Super Rugby 2013 – Week 2 Preview
February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
Super Rugby 2013 kicks off in earnest this weekend after the initial limited feature Aussie conference version. Since 2012 there has been a lot of player movement and many of the squads only bear a slight resemblance to those of 2012, which makes for an interesting and unpredictable series of clashes this weekend.
(Note: The squads are the pre-season squads, not the final squads, except where otherwise indicated)
Fri.22 Feb: Highlanders v Chiefs – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Kickoff: SAST 08:35
The Clan take on the Chiefs with a stronger pack than last year after Brad “Bakkies Botha – the Kiwi version” Thorn and Tony “I’m not Franks” Woodcock joined them upfront with Ma’a Nonu providing punch in the backline. The Chiefs lost their try-scoring prop, Sona Taumalolo, to the French leagues but will still be a force up front, however, the Clan should just shade them. The interesting match-up at the back will be between the two young scrumhalves Aaron Smith and Tawera Kerr-Barlow. On paper the sides are much of a muchness and the game could go either way so I’m going with the home side.
Highlanders by 6
Highlanders (Match 22):
15. Ben Smith, 14. Kade Poki, 13. Phil Burleigh, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Hosea Gear (c), 10. Lima Sopoaga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Nasi Manu, 7. John Hardie, 6. Joe Wheeler, 5. Josh Bekhuis, 4. Jarrad Hoeata (vc), 3. Ma’afu Fia, 2. Brayden Mitchell, 1. Tony Woodcock
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. Elliot Dixon, 19. Tim Boys, 20. Fumiaki Tanaka, 21. Hayden Parker, 22. Buxton Popoalii
Chiefs (Match 22):
15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Lelia Masaga.
Fri.22 Feb: Rebels v Brumbies – AAMI Park, Melbourne – Kickoff: SAST 10:40
Both teams are coming off home wins in fairly error-strewn matches but the quality of performance should improve. James O’Connor, this time without his braids, will once again be the dangerman for the Rebels but the Brumbies just seem to be the more polished side and should take this match comfortably.
Brumbies by 12
Rebels (Match 22):
15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo Emile, 18 Cadeyrn Neville, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nick Stirzaker, 21 Alex Rokobaro, 22 Tom English.
Brumbies (Match 22):
15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Joe Tomane, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (c), 7. David Pocock, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander
16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Tevita Kuridrani
Fri.22 Feb: Bulls v Stormers – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria – Kickoff: SAST 19:10
The big North-South South African derby kicks off the SA Conference games with the Bulls pack just not inspiring confidence and a cloud still hanging over the Hougaard/Morne Steyn combination and whether Steyn has the ability to use the young backline talent the Bulls have been gathering although the Bulls selectors decided to go with experience for this match. For the Stormers the big question will be how the Lions players intigrate with their gameplan although the Stormers coach indicated that he wants his team to play ball-in-hand rugby at Loftus. There’s a lot of pressure on Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute to help change the Stormers’ fortunes this year. A tough call but the Stormers look to be the more balanced team.
Stormers by 6
Bulls (Match 22):
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè, Francois Venter
Stormers (MAtch 22):
15. Jaco Taute, 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. Pat Cilliers, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Dewaldt Duvenage, 21. Gerhard van den Heever, 22. Joe Pietersen
Sat.23 Feb: Hurricanes v Blues – Westpac Stadium, Wellington – Kickoff: SAST 08:35
The Canes still has a potent backline with Perenara, Barrett, Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Andre Taylor and will look to improve their defence without losing on the attack. The Blue have lost a number of the big name players who didn’t perform last year and have a new coach and is a bit of an unknown quality this year. Getting a lot of new players to gel may take a few games.
Hurricanes by 6
Hurricanes (Match 22):
15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 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 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.
Blues (Match 22):
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 (c), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Reserves: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.
Sat.23 Feb: Reds v Waratahs – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane – Kickoff: SAST 10:40
Both the Reds and the ‘Tahs start the season with a number of key players out with injury and the Reds without Will Genia just don’t seem to have the same flair. The result could depend on which team gets the best players back from injury this week. A difficult game to call but I went with the home side mainly because they would have worked off some of the pre-season rust in their first game.
Reds by 5
Reds (Match 22):
Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Chris F’Sautia, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, Ed O’Donoghue, Rob Simmons, James Slipper (capt), Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes.
Reserves: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jarrad Butler, Nick Frisby, Jono Lance, Luke Morahan.
Waratahs (Match 22):
15. Israel Folau, 14. Drew Mitchell, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Tom Carter, 11. Tom Kingston, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Dave Dennis (c), 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Benn Robinson, 18. Paddy Ryan, 19. Mitchell Chapman, 20. Lopeti Timani, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Ben Volavola.
Sat.23 Feb: Cheetahs v Sharks – Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein – Kickoff: SAST 17:05
It’s been some years since the Cheetahs have been the Sharks’ bogey team and even with Johan Goosen back the Cheetahs’ defence is just too brittle to really have a chance at upsetting the Sharks, even in Bloem. A number of injuries to key Sharks players could, however, swing the game the Cheetahs way.
Sharks by 9
Cheetahs (Match 22):
15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Willie le Roux, 13. Johann Sadie, 12. Robert Ebersohn, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Johan Goosen, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Frans Viljoen, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Lood de Jager, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Coenie Oosthuizen, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21. Elgar Watts, 22. Ryno Benjamin
Sharks (Match 22):
15. Louis Ludik 14. JP Pietersen 13. Paul Jordaan 12. Francois Steyn (captain) 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Patrick Lambie 9. Cobus Reinach 8. Ryan Kankowski 7. Marcell Coetzee 6. Jacques Botes 5. Franco van der Merwe 4. Anton Bresler 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Craig Burden 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper 17. Wiehahn Herbst 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit 19. Jean Deyse20. Charl McLeod 21. Meyer Bosman 22. Odwa Ndungane
Sat.23 Feb: Kings v Force – Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth – Kickoff: SAST 19:10
The Force started well last weekend but faded as the game went on and their lineouts were poor but the Kings have also struggled at lineout time in most of their pre-season matches. The Force may not be the best side out there but the Kings just don’t have the pack to really trouble them and I don’t see the Kings really making much headway against the Force, except maybe in the first 20 minutes or so. However, I don’t think it will be a runaway victory for the Force.
Force by 15
Kings (Match 22):
15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 David Bulbring, 6 Cornell du Preez, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Daniel Adongo, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht , 20 Johan Herbst, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.
15 Will Tupou, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Junior Rasolea.
BYE : Crusaders
Forwards: Adrian Barone, Dominic Bird, Shane Christie, Wyatt Crockett, Tom Donnelly, Joel Everson, Paea Fa’anunu, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Nepo Laulala, Richie McCaw, Joe Moody, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Jimmy Tupou, George Whitelock, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock
Backs: Kurt Baker, Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Carter, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Andrew Ellis, Kieron Fonotia, Robbie Fruean, Willi Heinz, Tom Marshall, Johnny McNicholl, Jeremy Su’a, Tom Taylor, Telusa Veainu, Adam Whitelock