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Super Rugby 2012: Round 3 preview and predictions


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 8 Mar 2012 at 08:00
Tagged with : ,

Our margin of correct predictions is starting to creep up, although with only 3 correct picks out of 7 last week, it’s not like that’s really anything to crow about. Standing at only 5 good calls out of 14 games so far this season, the wise among you will surely be starting to doubt the credibility of these pieces! Anyway, let’s carry on and see if we can maybe get at least half right in round 3.

Crusaders v Chiefs 09 March at 08:35

It’s the first home game for the Crusaders, who have made a few changes to their side since losing, somewhat surprisingly, against the Highlanders last week. The Chiefs, in contrast, were great value in downing the Blues, despite an horrific injury toll amongst their forward group. Our view is that the Crusaders, for all their shortcomings last week, aren’t likely to drop another game so soon, particularly not at home. We’ll go with Crusaders by 5 in a scrappy game, with the duel between former midfield partners Williams and Fruean one to watch with interest.

Crusaders: 15. Sean Maitland, 14. Israel Dagg, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Adam Whitelock, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Tom Donnelly, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Ben Franks
Replacements: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Sam Whitelock, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Taylor, 22. Tom Marshall

Chiefs: 15. Robbie Robinson, 14. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13. Richard Kahui, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Tim Nanai-Williams, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Kane Thompson, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke (Captain), 3. Ben Tameifuna, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 1. Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: 16. Hikawera Elliott, 17. Shane Cleaver, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Jackson Willison

Force v Hurricanes 09 March at 13:05

The Canes are coming to the end of their tour, after being very competitive in both their games in South Africa – one of which was lost and the other won. They’re nowhere near as bad a side as they should be, given all the off-season upheavals. The Force, on the other hand, have lost both of the games played to date but again haven’t looked as bad as we thought they would. This is a really tough game to call between two sides that we’d expect to end near the foot of the table and anything could really happen. I’m going to go with the Force to pick up a win at home against the Hurricanes, who must be starting to feel the effects of travel. Force by around 4, but don’t bet too much on it!

Force: 15. Cameron Shepherd, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Patrick Dellit, 12. Rory Sidey, 11. Napolioni Nalaga, 10. James Stannard, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Matthew Hodgson, 7. David Pocock (Captain), 6. Richard Brown, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Kieran Longbottom
Replacements: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Pekahou Cowan, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Angus Cottrell, 20. Justin Turner, 21. Ben Seymour, 22. Alifeleti (Alfi) Mafi

Hurricanes: 15. André Taylor, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Conrad Smith (Captain), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben May
Replacements: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Michael Bent, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Brad Shields, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Dan Kirkpatrick, 22. Charlie Ngatai

Brumbies v Toyota Cheetahs 10 March at 06:35

I’m afraid there can only really be one winner here. We don’t know all that much about the Brumbies form, since we’ve only seen them against the Force in round 1 (they had a bye last week). What we do know, though, is that they’ll be fresh from their bye, whilst the Cheetahs have had to endure a trip halfway around the world, in addition to the hammering they took at the hands of the Bulls last week. With a handful of new faces in the squad and a lack of experience at flyhalf, coupled with the typical “travel blues” I expect the Brumbies to win handsomely, probably by around 12 points.

Cheetahs: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Cameron Jacobs, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Philip Snyman, 11. Willie Le Roux, 10. Johan Goosen, 9. Tewis de Bruyn, 8. Ashley Johnson, 7. Philip Van der Walt, 6. Heinrich Brussow, 5. Izak van der Westhuizen, 4. George Earle, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Coenie Oosthuizen
Replacements: 16. Hercu Liebenberg, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Davon Raubenheimer, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Piet van Zyl, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Rayno Benjamin

Brumbies: 15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Pat McCabe, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Henry Speight, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (Captain), 7. Ita Vaea, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Ben Hand, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander
Replacements: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Scott Fardy, 19. Michael Hooper, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Zack Holmes, 22. Joseph Tomane

Highlanders v Waratahs 10 March at 08:35

Another tough one to call, as we’ve not yet seen much cross-conference action, making relative form hard to judge. The Highlanders have been the surprise package so far, while the Tahs were hardly stretched against the Rebels and lost against the Reds. I can’t say that I really see the Sydney boys causing an upset here, meaning the Higlanders bubble may continue to grow for another week! Highlanders by around 6 points here.

Highlanders: 15. Colin Slade, 14. Kade Poki, 13. Tamati Ellison, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Nasi Manu, 7. John Hardie, 6. Adam Thomson, 5. Nick Crosswell, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 3. Chris King, 2. Andrew Hore, 1. Jamie MacKintosh (Captain)

Replacements: 16. Jason Rutledge, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. Culum Retallick, 19. James Haskell, 20. Jimmy Cowan, 21. Kurt Baker, 22. Buxton Popoalii

Waratahs: 15. Bernard Foley, 14. Tom Kingston, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Berrick Barnes, 11. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10. Daniel Halangahu (Captain), 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Patrick McCutcheon, 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Dean Mumm, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Paddy Ryan, 18. Lopeti Timani, 19. Chris Alcock, 20. Brendan McKibbin, 21. Tom Carter, 22. Brackin Karauria-Henry

Reds v Rebels 10 March at 11:10

This one has got to be the banker of the week, even with the “Aussie derby factor” probably taking much of the gloss off the game. The Reds are too good a team to be at all troubled by the rag-tag bunch from Melbourne, regardless of how many big names the latter may have poached from other teams. Ewen McKenzie’s men will win comfortably here, I say Reds by as much as 15.

Reds: 15. Luke Morahan, 14. Dom Shipperley, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Jonathan Lance, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Mike Harris, 9. Will Genia, 8. Jake Schatz, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Scott Higginbotham, 5. James Horwill (Captain), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. James Hanson, 1. Ben Daley
Replacements: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. Greg Holmes, 18. Van Humphries, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Beau Robinson, 21. Ben Lucas, 22. Rod Davies

Rebels: 15. Kurtley Beale, 14. Mark Gerrard, 13. Mitch Inman, 12. James O`Connor, 11. Cooper Vuna, 10. Daniel Cipriani, 9. Richard Kingi, 8. Gareth Delve (Captain), 7. Tom Chamberlain, 6. Tim Davidson, 5. Hugh Pyle, 4. Luke Jones, 3. Laurie Weeks, 2. Adam Freier, 1. Nic Henderson

Replacements: 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Rodney Blake, 18. Alister Campbell, 19. Jarrod Saffy, 20. Nick Phipps, 21. Lachlan Mitchell, 22. Julian Huxley

Sharks v MTN Lions 10 March at 17:05

Both sides lost last week, but with the Lions already having a win under their belts, one feels that the Sharks must surely be more desperate this week, knowing that a third straight loss will throw their campaign into serious jeopardy after just three weeks. The home side looks stronger on paper, but as we saw in the Currie Cup final, that often doesn’t count for much. If the Sharks can control their discipline here, they should win well, but if the penalty count ends up being similar to the last two weeks, Elton Jantjies could again prove decisive with his boot. I say the Sharks will win by around 10 points.

Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Jordaan

Lions: 15. Jaco Taute, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Doppies la Grange, 12. Butch James, 11. Michael Killian, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Joshua Strauss (Captain), 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Marius Coetzer, 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. Pat Cilliers
Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Caylib Oosthuizen, 18. Stephan Greeff, 19. Cobus Grobbelaar, 20. Tian Meyer, 21. Alwyn Hollenbach, 22. James Kamana

Vodacom Bulls v Blues 10 March at 19:10

If there’s one thing on which the Bulls thrive, it’s momentum and after two opening wins, including a big score against the Cheetahs last week, they’ll certainly have that. They face a Blues team struggling for cohesion, who have lost their first two outings. In short, I simply don’t see the Aucklanders troubling the Loftus juggernaut in this game and quite frankly, it would be more a case of the Bulls allowing themselves to lose this. Bulls by 8.

Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. Wynand Olivier, 12. Francois Venter, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. CJ Stander, 20. Ruan Snyman, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. JJ Engelbrecht

Blues: 15. Lachie Munro, 14. Sherwin Stowers, 13. Benson Stanley, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Rene Ranger, 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Piri Weepu, 8. Chris Lowrey, 7. Daniel Braid, 6. Luke Braid, 5. Ali Williams, 4. Anthony Boric, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. Keven Mealamu (Captain), 1. Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Tevita Mailau, 18. Filo Paulo, 19. Brad Mika, 20. Alby Mathewson, 21. Hadleigh Parkes, 22. David Raikuna



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