Super Rugby 2013: Round 4 Preview and predictions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 7 Mar 2013 at 14:35
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Last week we got quite a few right, but also got a few wrong. Will round 4 be easier to call? Let’s have a look…

Game 1: Hurricanes v Crusaders (Friday 08h35 SA Time)

This is a tough one, as all Kiwi derbies tend to be. Both of these teams were disappointing in their previous outings, the Crusaders possibly more so, but the fact that the umpteen-time champions looked so flat in their hammering in Auckland really has made a lot of people re-evaluate their preconceptions about the strength of the side this year. That said, the Canes look pretty hopeless too and it would take a brave man to bet against the Crusaders in this fixture. Crusaders to win by 5.

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 (Friday 10h40 SA Time)

The Rebels did well in their opening game to beat the Force, but have since slumped to two defeats in as many starts. While the Reds certainly don’t themselves appear to be too flash and are a far cry from the tournament-winning outfit of two years ago, you’d think they’d manage a win in Melbourne all the same. Reds by 3, for me.

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 (Saturday 08h35 SA Time)

We don’t really know too much about the Highlanders this year, since they’ve only played once, losing badly at home to the Chiefs. That said, the Cheetahs aren’t looking particularly good and you have to fancy that the Landers would need to get a lot worse before losing at home to Drotske’s lot. Highlanders to win by around 8 points, but it could be 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 Waratahs (Saturday 10h40 SA Time)

Two relatively evenly-matched sides on paper will face off in another Aussie derby. This one won’t be one for the purists, I’m sure, but the Brumbies should sneak it by around 4 points, based mostly on being at home.

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 (Saturday 17h05 SA Time)

This might be the game of the weekend, with the Stormers’ resolute defence coming up against the unrelenting attacking prowess of the current title-holders. Much will depend on how well Jean de Villiers and his men have learned the lessons they were taught in Durban and Pretoria, but in their first home game of the season, they should be a lot stronger. Add the return of Tiaan Liebenberg, albeit via the bench, and the Stormers pack again starts to look a bit menacing. I think they’ll manage to strangle the Chiefs, here, meaning Stormers to win by 3.

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: Kings v Sharks (Saturday 19h10 SA Time)

The Kings will come out fighting, eager to show that their opening win over the Force wasn’t a one-off and also keen to show their worth against a fellow South African side. The number of former Sharks in the Kings team, as well as players in the Sharks team with Eastern Cape roots, will keep this one spicy and if the Sharks blink or lose composure long enough to give the hosts a sniff, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a reversal here. This match will be a huge test of the Sharks’ temperament and dare I say championship credentials; in the past, they’ve easily lost games that they would have expected to breeze through and this one is no different. I predict a scrappy, niggly affair, which the Sharks win by around 10 points.

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 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.

Sharks: 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 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.

Game 7: Blues v Bulls (Sunday 05h05 SA Time)

I’ve not seen anything from the Bulls in their first two games to suggest they are a match for the Blues, who have their mojo back in a big way this year. The men from Loftus have been poor at home and traditionally don’t travel well. All the signs are pointing towards a hammering. Blues by 12 or more.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Peter Saili, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Steve Luatua, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Ali Williams (captain), 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 Albert Nikoro.

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.


  • I went with the Canes and Chiefs to win. Those are the only games that could go either way. Possible upsets could be the Waratahs and Rebels, but I doubt that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.03.13 14:51:42 by SteelShark Reply
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  • Sharks by 50+ for me. 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.03.13 14:58:32 by McLovin Reply

  • I went the same way with my picks. I really hope the stormers come through for me. I just cant see them loosing 3 in a row.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.03.13 15:04:02 by Viking Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 2) : I like your optimism but as long as we get our 5 log points I would be very happy. I would even be willing to give them a bonus point for effort.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.03.13 15:05:28 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 3) : Jean div says he has a good feeling about Sat. Hope he’s right. 😐

    I don’t experience much emotion, but I have a not so good feeling about Sat. And beyond. 🙁

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.03.13 15:08:08 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin : Go Chiefs!!!!! 😛

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.03.13 15:15:17 by SteelShark Reply
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  • Mostly the same except that I think the Rebs will upset the Reds in Melbourne, and the Stormers won’t live with the Chiefs! (unless they bore them to death :mrgreen: )

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.03.13 15:27:11 by Greg Reply

  • @SteelShark (Comment 6) : Yeah, go Chiefs. 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.03.13 15:29:18 by McLovin Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 7) : I reckon bore them to death is exactly what the Stormers are planning here.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.03.13 15:31:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : that Chiefs pack is damn strong. Stormers will have to tackle all night just to stay in the game 😯

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.03.13 15:40:35 by Greg Reply

  • I got all the same picks you do Rob!

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.03.13 15:53:07 by Letgo Reply
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  • The Hurricanes backline to me seems like they are missing the guidance of Cory Jane, they have lost their spark and since Jane is out I’ve identified that as the problem.

    They just don’t look as dangerous as they did last year, something is missing… at this stage.

    Stormers at home against a traveling team, it doesn’t matte who it is, the best bet would be to go for a Stormers win.

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.03.13 15:57:58 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : “Stormers at home against a traveling team, it doesn’t matte who it is, the best bet would be to go for a Stormers win.” the Sharks would disagree with you there… 😀

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.03.13 16:00:53 by Greg Reply

  • Interesting that your biggest margin is in the final game between 2 unbeaten teams. I can’t say I disagree with that prediction but I think (and hope) there will be some bigger margins this weekend.

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.03.13 16:01:23 by Orelando_G Reply

  • Hurricanes by 6
    Reds by 12
    Highlanders by 9
    Brumbies by 12
    Chiefs by 9
    Sharks by 30
    Blues by 15

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.03.13 16:17:36 by Baylion Reply

  • How come are we-(SA) still being bullied into our teams playing in the stupid hours of the morning?! 🙄

    We basically own the SR due to the massive broadcast revenue our DSTV subscription fees bring in monthly, yet we still roll over and play dead when gaming slots are determined.

    Why are both the tjietas and bulls in NZ at the same time? Damnit SARU, play your cards.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.03.13 16:25:53 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 16) : “How come are we-(SA) still being bullied into our teams playing in the stupid hours of the morning?!” oh that would be because DSTV want you to buy and subscribe to their PVR decoder service 👿

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.03.13 16:29:05 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 17) : I won’t waste my PVR storage space on the Blues/bulls game, I would have liked to watch it live on Saturday when there’s nothing else to do.

    But in general, we should be dictating the terms of when our teams play.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.03.13 16:32:39 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 16) : Bulls on Sunday, Cheetahs on Saturday?

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.03.13 16:45:02 by McLovin Reply

  • SA are not being bullied into anything. NZ/AUS sides play evening games so that the games can be broadcast at a semi decent time in SA & Europe. As far as I’m aware NZ would much rather play all matches during the day due to the weather. 🙂

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.03.13 16:49:33 by McLovin Reply

  • @Orelando_G (Comment 14) : I never go with a margin of much more than 12 in these predictions…. sure, of course big margins can happen, but in my experience, these teams are all so evenly matched anyway that a narrow margin becomes more likely than a wide one.

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.03.13 17:03:22 by robdylan Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 19) : 05:05 am in the morning 😯

    Bulls should have been in oz, with tjietas in nz

    Games played on Friday and/or before 08:30 SA time is us being shunted around. SR would not exist without us, nz and oz do not generate the revenue required to make this comp a success.

    We hold all of the cards, yet we hardly ever play them.

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.03.13 17:47:52 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • 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.

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.03.13 18:11:02 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 23) : thanks cuz!

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.03.13 18:25:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 22) : Don’t understand the Bulls/Cheetahs ‘problem’? But I’m probably missing something. Won’t be the first. :mrgreen:

    I do agree that 5 bells in the am is too early for SA audience, but that’s probably us being nice to little middle earth.

    I also agree that we should perhaps be a little more hardegat when we’re sitting around the negotiating table, but we can’t have all our own way. 🙂

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.03.13 18:27:14 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 25) : Can’t you remember at the start of super rugby the games in middle earth would always start that time.
    Only nice thing about it was it opened up the rest of the day to do other stuff that the boss needed to be done at home.

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.03.13 22:34:17 by JD Reply
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