Super 15: Round Ten Preview
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.
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!
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