Super Rugby 2013 Preview and Predictions: Round 2, Part 2

Looooads of games coming at ya fast and true this Saturday and in fact every Saturday for quite a while. I hope no-one has planned a wedding or special event on a Saturday for the next 8 months or so because that’s ‘drinking beer on a couch’ time.

Watching Super Rugby

Don’t forget to get massively involved in Superbru once again. It looks like you can now join as many pools as possible, which is great news. Be sure to join our Bowlphilosophy prediction pool. If you feel you are up to it, that is!! (Smirk) Damn why aren’t there emoticons on this blog? I feel naked without them (naked).

Anyhoot, 4 games to preview, let’s get to it!

Super Rugby round 2, Saturday 23rd of Feb 2013

Hurricanes vs Blues

The Blues had a horrific 2012 and have dumped coach Pat Lam in favour of John Kirwan and roped in Graeme Henry as an advisor. The team is led by Ali Williams and boasts the experience of Piri I ate all the pies Weepu, who is playing in his 100th Super Rugby game. Nicely done sir! (on the 100th game not on all the pie eating, you really should hit the treadmill at some stage, jusy saying). The Blues have a game breaker in Rene Ranger and a quality loose forward in Luke Braid but otherwise will be relying on a youthful squad to mostly rebuild but possibly surprise some teams this year.

The Hurricanes  have kept the bulk of their side from last year and will be keen to continue their incredible counter attacking play, hopefully, for their sakes married with a better defense and forward showing. They have brought in Ben Franks from the Crusaders to bolster the front row but have lost wing, Cory Jane, out for the season with a knee injury. Conrad Smith has proven to be an exceptional leader and with guys like Julian Savea in the backline, the Canes should be too much for the inexperienced Blues side at home.

Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: Sat 8:35am (SA Time)

Hurricanes vs Blues Prediction: Canes by 7-14

Reds vs Waratahs

The Waratahs are without Berrick Barnes for this clash and go into the game cold after having a bye last week. They had a disappointing season last year and were accused of playing dull, predictable Aussie rugby. They have lost the services of Rocky Elsom, Dean Mumm and Dan Vickerman but have brought in ex-Brumbie flank, Michael Hooper. Look out for the experienced Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polata-Nau, Wycliff Palu Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell, who will all be raring to go and keen to show Wallaby coach Deans that they should all be in the squad for the British and Irish tour later in the year.

The Reds started off badly last week with a dour performance against the Bumbies but are a far tougher prospect at home. Without James Horwill and Will Genia, they are far less imposing but will be hoping for some Quade Burglar Cooper razzle dazzle for inspiration. An interesting innovation for this game will be the Ref Cam, which will be used for the first time in a Super Rugby game and may well finally prove that refs have no at least some idea of what is happening in the scrums.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: 10:40am

Reds vs Waratahs Prediction: Reds by less than 7

Cheetahs vs Sharks

Cheetahs vs Sharks

The Cheetahs were dealt a harsh on the river backdoor straight to defeat their Aces (poker reference… check) with the news that Juan Blood Diamond Smith has been forced to retire. This coupled with the loss of key players, Ashley awesome afro Johnson (to London Wasps), Sias Ebersohn (to the Force) and Andries Strauss (to the Kings) has meant that coach Naka Drotske will once again start the season short on squad depth. There is some good news in that Johann Goosen and Coennie Oosthuizen are both back from injury and the Cheetahs will be keen to prove that they really are the Sharks bogey side.

The Sharks are without Willem man mountain Alberts and skipper Keegan Daniels but have a strong squad and players, like Paul Jordaan and Marcel Coetzee, are now in their second season and should thrive with the experience of JP Pietersen and new captain Frans Steyn alongside them. The Sharks have only played a couple of warm up games against fairly poor opposition, where as the Cheetahs have played the Bulls, Stormers and Lions, which may well benefit the home side. The Cheetahs have a very exciting backline and will score tries but will concede more than they score and lose what should be an entertaining derby.

Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-Off: 5:05pm

Cheetahs vs Sharks Preview: Sharks by 7 – 14

Kings vs Force

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The Force lost last week against the Rebels but had some moments of not too shabby play at times and will know that the Kings are their best bet for a victory in South Africa this year. They have lost David PoCOCK from their ranks but with forwards like Richard Brown, Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman who are able to pick and go to great effect, will be keen to open up defensive holes and quite probably secure a 4 try bonus point win.

The Kings could not have hoped for an ‘easier’ first game and could well get their first and only win of the season on Saturday in what is expected to be a full Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The vitriol against this side is unfair on the players and coaching staff, who are simply keen to play the game and be a part of Super Rugby. They had no influence on the cluster FiretrUCK caused by SARU but to hear some of the comments in the media and around the braai, you would think they single-handedly tore down Ellis Park and drank all the beer in Joburg. The Kings have the element of surprise going for them and let’s hope the ‘gees’ of the home crowd can get them what would be a famous victory,  unfortunately though I don’t think it will be enough.

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Kick-Off: 7:10pm

Kings vs Force Prediction: Force by less than 7

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on February 22, 2013.

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