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Super Rugby 2015: Round 14

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 15 May 2015 at 09:33
Tagged with : , , , ,

Well, round 13 didn’t deliver that much-needed win. Will this week be any different?

Waratahs v Sharks (Saturday 11h40)

The Tahs haven’t quite lived up to their billing so far this season; one could argue that with head coach Michael Cheika now also in charge of the national side, they’ve sort of become victims of their success last year. Two very strange losses to the Force, the second coming just last week, have taken a bit of a gloss off the reigning champions; that said, they remain a potent side in Sydney and will be smarting from the up-front drubbing received from the Perth lads.

The Sharks seem to be on a bit of an upward trajectory, despite still not winning in Wellington. The anticipated 50-point drubbing didn’t materialise and while their defence fell far short of the expected standard again, there were some rather encouraging signs in terms of attacking play. Those defensive errors, mind you, are the sort of thing that do not bode well coming up against a side boasting the backline strike runners available to the Waratahs. The problem here is that the Waratahs, unusually for an Australian side, boast a large and formidable pack to go along with their dangerous runners and having been schooled the week before, those lads will be keen to atone for their poor performance.

Not too much evidence, I’m afraid, to suggest a Sharks win this weekend, much though we’d love to believe otherwise. For the boys to prevail, they’ll need a drastic turnaround on defence and to put in the performance of their lives upfront – perhaps tricky giving how many players in the squad must surely be carrying injuries into the game. Let’s also not underestimate the effect of the dreaded “week three on tour” syndrome.

We’ll look for a good performance from the Sharks, but I expect the Waratahs to win by about 8 points.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Jed Holloway, Jack Dempsey, Tala Gray, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Matt Carraro, Peter Betham.

Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kyle Cooper, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Waylon Murray.

In other games, I expect the following winners:
Bulls by 4.
Reds by 3.
Hurricanes by 6.
Lions by 2.
Highlanders by 10.


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