Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 9, Part 2
Four crrrritical games ahead… well only two are really critical, to be honest. I am sure the Crusaders are not losing much sleep over the Force and the although Rebels vs Kings game may well be the first game the Kings win overseas, it is the two SA derbies that should be cracka-lackas with fried awesome sauce on the side.
So, let’s settle down, get a round in and chill right out as we look ahead to this Saturday’s all day
drinking rugby action adventures.
Super Rugby Round 9, saturday 13th of April 2013
Rebels vs Kings
The Kings would have targeted this game as their best chance of an overseas win but after last week’s draw with the Brumbies, may even consider themselves firm favourites. Their captain recently said the win had given them the belief and confidence that they can beat any team. hmmm. Any team? This is what Jennifer Lawrence had to say…
The Rebels will be feeling much better about themselves after last week’s win over the Force and especially stoked over the performance of new kiwi wing, Jason Woodward. They play far better in Melbourne and by that I mean they win there every now and again, so this game could be a close one. I am liking the Kings more and more but I have a feeling tthey will be yearning to head back home and will struggle to maintain the same kind of high intensity for the entire game.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: Sat, 11:40am (SA Time)
Rebels vs Kings Prediction: Rebels by less than 7
Force vs Crusaders
The Force lost to the Rebels last week. The Rebels. A team that was hammered 64-7 by the Sharks two weeks ago. So not much hope for the Force this week it must be said, although they did beat the Saders back in 2010. Sometimes fairly
SHITake average sides can pull a surprise against really good sides but it would take a brave man to suggest the Force will be able to do that again this year.
Crusaders coach, Todd Blackadder has rested Sam Whitelock and Matt Todd for this game and Dan the man Carter is out with a hamstring injury. Israel Dagg returns at fullback and Corey Flynn slots back in at hooker with Ben Funnell and Zac Guildford moving to the bench. The Crusaders have just returned from SA and the travel factor may be a factor here but expect them to easily wrap up the 4 try bonus point win with time to spare.
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Force vs Crusaders Prediction: Crusaders by 15-20
Stormers vs Sharks
The Sharks are coming off an impressive win against the Crusaders but it must be said are still not playing their best rugga. They have however developed quite the knack for winning regardless and will fancy their chances this week against an injury depleted Stormers side. 19-year-old Sean Robinson gets his first start on the wing and Ryan Kankowski moves to the side of the scrum in place of Jacques Botes who broke his arm last week but otherwise the team is unchanged.
Gary Van Aswegen comes into the side in place of the injured and out of sorts Elton Janjties and Damian de Allende shifts to wing as Joe Pietersen moves to fullback to cover for the injured Jaco Taute. Taute’s season is over after tearing his ACL in a tackle which horrifically bent his knee in several ways that knees just aren’t meant to bend. They showed it over and over again in slo-mo, which gave me a serious case of the hibby-jibbies. Check it out below, if you dare.
So can the Stormers get back to winning ways? They could very easily have won last week but do seem a bit out of sorts. Discipline and a lower error count will be key but I reckon the Sharks will sneak a win here and all but end the Stormers play-off chances.
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Stormers vs Sharks Prediction: Sharks by less than 7
Bulls vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs have kept the same starting 15 but have brought in scrummie Tewis de Bruyn and loose forward Frans Viljoen onto the bench. The Cheetahs are riding high on a sweet wave of momentum, form and emotion. It is a glorious place to be and reminds me of my golden Superbru run of ’09. They have however, never, ever beaten the Bulls in Super Rugby. Strange but true.
The Bulls are coming off a bye and have Boks Flip Van der Merwe and Akona Ndungane coming back into the side from injury. Jurgen Visser moves to fullback for the injured Zane Kirchner and prop Frik Kirsten replaces Werner Kruger who drops to the bench. Jan Serfontein retains his place at inside centre and his battle with Robert Ebersohn will be exciting to watch as both have recently been included in the first Bok training camp.
Tough one to call this. The Cheetahs on current form should win but the Loftus factor is huge and the Bulls lineout and kicking game if executed properly may well strangle the Cheetahs and force them to play from their own half… orrr it may lead to counter attacking opportunities…
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Bulls vs Cheetahs Prediction: Bulls but only just