Super 15: Round 3 Preview
9 Mar 2012
The atrocious rugby played by a certain team based in the northern region of NZ has seemingly had a huge impact on my luck, disturbed my aura, rotated my dartboard the wrong way and cracked my crystal ball. Never the pragmatist when it comes to tipping, my heart is too severely affected by the Blue malaise for me too be truly effective.
Crusaders v Chiefs – It is time for the real Crusaders to stand up! A bit more heavy artillery in this week, though can’t for the life of me work out why Fred is on the wing and Maitland at FB. Still far greater minds are in control than my pea brain. To me the Crusaders seem to lack their usual rhythm, and seem to have lost some some ruthlessness as well. World Cup hangover perhaps? The Chiefs have now laid down their benchmark and anything less than that will see them undone again you feel. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the Chiefs team and if the coaches can continue to bolster that youthful confidence well…. dark horses I tell you dark horses. Played in neutral territory, which will have a decidedly Chiefs bent, I expect another close NZ derby, with much depending on how the Chiefs front row fares?
Crusaders 1 – 12
Force v Hurricanes – Another young NZ halfback is picked to start his first game. It is amazing the amount of young players in arguably the 2 most controlling positions on the fielld that NZ is producing. Cruden looks like a grizzled veteran. Tough game for the Hurricanes this though, they may have won 5 of the 6 games played between these 2, but the travel and varying conditions is bound to take some sort of toll. They have made a few changes clearly with this in mind and will be boyed by last weeks win. But a stubborn Force team will be extremely tough – their 1st game at home andSharp’s 150th, and well they aren’t the worst team going around (that is a draw between the Blues and Cheetahs). With the Hurricanes still very much a work in progress I think the Force will be too strong. If you haven’t seen Barrett play at this level watch this game – he is very good.
Force 1 – 12
Brumbies v Cheetahs – far too early for a ‘WCG’. The most interesting thing in Canberrais whether the coach is staying or going.
Brumbies 1 – 12
Highlanders v Waratahs – Not far off being the match of the round this game. Love the way the Highlanders are playing -great intensity, hard running and a simple game plan – no faffing around for this lot (LamB watch them and learn you numb nuts). But equally the Waratahs seem to have a bit more about them this year as well. The likes of The Flying Affro, Gentle Benn and Palu are in terrific form, and with Barnes back to give them more options they will be tough to beat. I think experience will win through.
Waratahs 1 – 12
Reds v Rebels – No I am not hoping for a miracle, but to stay within 15 points would be pretty pleasing. I am hoping for some backline fluency with Kurtleys debut, and no soft tries conceded. Yeah I know!!!!
Sharks v Lions – Can’t get too enthused about this game either. The Sharks have to win, otherwise season bye bye. And they should be far too strong at home against a middle of the road Lions team.
Bulls v Blues – We are moving from bad to worse it seems. Now injuries galore have struck – so between one thing and another we are without Woody, Kaino, Wulf and Toeava, that is a lot of class not fronting, and throw in a few other changes and only 7 players remain from last weeks starting XV. Not that that is maybe a bad thing after last weeks debacle! So LamB has made some changes as best he has available and the likes of Weepu, Nonu and even Kuke Braid are all good ins and the team looks Ok on paper. But jeez this is a pretty ruthless Bulls team and LAmB had better have the top 2 ‘ switched on or it could get ugly. But there stills remain an outside chance the Blues could pull one off here, certainly the talent is there, can LamB do something with that talent?
Bulls 1 – 12