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by REM

I hate watching my team play on a Friday night

April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

I don’t like games played on a Friday night.  And the whole week I was under the impression that the Sharks will play on Saturday, until a little birdie reminded me that the 5th falls on a Friday.

The Sharks record against the Crusaders reads dire.  Only three wins in the history of the competition.  We have gotten ourselves into great situations for the win, but came undone at the end.  This weekend will start what is a very important three weeks before we head off for our tour.  Other years I would have watched our Tour dates and worked out our best chances to win, but I think that Sharks has adopted a new approach, win, and if you die, do so ugly.

The Sharks has started to back their players.  For the first time in a long time I can say with confidence that we have a complete back line.  Even though they are not hitting their form just yet, they will and when they do, expect to see some Champagne rugby, Le Bleus style.  We have a bunch of talented youngsters that have built up an impressive amount of caps for the Union.  Meyer Bosman, even though he started and played his majority of rugby in Free State, is set to make his 100th appearance, and although many regard him as a has been, I still think that he has a lot to offer the union, he was after all my best Currie Cup player last season.

Even though some injuries to key players have halted our progress somewhat in the try scoring department, one can now clearly see the big void left by Biscmark Du Plessis.  The Tank has the ability to dig deep in the toughest trenches and talk the boys out of their slumps.  Willem Alberts is another we missing, as is Wollie and Timmy.  But with the series hitting the halfway mark, we will need them to see us through in the coming months.

So what can we expect tomorrow?

Expect the Crusaders to hold on to that ball.  Forget about Carter, McCaw and Reid that isn’t there and think of the able replacements they have.  The Crusaders know that if they hand the ball to the that they will run at them every chance they get.

Expect cleaner line out ball.  The Crusaders was lucky last weekend, we all know Deon Fourie is not a very good thrower of the ball, and Andries Bekker is a confidence player, not a very good and healthy relationship.  Kyle Cooper has always impressed me.  I am sad that Craig Burden is having such a slump in form, we all know what the boy can do.  And with Peter Steph showing his worth, I think it will only be a matter of time before he is made first choice lock.

The Sharks can score 4 tries.  Yes they can, and they should back themselves like they did against the Rebels.  Even though the Rebels are not the side any team will fear, they was still in the game in the first 25 minutes.  The Sharks themselves need to hold on to that ball for dear life, not try unnecessary passes, 50/50 off loads or dwell without support.

The last thing that shouldn’t happen is the Sharks getting complacent.  Many argue that after a week, some teams lose that spark they had heading into a bye, but the Sharks should not let that get to them.  They will be much fresher, much more focused and should provide us with an entertaining game.

Good Luck to the boys.

Sharks by 6

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by REM

Newlands and the ever present common enemy

April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have been keeping one eye on the news, mostly regarding the fans at the Stormers Crusaders match.

A few years ago ( round about 2005), my cousin and me went to watch the rugby at Newlands.  Since his blood is WP blue and mine Natal black, and because the Sharks already played at the stadium, we decided to watch the Stormers v Hurricanes.  Off course I wanted a South African Team to win, but the behaviour of the crowd in particular to the All Black fans was disgusting.

A year or so later, the Sharks made their way to Newlands and off course I was in attendance.  To be honest, I have never seen such a bunch sore losers, like they say in Afrikaans, “Baiebek” when they are leading but sour when they lose.

Through the years I have had my fair share of vocal abuse from the Newlands faithful, and even though I can appreciate the rivalry, it is no reason to act like a complete and utter moron.  I decided that I will only attend Sharks games after the Crusaders Semi Final three years ago, to which the Stormers lost.  Take it from me, I know people that support the All Blacks and Crusaders.  I know them, but it is not up to me to judge and tell them who to support, why ain’t I supporting the Stormers some would ask?  Even my sister is a All Black, and have been for over 30 years.  There is absolutely nothing I will say about it, but one thing is clear though, she or the handful of All Blacks I know are not morons.

So coming to my point, the Sharks will be making the trip to Newlands next weekend, and I will most def be in attendance.  So anyone also going?

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by REM

Superbru Picks

March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

With my Superbru taking a hammering last weekend, I hoped that there could be another 6/6 this week but this weekend will have some real “kopkrapers”.  I will favor South African sides (although my head says otherwise).

Game 1: Highlanders v Hurricanes (08h35 Friday)

Both teams have only recorded one win thusfar.  So both will be very interested in showing some steel for this game.  Always a tricky game to predict but I am going to go with the home team, Landers by 6.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ma’afu Fia, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Buxton Popoalii.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes/Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Andre Taylor.

Game 2: Warratahs v Cheetahs (10h40 Friday)

Many is saying that the Cheetahs normally don’t string together two good performances in a row, but I feel that they are able to do that.  They have set themselves a good platform to get their second win on their Tour, against a Warratahs side that has not impressed me thus far.  Will be close, Cheetahs to win by 5

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Rob Horne.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 2 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuisen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smit, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Game 3: Southern Kings v Chiefs (19h10 Friday)

I am sorry, but even though the Sharks was not at their best, neither was Jason Jafhta.  I have never seen a ref so out of his depth since Bryce Lawrence blew us away in the Quarters in 2011.  The Kings one can say has a solid defense, but the Chiefs will be licking their wounds and look to put a few through the men of PE.Chiefs by 11

Southern Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Game 4: Crusaders v Bulls (08h35 Saturday)

Tough one to call.  No one gave the Bulls a chance against a impressive Blues outfit but they prevailed.  My heart is saying that the Crusaders will finally come good, but the Bulls are on a roll second to none, if they can keep it tight they will pull one over this hurting Crusaders side.  Bulls by 3

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Jürgen Visser, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jan Serfontein.

Game 5: Reds v Force (10h40 Saturday)

What will surely be yet another boring Australian derby, the Reds will prove to be too strong for a struggling boring Force side.  I wonder how long we have to be happy with this drivel…Reds by 12

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (captain), 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ed O’Donoghue, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Aidan Toua.

Force: TBA

Game 6: Sharks v Brumbies (17h00 Friday)

What will surely be the game of the weekend, the Sharks face a tough test against a side improving by the week.  Surely one can see the genius that is Jake “The Snake” White.  He has taken a ordinary team and turned them into a great team.  The Sharks will hope that they get off to a flying start, scoring some tries we know they can score.  They will also be hoping the humidity will aid them because in March, Durban is hell hot.  Sharks to edge it in a close contest by 6

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Keegan Daniel (captain), 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen (captain), 5 Sam Carter, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.

Enjoy

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by REM

Weekend Pics and Teams

March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

I know it’s a bit late, but here is the teams for this week’s Super Rugby Fixtures and my Superbru pics.  Last weekend was a great weekend for me, getting 6/6 and moving up 11 places to 2nd in our group.  This week will have a few tricky games so here we go:

Game 1: Hurricanes v Crusaders (08h35 Friday)

The Canes are 0-2, while the Crusaders had a bye and a loss to the Blues.  They kept themselves in the game but the Blues broke away towards the end.  Crusaders are normally slow starters, but I fancy them to take this by 8.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, 17 Ben May, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Game 2: Rebels v Reds (10h40 Friday)

The Rebels did well in their first outing but has since lost two in a row.  The Reds will fancy this one, and that is the problem with Aussie Derbies, it is not too tough to call.  With Genia still out, the Reds should still take this by 6

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Richard Kingi, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Alex Rokobaro, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Rory Sidey, 22 Tom English.

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ed O’Donoghue, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Game 3: Highlanders v Cheetahs (08h35 Saturday)

This for me is a tough one to call.  I have not seen too much of the Highlanders, but at home they are always the fancied side.  The Cheetahs will feel that they have a realistic chance but after the beating they took last weekend, I feel that they would have to wait another week to get their first win of the competition.  Landers by 7 or more.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jake Paringatai, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris King, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Shaun Treeby.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Game 4: Brumbies v Warratahs (10h40 Saturday)

The Brumbies has been in good form, and is testament to the good coaching ability of Jake White.  They have been quietly doing their thing, and it won’t be a surprise if they end up in a strong position for the play offs later in the season.  The Tahs have not been convincing in my opinion, and they will feel that they have everything to gain here but the Brumbies in my opinion will be too good on the night.  Brumbies by 12

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 David Pocock, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 George Smith, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Joe Tomane.

Waratahs: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Greg Peterson, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Lachie Turner.

Game 5: Stormers v Chiefs (17h05 Saturday)

Defense against Attack.  This should be the game of the weekend and easily the toughest one to call. The Stormers at home is not a easy team to beat in front of 50 000 Newlands supporters, but the Chiefs are on a roll.  People want to believe that the travel factor will come into play, but in times gone by that rule has been shown to be nothing more then a mind game.  Chiefs to edge it in a tight contest by 5

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Game 6: Southern Kings v Sharks (19h10 Saturday)

This one is a tricky one.  The Kings will want to show that they are not One game winners, and to add all the former Sharks players in the Kings squad will also keep things a bit interesting.  The Sharks though would want to give a full 80 minute performance and maybe sneak in a Bonus Point, we all know that they can score tries.  Sharks to win by 14.

Game 7:  Blues v Bulls (05h05 Sunday)

Last game of the weekend and a easy one, especially considering the form the Blues are in, the type of rugby they play and the fact that Ludeke made 7 changes to the team….that is almost half of your team!  It will be tight in the first 20minutes but once the Blues get that train rolling, they will score…and score a lot.  Blues by 15

Blues: TBA

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jürgen Visser.

Here is to hoping for yet another cracking weekend on Superbru.  Remember to follow me on Twitter, @Sharkie187

Enjoy

REM

 

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by REM

Stormers running against the wind

March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

As a South African rugby fan, one would think that I would have some kind of empathy for the situation unfolding at the Stormers.  One would be wrong.

Many would argue that this would be maybe because WP defeated my Sharks in a Currie Cup Final last year, the answer would be NO.  Some would say it is because of certain players being able to leave Cape Town, hence forcing them to buy in players, most of them not suited for the style of play the Capetonians love so much…NO.  What it is though is the simple fact that playing Defensive rugby is not to my liking.

Even though this model of play has bought them moderate success in the last three seasons, one cannot deny the fact that rugby is a ever changing sport, and when something changes in the lawbooks, one has to adapt your style of play somewhat.  Couple that with the fact that they have a very decent squad, with a number of Springboks, and once begins to see a picture where the Titanic is slowly sinking in the Atlantic Ocean just off Bloubergstrand.

I have always maintained that in Super Rugby, or any rugby for that matter, you should adapt to the rules.  Suddenly the game has been sped up, but still we look for forwards to bash it up instead of running inbetween gaps.  To be fair, a lot of our South African players tend to do this, especially seeing that this is the way Heyneke Meyer intends to let them play, instead of offloading, running on the shoulder or running inbetween gaps.  For the Stormers, they have capable flyhalves, and with Nick Groome in the scrumhalf berth and they finally getting rid of Dewald Duvenhage, they can now look for quick ball.  The problem in my opinion now lies with the centres, with De Allende looking way out of his depth and De Villiers still not willing to pass the ball, so tell me now, why the hell would you then have two deadly finishers in your wings?

Injury problems they will say will not help neither.  Off course it won’t Mr Coetzee.  But Juan De Jongh, although much better on defence still doesn’t like to swing it, and Jaco Taute, well i think he is a better Fullback then Centre.  Schalk Burger they won’t risk.  I still think that his problem is in his head, Scarra and Etzebeth will only return in April and Liebenberg should be ready this weekend.

With this in the back of their mind, I unfortunately don’t see the Chiefs being a knock over for the Stormers, and this will increase the pressure on Allistair Coetzee to perform as a coach.  Yes the Sharks have done it last year, but unlike the Stormers they have one going for them, and that is that they can score tries, and lots of them.  The tend to use the wingers in their squad and that I am thankful for.  I would like to be positive but with the Chiefs in rampant form, they may just make the Stormers look like a “Droe Bokkom”.

Till later

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by REM

Looking at the weekend ahead

February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

The second week for everyone except the Australian teams sees Super Rugby host some pretty interesting matches and match ups.   I will try, if time permits me to do a similar post like this every Thursday, containing my Superbru picks as well as what squad will be taking the field

Game 1 :  Blues v Crusaders (Friday 08h30)

Toughest game to pick in my opinion, the 7time Champions are a tough side to beat no matter the players they field.  The Blues in the pre season and last weekend showed us that they should not be taken lightly, people feeling that John Kirwin doing a good job thus far and with the little amount of momentum they have coming into the game and taking into account the slow start the Crusaders normally do, I will give this to the Blues by 5

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall.

Game 2 :Warratahs v Rebels (Friday 10h35)

I hate rating or even trying to predict Aussie games, because they tend to be so inconsistent.  The Rebels started off well but came up second best last weekend.  The Warratahs have the homeground advantage so I will be going with them, Tahs by 3

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Mitchell Chapman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola.

Rebels: 15 James O’Connor (captain), 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Angus Roberts, 22 Tom English.

Game 3: Reds v Hurricanes (Friday 12h20)

The Reds seem to look hapless without Will Genia and Horwill.  I would still not write them off and at home they can prove a difficult customer, that is until the Sharks come to town hehehehe.  My heart says Hurricanes but Rugby is a percentage game, and homeground plays a huge role.  Reds to steal it by 4

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Ed O’Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Luke Morahan.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.

Game 4 :Chiefs v Cheetahs (Sat 08h35)

Although many are not giving the Cheetahs any chance, they have shown in the past that they can win any time if their heads are in the game for the full 80.  The Chiefs was written off by the departure of Sonny Bill Williams but it has once again proven that rugby is a team sport.  The Chiefs will be too good for the Cheetahs I am afraid so I am going to go with a prediction of Chiefs to win by 9

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Game 5:  Bulls v Force (Sat 17h05)

Ok, anyone backing the Force should really wonder “whether the Force will be with them”?  The Bulls came from a very impressive showing last week against the Stormers and will feel that they can take 5 points from this and I agree.  Bulls to win by 23

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane/Sampie Mastriet, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jan Serfontein/Francois Venter

Force: TBA

Game 6: Sharks v Stormers (Sat 19h10)

The Stormers were hindered by Flyhalf problems last week, their line out was scrappy and they looked directionless.  It doesn’t get any easier for the Cape side in what many are describing as a grudge match. The Sharks didn’t hit the field running and their focus in the second half will have Plumtree worried, but home ground advantage and a team that just have that little bit extra in the Tank, and we should see a good game here.  Sharks to edge it by 6

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn (c), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever

Please do remember that these pics are of my own opinion.  Good luck to one and all.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @Sharkie

REM

 

 

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by REM

Super Lite?

February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

With the real kickoff of Super Rugby this weekend, every day seem to be a new story of injuries.  And this is a worrying state of affairs.

The Stormers once again had to lay off Schalk Burger for another month, Juan De Jongh, Tiaan Liebenberg and Scarra the other injured.  They should have cover for these positions with Nazeem Carr, Martin Bezuidenhout, Siya Kolisi and Damian De Allande ready for their clash against the Bulls.

Speaking of the Bulls, yesterday news out of Pretoria came through that Dean Greyling and Wilhelm Steenkamp has been ruled out.  This morning news came through that Akona Ndungane and Jacques Potgieter has also been excluded due to injury concerns.

The Sharks heard last week that Keegan Daniel and Tim Whitehead will be out for a month.  With Bismarck already out and only due to return in April, Dale Chadwick out until March, they had to learn that Butch James and Willem Alberts will also be sidelined.

This made me think that all these players out injured should pose some serious questions to Saru and the effect the amount of Rugby will have on some of their top players.  Is this amount of rugby healthy or do they see it as collateral damage?  I am under the strict impression that they still don’t give a rat’s ass about the well being of their players, and this is a tough thing to get around.  I get the fact that rugby and injuries goes hand in hand, but not even a ball has been kicked and already teams are scratching their heads.

Luckily the Sharks have sufficient cover in the loose trio department.  Battle hardened Ryan Kankowski having just returned from a loan spell in Japan, Marcel Coetzee, Tera Mtembu, Jacques Botes and Jean Deysel should be able to provide us with what the Sharks need.  The latter two will play a big role, and eventhough speculation is rife that Marcel will play at 8, I would love to see a loose trio of Coetzee, Deysel and Kankowski.

Only time will tell what Plum does, but he should pick his strongest team to get his campaign off to a good start, he owes us that.

 

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by REM

Rules is Rules

February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

When the Kings was introduced as the fifth Super Rugby franchise in last year, it sparked fury amongst supporters, OK, a reasonable amount of them.  Most of them will wish that they have a very hard and long season.

The reason for the inclusion at the time SARU made the decision was to make sure that the untapped talent from the region be used.  Now many post has been written on this topic, but I just want to get something straight…

Cheeky Watson has known for a while now that the Kings would get their date in 2011, heck, I bet you he even knew it before hand.  Now for me, it is stupid to send a team to play Super Rugby that doesn’t even feature in the Currie Cup, that just screams suicide.  So Oregan Hoskins probably asked Cheeky what he would do about getting together a squad of 35 players for the 2013 Super Rugby season, and he said that he will buy a few players from other provinces, and also look abroad.

Now buying from other provinces is not a problem, heck, you just let an entire Lions team start to worry about their futures, so the Lions did the other unions a favor by loaning in most cases these players out to other unions.  They would then have a strong case for assembling a group that can at least win a game or two.  But it seems that Cheeky (forgetting the sole purpose of this union), has gone on and got 5 foreign players on his paysheet.  And he has included all 5.

Now Mr Watson (puke) Sr, I would like to know how you would feel if say I did the following:

The Sharks to my knowledge are the first South African team to play your beloved Kings.  What would you do if we secretly bought 5 foreign players because of say…some injury worries.  You would roll out your pathetic squad and we would announce ours, and there that 5 names would pop into your head, let’s say for instance we would get the services of say, Martin Castrogiovanni, just because we short on prop, and then say Jerry Collins because Keegan Daniel was just pulled to the sidelines for 8 weeks, Fred Michalak, because Butch James decided that he wanted to retire early and focus on book sales, Sonny Bill Williams because he wanted to make up for the White Buffalo incident and because Tim Whitehead was also out for a few months and just for the fun of it Geordon Murphy because Riaan Viljoen decided to go back to Freestate.

What would your response then be?  “No this cannot be done, this is against the rules”

Do you understand the point I am trying to make?  If SARU says that you could only field two of them players, why are you bothering with naming all 5 that is on your books?  Was the Melbourne Rebels, Western Force or Cheetahs given the same fair chance?  What makes Cheeky Watson different then anyone else?   Even so, I could ask why SARU just not get rid of these fools, and try and do something worthwhile for the Union, by uhm, first letting them find some winning ways into the Currie Cup, who by the way, is much stronger now that it is 6 on 6.

I am so sick of this parade.  It is unfair to the people of the Eastern Cape, and especially the youngsters that has to come through the grass root level, something else they clearly need to address, but hey, who am I ranting to?

Daniel Adonga, Kenyan born Flanker

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by REM

Is a pre season game really worth the risk?

February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

As we know, warm up games play a huge part in a team’s approach to the season.  Many coaches take this time to give fringe players a chance to show them whether they are up for the challenge of Super 15 rugby, and many times we end up with gems within that teams.

If you look at last year, the Stormers and Sharks bought through two gems in Marcell Coetzee and Eben Etzebeth, who played consistent for club and country over the last year.

The point I am trying to make though, is that no matter which way you look at it, the Sharks and Stormers were dealt massive blows to their campaigns, even before it kicked off.  The Stormers lost Eben to a injury, putting him out for up to 8 weeks, which is a massive blow if you consider the amount of physicality he brings to their front row.  He will be sorely missed.  As much can be said about the Sharks, losing Keegan Daniel with a MCL injury and Tim Whitehead with a broken arm.  The severity of the injuries are not known yet but will shortly, this will put a lot of pressure on the Sharks.

I do feel though that we have sufficient cover at Loose forward, but suddenly they seem stretched at Outside Centre.  Whitehead is a good player, who must have been one of the in form players in the Sharks jersey last year, had injury not hampered his progress to a sure Green and Gold stint.  Paul Jordaan as we know is another explosive player who is electric and space.  I do hope that he can fill the void, now left by the former Stormer Centre.

Which brings me to my topic.  Is warm up games really necessary if you are going to get casualties?  Yes, is my answer, as you could have seen, their opposition may not have been Super Rugby sides but rugby as we know and love is a contact sport first of all, and what it does when you don’t play any form of pre season warmup is that you in essence play catchup, because players cannot be put in a cacoon and be expected to deliver their best.

More on squad updates as we move along, not long now until Super Rugby 2013 is upon us.  Heck, before we know it, we will be asking for it to be over…..nah, we love rugby too much.

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