Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 6, part 2
Referees are often the talking points of games and sometimes have big influences on results which can be
FiretrUCKING fairly frustrating. More frustrating is when there seems to be no repercussions after terrible reffing performances, or worse when Paddy O’ Douche publicly backs a SHITake performance, like he did after Bryce Lawrence’s shocker in the RWC2011 quarter-final.
Well good news everyone… Paddy O’ Brian has been shunted off to look after the Sevens refs and Bryce has been dropped from the elite referee panel. Yesss. This has got to be good for the game and was a long time coming. For more insight into Bryce’s thought pattern during the game, let’s re-visit his decision flow chart.
Back to the Super Rugby action and 4 more games this Saturday, let’s delve, balls deep.
Super Rugby Round 6, 31 Mar 2012
Brumbies vs Sharks
At the start of the season I would have said that the Sharks would take this game at a canter but now I am not so sure. The Brumbies recently beat the as then, undefeated Highlanders and are looking better and better. They do not have any major injury concerns and are building in confidence game by game.
The Sharks looked dominant over the Waratahs until the last 10 mins of that game and then they ran out of steam or powerade or both. They welcome back JP Pietersen and Jean Deysel (off the bench) but have lost flyhalf Pat babyface Lambie and are playing Freddie Michalak in his place. Tough one to call this but I reckon the Sharks should just aboot edge it.
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Kick-Off: Sat, 10:40am
Brumbies vs Sharks Prediction: Sharks be less than 7
Force vs Reds
The Force recently lost to the Rebels but played good rugby in parts. They are on a very slight upward curve and David PoCOCK is still scavenging for the ball like the fetcher extraordinaire that he is. Can the Force take advantage of a depleted Reds side at home?It is their best chance in years.
The Reds got smashed by a rampant Bulls side and in doing so lost even more players. Radike Samo is the latest casualty but with quality player like Will Gregan Genia, Scott Higginbotham and captain James Horwill, they are still a very capable side. They are playing in Perth so the travel factor is not as dramatic and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways.
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Force vs Reds Prediction: Reds to sneak a win
Lions vs Crusaders
The Lions struggled initially last week but came back strongly against the Stormers. They are a team with very little experience but the newbies are doing very well and the attitude and fight is there, unfortunately the execution is lacking. No word yet on whether Elton Jantjies is back from injury but if he is the chance of victory increases dramatically.
The Crusaders are coming off their first win at the new Christchurch Stadium and will be full of confidence heading to Joburg. They have a very good record against the Lions (who doesn’t) and will have targeted this as the easiest win of their overseas tour. With Dan Carter back and the long Lions’ injury list, as much as it pains me, it is hard to see them not picking up at least 4 log points on Sat.
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Joburg
Lions vs Crusaders Prediction: Crusaders by 7-15
Stormers vs Bulls
This could well be the game of the weekend. The two top sides in the SA conference have both shown they are capable of sublime rugga but have looked average and very beatable at times. The Bulls have chosen the same run on side from last week and with Morne Steyn showing great kicking form, expect the kick and chase to be the order of the day.
The Stormers have brought in lock Rynhardt Elstadt at flank, to add that extra ‘muscle’ in the loose. They will not want to have to defend as much as they did last week and will need to keep the ball in hand far more if they want to win this game. Bryan Habana is finding some good form and will be critical to the Stormers in fielding the bombs delivered by Steyn. This will be more like a test, so don’t expect many tries.
On current form the Bulls look the better side but home crowd advantage will even this up. Very tricksy to predict but I reckon the Bulls will win a classic
Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Stormers vs Bulls Prediction: Bulls by less than 7