Wow guys – can you believe that Round 9 is already upon us? We’re well past the halfway mark in this year’s Super 14 already. Who’s going to come out on top over the course of a rugby-filled Easter weekend?
The first game is the Blues up against the Lions on Friday morning. I’m opting to call this one “Operation: Try-Fest” because neither team is particularly keen on defending. The Lions fronted up well against the Chiefs in the first half, only to be slaughtered at the end when their woefully sub-standard bench let them down. They’re without Baywatch and Doppies this week, so expect them to get hammered at the breakdown and find their backline rhythm somewhat disrupted with the Super 14 rookie Deon van Rensburg at 12. It’s going to be a Good Friday for the Blues, I fear – they’re heading for a bonus point win.
The Force are at home to the Hurricanes next up, and the home side are coming off a great win against a surprisingly off-colour Reds outfit the week before. The Canes, in contrast, played a pretty good game in Durban, only to be blown off the park by some brilliant counter-attacking play. Never the strongest team in Perth, I feel the Force won’t have the firepower to live with the Canes and might just pick up a bit of a backlash from a Wellington side keen to show they’re better than their last result would suggest. The Canes will win, but I’m not brave enough to predict by how much.
Highlanders v Reds is the third game and it’s a contest between two early-season write-offs that have gone on to surprise many. The Landers can put in a serious challenge for a top-four spot if they win this one, whereas the Reds showed last week that their performance against the Sharks was pretty much a one-off and they remain a pretty limited team. I think the Landers will take this one comfortably and will be disappointed if they don’t manage to pick up the fourth try in the process.
Ah, the Brumbies playing for their lost teammate, up against the Stormers, playing for the head of coach Erasmus (we can dream, can’t we?). The Mackay factor makes this one difficult to call, because it’s impossible to say what effect the tragedy is going to have on the team. Then again, these days you only really need to show up to beat the Stormers, so I’m giving this one to the home side. I think they’ll play like men possessed on Saturday. Rest in peace, Shawn Mackay.
Tahs-Bulls is also one that appears a tough call, but actually isn’t. The Bulls have been shit on tour, as I predicted they would. Once they start losing, they don’t start winning again until they get back to their beLoftus. The Tahs, on de udder hand, don’t seem to lose in Sydney much… even if they do play horrible rugby in the process. It will be a dour affair and most will ahve switched off by half time. Expect the Tahs to come away with yet another narrow victory, leaving the Bullies to mutter darkly into their beards yet again.
Oh – and the Sharks are going to run riot in Bloemfontein. It’s a home game, isn’t it?
Only kidding – sure, we’ll take the Cheetahs seriously because we don’t want a repeat of the Reds disaster, but calling this bunch of no-hopers our “bogey team” is really giving them a level of credit and accomplishment that they really don’t deserve. Everyone else has beaten them easily this year. So will the Sharks.
Bring on the rugby!Tweet