Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 12, part1
I am off Wednesday to spend time with an old friend of mine, we plan on surfing, drinking and then drinking some more. Glorious times ahead!
It is for this reason that this post is going to be a wee bit condensed as I try to squeeze it in to what is becoming a fairly substantial SHITake pile of work that I need to finish in the next hour or so.
I am typing this on Tuesday but it will only be published on Wednesday. Yes, we can do that, amazing I know… it’s science. Unfortunately I have no knowledge of the team sheets, so if I comment on a particular player and he does not end up playing, I apologise in advance but if you are really bleak about it, please call our complaints hotline, it is 0860gofiretruckyourself.
Did anyone else notice the 7 out of 7 correct predictions that I made last week?
Ignoring the fact that I got the margins wrong and that it took me 11 rounds to achieve this small feat, let’s move swiftly along to the first 3 games.
Super Rugby 2012 round 12, Friday 11 May
Blues vs Lions
Usually I would say that the Blues would win this one comfortably with a bonus point but with the current form of the home side, not to mention my blind faith in the Lions, I am not so sure. Pat Lam is still without Kevin Mealamu but at least welcomes back Tony WoodCOCK. A lot will depend on whether the Blues can get parity in the set pieces, if they can, then their backline should have the space to finally find the synergy they have been lacking.
The Lions were good in parts last week and interestingly it was when they set up rolling mauls and not from trying to run it from their own tryline that they looked the most dangerous. It seems like they have finally figured out the pesky business of winning their own lineouts too. Slow clap guys, well done. Jaco Taute moves to centre with Lionel Mapoe as Alwyn Hollenbach drops out with an injury and much will depend on how the Lions midfield manages to contain the likes of Nonu and Ranger.
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-Off: Fri, 9:35am
Blues vs Lions Prediction: Blues by 5-10
Waratahs vs Bulls
The Waratahs are really struggling to put together solid performances from week to week. After looking alright against the Crusaders, they were fairly poor last week against the Brumbies, so who knows what to expect this week. They have made a number of changes though and have to win this to keep their play-off chances alive.
The Bulls are without prop, Dean Greyling who went home for the birth of his son, who he called Dean MacGuyver, I kid you not.
Wynand Olivier will more than likely miss out due to a rib injury with Francois Venter taking his place. Bok, Deon Stegmann comes back into the side as the Bulls finally field a genuine fetcher and impressive rookie CJ Stander moves to the blindside. I reckon the Bulls will sort out their defensive frailties from the last couple weeks and complete the Aussie clean sweep with a 4 from 4 situation (they don’t play the Force this year).
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Waratahs vs Bulls Prediction: Bulls by less than 7
Highlanders vs Hurricanes
The Highlanders have been further face smashed by injuries with the news that they have lost flank, Doug Tietjens, No.8, Elliot Dixon and midfielder Shaun Treeby for the season. They looked good against the Sharks on attack but could not convert possession and territory into points. Their depth will be massively challenged this week but at least they are at home.
The Hurricanes dominated the Blues last week and players like Cory Jane and Julian Savea are finding some terrific form. Fullback, Andre Taylor has benefitted from his wingers and has been scoring tries willy nilly recently. The Canes will need to front up in the forwards if they are to have a chance and could take this game, given the high injury toll and recent long distant travel experienced by the Highlanders side.
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-Off: Sat, 9:35am
Highlanders vs Hurricanes Prediction: Hurricanes to sneak it