Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 12, part 2
Back at work after an awesome day off. I feel refreshed and relaxed. I reckon we should all have a midweek break from work. It .. it just feels right. I will write it a letter to parliament to see what I can do.
Speaking of letters to people who only have their own interests at heart, I see SARU have still not got back to me about the Kings issue, damnit! It looks more and more likely that the Cheetahs and Lions will be given the option to merge back to the Cats for next season. Now this may not be ideal for either side but is better than the alternative of dropping out altogether.
At least if the merge did happen, the Cats would have ample squad depth for next season. Of course the logistical stumbling block of playing half the games in Joburg and half in Bloem plus the question of whether both unions would be keen to share the spoils could well lead to some unhappiness and probable legal battle shenanigans. Would be nice of SARU to finally come to some decision either way though, GOSH.
Back to Super Rugby played this year though as we look to the next 4 games.
Super Rugby Round 12, 12 May 2012
Rebels vs Crusaders
The Rebels showed good fight and spirit to score 5 tries against the Bulls last week but shrugged off the need to tackle or defend as an all round bad idea. Kurtley Tache Beale had a fine game and looks set to continue at flyhalf with bosom buddy, James Bieber O’Connor out for the forseeable future. It is in the forwards, however where the Crusaders will smash the Rebels and Tache may find it far tougher to dance his way through the Crusaders’ defensive line.
Richie McCaw comes back into the starting side for this game and the Crusaders will be keen to make up for a poor (by their standards) display last week. Tom Taylor keeps his place at flyhalf with Dan Carter continuing at centre. The Rebels are much better at home so this may not be a massive hammering but the Crusaders should walk away with at least a 4 try victory.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: Sat, 11:40am
Rebels vs Crusaders Prediction: Crusaders by 10-20
Sharks vs Force
The Force have some good players in their side and are capable of the odd bit of razzle dazzle but do not tour well and find themselves coming up against a motivated Sharks side that has a fully fit squad, pushing for a play-off spot. David Pocock will do his best to disrupt the Sharks but they do not have enough quality personal to cause an upset.
The Sharks scrum was very impressive last week and it was great to see the Beeeast back in the team and doing what he does best, dominating scrums and
shaving with a bic razor charging over players. The Sharks are hitting some form at the right time and Bismark is looking back to his best. I reckon they will take this at a canter as they slowly close the gap on the log leaders.
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Sharks vs Force Prediction: Sharks by 10-20
Stormers vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs were fairly average and inaccurate in the first half against the Force last week and were lucky to have a try to the Force disallowed due to a supposed bit of foul play. They improved in the 2nd half however and captain Adriaan Strauss had a blinder. He has been in superb form this season and deserves a spot on the Bok squad for the England tour. Whether or not he can rally his troops to a win at Newlands is the critical question though.
The Stormers welcome back Jean de Villiers at inside centre and Gio Aplon at wing for this game and will be glad that Andries Bekker is over his various niggles as he continues his solid partnership with Etzebeth. Let’s hope Alistair Coetzee actually rests him for some games with the England Tour not too far away… what are the chances? This game could well be a cracker with the Stormers defense seeing them through.
Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Stormers vs Cheetahs Prediction: Stormers by 5-10
Reds vs Chiefs
I struggle to support either of these sides but admit that both are capable of playing some very good rugby or footie as they would say. The Reds did well against the Crusaders last week and will be fancying their chances in front of the Brisbane faithful. If they can get a win here, it will keep their play-off hopes alive, so expect them to come out guns blazing, both barrels loaded.
The Chiefs welcome back some of the players rested last week and will be hoping they make a big difference to the side, after conceding 3 tries last week against the Lions, embarrassing! They will need to be at their defensive best against the Reds but if their forwards continue their impressive form, the log leaders should prove too much for the home side.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: Sun, 8:10am
Reds vs Chiefs Prediction: Chiefs by less than 7