29 Mar

Super 15 — Round 7 Preview
by WAJ
29 Mar 2013

Highlanders v Reds – A toughie to start the weekend. Neither team has set the world alight this season so far. The Highlanders have just been crap – and if someone read you a list of B Smith, Gear, Nonu, A Smith, Slade, Thorn, Hore, Woody, with a mix of solid Soopa players and promising youngsters around them you’d be thinking top 6 for sure. But they haven’t clicked at all so far, have been hit by injuries – just a mess.The Reds have been very up and down so far, but looked a lot better with Genia and Horwill running round, and Rocky cutting down on the mistakes and being more direct. That same sort of performance should see another win. BUT the Reds have never beaten the Highlanders in NZ, haven’t played there since 2009 so I’m going to ignore that. I can’t see where the Highlanders can improve enough to get over this Reds side, certainly not in the forwards where theyneed it.
Reds 1 – 12

Hurricanes v Kings – The Hurricanes will be all over this. With C Smith directing traffic it could get ugly.

Hurricanes 13+

Chiefs v Blues – How well are the Chiefs going. Gutsy win last week and they change 6 and arguably look even stronger. They are equipped with players who make a difference and change a game (Highlanders take note) – Cane, Cruden, Afeaki and Messamare just some who make a difference. And some very clever coaching bringsexactly the game plan required. They should be too strong for the Blues. The young Blues side is starting to struggle. thereis definitely plenty of talent but they are struggling to maintain the intensity and accuracy across the team and across the 80 minutes. There does remain a degree of uncertainty about whether the Blues will get "excited", butagainst the week to week consistent performances of he Chiefs, even if they did get ‘excited" it probably wouldn’t be enough.

Chiefs 1 – 12

Brumbies v Bulls – A weakened Bulls side on the way home against a Brumbies team that will be freshened in some positions after the long trip back from SA. The Bulls don’t win out of turn in Canberra, withjust the one win, and that was when they were at their pomp, and they are a bit away from that these days. The Brumbies will have too many options for the Bulls, who, with so many out,may try and give the ball some air. But then Morne may decide to play his way, and we can all nod off without the need for a sleeping pill.

Brumbies 13+

Cheetahs v Rebels – The Rebels are a rabble! What a week – pathetic really!! They couldn’t win against this Cheetahs team of surprises and surprising class.

Cheetahs 13+

Stormers v Crusaders – Two big outs for the Crusaders, really big outs, really really big outs. And against a Stormers side that has rediscovered its mojo with consecutive wins against the 2 top sides this year so far, this will be tough. The Stormers haveimproved most up front and this game is set for a huge tussle in the forwards. Without the edge that Read gives them here I fear the Stormers may have the advantage. Carters accuracy and goalkicking another telling factor not in thisgame. Though the Crusaders have a good record at Newlands this might be too much with the team they have bought.

Stormers 1 – 12

Waratahs v Force – The Force are rightin this, and with the likes of Mathewson and Eberson driving them around the park very competently, and a forward pack that has surprised many, if they can maintain their intensity against a less than stellar Waratahs side, Foley will get his revenge. The Waratahs are yet to convince that they are anywhere near good enough to make their mark on this years comp some great players but still working on the team and game planconcepts. Having said all that I think the Force are maybe a couple of backs short of really being able tobeat the Waratahs.

Waratahs 1 – 12
Fight hard Jessie
Regards Waj
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