Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 3, Part 2
Before we crack on to the Super Rugby games this Saturday, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the quality of rugga on show last week in the Highlanders vs Chiefs game. I have already said in Part 1 that the Chiefs were my team of the week last week and one of the reasons for this and indeed their success last year is their willingness to keep the ball alive.
Check out this little gem of fried gold rugby awesome.
Super Rugby round 3, Saturday 2nd March 2013
Chiefs vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs have brought in scrumhalf Sarel Pretorious for this game but are still without powerhouse Heinrich Broussouw. Prop Coennie Oosthuizen continues his slow recovery back to full match fitness off the bench and may well add some needed grunt in the second half. The Cheetahs showed once again how dangerous they can be in coming back from 21 points down to finish within 7 and nearly snatch an unlikely victory from the Sharks. Underestimate them at your peril but score against them you will… as Rugby Yoda would say.
The Chiefs have made four changes to their side as they tinker with the line up in their search for their best starting 15. They will be looking for a 4 try bonus point and against the Cheetahs will get it, more than likely in the first half. Both sides like to play running rugby so I would not be surprised if the Cheetahs score some tries of their own but will struggle to keep up the high tempo pace, after the long trip to NZ. This is a very tough overseas game first up for them and they will do well to take any log points from it.
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-Off: Sat 8:35am (SA time)
Chiefs vs Cheetahs Prediction: Chiefs by 12-20
Bulls vs Force
The Force lost last week against the Kings… embarrassing!!!! Their next game will be a far tougher examination as they head up the Highveld. They started well last Saturday but couldn’t convert their dominant territory and possession into points and that is something they will have to improve on this week. They (strangely) have a decent, played 6 won 3, record against the Bulls but have only tasted sweet victory once at Loftus.
The Bulls will have been very happy and mightily relieved with their win last week as they know that barring a complete meltdown in defense, skills and execution, they should embark on their overseas trip next week with two wins securely under the belt. They were not very flash or exciting against the Stormers and in fact should have won by a larger margin but will be lifted by the senior player’s performances, especially Morne I am still standing yeah yeah yeah Steyn and captain, Pierre Spies. Expect a toit start followed by a solid 4 try bonus point victory.
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Bulls vs Force Prediction: Bulls by 7-15
Sharks vs Stormers
The Sharks have made just one change to the side that beat the Cheetahs last week, bringing in flank Jean Deysel and shifting counterpart, Jacques Botes to the bench. The Sharks have already gotten off to a better start than last season but a win here will set them up quite nicely thanks very much, especially with their next outing being a leisurely trip to PE for a casual game against the Kings. Expect an intriguing battle between the young flyhalves, Pat I still use Clear for Men Lambie and Elton I use gel and lots of it Jantjies and look out for captain vs captain as Frans Steyn takes on Jean de Villiers in the midfield.
Being without Schalk Burger and Eben Etzebeth for this game, will seriously affect the Stormers’ chances. They looked very rusty last week and for all the height and free running on the wing Andries Bekker brings to the game, without lock partner Eben massive guns, the Stormers lack the hard edge so vital in these derbies. Jaco Taute is out after
a kick to the jollies picking up a groin injury and has been replaced by Percy Montgomery’s love child Joe Pietersen, who did well after coming on in the 2nd half last week.
Elton Jantjies can only get better and his out of hand and touch kicking will be vital in this game. Coach Coetzee may well give Pietersen the goal kicking duties but Elton’s general play will need to be spot on if his is to get his side into the right areas on the field. Expect him and the Stormers to play better than they did last week and for this to be a close game with passion and pride being the order of the day. The Sharks famously go to sleep for a period in almost every game but I reckon will still win this…but only just.
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Sharks vs Stormers Prediction: Sharks by less than 7