Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 14, part 2
Last Saturday I went with a bunch of mates to Newlands for the Stormers vs Waratahs game. It was a great night out, although more because of the talking of the toot, atmosphere and drinking of the tasty beers than the actual rugga on display.
You can’t drink in the stands at Newlands which inevitably means you smash a couple of beers before the game kicks off, miss the last minutes of the first half as you scamper to the bar. Down a few beers at half time and then make your way back to the stands to find you have missed the first 10 mins of the second half. All this downing of beers can get the better of some fans, either that or this guy really did find the rugby that boring.
Good times from last week aside, let’s smash some predictions in our faces, half time at Newlands style, as we look at the next four games.
Super Rugby 2012 round 14, Sat 24 May
Brumbies vs Reds
The Reds welcomed back Quade burglar Cooper to the side last week against the Lions as they picked up the expected 4 try bonus point win. Quade lasted for the first half and showed one or two moments of skill but wasn’t quite on the same page as most of his team mates and passed to no one, a few times. It was hilarious. Scrumhalf Will Genia had a very good game but the Reds did look a touch vulnerable when the Lions kept the ball through phases.
The Brumbies did very well to beat the Hurricanes and the belief constantly shown by Jake’s side makes this team very dangerous for the full 80mins. They came from behind to win and shrugged off the loss of flyhalf, Christian Lealiifano from the previous week to increase their lead as Aussie log leaders. This game will be very close as the Reds look to make up some ground on their main Aussie rivals but I reckon that with Quade not quite back to his best, I am going to back the Brumbies at home.
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Brumbies vs Reds Prediction: Brumbies by less than 7
Force vs Lions
Neither of these sides have played consistently well this season but the Force have at least managed more than one win…. they have managed two. The Lions looked good for the first 15 and last 15 mins of the game last week but missed crucial one on one tackles just before and just after half time which effectively killed off their chances. Coach Mitchell knows the Force well, having coached them last year. Here’s hoping he can use this to get a much-needed win for his struggling side.
The Force will be uber bleak after losing a very close game last week to the Rebels but will see this as an ideal opportunity to make up for it in front of their long-suffering fans. Don’t expect much from this game in terms of quality rugby and as much as I would like to think the Lions can finally win one overseas, I just don’t see it happening.
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Force vs Lions Prediction: Force by 5-10
Cheetahs vs Waratahs
The Waratahs did well to force their way back into the game last week but still lack any real attacking threats in their side. Having said that, Drew Mitchel is scheduled to play in this game, probably off the bench which could liven things up for them, somewhat.
The Cheetahs have done worse at home than they did overseas which must infuriate coach Naka Drotske. They are still prone to defensive lapses and will be hoping to simply score more tries than they let in, which seems to be their entire game plan. They have really struggled without Johan Goosen and I expect them to do so again but still squeak a tightly contested win.
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Cheetahs vs Waratahs Prediction: Cheetahs by 5-10
Sharks vs Stormers
Possible Percy Montgomery love child, Joe Pietersen is out injured and Gio Aplon will move to fullback for this game with Gerhard Ven Den Heever taking his place on the wing. Now as good as Aplon’s all round game is, the Stormers will miss the kicking skills of Pietersen. There are no other changes to the side, with Alistair Coetzee going with the ol’ ‘play the best players in every game and never rest them’ approach. Some of the Stormers players are understandably now looking a bit jaded and their post half time ‘nap period’ seems to becoming a habit, which may well cost them this week.
The Sharks have moved Pat babyface Lambie to fullback which is incidentally where Heyneke Meyer prefers him to play, for this game. Freddie Michalak starts at flyhalf and man mountain, Willem Alberts finally gets a start, after playing off the bench last week. Meyer Bosman comes in at centre for the injured Tim Whitehead and will need to be at his defensive best against the likes of De Jongh and De Villiers.
This should be a Test match type SA derby game and the result may well depend on who gets an early lead. This is tricksy to the max to predict but I am going to go with the home side by a whisker, as I reckon they may well have the advantage in the forwards.
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Sharks vs Stormers Prediction: Sharks to win but only just