The Semi-finals of this year’s Super Rugby tournament is drawing closer and the players and coaching staff are hoping they check all the boxes in preparation for the knock-out games – A whole season of hard work now comes down to… win or go home.
First up, Chiefs vs. Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on Friday. This will be cracker, with both teams playing real good rugby.
However, it seems as if the Chiefs maybe took the foot off the accelerator the past couple of rounds having lost their last two match-ups, against the Crusaders and Hurricanes. The Crusaders have shown in previous seasons that they hit top gear at just the right time of the competition, and this year is no different. Daniel Carter is playing awesome rugby again after the injury, maybe even a little better. I will have to say that Dan Carter will outplay Aaron Cruden and play a big part in the Crusaders winning the first semi-final of the weekend.
Secondly, we have the all South African semi-final with the two big coastal rivals packing down against each other on Saturday afternoon. It will be a hard fought battle and maybe the winning team might only be able to snatch victory by a moment of brilliance.
I don’t think that either team will run away it. The Sharks have to travel, which my see them looking a bit fatigued come the last 10 to 15 mins. With Eben Etzebeth back in the steam room will help our scrumming, as we desperately need to stop the momentum of those Sharks forwards who are in excellent form. If we manage to stop them upfront and put them under pressure we are definitely going to see Newlands host their first ever Super Rugby Final.
The Stormers’ team to face the Sharks:
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Deon Fourie, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Frans Malherbe, 17. Deon Carstens, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Don Armand, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Gerhard van den Heever
With Deon Fourie being able to cover the hooker position from no. 8 allows the Stormers to have two props on the bench, this might prove vital late in the second half to be able to bring on two fresh props instead of just one. I have my concerns regarding a possible upset by the Sharks but I will always back my team for the win.
My prediction for the Super Rugby Final…
Therefore, my weekend’s winning picks: Crusaders by 9 , Stormers by 4