Hey guys – Super Rugby is back, so don’t forget to make those Last Man Standing picks and finalise your Fantasy League squads. Let’s run the rule over the round 16 action.
Highlanders v Chiefs 29 June at 09:35
We start off with a New Zealand derby – the Chiefs are sitting pretty at the summit of the table, while the Highlanders are part of a chasing pack that simply has to pick up every available point now to stand any chance of going through. Since the break has completely disrupted momentum on both sides, it’s very hard to say what will happen in this (or any other) match, but since the Chiefs have the bit between their teeth and are unlikely to surrender their home knock-out place without a fight, we reckon they’ll take it. Chiefs by around 6.
Chiefs: 15. Robbie Robinson, 14. Tim Nanai-Williams, 13. Jackson Willison, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Kane Thompson, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke (Captain), 3. Ben Tameifuna, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 1. Toby Smith
Replacements: 16. Hikawera Elliott, 17. Sona Taumalolo, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Lelia Masaga
Rebels v Reds 29 June at 11:40
Neither side had been named at the time of writing, but that wouldn’t really have helped anyway. The Rebels are so wildly inconsistent that it’s damn-bear impossible to predict what they’re going to do in any particular game. The Reds, on the other hand, have far more to play for and will need a five-pointer here in order to better their own chances of going through to the finals series. They have a trophy to defend, after all and will want to put their poor start to the season behind them and finish strongly. Reds by 12, I reckon.
Crusaders v Hurricanes 30 June at 09:35
Another New Zealand derby, between two teams that are still very much in with a shout. The Crusaders won’t want to lose this, because if they do, they’ll risk dropping out of their hard-fought fourth spot on the log (which means they’ll be at home, at least for the first knock-out game), while the Hurricanes will perhaps be even more desperate to win, since losing will all but take them out of the play-off race. The home team were in ominous form before the break, but are without Dan Carter once more, so may not be quite as formidable this week. Can’t sy I see the Canes winning, though. Crusaders by 8.
Crusaders: 15. Sean Maitland, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Tom Taylor, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Richie McCaw (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tyler Bleyendaal, 22. Patrick Osborne / Tom Marshall
Hurricanes: 15. André Taylor, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith (Captain), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Chris Eaton, 8. Brad Shields, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Ben May, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Reg Goodes
Replacements: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Karl Lowe, 20. Frae Wilson, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. Jayden Hayward
Force v Brumbies 30 June at 11:40
The Brumbies no longer look quite so comfortable at the top of the Australian conference log, given the recent resurgence of the Reds ans Jake White’s boys will need to win well in Perth in order to stay a step ahead of the current title-holders. Aussie derbies tend to be a great leveller, but I can’t really see the Force finding a way to win this one, unless the Brumbies are dire. Brumbies by 12.
DHL Stormers v MTN Lions 30 June at 17:05
The Stormers have rested just about all the bits of their team that weren’t already out through injury. The Lions have rested their coach. All-in-all, it’s not likely to be a great game. There shouldn’t really be any way for the Lions to win, but then again, we thought that in their last match too. Stormers to win by 6, like they always do.
Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (Captain), 11. Gerhard van den Heever, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Siya Kolisi, 7. Don Armand, 6. Tyrone Holmes, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16. Tiaan Liebenberg, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Quinn Roux, 19. Jebb Sinclair, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Bryan Habana
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde/Ruaan Dreyer, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck
Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs 30 June at 19:10
This should be a good game. The Cheetahs love playing at Loftus and always find a way to raise their game there, whilst the Bulls have now lost their last three games and will simply be desperate not to drop any more points, particularly at home. With the latter still playing for a spot in the knockouts, they should have more motivation than the Cheetahs, who are playing for pride alone. Bulls by 5.
Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Dewald Potgieter, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. CJ Stander, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. Francois Venter
Cheetahs: 15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Philip Snyman, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Rocco Jansen, 10. Riaan Smit, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Ashley Johnson, 7. Nelis Labuschagne, 6. Heinrich Brussow, 5. Izak van der Westhuizen, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16. Hercu Liebenberg, 17. WP Nel, 18. George Earle, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Nico Scheepers