Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 11, Part 1
So here we are, roughly half way through Super Rugby 2013 and 11 teams are still in with a realistic shout of qualifying for the play-offs. I like it. The log is a touch confusing due to the Aussie sides kick starting off proceedings a week early and the completely shitake 4 points for a bye rule thrown in for good measure, but overall it is still wide open… I think.
Either way, one thing is for sure, the Kings should never again have a DJ at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Whose douche idea was that anyway? Not only was it hard to hear the commentators in between play but the music was terrible. You could almost see the embarrassment on the player’s faces, except for Luke who was tapping his feet to the music and stroking his beard.
My team of the week is the Bulls, who reminded everyone how devastating they can be if they manage to get the upper hand in the forward exchanges. The quality front foot ball enabled Morne Steyn, yes, Morne Steyn, to stand flatter, run the ball and create space with accurate and quick passing. Centre, Jan Serfontein had a blinder as a result and the team deserved the bonus point win.
On to this week and 7 games in this round, although one is at 6:35am on Sunday. The big question is whether to try to wake up early or just keep drinking and still be awake for the game…
Super Rugby round 11, Friday 26th April 2013
Hurricanes vs Stormers
There are a few changes to the Hurricanes side but the big one is the loss of Julian Savea, who recently withdrew from the side after being charged with assault by his lady. In other team movements, Beauden Barrett shifts back to flyhalf and Andre Taylor starts at fullback. Scrumhalf TJ Perenara, flank Victor Vito and lock Jason Eaton all return to the side and Matt Proctor takes Savea’s place on the wing. The Canes made a meal of their last game against the Force and will need a big lift if they are to defeat the Stormers but the loss of Savea could be crucial.
The Stormers welcome back Bryan Habana at left-wing, which means Gio quick feet Aplon moves to the right-wing and de Allende drops to the bench. In the forwards, Pat Cilliers gets a start at tighthead in a straight swap with Frans Malherbe. Gary Van Aswegen gets another chance at flyhalf with Elton Jantjies still recovering from his
shattered ego ankle injury. The Stormers have won 1 lost 1 in Palmerston North but their general record against the Canes is a good one. They are coming off a bye and have been in New Zealand for a while now, so should secure a win here by strangling the kiwi side of quality ball.
Venue: FMG Stadium, Palmerston North
Kick-Off: Fri, 9:35am (SA Time)
Hurricanes vs Stormers Prediction: Stormers by 5-10
Reds vs Blues
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan has dropped two Blues players for ill discipline. Francis Saili for being caught driving on a suspended license and George Moala for breaking team protocol. Ooooooh. Centre Rene Ranger, one of the form players in Super Rugby, comes back into the side after recovering from injury and he will be looking to razzle dazzle with his dancing feet and strong carries in the midfield.
The Reds have recently had the better of the Blues but both carry good form into this game and this could well be a very entertaining situash. The Reds did very well to come back against the Brumbies last week but were perhaps a tad too keen on scoring tries when easy 3 pointers were on offer. Will Genia is back to his best and Quade part-time boxer, full-time burglar Cooper is thriving as a result and is playing with freedom and flair once again. The Blues will test the their defense more than the Brumbies did last week but the Reds should still win this at home and maintain just a couple of points behind the log leading Brumbies.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Reds vs Blues Prediction: Reds by 7-15
Chiefs vs Sharks
The Sharks were dick punched in the face with yet another injury with centre Paul Jordaan injuring his ACL playing a casual game of touch rugby at training. Geez guys, whats with all the injuries, are you not actually warming up? So far the Sharks have 16 players out injured and it is showing in their general play. They were woeful against the Cheetahs in rainy conditions and are now running out of players, particularly props and midfielders at a worrying rate. Thankfully, they have Frans donkey boot Steyn to cover for Jordaan at 2nd centre. The Sharks have not beaten the Chiefs since 2009 and will do very well to improve that with so few fit players available.
The Chiefs have yet to announce their 22 for this game but will be keen to get back to winning ways after two straight losses, both to Aussie sides. Embarrrasing! They have a few injury issues of their own, with both Richard Kahui and Aaron Cruden missing training with ‘niggles’. Ironically the Chiefs may have lost a prop forward of their own with Ben Afeaki out with a sprained ankle. If both sides had fully fit teams this could well have been the game of the week but going on current form and the war like injury lists, the Sharks will do well to take any points away from this game. Does every team I support automatically start to lose?What the shitake firetucks is going on?! Gosh!
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Chiefs vs Sharks Prediction: Chiefs by 7-15