Super 15 – Round 3 Preview
1 Mar 2013
Blues v Crusaders
Can’t wait for this. Ithink it might be a bit of a wake up call for the Blues, but they surprised everyone last week and at home, hopefully in front of a big crowd, they will be keen to prove they really have turned things around. Last weeks win has been well documented, but the Blues are still a very young team and were exposed in areas the Crusaders will have noted, and with the master manipulator controlling things that makes me a little afraid. I reckon the Crusaders will look to dominate up front early, expecting some real niggle in the forwards, Carter to exploit the defensive issues exposed last week – the Blues can’t wait for the Crusaders to come to them, you can’t be on the back foot with Carter, Readand co running at you!!! And despite all the noise coming out of Chch about a wider, more expansive game plan, they will do whatever it takes to win. Though I would have though they were always a pretty good attacking side, a little down defensively compared to the noughties maybe. But then Prickle retiring will do that.The Blues have to hang in there, kick their goals and try and stay in touch in what will be a fairly torrid opening half hour. They won’t get as many counter attacking opportunities, but need to be as accurate and look to support the ball carrier when they do run. Really looking to the clash of the mid-fields and hope the Blues can use their greater speed out wide. A bonus point, even 2 would be nice, but not very optimistic! As usual I will pick the Blues but………..
Blues 1 -12
Waratahs v Rebels
So can the Waratahs end their 9 game losing streak? I can just imagine the shit flying if they were to lose this one. But they will need to step it up from last week, where they didn’t do enough in the first half. Izzy needs to be switched on, he has a league habit of drifting behind play once his part in a move is over – he needs to get back into position to contribute in the next phases – that is when he will cause real damage. And I wonder whether Carter is the right guy to have in that back=line, too much of a roadblock to those outside him. The Rebels look to be still a little off the pace required to really challenge. A solid T5 works very hard, but struggles to dominate, the loosies tend to get sucked into help out, and the backs lack depth. Defensively they struggle as well and can be too easily manoeuvred out of position to create gaps. I hope they can get themselves right but think the Waratahs will be too strong up front and that will get them home
Waratahs 1 – 12
Reds v Hurricanes
The last game of three for a big Friday night. The Reds looked very good at times last week and will improve further with the run. Their loosies were the key, 3 relative unknowns who were everywhere whether on defence or attack. Rocky looked more settled and brought his backs into the game more, and they have benched the donkey and brought some real pace in at fullback. And against a Hurricanes team who got worse as the game went on last week they will win easily enough. The Hurricanes were average, too many down on form, no attention to detail and I bet the tackling bags got a work out at practice this week. Can’t see them winning (so but your life savings on them quick, because this is the one game I could see a real upset).
Reds 1 – 12
Chiefs v Cheetahs
It must be great to be able to make 4 changes to a winning team, and a convincing win at that, and improve tha team. Certainly the addition of Elliot and Masaga will improve the Chiefs, and IMHO so will Pulu – better service to those outside wins every time. The Chiefs looked uncommonly good last week – the feature was the quick consistent ball the forwards delivered, and with the scrum a bit of a work on still they can get better – scarey!! The backs need to tighten up defensively, but have such an array of runners they are going to be hard to keep in check themselves. And with the whole thing orchestrated by the like of the very classy Cruden and Messam – look out Cheetahs. The Cheetahs do tour well though and are the one SA team who really give the ball an airing. But class wins out here.
Bulls v Force
The way the Force are going so far this should be a good old fashioned dicking. The Bulls are such good points accumulators at home with there tried and true methods it is hard to see the Force getting within 20
Sharks v Stormers
Will be a close one for sure. The Sharks only did what they needed to last week and looked like they needed the run. The Stormers were disappointing last week, failing to get anything going and looked out of sorts. Jantjies was below his best for sure, but they looked too reactive. Why they don’t throw caution to the wind a bit and use the class of the Flash, Aplon and de Villiers more is a puzzle – the South African conservatism at work perhaps. But they won’t win this comp unless they use their best players to their full capabilities!!
Sharks 1 – 12