Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 8, part 1

Wow, massive fail on the SuperBru front last week. Embarrassing!

Sheesh kebabs!

I would like to think that it was more down to terrible team performances than my skills in predicting outcomes of rugby games but it certainly looks like I over estimated certain sides (Sharks and Blues) and under estimated others (Stormers, Reds and Cheetahs).

Let’s be honest though and admit that the Sharks and Blues were pretty firetrucking terrible. Just Saying.

Fear not though, all you fans who, like me, are wallowing mid to low table… we still have a shitake load of games left and plenty of time to dick punch our way to SuperBru glory.

Teams of note from last week were the Stormers, whose defensive line appears impenetrable; the Chiefs, who have the best attacking back line in Super Rugby and the Bulls, who are still managing to win close games despite the loss of their superstars.

Only 6 games this weekend, which is a bit of a shame really, especially as two of these are Aussie derbies… sad face, but what can you do. Let’s take a gander at the first 3.

Super Rugby Round 8, Fri 13th of April

Blues vs Sharks

Pat Lam has had a torrid week after the humiliating loss to the Rebels and has finally admitted that Piri Weepu did indeed eat all the pies and is not conditioned enough for this level. Er… way to notice coach, he needs a breather after running on to the field. The Blues are a team in disarray and are failing to overcome their long injury list. They are back at Eden Park, however and are (usually) much harder to beat at home.

I was fairly shocked at how woeful the Sharks were against the Hurricanes. Their game plan seemed to be: run at opposition, get tackled, give away penalty, look super surprised that the Canes scored again. Their one on one tackling was non-existent and Freddie Michalak once again botched try scoring opportunities with poor decision-making. Thankfully Pat baby face Lambie is over his toothache and is starting. All in all a victory on Friday will see them with 2 away wins and a chance to still push for the play-offs. Thankfully they are playing the Blues.

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Kick-Off: 9:35am (SA Time)

Blues vs Sharks Prediction: Both teams to play better but Sharks to edge it

Force vs Waratahs

The Force tried manfully against the Chiefs last week but struggled to contain the kiwi game breakers. They have a bye next week and will be hoping for a big effort at home against a Waratahs side that has looked out of sorts this season.

The Waratahs are coming off a bye and have opted for Berrick Barnes at flyhalf. Benn Robinson leads the side and the team will be hoping to finally kick-start their campaign with a valuable away win. Look out for Dean Mumm and his awesome hand-off. They could well be rusty but have a fantastic record against the Force (who have never beaten them in Perth) and should be favourites for this game.

Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: 1:40pm

Force vs Waratahs Prediction: Waratahs to win by , I dunno…some boring margin

Crusaders vs Stormers

This, my fellow rugby fans, is going to be the game of the weekend! The Crusaders will be hurting after the loss to the Bulls last week, especially as they came so close. They had moments of brilliance, followed by moments of ‘meh’ play but they are back at home and will be desperate for a win. Dan (maybe not) the man Carter, was fairly average last week and will be keen to make amends for his overall game but particularly his shoddy kicking. Jet lag and travel fatigue does not seem to affect the good sides this year, so don’t expect any drop off of intensity in this game.

The Stormers had their best performance last week. They were passionate and unrelenting on defense and scored a couple of brilliant, although slightly fortuitous tries. Jean de Villiers had his best game so far and created their first try with a quality chip kick. It is with their forwards though, that they are winning these games and I have to say, take a bow Matthew Proudfoot. The 2 ton Stormers forwards coach has done wonders with a relatively inexperienced side who have smashed or at least equalled all packs they have faced so far.

Scoring tries against this Stormers side is like trying to find something positive to say about the performance of the Lions last week… near impossible. This game will be a close one with the Stormers looking to make amends for two losses to the Saders last year. It will be tricky to the max but if the Stormers can get ahead early, they will more than likely take what is bound to be super rugby classic.

Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Kick-Off: Sat, 9:35am

Crusaders vs Stormers Prediction: Stormers to secure a historic win

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on April 11, 2012.

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