Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 12, Part 2

Four more games to preview for this round with an especially very hard one to call on Sunday between the Brumbies and Crusaders but that is why I am here, to make the tough calls. Well that and answer phones, take out the trash, clean the toilets and make the coffee. Working from home sucks. Before we dive in balls deep however, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the British & Irish Lions squad recently announced by coach Warren Gatland.

Sam Warburton B&I Lions captain

Wales flanker Sam Warburton has been named captain and the squad understandably, given their second successive 6-Nations title this year, has a  predominantly Welsh flavour. Interestingly, flyhalf Johnny Wilkinson and England captain Chris Robshaw have been left out but will be on the reserves list if there are any injuries.  The selection of New Zealand born, Sean Maitland, Saffa Matt Stevens and Fijian Mako Vunipola has raised some eyebrows but maybe it is simply an acknowledgement that players from the South dominate. Hola! The B& I Lions have not won a tour since 1997 (LOL) and as much as I enjoy watching Australia lose at sport, can you imagine the British media should the Lions win, so let’s hope their record stays as shit as is.

Super Rugby round 12, Saturday 4th May 2013

Force vs Reds

The Force were manhandled last week by the Brumbies and could not string more than a few phases together or pass, defend, scrum or kick effectively for that matter. Basically, Force rugby in a nutshell. “Rubbish!” I hear one lone supporter say, “What about us beating the Reds earlier in the season?” Good point, I guess. The Force did indeed beat the Reds early on and beat the Crusaders a few weeks ago but have sucked the big one recently.

Coach McKenzie has made a few changes to the Reds side with Dom Shipperly taking wing Rod Davies’s place in the backline and props Albert Anae and Greg Holmes both getting starts. The key to the Reds current form lies in their experienced players getting an extended run and with guys like Beau Robinson returning form injury off the bench, they are looking more and more like serious play-off contenders. This could be close ish initially due to it being played in Perth but the Reds should take this one comfortably.

Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: Sat, 11:40am

Force vs Reds Prediction: Reds by 7-15

Kings vs Waratahs

The Waratahs have made one change to their side, with wing Peter Betham coming in for Tom Kingston. Coach Cheika will know that they could very easily have won at Loftus last week were it not for the high penalty count against them. They looked good on attack and used the rush defense very well, although it must be said did look offsides quite often but hey if the ref doesn’t call it, why not, mate?

The Kings have been brought back down to earth since their impressive overseas tour, losing badly to both the Bulls and Cheetahs but have not lost yet to Aussie opposition this year. They will be stoked with the return of wing Sergeal Petersen, who replaces Michael Killian but have kept Luke full beard Watson on the bench for another week. The Kings are capable of a win but I reckon the Waratahs attack will be too much for the EP massive to contain. This should be an entertaining game and definitely worth the watch, let’s just hope they have dropped the DJ off the roof on the roof idea.

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE

Kick-Off: 5:05pm

Kings vs Waratahs Prediction: Tahs by 5-10

Bulls vs Hurricanes

Bulls Cheerleader

Julien Savea returns for this game after standing down last week amid assault allegations. He is one of their best players but will his mind be 100% on the game? For the Bulls’ sake, let’s hope not. Ash Dixon comes into the side, replacing the injured Motu Matu’u at hooker and Tusi Pisi starts at inside centre. The Canes were narrowly beaten by the Stormers last week and looked dangerous when they kept ball in hand. The may well fancy their chances of an upset on Saturday, especially given their good record at Loftus, where they have played 7, won 4.

The Bulls will be satisfied with the win over the Waratahs, especially after trailing with 10 mins to go. They could not quite get the ball out wide due to the constant offsides rush defense of the Tahs and will be hoping for more space and time this week. They have unfortunately lost Jan Serfontein who has failed to recover from a rib in jury in time and is replaced by Wynand Olivier. In other changes,  flank Deon Stegmann and fullback Jurgen Visser come back into the side with Frik Kirsten and Grant Hattingh returning from injury from the bench. This could be another close game but the Bulls have not lost at home this year and have good momentum so should secure the win and stay at the top of the SA log.

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Kick-Off: 7:10pm

Bulls vs Hurricanes Prediction: Bulls by 5-12

Brumbies vs Crusaders

Todd Blackadder has lost patience with Israel Dagg’s lack of form and defensive lapses and has dropped the All Black fullback to the bench. He is replaced by Tom Taylor, who shifts from centre. His place is taken by Ryan Crotty, who is joined by the impressive Robbie Fruean in the midfield. Scrumhalf Andy Ellis returns to the starting 15, as does prop Wyatt Crockett and Dan the Man Carter. Carter is back to full fitness and his tactical kicking will be vital against the table topping Brumbies side.

The Brumbies have a very good record against the Crusaders at home and have not lost to them in Canberra since 2003. No team selection news when I last checked but Jake White will more than likely put out his strongest side as he knows how vital home games are. The Brumbies are the team to beat at the moment and although there are murmurings of them not being ‘championship material’, a win here will go a long way in quieting  the doubting Daves. This could be the game of the week and although it is a ball ache getting up early on Sunday mornings, should be well worth it. Also a perfect time to enjoy some Irish coffees, just saying.

Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Kick-Off: Sunday, 8:05am

Brumbies vs Crusaders Prediction: Brumbies by less than 7

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on May 2, 2013.

2 Responses to “Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 12, Part 2”

  1. That cheerleader is nearly hot enough to make me consider supporting the bulls….. nah, nothing will ever do that!!! LIONS!!!!

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