31 May

Super 15 — Round 16 Preview
by WAJ
31 May 2013

Crusaders v Waratahs
An interesting match to start the weekend off. Two teams who aren’t playing all that well despite the calibre of player available. The Crusaders have been doing well up front, but the spluttering efforts of the likes of Carter, Fred and Fruean has seen little attacking venom from the Crusaders, whose avenue to the tryline is mainly through the forwards. The Waratahs returned to their bad old ways last week, got lazy, failed to adapt to the ref, and failed to shut the game down when they were ahead. What is interesting, well I think so anyway, is that they consistently get more players in the Wallabies squad than any other Aussie team – perhaps explains why the Wallabies are all over the place at times! Anyway if the Crusaders stick to the pattern that has worked so well at home then they will get up, but don’t think there will be much in it. Would like to see the Crusaders show a bit more enterprise, they will need it if they are going to ultimately win the ntitle.
Crusaders 1 – 12

Brumbies v Hurricanes
This is the last chance saloon for the Hurricanes. Lose this and their chances of a playoff berth are all but gone. The Brumbies are a tough nut to crack in Canberra and the Hurricanes will need to find a way to beat the structure and territory game that the Brumbies are playing under Jakey boy. THe main problem for the Hurricanes will be up front, and only top class efforts from the likes of Franks, Coles and Vito will see them get up. Actually it is again interesting that the Hurricanes can get so many forwards in the AB squad from a pack that has never really been consistently dominant – 6 AB squad members should give you some clout in a game! Results have been pretty even between these two teams but I would expect the Brumbies to win reasonably comfortably at home.
Brumbies 13+

Highlanders v Blues
Ha! Very bullish here. Just the type of set up the Blues need to show once and for all where they stand this season. Indoors, average opposition, the knights bollocking still ringing in their ears – they should win it in a canter! Some great match ups in the backs – Piutau v Smith, Halai v Gear, Weepu v Smith, the midfields. And we have the two (supposedly) senior AB hookers both on the bench! I am looking forward to the spin from Hansen to justify both getting picked for the French tests, if that happens. If the Blues play with the mind set we have seen from them in their better performances this year (ie not last week) then they should win. How can the Highlanders win??
Blues 13+

Reds v Rebels
What to make of this one? Heart v Head again here, and I gotta say the head is in front. Though who could say the Rebels won’t get up again against the odds? They have become extremely resiliant, better in defence, though far from perfect still as individuals drop off too many one on one tackles still, but they keep scoring points themselves from multiple avenues – Higginbotham (what a player he is turning into), Woodward, English, Inman are all shining in attack and Bieber back in adds another dimension. And against an out of sorts Reds, who have made a lot of changes, maybe, just maybe they can win, and the MR have shown little fear away from home in recent weeks. Genia and Cooper are of course the key and defending against the long flat passes that both throw. Study the tape of how the Stormers and Cheetahs bottled them up, copy that, win the game???
Rebels 1 – 12 (the heart won in the end)

Stormers v Kings
Yawn of the week. Might even get to see a try if you are willing to put yourself through the torture of watching how ever long that will take.
Stormers 13+

Cheetahs v Bulls
Could be a game worth watching – the contrast of the adventurous Cheetahs against the pragmatic Bulls. Think the structure of the Bulls will win it, though the Bulls are developing an interesting centre combination as well, great match up in the centres between the two pairings of up and comers.
Bulls 1 – 12

Regards Waj

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