Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 4, Part 1
Another week another dollar. You guys are still sending me dollars right? No, damn it!
The only real surprise result from last week was the Blues hammering the Crusaders and keeping them tryless for the first time in over a season. Slow clap guys, team of the week for the second week in a row, very well done.
The Blues sucked balls last year and then lost the majority of their ‘star’ players in the off-season. A new coach was brought in and all of a sardine, they are the form team so far this year. What this proves is that quality coaching can make a difference. The Blues are now playing intelligent, attacking rugby married with clever kicking and solid defence and the coach has managed this with mostly rookie players.
It does help of course that these rookie players are all incredibly fast, strong and skilled kiwis and the assistant coach is Graeme Henry but still, Sir John Kirwan take a bow.
Let’s hope for a better performance from all the SA sides this week, especially the Stormers who look further away from scoring tries this year than last year, which I didn’t think was actually possible, as we jump on board the Round 4 prediction train. Choo choo mother firetuckers!
Super Rugby round 4, Friday 8th of March 2013
Hurricanes vs Crusaders
The Hurricanes were unlucky to lose last week, due to some marginal calls and some pedantic refereeing by, you guessed it, Steve uh, wot? missed it Walsh. Unfortunately for them, this Friday they face a Crusaders side, smarting from their loss to the Blues last week. In team news, Victor Vito wins his 50th Super Rugby cap and moves to 8th man with Brad Shields coming in at 6. The Canes have yet to win so far but have only won twice against the Crusaders at home since 1996, so their bad start may well get worse.
The Crusaders looked shell-shocked, rusty and defensively shaky to boot against the Blues in Auckland. Israel Dagg had a nightmare on the wing and has been moved back to his preferred fullback posish this week. In the forwards, taller than all but Andries Bekker, lock Daniel Bird comes in for the injured Luke Romano. The Saders will be hoping for more possession and a far better showing defensively but with all the class in the side, will surely come right against the Hurricanes in what should be a very entertaining kiwi derby. Aren’t they all?
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-Off: Friday 8:35am (SA time)
Hurricanes vs Crusaders Prediction: Crusaders by 7-14
Rebels vs Reds
The Rebels have lost Tache Beale for at least 4 weeks, out with a fractured hand but no worries mate, BFF and new captain James Bieber O’ Connor takes his place at flyhalf. The Rebels started last week very well as they have in all games this season but tend to fade in the second half. Expect much of the same on Friday as their forwards struggle to match their Reds counterparts.
The Reds welcome back Wallaby centre Anthony Faingaa into their starting 15 and will be hoping he gels with the out of sorts Quade burglar Cooper. They have never lost to the Rebels and it doesn’t look like that record will change any time soon. Look out for Will Genia’s younger brother, Nigel, who will get his chance off the bench. Nigel?… really?
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Rebels vs Reds Prediction: Reds by 10-20
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
The Highlanders lost their first game and had a bye last week, so will be keen as mustard, on a hot dog, with some fried onions (man I am hungry) to get their season rolling. The Highlanders have never lost to the Cheetahs and who can forget last year where Sias Ebersohn basically handed them the game by missing a kick right in front of the poles in Bloem. Lolsies.
The Cheetahs started well last week but flyhalf Johan Goosen missed 3 out of 4 kicks at goal and then had a clearance kick charged down early in the second half to hand the Chiefs a 14 point lead. Goosen is very talented but is inexperienced and will need to step up his kicking dramatically if the Cheetahs are to have any chance on their tour. Bok Heinrich Brussouw comes back off the bench and Drotske will be hoping he can work his ruck time magic and lift his side to a famous victory. Unlikely, you say. Ja me too.
Venue: Rugby Park, Invercargill
Kick-Off: Saturday 8:35am (SA time)
Highlanders vs Cheetahs Prediction: Highlanders by 7-15