Super Rugby 2013: Preview and Predictions – Round 18, Part 1

…aaaand we’re back.  Good stuff everyone, solid play shown by all and sundry in the incoming Tests. Special pat on the backs go to the All Blacks and Springboks who went undefeated and pulled off impressive performances along the way, especially the All Blacks in the second Test and the Bokke last week, sheer fried quality with awesome sauce on the side.

Pity about the Wallabies failing to kick on… see what I did there? With the kickers missing kicks at goal… costing them the game… it’s a play on words… no? Fine then. The Lions series continues this Saturday and is a must win for the home team. Will Robbie’s Wallaby crew pull off a win, setting up the third Test decider? It is going to be close but either way it is going to be a cracker not to be missed.

Kurtley Beale slip

Back to Super Rugby now and five games coming up all between Kiwi and Saffa sides and every one hugely important. Set excitement levels to ‘yes please!’.

Super Rugby round 18, Friday 28th of June 2013

Chiefs vs Hurricanes

The Hurricanes recently beat the Crusaders in a friendly and will be keen on riding that momentum into this game. They lost at home early in the season to the Chiefs 17-12 so will be keen on enacting some revenge in cowbell country. In team changes, Matt Proctor and James Marshall come into the side at wing and fullback and Karl Lowe gets a start on the flank.

For the table topping Chiefs, Tim Nanai-Williams returns at centre with Lelia Masaga moving to the wing. In the forwards Ben Afeaki starts at tighthead prop with Ben Tameifuna dropping to the wood. This is the last game at home for the Chiefs (until the play-offs) and they will be keen to win another one in front of their home fans, which I reckon they will accomplish but by a fairly toit margin.

Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

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

Chiefs vs Hurricanes Prediction: Chiefs by less than 7

Highlanders vs Crusaders

The Highlanders finally won in the last round before the break, beating the Blues and in the process screwing my SuperBru, again. They played like many expected them to play throughout the season and will be hoping they can carry on where they left off.  No team news at the moment but expect to see Ma’a Nonu, Andrew Hore and Big Bad Brad Thorn in the line-up.

The Crusaders need to win this as they host the Chiefs next week and then the Canes and cannot afford to drop any points if they are to challenge for a play-off spot. They maaaay have Richie captain charming McCaw back for them and should have the bonus of including their returning All Blacks. In the last 5 years these two sides have met 8 times and have each won 4 times each, so make of that what you will. Safe money will of course be on the Saders but if you are losing at SuperBru, this could well be a game to take a chance on the Highlanders. Just sayin.

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Kick-Off: Saturday, 9:35am

Highlanders vs Crusaders Prediction: Crusaders by 5-12

Wallabies vs B&I Lions

Wallabies vs B&I Lions 2013

No team news but it looks very much like George Smith will get a run in this game which should make a big difference as he was in fine form before his injury and has the invaluable experience of playing and beating the Lions before. Christian Lealiifano has recovered from being knocked out cold to take his place at centre and will take over the kicking duties. Pat McCabe, Digby scary tatts Ione and Berrick Barnes are all out of this test, so expect Kurtley slip slider Beale to get the nod at fullback.

For the Lions, lock and ex-captain Paul O’ Connell is definitely out but no news on who will retain their places for this critical situash. I would imagine coach Gatland will want to keep changes to a minimum though as he looks to wrap it up on Saturday. Who do I think will win? Thanks for asking. I reckon the Wallabies should have won the first one and if they can get their kicks over and Israel Folau gets space to razzle dazzle once again, they will level the series.

Venue: Docklands Stadium, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 12:00

Wallabies vs B&I Lions Prediction: Wallabies by less than 7

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on June 26, 2013.

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