Super 15: Round 14 Preview
25 May 2012
What is it with coaches and there need to change everything around all of a sudden. I hope Rennie is not tempting fate too much, Hammett did last week!!! And how much of a legend is Brad Thorn. A hugely impressive individual who is the ultimate team man.
Chiefs v Bulls – game of the round. Two of the best attacking teams of the comp to date who score plenty of tries and who usually win at home against each other. The concern for me is whether the Chiefs have made unnecessary changes with the changing of both props who have gone so well all season. TKB also comes back in and he will need to be a lot steadier than his last start under what will be some intense pressure from a very good Bulls pack, 7 of whom have made the just named Bok squad. But if the Chiefs can pressure the Bulls pack, which is what the Waratahs did for a while in the close loss and the Highlanders did last week, and focus on ball retention, then the Chiefs can have a good win. Cruden and SBW are the keys in keeping the ball in front of the Chiefs pack, both having great seasons andtheir play, and a return to the team defensive attitudepre-Lions, will bring the Chiefs home.
Chiefs 1 – 12
Hurricanes v The Mighty Rebels – Can the mighty Rebels win 3 in a row? Will Kurtley cut yet another team to shreds? Loving the way they are playing at the moment, scoring plenty of tries and really entertaining. They have named a strong team with Jones on the blindside a great in, he is very promising. If Kurtley is given any space then the Rebels become very dangerous as he brings in dangerous runners the likes of Vuna and Inman. The concern though is whether the defence shows up and is on the job. And the Rebels have a 100% against the Hurricanes with a 6 try to 4 belting last year:-) The Hurricanes will be hurting after the capitulation to the Brumbies last week and they too have named a stronger looking team. Double B gives them a much better look and should steer the Hurricanes home, though their goal kicking will need to improve
Hurricanes 1 – 12
Blues v Highlanders – The biggest question with this game – how many spectators will turn up? The Highlanders should take this comfortably against the Blues B team. It should be a good training run for the Highlanders, giving them a chance to try a few moves, practice their goal kicking; and the opportunity to get some games into some young Blues players and too see how they measure up. Not much else to say on this game
Brumbies v Reds – the next best game of the round, this one has a huge amount riding on it in terms of winning the Australian conf and thus getting a finals spot, (there is only going to be one spot in it for Aus this season).This is a super impressive Brumbies team who never give up and who are incredibly good at finding ways to score tries -whether it be the locks bursting, a jink and weave from the 1 5/8 or pace on the wing these guys sense and take the opportunities brilliantly. On the back of a rock solid T5 and a real goer on the openside flank they are always in the contest. But the Reds are rising and have looked a lot better the past few weeks with an excellent win against the Chiefs and then getting the job done with some comfort against the Lions. The Burglar of course is back and whilst he is nowhere near peak form he does add class especially at this level. But it is the Reds forwards who have really stepped up, Link looks to have settled on a group of 9 or 10 who are really getting their work. Could go either way but think the Reds will get up with that little extra class they have overall.
Reds 1 – 12
Force v Lions – who cares.
Cheetahs v Waratahs – OMG 2 in a row. This might be a slightly better game, hopefully see some running rugby from the Waratahs for a change, they have nothing to lose. And is Berrick Barnes the most over rated 1 5/8 going around. Used to rate him, but has turned to crap of late.
Sharks v Stormers – predicting a dour slog here. Yeah I know hard to believe isn’t it.But the Stormers defence is unbelievably stingy and they score bugger all themselves so you would have to say it is going to be a low scoring game. And it is hard to see the Sharks finding a way through the wall, though they have been in reasonable form of late with 3 wins on the trot. I just can’t see the Sharks doing enough, even home advantage is negligible with both teams having won4 times at the Tank.
Stormers 1 – 12