating. Pat Lambie has failed to control both their games so far and his kicking for goals is not up to scratch. He is of course immensely talented and will come right soooon. JP Pietersen has been impressive at centre and his battle with Doppies le Grange will be crucial. The Sharks have man mountain (and ex Lion) Willem Alberts back and this is a huge boost for their pack. Expect exciting running rugby and tries aplenty with the Sharks getting their first win of the tourny.
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Sharks vs Lions Prediction: Sharks by less than 7
Bulls vs Blues
The Bulls appear to have shrugged off the loss of a number of stalwarts and are the early pace setters this year. They have, however lost one of their star players, with Fran Hougaard out for 1 week for a tip tackle. Jano Vermaak comes in to replace him but there are no other changes. Chilliboy Ralepelle has been very impressive so far and how he competes with Blues captain Mealamu will be very interesting.
Blues coach, Pat Lam has brought in Ma’a Nonu and Piri pie eater Weepu and may well be enjoying the fact that the Blues are away from home after the lambasting they received from their local media recently. They have an incredible side on paper and this game could be more competitive than peeps are expecting but the Bulls are very hard to beat at fortress Loftus and should win a cracker.
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Bulls vs Blues Prediction: Bulls by less than 10