27 Apr

Super 15: Round Ten Preview
by WAJ
27 Apr 2012

Blues v Reds – Two teams in terrible form and severely disrupted by injury. They have had a real ding dong go at each other over the years with home advantage usually enough to ensure the win – and may that continue tonite :-) To me it is about who can find a bit of early form and get some momentum, equally it would be easy for a team on the receiving end of early scores to drop heads thinking "here we go again" Like the inclusion of Weepu to give more variation and Wulf, the best Blues back this year is a big in. We will miss Woody, though the Reds scrum is not the most threatening, but accuracy at set piece is well overdue, was there a glimmer of improvement last week. The big threat from the Reds will be Diggers at centre, hopefully he will try too hard, but needs to be watched and Ranger needs to be on his game for 80 minutes, none of the switching off now and then that can blight his game.
Blues 1 – 12

Lions v Brumbies – How unlucky were the Brumbies last week. The victims of THE worst knock on decision of the year, they were stiff. Jake White is a hell of a coach – he has got the best out of this team, they do the basics really well up front and the backs run great lines and have flair and pace out wide to compliment the very good work of Lealiifano. And they have guts. The Lions – pfffffff.
Brumbies 13+

Chiefs v Hurricanes – Game of the round for me. Loving the backline match ups, but, of course, this will be won up front, and the Chiefs are in the box seat here, it is hard to find a weakness really. Like the look of Bradley, big and strong and he makes the perfect combo with Messam and Latimer/Cane. Leonard is a good in – TKB was horrible last week with his dithering and inaccuracy and it is a good move by Rennie to rest him. The Hurricanes were well beaten last week and though they lost important players pregame it would have made little difference to the result. They were well beaten all over the park, not just good enough and exposed in some positions. They will come to the Tron with plenty to prove and that backline poses a threat to every team. But that Chiefs defence which they rightly rave about is a tough nut to crack!
Chiefs 13+

Force v Stormers – The Stormers are right for the picking here, No Jaws, no de Villiers, Aplon or Vermeulen – that is a lot of firepower not fronting. Though the Force have a horrible record at home they are still not a bad team. At change at 1 5/8 might be the difference. My upset this week!
Force 1 – 12

Cheetahs v Highlanders – Why do the Highlanders always leave announcing their team so late – bloody annoying for us anal rugbologists. The Cheetahs will be tough to beat here, they play a good brand of rugby and the Highlanders will need to outscore them. Simple statement but that scoring will need to be high. With Delaney offering sound guidance and Smith back this week the Highlanders have one of their best backlines lining up and should complement that great forward pack well. This should be a great spectacle and you would have to take the Highlanders on the back of their 100% winning record against the Cheetahs alone.
Highlanders 1 – 12

Waratahs v Crusaders – A Sunday afternoon game – what a rarity! The Crusaders were at there very best last week, kudos to Slackbladder, he looks to have his team peaking at the right end of the season, it will be good to have all those All Blacks firing for the Irish tests:-) This will be a tough game though for the Crusaders as the Waratahs are a hard mob up front. But they have back line issues which will be too much to overcome. The Crusaders are starting to click, their continuity has improved, Taylor and Carter are providing plenty of options and they take all their scoring opportunities well, not a strength of the Waratahs. And fancy having McCaw to come off the bench.
Crusaders 1 – 12

Regards Waj

25 Apr

Super 15: Round Nine Stats
by Tracey Nelson
25 Apr 2012

All the numbers from Round 9.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Delany 78% 9
Tom Taylor 78% 9
Anscombe 75% 8
Barrett 67% 3
Cruden 60% 5

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 9 8
Chiefs 9 7
Canes 11 8
Crusaders 9 8
Highlanders 11 7

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 7 6
Chiefs 2 4
Canes 5 4
Crusaders 4 5
Highlanders 6 7

Handling Errors
Blues 7
Chiefs 12
Canes 8
Crusaders 10
Highlanders 9

Top ten tacklers
Todd 24
G Whitelock 19
S Whitelock 19
Cane 19
Flynn 18
Read 18
B Franks 17
Donnelly 17
Crockett 16
L Braid 16

Top Linebreakers
Vito 3
A Taylor 2
Gear 2

Lineout percentages This week
Blues 70
Chiefs 100
Hurricanes 67
Crusaders 100
Highlanders 83

25 Apr

Super 15: Round Nine Stats
by Tracey Nelson
25 Apr 2012

All the numbers from Round 9.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Delany 78% 9
Tom Taylor 78% 9
Anscombe 75% 8
Barrett 67% 3
Cruden 60% 5

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 9 8
Chiefs 9 7
Canes 11 8
Crusaders 9 8
Highlanders 11 7

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 7 6
Chiefs 2 4
Canes 5 4
Crusaders 4 5
Highlanders 6 7

Handling Errors
Blues 7
Chiefs 12
Canes 8
Crusaders 10
Highlanders 9

Top ten tacklers
Todd 24
G Whitelock 19
S Whitelock 19
Cane 19
Flynn 18
Read 18
B Franks 17
Donnelly 17
Crockett 16
L Braid 16

Top Linebreakers
Vito 3
A Taylor 2
Gear 2

Lineout percentages This week
Blues 70
Chiefs 100
Hurricanes 67
Crusaders 100
Highlanders 83

16 Apr

Super 15: Round Eight Stats
by Tracey Nelson
16 Apr 2012

Byes for the Hurricanes and Highlanders this week, so now all the NZ sides have played seven games.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Tom Taylor 100% 9
Anscombe 100 4
Cruden 86% 7

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 4 4
Chiefs 14 11
Crusaders 8 5

Total Penalties to date
Blues 57
Chiefs 82
Hurricanes 82
Crusaders 66
Highlanders 63

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 6 3
Chiefs 1 1
Crusaders 3 4

Handling Errors
Blues 17
Chiefs 8
Crusaders 5

Top ten tacklers
Todd 21
Latimer 19
D Braid 14
Woodcock 13
G Whitelock 13
S Whitelock 12
B Franks 12
B Retallick 12
Faumuina 11

Top Linebreakers
Ranger 2
Horrell 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 75 73
Chiefs 92 86
Hurricanes - 78
Crusaders 83 78
Highlanders - 83

13 Apr

Super 15: Eighth Round Preview
by WAJ
13 Apr 2012

Blues v Sharks – How could you pick the Blues. Absolute crap last week in everything but scrums – God they were awful. And have we ever seen as much bloodletting following a game. Even at the heights of the Rowlands debacle orthe Hurricanes fall out last year, the past week takes the cake (which of course Weepu ate). It is pleasing that there have been no "this week will turn it all around" comments – the Blues just need to turn up with a simple game plan, dare I suggest we play a conservative 20 -30 minutes before throwing the ball about and get some kind of base. And the other aspect that needs major improvement is accuracy – passing especially. The Braid boys are big ins and we have 2 locks who will do plenty of work and not party out in the centres. Like it! The Sharks copped a hiding last week and will be equally as detemined to win to keep themselvesin the hunt. They looked a little hard done by at times and are a good side. They have also beaten the Blues the last seven times they have played. Going with the heart again but will have thedefibrilator handy!

Blues 1 – 12

Force v Waratahs -I’m thinking the Waratahs will get up here in a close one. The Force surprised the Waratahs last time with their bull at the gate tactics and knocked them off their stride early and they were never able to recover. But the Waratahs have a more pragmatic look about them this time, Palu and Carter give them a bit more grunt, and if Barnes can get his shit together they will have a bit too much for the Force. The Force – well they flatter to deceive, especially at home where they really struggle to get a win. They have never beaten the Waratahs in Perth, and in facthave a better record away than at home! Always competitive though with a solid pack, their backs however have a certain flakiness thatlets them down. I think the Waratahs more rounded team will get up.

Waratahs 1 – 12

Crusaders v Stormers – So Justin what happens here? Can the Crusaders pick the defensive lock of the Stormers? Though I was a bit surprised to see that the Chiefshave the best defensive record this season for tries scored against them, not the Stormers. And the Stormers proved last week that they can attack with the best of them with one of the tries of the season by Peterson. However they are missing Aplon this week – which will hurt. So expect more trench warfare from those big forwards, with a lot of reliance on them to get them into scoring range. I can’t work out why O Franks is benched, surely you want the best on the field. And also the Taylor/Carter combois a bit confusing but I suspect that Carter will spend a lot of time at 1st receiver regardless where he is named. These two do offer more variation and hopefully some more space for the back 4, certainly Treeby has not helped this area. You would back the Crusaders forwards to break even, and if Carter can engineer something out wide?? Fancy it will be close.

Crusaders 1 – 12

Brumbies v Rebels – The Brumbies should get the job done here. Though they have made a lot of changes which perhaps speaks of a little complacency – Ben Alexander benched – really. And a rookie centre and No.8?? The Rebels areon a bit of a high from last weeks great win, and get to keep the same backline together for a change. They have increased the grunt up front to match the Brumbies. Hell I’m going for the Rebels to upset!

Rebels 1 – 12

Cheetahs v Chiefs – Is this a danger game or what! The Cheetahs have been great this season with their ball running in particular a highlight, but I don’t know if they can maintain this against a team playing as well as the Chiefs. Much will depend on the Chiefs hugely improved defence to get them through this game – some of the forwards are doing a huge amount of tackling – but they are consistently doing it, they have a great attitude. And if they can retain possession when on attack a little bit more, actually a lot more, especially on turnover ballthey should win comfortably.

Chiefs 13+

Lions v Bulls – A smashing awaits the Lions.

Bulls 13+
Regards Waj
10 Apr

Super 15: Seventh Round Stats
by Tracey Nelson
10 Apr 2012

Are the Blues gone for the season having lost their fifth game now? The Canes kept their title hopes alive with a great win over the Sharks and currently have the best attack, while the Chiefs kept their line intact against the Force. The Stormers kept the Highlanders tryless, while the Crusaders just missed beating the Bulls in an edge of the seat finish in Pretoria.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Tom Taylor 100% 1
Gareth Anscombe 83% 6
Aaron Cruden 80% 5
Dan Carter 57% 7
Beauden Barrett 56% 9
Chris Noakes 50% 4

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 10 4
Chiefs 13 10
Hurricanes 12 6
Crusaders 11 7
Highlanders 6 3

Total Penalties to date
Blues 53
Chiefs 68
Hurricanes 82
Crusaders 58
Highlanders 63

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 0 4
Chiefs 5 4
Hurricanes 6 2
Crusaders 6 1
Highlanders 2 6

Handling Errors
Blues 14
Chiefs 15
Hurricanes 7
Crusaders 8
Highlanders 9

Top ten tacklers
Latimer 26
Levave 20
Lowe 19
Messam 18
Todd 17
B Retallick 17
Lam 16
C Smith 15
Eaton 15
Haskell 13

Top Linebreakers
Kade Poki 3
Andre Taylor 2
Dan Coles 2
Sean Maitland 2
Lelia Masaga 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 80 73
Chiefs 100 84
Hurricanes 82 78
Crusaders 56 77
Highlanders 77 83

3 Apr

Super 15: Sixth Round Stats
by Tracey Nelson
3 Apr 2012

Bye for the Blues this week, while the Highlanders, Chiefs and Crusaders had wins and the Hurricanes a loss.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Cruden 100% 6
Tom Taylor 83% 6
Beauden Barrett 78% 8
Chris Noakes 43% 7

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Chiefs 10 6
Hurricanes 9 8
Crusaders 10 7
Highlanders 6 3

Total Penalties to date
Blues 43
Chiefs 55
Hurricanes 70
Crusaders 47
Highlanders 57

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Chiefs 5 2
Hurricanes 6 4
Crusaders 4 1
Highlanders 3 2

Handling Errors
Chiefs 6
Hurricanes 11
Crusaders 10
Highlanders 12

Top ten tacklers
Levave 20
Lowe 19
Retallick 17
Messam 16
Toomaga-Allen 16
Thrush 16
G Whitelock 15
S Whitelock 14
Clarke 13
Taumololo 13

Top Linebreakers
Ben Smith 2
Andre Taylor 2
Zac Guildford 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues Bye 71
Chiefs 67 81
Hurricanes 75 77
Crusaders 82 81
Highlanders 100 84