Crusaders vs Chiefs
This game should be the game of the weekend, both teams are really good rounded with a lot of game breakers.
Clashes to watch out for:
Ellis vs Kerr-Barlow
Carter Vs Cruden
SBW vs Crotty
I think this battles will determine the outcome IF the Chiefs are more competitive at the scrums and lineouts. They were playing of scraps the last game and their forwards were outplayed by the Saders’. The Saders will mis Kieran Read but I think he won’t be missed too much.
The Chiefs would want to keep up with the Crusaders and don’t let them score in the opening 20min or so. We all know how dangerous the Saders are if you need to play catch up against them.
Close game could go either way, Chiefs at home but they lost their last 2 games. Saders more physical and street smart.
Saders by 3 to 7
Stormers vs Sharks
Well this will be an interesting game. I think the Stormers have been good but comes off a bye and their last two league games were dodgy to say the least.
The Sharks are in impressive form, they look hungrier everytime they go onto the pitch. The forwards does all the hard work with Bressler at the forefront and give great ball to their backline were Michalak directs play brilliantly.
I’ve been told that the following argument has nothing to stand on but here goes:
The stormers have struggled in the scrums against various teams this year (Saders, Lions, Sharks, Cheetahs to name a few) while they play against the bok front row.
The last game between the sides the Lineouts were very even and for a while the Sharks even dominated.
Kankowski vs Fourie, Kanko seems to be a lot more physical and his strength has improved drastically. Fourie should be no match form him. On the ground Fourie would compete with Bismarck and in lesser extent Marcelle Coetzee.
Kolisi vs Coetzee, Kolisi’s form has dipped a bit but since Coetzee became a bok he’s been playing like one. Still good match up but Coetzee’s offloads are very dangerous and something the stormers should watch. Kolisi on the other hand doesn’t offload much.
Daniel vs Elstadt, two different players at 7. Elstadt would probably go head to head with Alberts in the physicality department who will be playing 4. They both do more or less the same but Elstadt does not gain as much momentum as Alberts.
Alberts, Bismarck, Kanko, Coetzee etc are all very dangerous ball carriers with good hand offs. This will make the stormers defence more crucial. Add the pace of Daniel and you have a potent attack around the breakdowns and fringes.
The Stormers with Bekker, Etzebeth and Elstadt should hold off the challenge from the Sharks (Bressler, Alberts, Kanko, Daniels) at lineout time, but last time these two sides met it was a big tussle.
Bekker have the edge in all departments over bresler, and Etzebeth will be competing against Alberts in most areas.
Mcleod will have the edge on duvenhage.
Both Bash and Michalak have been consistant throughout the season. I know a lot of stormers hoping he would have a bad game because he is a frenchman, but he has been playing great rugby and I won’t bet on that.
Bosman vs JDV interesting match up, Bosman plays so inconsistant one never knows when he will be a hero but he can be. JDV should however win that battle.
JDJ vs Tim Whitehead, Whitehead should win that one, very good prospect.
Outside backs very evenly matched maybe Louis Ludick may just be found lacking against Pietersen.
All in all a good tussle awaits but the Sharks have been extremely impressive the past weeks and have peaked at the right time. The Sharks bench is way better than that of the Stormers and it could just be the difference in the end.
Sharks by 2-5