Super 15: Round 15 Preview
1 Jun 2012
Crusaders v Highlanders – The game of the round and hugely important for both sides, but especially the Highlanders where a loss would make it extremely hard to make the playoffs. And 2 pretty good teams have been named as well.So what are the points of difference that will get one team a win? IMHO – 1) scrums – the Crusadershave a clear edge here and they will milk it for all it is worth. 2) 1 5/8 – Carter is getting better and better and should give the Crusadersmore options with better execution than the journeyman Noakes. Whichleads to 3) attack – again options options options. Fred, Fruean, Carter, Read are all huge threats and genuine line breakers. The Highlanders are more easily held – yes Smith is very good, but Gear and Thommo, 2 of their more consistent ball carriers, can be quiet. And finally will the Highlanders get the go forward at the ruck there game is so reliant on? I can’r see them getting there own way as usual.
Crusaders 1 – 12
Rebels v Brumbies – No Kurtley no Rebels. Well that is probably a bit unfair, but an inside back combination of Hilgendorf (4th choice)and Mortlock is not one that inspires confidence in attack. And against a Brumbies side that continues to impress, and they were a little unlucky to lose last week, in the worst game of the year I might add, the Rebels need to have a few more weapons available. They will be typically brave up front, but will struggle to match the organisation of the Brumbies.
Blues v Chiefs – How impressive do the Chiefs continue to be. Even the biggest optimist wouldn’t have had them at the top of the table after 14 rounds. And they were again convincing against another contender in the Bulls last week. AndI won’t be questioning Rennie again – he can name who he wants wherehe wants. And has done just that again this week with a rookie winger amongst the ins. Clarke out is a big one, great leader, but they haveshown the depth all mseason and you can’t doubt them now. And how good is Cruden playing – just as well Carter is who he is because this guy is turning into a seriously good player – impossible to shut down. And then there is the Blues – well they have named there strongest team in a while, much better looking backline, though Munro worries -buthe is needed for his goalkicking I suppose. I expect them to give a good account but ultimately a similair result to last week. Looking forward to Nonu v SBW!! And how many will again turn up – though you would mad not to go – the Chiefs are very watchable.
Chiefs 1 – 12
Waratahs v Hurricanes – This is tough one as the Waratahs are due. The basket case of the competition it seems whatever they try is ultimately not good enough. Last week it was attack at all costs, and they scored some cracking tries, but ultimately couldn’t hold on at altitude. Previously against the Stormers it was kick the leather off the ball and go for territoryagainst the Stormers, again a close loss. Maybe this week they will play what is in front of them. Use there superior forwards and run at the edges would bemy suggestion. The Hurricanes were brilliant last week, some cracking tries. If their forwards, who havebeen OK, can hold the Waratahs in the scrums keep the like of Palu and the flying Affro under control then they will win. The Waratahs will startat a million miles an hour, but that won’t last and their kicking game is so erratic that Taylor and his cronies will bet plenty of opportunity to run havoc.
Hurricanes 1 – 12
Lions v Sharks – Will be a dicking. The big question – will Butchie-boy get through without crossing the line? Tab odds currently giving 5 – 2 that he won’t!!
Bulls v Stormers – Has the Stormers bubble burst? Injuries look to be taking there toll and they were well beaten last week when there usual stingy defence looked quite shakey. And whilst the Bulls have lost the last 2 in a row you know at home against there fiercest rivals they are going to bring it. I’d expect a Bulls team keen to attack, they have plenty of options here, and with Morne throwing a few bombs into the mix the Stormers could be in for a torrid game. I can’t see them moving away from their terriory based game, kick it and use the set piece/maul to get penalties approach – that will not win it against the strong Bulls bodies. The other option in this game is that we get a maulathon – both us it a lot. I can just see one team mauling 20 metres and kicking to the box, indicretion at the next couple of breakdowns, penalty. The other team mauling 25 metres…………. a real mine is bigger than yours. And what is with this ruck set up where the Bulls have 3 or 4 players end to end with the ball at the feet of the last man 5 – 6 metres from the back of the oppositions ruck, where is the fun in that??
Bulls 1 – 12