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Time for predictions – Force, Highlanders, Hurricanes


Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, Original Content, Other SA Teams, Sharks, Super Rugby on 18 Apr 2012 at 15:09

Segment three of our time for predictions articles.

Have a look at the  spreadsheet that I am using to compress all the results, fixtures and predictions for this year into one page, I also saved it in a PDF. The spreadsheet is meant to work like a graph. Each team is listed on the left, top to bottom. Rows represents the teams and columns represent “played against”. The “example” will give you a clear idea of how to read the spreadsheet. You can also go to segment 1, Time for predictions – Blues, Brumbies, Bulls for a more complete explanation.

So lets have a look at three more teams:

Force 13th

They lost their best player and yet they do not seem any worse off than they were last year. In recent weeks they have employed a smart game plan that has kept them in the contest and brought them two well deserved victories. Their captain David Pockock is leading from the front, turning over any ball that goes to ground. It makes it hard for opposition to dominate as they are deprived of possession. The problem though is it seems the plan ends there because much of the time it looks as though the Force just doesn’t know what to do with all the possession they are getting. They can still upset a few teams, they have the game for it but like all the other “minnows” they won’t be able to gain momentum. They will string together great victories here and there only to lose against the Rebels.

They really have looked good this season (it seems that so many of the bottom dwellers do) and in the process of beating the Waratahs and the Reds they also go and mess up your Superbru selections. They may have looked good at times but they haven’t actually done anything. They won two games against a barely B-team of the Reds and a hopeless Waratahs side. They got close against every other team and threatened to beat them all, only to lose against the Waratahs in their second clash? It’s hopeless really. The only hope from a team like this is that they will cause a few upsets and help your team out in the chase for a top spot because they are capable of beating top teams. They’re just not capable of beating any teams consecutively and winning any more than 5 games overall.

They still have to play:

Stormers, Cheetahs, Sharks, Rebels, Lions, Brumbies, Blues, Crusaders and have two more byes.

Of these teams I think they’re best chances are aginast the Lions and the Rebels but they will probably lose against them and win against two more unlikely contenders (but not more than two or three). They’ll end with 32 points and 12th on the log.

Highlanders 5th

I keep waiting for them to start their backslide but they haven’t, not yet. They beat the Chiefs even before we knew that the Chiefs would be good in 2012 and then the Crusaders to get the Crusaders’ ‘they’re-out-of-form’ train on the roll. It was the Brumbies who stopped their winning streak just before 5 which put the Brumbies on the ‘maybe-they’re-this-good-in-2012’ train but could it all just mean that none of them are in outstanding form? Who knows, it’s been pretty up and down this season but it genuinely seems like the Highlanders are a solid team this season. They have withstood some real pressure and got out with the victory on the other side, something they were lacking before. We’ll see if they can maintain this run.

At 5th on the log with 25 points and only nine games to go, the Highlanders will be hoping that the second half of their competition will go just as well as the first. If they can manage five more wins they are looking at 49 log points before bonus points. This puts them right up there fighting for possibly the last spot in the top six. Since the Bulls are playing their 3rd tour game against the Highlanders I gave this one to the Highlanders. It will be a tough ask but the same goes for the Bulls, it could really go either way. The Highlanders still have to play the Blues twice where they could take 8 points. They will have to be careful of the Cheetahs but the way they’ve played so far would see them take 5 from this game. That leaves five more games for one more victory and they can take it against any of the Chiefs, Hurricanes, Reds and Sharks but it won’t be easy.

They still have to play:

Blues, Cheetahs, Sharks, Hurricanes, Bulls, Blues, Crusaders, Chiefs, Reds and have one more bye.

I felt that they would win against the Blues, Cheetahs, Hurricanes and Bulls. They would end up on 51 and 8th on the log, just outside the play off, but just a few bonus points or one more victory could change that.

Hurricanes 9th

It has been a very mixed bag with the Hurricanes. They have played way better than anyone expected them to play but they have still lost matches they should have won and then gone on to win matches that we did not want them to win and no one expected them to win. I just think they are throwing everything they got into every minute of every game. I don’t think they are the complete team and the more solid teams and performances will always hold them at bay. They need to keep the excitement, maintain that and build solid performances around that. They need to be able to do the basics right, cut out errors, build a team that can also dominate set pieces and tight phases. This will make them a champion team but right now they fall into the same category as the Cheetahs and even the Force – they’re only sometimes great.

Their last victory against the Sharks was the most impressive one. They have been improving each week but not on the things they should be improving on. They’re in the same boat with the Highlanders, win four or five and you can find yourself in the top 6 and just like the Highlanders I believe they will win four or possibly five and get themselves close enough. Their game against the Chiefs in the final round could prove to be a decider. Or they could win six before that and already have 55 points by then as only the Crusaders seems like a bridge too far. Unfortunately for them they have six more local derbies to play and five of those games are against 3 of the top teams.

They still have to play:

Crusaders, Chiefs, Blues, Highlanders, Brumbies, Rebels, Waratahs, Crusaders, Chiefs and have one more bye.

I don’t know whether they will manage more than one victory against the Crusaders and the Chiefs. That leaves them with five to win at least four more games. They’ll win against the Blues and probably the Brumbies, definitely the Rebels and fall just short of the top 6 in 9th on 47 log points.

Tomorrow we’ll have a look at the remaining six teams, the Lions, Reds, Rebels, Sharks, Stormers and Waratahs. I will then also include a possible log in our final article.

Feel free to dissect and even ridicule these articles and the predictions in them as much as you like. I’m under no illusions about my ability to accurately predict the outcome of rugby tournaments especially ones where an under performing Sharks team is involved.



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