11 Apr

Super 15 — Round 9 Preview
by WAJ
11 Apr 2014

SuperRugbyLogoHighlanders v Bulls – So we have one team who had a close loss last week but previously had been in reasonable form versus a team who had a close win last week and have been super competitive all year – winning or losing, well all except the Blues at EP. And the Bulls have only ever won once in Dunners!! I think this is very winnable for the Bulls, those big forwards rumbling along are a force to be reckoned with and will test this relatively inexperienced Highlanders pack. If they can shut down the Smith and Smith duo?? And the Highlanders – well they need to play at pace, use A Smiths skills in this area and they will run the Bulls off their feet. Tend to think this is how the game will go. And lets hope the ref has a better game this week, especially at scrum time – how he can penalise Woody twice for angling in, and then the third time the exact same thing happenshe penalises the opposition T/H – what the?!?!?!
Highlanders 1- 12

Reds v Brumbies – Probably the match of the round. Of lateboth havebeen up and down in their form, and have suffered surprise losses. Like the Brumbies here, they got things back on track last week, played the percentages brilliantly in the shite conditions and showed they can adapt to suit the oppositions weaknesses. And the way they were able to shut down the dangerous Waratah backs a few weeks ago is pretty significant here I reckon. The Reds are stumbling along a bit this year – the Will and Quade show is not quite firing as well as in the past and the whole team is just lacking a bit in intensity. A few injuries not helping either.
Brumbies 1 – 12

Chiefs v Rebels – This is a real test of the Chiefs much lauded depth. 1st time long time without Crudes and then they also rest Messam! Interesting to say the least. And the Mighty Rebels have a bit more about them this season. On form the Chiefs should win this with some room to spare, but without Cruden to spark their attack and Messam to provide the calmness under pressure, they would not want to give up early leads like they have recently. The great improvement for the Rebels this year has been the ability to hold their intensity for much longer. This has resulted in better defence and longer passages whilst in possession. Will this be enough? I suspect not, but it could be closer than expected, might have a sneaky look at the $5 for a Rebels win!!
Chiefs 1 – 12

Force v Waratahs – On paper this should be a comfortable Waratahs win, but who could dismiss the Force after their last month of super form. The Force are just the team to get in the face of the Waratahs and keep their winning streak going. Matthewson and Ebersohn are doing a great job controlling the play and the loosies are on fire, with enough run from the outer backs to cause real problems for any opposition defence. The Waratahs are an improved side, but still have that cloud of uncertainty hanging over them. Foley will have been watching the Sharks and Brumbies v Waratahs games and seen that it is up front where they can still be got. Do the Force have the tight five to really apply the necessary pressure, perhaps not and so picking the Waratahs but not by much.
Waratahs 1 – 12

Cheetahs v Crusaders – The two teams who have disappointed most this season. And an interesting comparison with the Cheetahs by far the worst defensive outfit and the Crusaders with the 2nd worst attacking record. Should play into the Crusaders hands as they to look to get some confidence back and resurrect some kind of running game. And don’t know how happy I would be too be “rotated” out of the playing XV – don’t like it at all – either you are fit and the best in your position and thus should be selected or you aren’t!!
Crusaders 13+

Lions v Sharks – No easy beats, the Lions have been terrific at home, well until last weeks no show against the Crusaders. But you can guarantee they will fire up for this and push the Sharks all the way. The Sharks are coming off a bye, but should be too good here. They grind teams down with their big forwards bashing away and usually win quite comfortably on the back of this. Would expect a similar scenario here.
Sharks 13+

Regards Waj

14 Mar

Super 15 — Round 5 Preview
by WAJ
14 Mar 2014

Double movement – if there was ever a case of a double movement when scoring a try it was in the Bulls v Blues game last week when the Bulls scored right at the end of the game.

Come on officials get it right – this interpretation of being able to place the ball after being tackled is fine but I struggle when the player turns it into a lunge for the line, and of course endless replays were always going to be in the Bulls favour. It was bollocks!

Chiefs v Stormers – The Chiefs have named their strongest side this year and should be too strong at home. It won’t be easy against a very combative Stormers side who were all but over the line last week against the Crusaders. They aren’t a side that scores lots of points the Stormers and whilst that also applies to points scored against them this Chiefs team has the ability to breach any defence. Any lead by the Chiefs will be very hard for the Stormers to pull back and that pressure will only play into mthe Chiefs hands as they perhaps losen up. Oh and all the rhetoric about holding in rucks will come to nothing.
Chiefs 1 – 12

Rebels v Crusaders – Will the Crusaders finally get their SHIT together? Just how good are the Crusaders, are they in a slump or are they just not that good? The big question this week – is Slade the man to get the backline going (it is a little surprising that he only gets a start at 1 5/8 now). This would be the perfect game for them to show where they are – an opposition who fire up at home, have enough good players to threaten most – and who will be keen to atone for a shabby performance last week. The key for the Mighty REbels will be the set pieces and their defence. The key for the Crusaders will be their attack. Who gets those right will come out on top. Would love an upset, but just think the Rebels might struggle too much up front.
Crusaders 1 – 12

Hurricanes v Cheetahs – Is this the first win for the Hurricanes? They aren’t a great team, at this stage anyway, a few changes this week give them a slightly better look, but that forward pack still fails to convince, and until they get more ruthless up front the backs will struggle. Mind I also think that Barrett is struggling for his best form as well. The Cheetahs have flattered to deceive so far this year, they are in a similar rut as the Hurricanes – they can’t get their game going. So not expecting a lot from this game, which could be played in less than ideal conditions, no doubt in front of another bumper crowd! Have to go with the home team but doubt there will much in it.
Hurricanes 1 – 12

Highlanders v Force – This is a great round with any team capable of a win, there are no real one sided matches, well maybe the last one, but this is another that could go either way based on the last games played by each team. The Force have won the last five times these two have played, so will back themselves here. But the Highlanders have a better look to them this year, there guns are firing, the forwards doing some good work and the midfield is very promising – they are all doing the basics pretty well. Who’d have thought?!? But then the Force looked uncommonly good for 40 minutes last week, admittedly the opposition were pretty ordinary, but confidence is a big part in any sport and they will have gained a fair bit of that from that 1st half. I’m thinking the likes of Ben Smith may make the difference in what will be another close game.
Highlanders 1 – 12

Brumbies v Waratahs – BIG game this – probably the match up of the round. The Waratahs are in terrific form with scoring options all over the place. How do you shut them down? The Brumbies will give it a good go, and will need to keep the Waratahs from getting too much possession for a start. And then defend very well in the inside channels where the Waratahs make so much ground. But keeping Foley, Beale, AAC and Folau all under control is a pretty big ask, and Hooper is another who can influence the contest. I think the Waratahs will be too strong up front, and with Phipps getting the ball quickly to those backs it will be too much for the Brumbies too handle, even at a ground where they rarely win.
Waratahs 13+

Lions v Blues – I don’t know what to think here. This is a pretty good no frills Lions team, another who are doing the basics well, don’t make a lot of mistakes and take all and any points when on offer. Boshoff kicks them from anywhere in your half so that would signal a pretty straight forward gameplan to me, oh and then the players to execute that. So the Blues bring in their two least effective kickers in the most critical positions when playing at altitude, one also the goal kicker who was anything but accurate the last time he played. So that says to me we are going to run it, further determined by the loose forward mix. If the Blues execute well then they certainly have the runners to pull it off, but the offset of that is to trapped in your halof with limited ammunition to get you out. Could be a disaster, could be a watershed moment.
Blues 13+

Sharks v Reds – Think the Sharks will be too strong again. They have an all round strength at the moment that looks tough to beat. And Steyn found his best form last week as well – ran the side beautifully. The Reds are going along OK, they outscored the Cheetahs in a pointathon last week and will always threaten with the halves they have. The Reds need to be clever and avoid too much of a forward battle, their smaller loosies will come out 2nd and I would think Cooper and Genia will have a lot of large individuals running at them this week and that may dull their attacking presence a bit. The Sharks have a couple of injuries which will make them slightly less effective, but no less efficient I would think, and such is their confidence in their game plan and the form of the likes of Steyn, Coetzee, Kankowski, Bismarck and Reinach that anything but a Sharks win would surprise.
Sharks 1 – 12

7 Mar

Super 15 — Round 4 Preview
by WAJ
7 Mar 2014

Hurricanes v Brumbies – It is hard to get a line on the Hurricanes. They were never going to beat the Sharks and were competitive against the Stormers – and the Brumbies are also a formidable opponent who have beaten them the last 3 times. They certainly have the backs to trouble any opposition but questions still remain about the forwards where they seem to lack the ability to dominate or boss another team for any length of time. A bit dour perhaps, but with Ardie Savea the 7th ranked loosie (really strange, or are they saving him – for what? Next Year!!) what would you expect. The Brumbies are still working their way into the season a bit as well, but they have some shrewd operators at this level and are pretty hard to beat. Just lacking a bit of spark at times and will miss the unluckiest man in rugby (Pocock). I think the Hurricanes can get up here, they have a pretty good record after returning from SA and after seven straight losses must come right!
Hurricanes 1 – 12

Reds v Cheetahs – Both these teams will be looking to bounce back after disappointing losses last week where they were both convincingly beaten, and really had little to offer. Think the Reds will improve a lot at home, and anyway how hot were the Waratahs! Saw the Cheetahs live and apart from a couple of forward rumbles really offered very little and will have to improve considerably to even get close here. Reds to get their SHIT together up front and give some ball for their halfbacks to take control.
Reds 13+

Crusaders v Stormers – Wow – well this is as big a game for the Crusaders as there has been for a while. Good to see they have Romano and Davey back starting – they will add plenty as they have replaced two inferior players, and Bird looks well off the pace as an AB contender – size isn’t everything!! But that backline still worries. Obviously looking for an attitude adjustment and change in game plan as the same players are basically named. For me Fred on the wing is wrong and I’d switch Slade and Taylor as the former is a bit more creative. But hey what do I know! Haven’t seen anything of the Stormers this year but imagine nothing has changed much and they continue as the most boring side in the comp. With this attitude in mind and the desperation of the Crusaders this might end up as a slugfest with penalties deciding it. Oh and I for one am not happy McCaw is injured – he needs to be playing, he is after all a rugby player!!
Crusaders 1 – 12

Force v Rebels – So the Mighty Rebels win convincingly against a difficult opponent 1st up and then the coach changes half the forwards and the 1 5/8 – go figure! They were pretty impressive and the most encouraging part for them was the different way they scored the tries and then there defence where they were determined not to let the Cheetahs get close to the line where those monolithic forwards are bloody hard to stop. Higgie great, Burgess fantastic and the likes of Woodward, English, Ellison, Pyle and McMahon hugely impressive. What to say about the Force – the true journeyman of the competition, they just lack quality and I reckon will really struggle this year. It is hard to see where they can get a win from. Think McGahan will have the Rebels firing again and should win well.
Rebels 1 – 12

Bulls v Blues – This will be all about the Blues handling the Bulls forwards and being able to defuse the barrage heading the way of the back 3. There are still question marks over this Blues team – the lineout remains a constant worry and that is one thing you need to get right in SA, and have they got a game plan that can get them over the line when the conditions are against them, which may well be the case this week. Big Kev will certainly help at lineout time with his greater accuracy and a lot is going to revolve around the kicking of Weepu and Hickey, they have to consistently relieve pressure if required. We attack brilliantly, so I am sure points will be scored. And this is not a vintage Bulls team, a fast moving game may see them struggle and they also need to kick accurately, cause Piutau and his mates will be a looking for any running opportunities and that means trouble.
Blues 1 – 12

Sharks v Lions – Mmmmm. Sharks will be all over this, well rested and in good form at home. Could get ugly.
Sharks 13+

Regards Waj

28 Feb

Super 15 — Round 3 Preview
by WAJ
28 Feb 2014

We will know a lot more about how this season is going to shape after this round as several teams look to shake off their initial game rust. The Blues, Crusaders, Brumbies and Stormers were all fancied and then put in some ordinary performances.

And can I just say I am sick and tired of so many players not being available at this stage of the season. The Blues are 4, 5, 6 down because players are easing their way in, or not back from Japan. Well that is crap. Every game is important in the round robin phase – if a full strength Blues team had shown up last week would they have won, well that is unknown of course, but you’d fancy they might have – instead too many compromises are having to be made. ‘We had a slow start to the season but finished off well’ – if I hear that from the Blues at seasons end………. Oh for a properly structured rugby year!!

Blues v Crusaders – On displayed form – what am I saying – neither of these two have displayed any form. On paper this should be a convincing win to the Crusaders, butthe Blues have delivered their fairshare of upsets against the old foe and will turn up tonite you feel. Probably aren’t good enough yet with a number of players missing for various reasons, but need to show a game plan and some defence, a good scrum and that they have improved their lineout. Like the in’s in the forwards. But this will be a pissed off Crusaders team and they will be very hard to hold up front and you would think Warwick’s boy will get plenty of opportunities tokick for goal. The Crusaders will want an improved showing from the backline however after a limp display last week – don’t know whether they have the cattle to be a real threat, but straight running and passing to people in better positions than you are good building blocks. Expecting a tight game.
Crusaders 1 – 12

Rebels v Cheetahs – The Cheetahs will go into this as favorites against a rebuilt Rebels team. With two games already under their beltthe Cheetahs will certainly look to dominate up front and use their potent back 3 to finish off. Goosen showed better form last week and is the key to keeping his forwards on the front foot and getting the ball wide. A good player he needs to have his influence minimised. The Rebels are a bit of the unknown. Good trial form has them confident of a good season. Previously they have shown to be a pretty good attacking outfit, adequate at set piece, and they finish off games well. But they have always let in a bucket load of points. To compete this has to be fixed. A new coach promises this to be the case – if they can they could win this.Big Games from Higgie and Burgo are needed. The Cheetahs travel well and are confident, but fancy the Rebels can finally get things going.
Rebels 1 – 12

Stormers v Hurricanes -After getting their arse handed to them up front by the Sharks last week they now meet a pissed off and determined Stormers team. A couple of changes up front look to have stiffened up the pack a bit,and they have plenty of talent in the backs of course. But this game will be all about field position, and again the Hurricanes forwards will be under pressure from the Stormers at scrum and maul time. A strong backline defence led by de Villiers will be hard to crack and theHurricanes must look to giving there two world class wings some room.The Sharks held themwell last week and this could be the key.
Stormers 1 – 12

Chiefs v Highlanders – Who’d have thought that the Chiefs would have the eight forwards named to start tonite! The big question here is how good are the Highlanders? Great effort last week, they were pretty efficient and took their chances brilliantly. A different prospect in front of them this week though and I think they will be put back into their box against this extremely efficient Chiefs team brilliantly controlled by the best player going around in Superrugby.
Chiefs 13+

Waratahs v Reds – This should be a cracker. Both showed good form last week, with some brilliant tries scored by both sets of backs. All begins up front of course and if the Waratahs can get their running forwards making the yards they were last week- game over. Butthis is a pretty experienced Reds squad and they will be a lot more resilient that the Force were – expect big games from Horwill and Slipper in the tight/loose to stymie the Waratahs forwards and let Quade and Genia have a fair go on their own. The Reds have won the last five and will sneak this as well
Reds 1 – 12

Force v Brumbies – Brumbies should win in a close one. The Force trouble them and it is a stronger Force team fronting this week. Still think the Brumbies have too many options.
Brumbies 1 – 12

Bulls V Lions – So what is the bet that the side who has lost the last two (Bulls)will be favourite ahead of a team that has won the last two! Expect a bit more from a rejigged Bulls team at home. But hard to get inspired about this one.
Bulls 13+

Regards Waj

17 Jul

Super 15: Round 21 Stats
by Tracey Nelson
17 Jul 2012

Stats for the New Zealand sides from the final round of Super 15 2012.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Tom Taylor 100% 2
MichaelHobbs 100% 1
Dan Carter 83% 6
Piri Weepu 83% 6
Aaron Cruden 57% 7
Beauden Barrett 56% 8

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 11 8
Chiefs 11 8
Canes 9 5
Crusaders 18 10

Total Penalties to date
Blues 127
Chiefs 171
Hurricanes 159
Crusaders 152
Highlanders 152

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 6 1
Chiefs 1 6
Canes 6 1
Crusaders 9 1

Handling Errors
Blues 8
Chiefs 12
Canes 10
Crusaders 8

Top ten tacklers
Todd 25
Messam 19
Clarke 17
Donnelly 16
C Smith 16
Levave 15
Latimer 15
Lowrey 14
McCaw 13
G Whitelock 13

Top Linebreakers
Piutau 4
Carter 3
F Saili 3

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 63 73
Chiefs 82 83
Hurricanes 83 74
Crusaders 78 83
Highlanders Bye 80

1 Jun

Super 15: Round 15 Preview
by WAJ
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.
Brumbies 13+

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!!
Sharks 13+

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

Regards Waj

29 May

Super 15: Round Fourteen Stats
by Tracey Nelson
29 May 2012

All the stats from Round 14, the Crusaders had the bye this week.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Barrett 100% 10
Munro 100% 1
Cruden 83% 6
Anscombe 75%
Noakes 75% 4

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 5 4
Chiefs 7 4
Canes 7 7
Highlanders 12 9

Total Penalties to date
Blues 98
Chiefs 129
Hurricanes 130
Crusaders 105
Highlanders 123

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 2 3
Chiefs 3 1
Canes 9 3
Highlanders 3 2

Handling Errors resulting in turnovers
Blues 9
Chiefs 8
Canes 16
Crusaders 8
Highlanders 6

Top ten tacklers
A Thomson 22
Crosswell 16
May 15
Kerr-Barlow 15
B Retallick 15
Hoeata 15
MacIntosh 14
K Thomson 14
Ellison 14
Lam 12

Top Linebreakers
Gear 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 81 72
Chiefs 44 85
Hurricanes 50 75
Highlanders 80 81

11 May

Super 15: Round 12 Preview
by WAJ
11 May 2012

Blues v Lions – The battle for the wooden spoon, who’d of thought! This game absolutely terrifies me! More injuries, even less confidence, if that were possible, after last weeks 9th loss in a row, media blasting from all corners – it has the makings of a friggin disaster. And you know the Lions are going to come out smelling blood, and with their future in serious doubt they will be a team very keen to prove a point. And just as aside – how bizarre would it be that the largest rugby stadium in SA has no Soopa rugby for 2013 – only in SA! So the trials of the Blues have been well documented and there is no point going over where they have to improve and how they should play it. Nothing less than a 100% improvement on the dross they served up last week is going to suffice. The Lions will go for the bash, they have big forwards and will simply look to use them to break holes and get Jantjies into some space. I pray for a Blues win – one with accurate lineouts, good ball control and defensive intensity! So come on big fella when you support the 2 teams that I do surely the Blues can get over the line here and I can celebrate a win for the first time in 6 weeks! Oh and if the Blues need anymore motivation there is a poll currently running in Rugby Heaven (Aus) asking which is the worst team in the S15 – Blues, Rebels, Lions or Force – it is running at 51% for the Blues at the moment – stick that on the wall LamB!!!!!
Blues 1 – 12

Waratahs v Bulls – Big game for the Waratahs, they are getting very close to the Last Chance Saloon and another season of underachievement. They have made a raft of changes, 5 in the backs alone, mind you there were pretty dire last week so something had to be done. Another 4 changes in the pack speaks of desperation and history tells us that an under pressure Waratahs side does not often produce. Having said that this is a not a bad team on paper, though combinations will be rusty, and they have probably given themselves the best chance to get a win. The Bulls continue to march on, they did just enough to get the 5 points last week, combining impressive attack where they seemed to have plenty of options with Steyn and Hougaard taking all the right options, with some flakey defense. Perhaps the travel took the edge off, but they will be well rested and though forced to make a few changes due to injury, they will be formidable. I doubt whether there will be much in this one and perhaps give it to the Bulls who have won the last 6 played between these 2.
Bulls 1 – 12

Highlanders v Hurricanes – Close to the game of the round, this is an intriguing clash. The Highlanders have injury problems and have travelled back from SA after a disappointing loss to the Sharks – so probably not in the best shape they have ever been in. But they are a determined mob and I reckon match up very well with the Hurricanes. No Highlanders team as yet, still pissing me off no end, so don’t know who will be fronting where, but the Highlanders have covered well all season with good depth. But they need to get the edge back into their game, that extra 5% of aggression that seems to be missing at the moment, and use Thommo more as a running weapon, he is a not a crasher and basher so don’t use him as that type of player. They meet the Hurricanes coming off a good win, an 8 day rest and all to play for. They have made only one change and are a team that takes its chances, competes well in every aspect and has the likes of Vito, Smith Taylor and Jane who are such good players that really lift this team. I tend towards the hurricanes – they are just travelling better at the moment, but look it could go either way.
Hurricanes 1 – 12

Rebels v Crusaders – Contrasting performances from both sides last week gives this game some appeal. I thought the Rebels were great – yes they let in a few points but they never gave up and scored a couple of cracking tries. And how good was Kurtley – he probably tried too much and he was taken off with 5 minutes to go as I don’t think he could run another metre, but easily the best player on the park, ahead of the Mornenator, who was also very good, just less dynamic. The issue withe Rebels here will be if they can break even at scrum time, and keep manning up on defence. These have been their 2 consistent weaknesses all season and of course the Crusaders have the players to really exploit this. But! But the sort of attacking crap that the Crusaders dished up last week maybe puts a lie to this. Have they got the best combination on the field, I’d be swapping Carter and Taylor around for a game, to me the more ball in Carters hands the better. Can’t fault their defence or set pieces, ball retention OK, attack flat as a pancake. It is great if Fruean or Fred have a good day, but too hot and cold woth the talent available for me. Still they might, probably will, get a roll on tomoz. But the Rebels – they love playing at home!!!!
Crusaders 13+

Sharks v Force – This should be a comfortable win for the Sharks. The Force can’t seem to get anything going this year, and whilst they certainly have some very good players they just don’t seem to be able to click as a team. The Sharks are going OK, winning the games that they should and will be too strong at home.
Sharks 1 – 12

Stormers v Cheetahs – The who cares game of the week. A nice tough encounter for the Stormers to get back into the groove after the bye. Might be close, but a full strength Stormers backline might run away with it as well. Might might might!!
Stormers 13+

Reds v Chiefs – For me this is the game of the round. The Reds are on the improve, were a bit unlucky to lose last week, and have a look about them now that suggests they are getting back to a bit of their 2012 form. Higgo, Simmo, Gillie and the Slipper are starting to turn it up, and put real pressure on the Crusaders last week, well everywhere except the scrum which was ultimately the losing of the game for them. But the Chiefs don’t have as big a weapon at scrumtime – and for me the forward battle is really a break even. The backs, well Cruden is in the form of his life, has a very very solid midfield outside of him with plenty of zip provided by the back 3 – they are still a work on in getting the combo really clicking but still do plenty right now. Expect Diggers to defend in the 1 5/8 channel at set pieces to try and nullify SBW. And that is the probably the defining aspect of this game – defence. The Reds have really stepped up here of late and the Chiefs have been defensive misers all season, only the Stormers have had less points against. The key here is Cruden, his ability to break the line as soon as an opportunity rises is the best in the comp, and you can’t keep an eye on all the Chiefs backs so those opportunities will come.
Chiefs 1 -12

Regards Waj

9 May

Super 15: Round Eleven Stats
by Tracey Nelson
9 May 2012

Stats from Round 11.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Cruden 100 6
Munro 100 1
T Taylor 83 6
Weepu 80 5
Delany 67 6
Barrett 57 7

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 3 2
Chiefs 13 11
Canes 6 4
Crusaders 7 6
Highlanders 9 7

Total Penalties to date
Blues 78
Chiefs 115
Hurricanes 106
Crusaders 92
Highlanders 95

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 4 2
Chiefs 3 3
Canes 2 4
Crusaders 1 1
Highlanders 1 5

Handling Errors
Blues 12
Chiefs 8
Canes 9
Crusaders 8
Highlanders 9

Top ten tacklers
Cane 21
Lowe 16
O Franks 14
Clarke 13
Cruden 13
L Braid 12
Fitzgerald 12
Manu 12
Todd 12
Coles 11

Top Linebreakers
B Smith 2
Perenara 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 63 70
Chiefs 100 90
Hurricanes 91 79
Crusaders 76 80
Highlanders 80 82

2 May

Super 15: Round Ten Stats
by Tracey Nelson
2 May 2012

All the numbers from Round 10 of the comp. And I see that Round 9 seems to have got lost in cyberspace somewhere so shall reload it asap folks.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Chris Noakes 100% 5
Tom Taylor 88% 8
Cruden 88% 8
Delany 67% 3
Barrett 60% 5
Anscombe 50% 4

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 9 7
Chiefs 11 6
Canes 7 5
Crusaders 10 6
Highlanders 12 9

Total Penalties to date
Blues 75
Chiefs 102
Hurricanes 100
Crusaders 85
Highlanders 86

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 6 6
Chiefs 2 3
Canes 3 2
Crusaders 2 2
Highlanders 3 5

Handling Errors
Blues 13
Chiefs 12
Canes 12
Crusaders 11
Highlanders 9

Top ten tacklers
Thrush 18
Thomson 17
Todd 16
Vito 16
Hoeata 15
Lowe 14
Coles 14
B Retallick 14
Levave 13
Toomaga-Allen 13

Top Linebreakers
Freuan 3
B Smith 3
Ellison 2
Read 2

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 56 71
Chiefs 100 89
Hurricanes 83 77
Crusaders 83 81
Highlanders 80 83