robdylan

Super Rugby 2012: Round 1 preview and predictions


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 23 Feb 2012 at 10:00
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Super Rugby is once more upon us! The first round is notorious for throwing up unexpected results, since we know little about form at this early stage. Let’s have a look at the match ups and see if we can predict who’ll come out on top.

Blues v Crusaders 24 February at 08:35

What a great way to start, with a tough New Zealand derby. The Crusaders’ fine pedigree in this competition notwithstanding, it’s the men from Auckland who, in the past, have started this competition strongly and with neither Captain Richie nor Amazing Dan Carter in their lineup, I expect the Crusaders to come a cropper in the opener. Blues by 5, is my call.

Blues: 15. Isaia Toeava, 14. David Raikuna, 13. Rene Ranger, 12. Benson Stanley, 11. Rudi Wulf, 10. Michael Hobbs, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Jerome Kaino, 7. Daniel Braid, 6. Chris Lowrey, 5. Ali Williams, 4. Anthony Boric, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. Keven Mealamu (Captain), 1. Tom McCartney
Replacements: 16. Pauliasi Manu, 17. Tevita Mailau, 18. Brad Mika, 19. Luke Braid, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Hadleigh Parkes, 22. Sherwin Lee Stowers

Crusaders: 15. Tom Marshall, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Israel Dagg, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Tom Donnelly, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Quentin MacDonald, 1. Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16. Corey Flynn, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Luke Romano, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Patrick Osborne, 22. Adam Whitelock

Brumbies v Force 24 February at 10:40

A very tough one to call, is this derby between two of the weaker Aussie outfits. The Force, while never doing much in this competition, have a far more settled-looking team than the bunch of young guns assembled by Jake White in Canberra. That said, the men in blue have lost their go-to men in the backline and with neither James O’Connor nor Cameron Shepherd in tow, shouldn’t end up in much position to do a lot on the scoreboard. I’ll back Jake’s babes for this one, so I say Brumbies by 7.

Brumbies: 15. Robbie Coleman, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Jesse Mogg, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (Captain), 7. Ita Vaea, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Leon Power, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander
Replacements: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Scott Fardy, 19. Michael Hooper, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Zack Holmes, 22. Joseph Tomane

Force: 15. Alifeleti (Alfi) Mafi, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Winston Stanley, 12. Rory Sidey, 11. Napolioni Nalaga, 10. James Stannard, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Ben McCalman, 7. David Pocock (Captain), 6. Matthew Hodgson, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou Cowan
Replacements: 16. Elvis Taione, 17. Kieran Longbottom, 18. Phoenix Battye, 19. Angus Cottrell, 20. Justin Turner, 21. Ben Seymour, 22. Samu Wera

Vodacom Bulls v Sharks 24 February at 19:10

The South African conference gets under way with a good old-fashioned Loftus Derby, although the number of new faces on display makes the team look anything but that. This one is completely unpredictable, with either team completely capable of upsetting the other. I’m going to call the Sharks tin win it, narrowly, with a late score by one of their game breakers likely unlock an otherwise tight contest. Sharks by 7, I say, more out of hope than any real depth of confidence.

Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. Johann Sadie, 12. Francois Venter, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. MornΓ© Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Deon Stegmann, 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. JJ Engelbrecht

Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Louis Ludik, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel (Captain), 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Abraham Jordaan

Chiefs v Highlanders 25 February at 08:35

Oh dear – is it a good thing to be having a “who cares” moment quite so early in the season? Neither of these sides is likely to threaten to make their way out of the conference stage this year, but this should nevertheless be an entertaining match. At the time of writing, th Higlanders had yet to name their side, but regardless of that, you’d ahve to back the Chiefs to prevail in what may be a high-scoring affair. Moolo men by ten, is my call.

Chiefs: 15. Robbie Robinson, 14. Lelia Masaga, 13. Richard Kahui, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Tim Nanai-Williams, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Brendon Leonard, 8. Fritz Lee, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Messam (Captain), 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke, 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Hikawera Elliott, 1. Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: 16. Mahonri Schwalger, 17. Toby Smith, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Tanerau Latimer, 20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Asaeli Tikoirotuma

Highlanders: 1 Jamie Mackintosh (C), 2 AndrewHore, 3 Chris King, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 5 Nick Crosswell, 6 Adam Thomson, 7 John Hardie, 8 Nasi Manu, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 10 Chris Noakes, 11 Hosea Gear,12 Phil Burleigh,13 Tamati Ellison,14 Buxton Popoali’i,15 Ben Smith

Reserves :16 Jason Rutledge,17 Bronson Murray,18 Culum Retallick,19 James Haskell,20 Aaron Smith,21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Kurt Baker

Waratahs v Reds 25 February at 10:40

Ah, but don’t these derbies always bring out the worst in two sides that generally aren’t afraid to play exciting rugby against anyone other than each other. Well, except for the Tahs, of course, who are just boring full-stop these days. That said, if I’ve learned one thing about these match-ups, it’s that they’re always close and they never go the way you expect them to. With that in mind, here’s my shocker for the week – I’m saying Waratahs by 3.

Waratahs: 15. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Tom Kingston, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Tom Carter, 11. Brackin Karauria-Henry, 10. Daniel Halangahu (Captain), 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Dean Mumm, 4. Kane Douglas, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16. Damian Fitzpatrick, 17. Paddy Ryan, 18. Sitaleki Timani, 19. Jono Jenkins, 20. Brendan McKibbin, 21. Bernard Foley, 22. Nathan Trist

Reds: 1. Ben Daley, 2. James Hanson, 3. James Slipper, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. James Horwill (c), 6. Scott Higginbotham, 7. Beau Robinson, 8. Jake Schatz, 9. Will Genia (vc), 10. Mike Harris, 11. Digby Ioane, 12. Ben Tapuai, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 14. Dom Shipperley, 15. Luke Morahan
Reserves:16. Albert Anae, 17. Greg Holmes, 18. Van Humphries, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Liam Gill, 21. Ben Lucas, 22. Jono Lance

DHL Stormers v Hurricanes 25 February at 17:05

The Stormers are the only SA team to test themselves against foreign opposition in the opening round and I expect them to pass with flying colours. The once-mighty Canes seem to have degenerated into something of a rag-tag bunch under Mark Hammet, beset by infighting and lacking in unity. How I wish they’d make him All Black coach! It’s a somewhat experiemental Stormers outfit, with a very green bench, but expect them to prevail with little difficulty. Stormers by 12.

Stormers: 15. Johan Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Bryan Habana, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Gerhard van den Heever, 10. Gary Van Aswegen, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Nick Koster, 7. Duane Vermeulen, 6. Schalk Burger (Captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16. Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Siya Kolisi, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Marcel Brache

Hurricanes: 1. Tristan Moran ,2. Dane Coles,3. Ben May,4. Jeremy Thrush,5. Jason Eaton,6. Faifili Levave,7. Jack Lam,8. Victor Vito,9. Chris Eaton,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Alapati Leiua,12. Tim Bateman,13. Conrad Smith (c),14. Cory Jane,15. Andre Taylor

Replacements :16. Motu Matu’u,17. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,18. James Broadhurst,19. Brad Shields,20. TJ Perenara,21. Daniel Kirkpatrick,22. Charlie Ngatai

MTN Lions v Toyota Cheetahs 25 February at 19:10

The relegation derby, part 1, kicks off in Joburg on Saturday night to close out the first round action. These matches are typically all-action affairs, with little to separate the teams on paper or on the field. They also have a funny habit of not going the way you expect and while the Lions, as Currie Cup champions are expected to come away with the spoils here, I smell another upset coming. Cheetahs to prevail by 8, is my call, but I wouldn’t advise betting any money whatsoever on that result!

Lions: 15. Jaco Taute, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Alwyn Hollenbach, 12. Doppies la Grange, 11. James Kamana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Joshua Strauss (Captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Cobus Grobbelaar, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Wikus van Heerden, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Hendrik Roodt, 19. Warren Whiteley, 20. Tian Meyer, 21. Butch James, 22. Lionel Mapoe

Cheetahs: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Dusty Noble, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Rocco Jansen, 10. Johan Goosen, 9. Tewis de Bruyn, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Nelis Labuschagne, 6. Heinrich Brussow, 5. Izak van der Westhuizen, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16. Hercu Liebenberg, 17. Lourens Adriaanse, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Ashley Johnson, 20. Piet van Zyl, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Willie Le Roux


42 Comments

  • Blues
    Brumbies
    Sharks
    Chiefs
    Reds
    Stormers
    Lions
    GO RUGBY!!!! πŸ˜›

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.02.12 10:05:19 by JarsonX Reply
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  • ‘I wouldn’t advise betting any money whatsoever on that result!’

    πŸ˜†

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.02.12 10:06:37 by Zibbie Reply
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    Zibbie
     
  • Good calls. I’m going with a Lions win. Home ground advantage and they’re still riding the crest of the wave their success from the Currie Cup.

    Is everyone involved in Superbru or Fantasy Rugby or both?

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.02.12 10:08:53 by slammerboy Reply
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    slammerboy
     
  • Will Lambie kick for us or would Viljoen take over kicking duties?

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.02.12 10:15:19 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • @slammerboy (Comment 3) : Everything 😎

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.02.12 10:16:00 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 2) :

    so betting my house on this game was probably a bad idea πŸ˜›

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.02.12 10:22:37 by Zibbie Reply
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    Zibbie
     
  • same picks only points difference.
    i’ve got sharks by 100. lol
    @slammerboy (Comment 3) : yes

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.02.12 10:29:00 by MJ Reply

    MJ
     
  • Looking forward to Dale Chadwick showing Kruger just how immensely strong the young Durbanite is! Looking forward to the game, going with mates to Loftus, going to be a cracker!

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.02.12 10:33:56 by DarkDestroyer Reply

    Richard
     
  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 8) :also going, you going with ice and them?

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.02.12 10:44:18 by MJ Reply

    MJ
     
  • Crusaders
    Force
    Sharks
    Chiefs
    Waratahs
    Stormers
    Lions

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.02.12 10:53:09 by Pokkel Reply
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  • This will be my first year playing Fantasy Rugby and I spent way too much time picking my squad and starting XV. I already feel uncomfortable with my picks – I assume this is normal? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.02.12 11:02:10 by vanmartin Reply
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    vanmartin
     
  • What’s the best one to play Supersport or Fantasyrugby.com?

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.02.12 11:03:49 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 12) : OUR Fantasy league is the best one to play. http://www.justrugby.net

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.02.12 11:05:53 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) :

    Quite normal.. to the point of getting physically sick..

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.02.12 11:08:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : @Richard Ferguson (Comment 14) : It’s my first year too! Thanks goodness I’m not the only one feeling this way.

    I’ve second-, third-, and fourth-guessed myself and have even dabbled with the idea of learning how to write software just so as to be able to analyse the variables and permutations in depth.

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.02.12 11:22:25 by StevieS Reply
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    StevieS
     
  • Nice article Rob. You’ve called it as I have, except for your ones where you expect a surprise.

    The Tahs have too many injuries, so the Reds will take that one, and I’m expecting the Lions confidence to take them through.

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.02.12 11:27:42 by StevieS Reply
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    StevieS
     
  • Crusaders, Brumbies, Bulls, Chiefs, Reds, Stormers, Cheetahs.

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.02.12 11:32:44 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikp
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) : You really know your rugby!

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.02.12 11:47:40 by Greg Reply

    Greg
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 17) : You, not so much πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.02.12 11:50:14 by Greg Reply

    Greg
     
  • @Greg (Comment 19) : haha

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.02.12 11:52:48 by MJ Reply

    MJ
     
  • @Greg (Comment 19) : Bwhahahahahahahahahahahaha πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    We know all about that. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.02.12 11:54:01 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
     
  • @Greg (Comment 19) :

    Came 10th in Virtual Rugby a few years ago, but carry on.

    That being said I haven’t been near as good lately.

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.02.12 11:54:17 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikp
     
  • @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 21) :

    Tell you what, if the Sharks actually, by some miracle, manage to beat the Bulls on Saturday, I’ll happily wander off with my tail between my legs.

    Getting pretty fed up with you chomping at my heels anyway.

  • Comment 23, posted at 23.02.12 11:56:25 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikp
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 23) : If the sharks beat the bulls on Saturday, I will change my allegiance and become a sharks supporter. Likewise, if the bulls win on Saturday, I will become a bulls supporter!
    :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 23.02.12 12:01:46 by Greg Reply

    Greg
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 23) : Dude then chomp back at my heels, but keep it clean. πŸ˜‰

    We don’t want you going anywhere whether we win or lose.

    If you don’t like what i’m saying to you now, then best we don’t talk to each other NEXT week. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 25, posted at 23.02.12 12:03:39 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
     
  • @Greg (Comment 24) : πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Either way you’re pretty assured of staying a Lion.

  • Comment 26, posted at 23.02.12 12:10:03 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Greg (Comment 18) :

    You got the same picks then I assume?

  • Comment 27, posted at 23.02.12 12:10:53 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) : same here

  • Comment 28, posted at 23.02.12 12:12:29 by Franshark Reply
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    Franshark
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 27) : Haven’t actually put pen to paper yet, as it were, but that’s the way I am leaning!

  • Comment 29, posted at 23.02.12 12:15:20 by Greg Reply

    Greg
     
  • I’ll make one change to my predictions actually. Had another look at line-ups.

    Crusaders, Brumbies, Bulls, Chiefs, WARATAHS, Stormers, Cheetahs.

  • Comment 30, posted at 23.02.12 12:26:44 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikp
     
  • Crusaders, Force, Bulls, Highlanders, Waratahs, Stormers, Lions

  • Comment 31, posted at 23.02.12 12:48:36 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • Am I the only one backing Highlanders to win?

  • Comment 32, posted at 23.02.12 13:02:15 by Die Kriek Reply

     
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 32) : Ah. I see Hertford agrees, phew, was starting to feel lonely

  • Comment 33, posted at 23.02.12 13:04:34 by Die Kriek Reply

     
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 32) :

    πŸ˜†

    Too many injuries.

  • Comment 34, posted at 23.02.12 13:05:52 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikp
     
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 33) : I just can’t seem them beating the Chiefs away. They’ve had a few injuries during the pre-season as well. Saying that their forward pack is full of grunt so could be effective

  • Comment 35, posted at 23.02.12 13:06:01 by slammerboy Reply
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    slammerboy
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 34) : hahaha

  • Comment 36, posted at 23.02.12 13:13:35 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • Blues
    Force
    Sharks
    Chiefs
    Tahs
    Stormers
    Lions

    And I’ll go with my bye on LMS.

  • Comment 37, posted at 23.02.12 13:16:46 by csb Reply

    csb
     
  • The more I read the more I get nervous…
    Good thing I’ve made my pick a few days ago…

  • Comment 38, posted at 23.02.12 13:47:56 by Franshark Reply
    Author
    Franshark
     
  • Crusaders
    Brumbies
    Sharks
    Chiefs
    Reds
    Stormers
    Lions

  • Comment 39, posted at 23.02.12 14:29:54 by Bump Reply

    Bump
     
  • Mr Robdylan I beg to differ…Watch out for the Chiefs they will be a contender for the NZ conference…If I’m wrong please remind me at the closing stages but if I’m right…PLEASE remind me as well!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 40, posted at 23.02.12 16:17:39 by Volstruis Reply

    Volstruis
     
  • @Volstruis (Comment 40) : I totally agree with you, have being saying this for quite a while the chiefs will be a contender for the play-offs for sure.

    Come on Moolo men.

    I know it is early in the season but this is the the teams I think will be in the top 2 of the conferences

    Aus:reds, waratahs (rebels won’t be last)
    Nz: Crusaders, Chiefs
    Sa: Sharks, Bulls

  • Comment 41, posted at 23.02.12 22:18:42 by BR Reply
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  • GO SHARKS!!!!!

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.02.12 06:53:01 by Franshark Reply
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    Franshark
     

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