Incoming Tours 2013: Preview and Predictions

Awww yis! Bring on the international rugga!

This Saturday we have Japan vs Wales, New Zealand vs France, Scotland vs Samoa, South Africa vs Italy, Argentina vs England and USA vs Ireland. Hmmmmm, delicious.

Three words… Bring. On. The. Beers. Please. And. Some. Chips. Thank-you

Oh yes, don’t forget to check out the Reds vs The B&I Lions. The Lions hammered the Force yesterday but will  be expecting a far tougher situash tomorrow against a far more impressive and experienced side with Quade Burglar Cooper expected to be named captain. Should be worth a glance or too over breakfast.

Let’s focus on the two big clashes this weekend though as we settle in for a glorious weekend of International rugby action adventures.

All Blacks vs France

All Black fans

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has chosen the majority of the side who struggled in the 6 Nations and has raised the odd eyebrow by naming 24-year-old Camille Lopez at flyhalf in his first ever start for Les Bleus. Maxime Machenaud has been chosen at scrumhalf after Morgan Parra was ruled out of the tour with a thigh injury. Thierry Dusautoir will captain the side while Frederic Michalak will get a chance off the bench. Les Bleus were very average in the 6 nations and finished last. LOL. They will be keen to cause an upset but will more realistically be looking to build towards the next RWC.

The All Blacks are without Richie captain charming McCaw but have a superb replacement captain in Kieran Read. Sam Cane will take McCaw’s place at 7  and Hurricanes hooker, Dan Coles gets another chance to make the posish his own but otherwise the forwards are unchanged from last year. In the backs, Dan the man Carter and Piri I ate a couple of pies but with a salad Weepu are out injured and are replaced by Aaron Cruden and Aaron Smith respectively. Coach Hansen has kept the faith in fullback Israel Dagg and Ma’a dreadlockls Nonu even though both have had average seasons in Super Rugby this year.

The French have beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand before, as recently as 2009 in Dunedin but smart money will be on the All Blacks to beat them comfortably on Saturday.

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Kick-Off: Saturday, 9:35am (SA time)

Referee: Wayne enemy No. 1 in NZ Barnes

All Blacks vs France Prediction: All Blacks by 13-20

Springboks vs Italy

Sergio Parisse will once again captain Italy and will be buoyed by his side’s performance in this year’s 6 Nations finishing 4th after upset victories over Ireland and France. They will more than likely target the scrums as a way into the game with the powerful prop Martin Castrogiovanni in their ranks. Unfortunately for them they have never beaten the Bokke and are at the end of the Northern Hemisphere season and will do well to finish within 7.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has made some very pleasing changes and named ex-Lion Jano Vermaak at scrumhalf, razzle dazzle Cheetahs fullback Wille le Roux and powerful centre JJ Engelbrecht in the run on side.

Jano Vermaak

On the bench Jan Serfontein, Trevor Nyakane and Arno Botha will all get their first caps should they come on to the field. Captain Jean de Villiers has yet to prove his fitness but should start as Meyer will be relying on his vast experience to assist the newbies. In the forwards, the Beast comes back into the side after missing out on the end of year tour and Pierre Spies comes back in for the injured Duane Vermeulen.

I am very happy with this side and stoked Meyer has brought in form Super Rugby players. Games like this are perfect for building the Bok team’s depth and it will be very interesting to see if they adopt a more varied approach on attack, instead of the predictable but often effective kick chase strategy.

Venue: Kings Park, Durban

Kick-Off: Sat, 5:15pm

Referee: Pascal Gauzère

Springboks vs Italy Prediction: Bokke by 10-17

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on June 6, 2013.

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