Super Rugby 2012: Preview and Predictions – Round 16, part 2
Part deux of this round of Super Rugby adventures and the last tree outcomes are vital to pretty much all of the teams involved. Except perhaps the Force, shame.
It is derby madness out there with an Aussie derby to start us off followed by two SA derbies and then later maybe if the mood is right, roller derbies!
Whip it , whip it good!
Back to me now as we venture forward with a closer look at the Saturday shenanigans.
Super Rugby round 16, Sat 30 June 2012
Force vs Brumbies
The Force have once again had a fairly dreadful season and are currently the last placed Aussie side, even lower than the Rebels, embarrassing!!! They do however have one of the best open side flanks in the world at the moment, current Wallaby captain, David PoCOCK. The Zimbabwean born muscle factory has had a fine season and was one of the main reasons the Wallabies were able to beat Wales recently. Other than him the Force don’t have much else to speak of.
The Brumbies have to win at least two more games to secure their play-off chances, next week they face the Waratahs at home but then the Blues away, so a win on Sat will make their lives that much easier. Jake White’s young side should have too much firepower for the struggling Force but they, like the Rebels, are far tougher to beat at home and this may be close ish.
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Force vs Brumbies Prediction: Brumbies by 5-12
Stormers vs Lions
The Lions recently sent the president of Lions Rugby a list of grievances against John Mitchell who has since been suspended. This is not the first time this has happened as the Force players basically did the same thing when he coached them, back in the day. It is hard to know what to think about this as I wonder what he could have said to them that was so terrible? I wonder if he said that they were playing like SHITake for most of the season… truth hurts, apparently.
The Lions smashed the Sharks in their last game and will be hoping for more of the same this week as they desperately try to finish strongly in the off-chance they can overtake the Cheetahs on the log and not get relegated by the Kings. Whether they can pull it off at Newlands is the question though as they have a terrible record there (where do they not?) and are possibly without two of their best props.
The Stormers have been forced to make changes galore for this fixture with Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff and Rynhardt Elstadt all unavailable. Good news for the Stormers is that both Joe Pietersen and Andries Bekker return to the starting line-up. Gio Aplon moves back to wing and newby flanks, Don Armand and Tyrone Holmes get to start with Siya Kolisi moving to 8th man.
The Stormers are sitting pretty at the top of the SA conference but will want a win at home to give them some breathing room. I reckon the Lions are capable of an upset with so many changes to the Stormers but they still have a very potent side and especially backline and the Lions will need to be at their best for the full game if they are to have a chance.
Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Stormers vs Lions Prediction: Stormers to sneak it at home
Bulls vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs have not been nearly as potent without Johan Goosen and will struggle against a Bulls side chock a block with Springboks. They have a fairly solid team though and besides fielding two relatively new props will still be very competitive. Scrumhalf Piet Van Zyl trained with the Bokke recently and is one to watch, as is Heinrich Brussouw who will be desperate to prove his worth and get back in the Bok setup looking ahead to the Castle Champs.
The Bulls lost their last game and will thus be looking for three wins from their three remaining fixtures to keep their play-off hopes alive. Coach Frans Ludeke is backing Morne Steyn to come right and let’s hope for the Springbok’s sake that he does. Weirdly, Wynand Olivier had one of his best games for the Bokke last week and will be keen to build on that as he plays his 100th game for the Bulls. Chilliboy Ralepelle vs Adriaan Strauss should be interesting to watch as both vie for more game time at international level.
The Bulls should win this with a bonus point and hopefully guys like Steyn, Potgieter and Hougaard use the chance to play themselves into some form.
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Bulls vs Cheetahs Prediction: Bulls by 7-15