Vodacom Super Rugby 2014: Round 3 preview and predictions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 27 Feb 2014 at 12:01
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Well, there’s no Sharks match this week, so at least I should be able to pick with head, rather than heart. That said, round 2 was a pretty good one for me, as I correctly picked six out of seven winners correctly (only getting the Lions-Stormers result wrong – and I like to think I was in good company there). Let’s see what round 3 will dish up.

Game 1: Blues v Crusaders (Friday 08h35 SA time)

It’s to the North Island we go, with both of these teams seeking redemption after opening-round losses. Both have made changes at flyhalf, in search of better performances and in essence, the changes that have been made make it pretty hard to predict what will happen. The Crusaders certainly won’t leave 15 points on the table through missed goal kicks again, but we fancy the Blues might just have enough to edge the rusty-looking former champs, at home. Blues to win a close game by 3 points.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (captain)/Brendon O’Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Brendan O’Connor/Jordan Manihera, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Benji Marshall, 23 Pita Ahki.

Crusaders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Rob Thompson, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Adam Whitelock, 23 Israel Dagg.

Game 2: Rebels v Cheetahs (Friday 10h40 SA time)

This is going to be a hugely important game for both sides. While their fans may beat their chests about last week’s result, the reality is that a poor Cheetahs outfit were only marginally better than a terrible Bulls one in Bloemfontein and really can’t make any meaningful claim to be starting their tour off in good form. The Rebels are an unknown quantity, having made a lot of off-season changes both in terms of coaching and playing staff – what’s more, they have yet to see action this year, so we really don’t know what to expect. The home side has never recorded a victory against the Cheetahs, but we saw last year when they beat the Stormers and Waratahs that the Rebels are capable of the occasional big performance. In other words, don’t wright them off as having no hope here. If the Cheetahs play to their potential, they should see off the Australians, but I really can’t pretend to be full of confidence in that result. I’m going to back the Cheetahs for a close win, by about 5 points, but it could very easily go the other way too unless Naka Drotske’s men improve drastically on what they’ve shown so far.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Angus Roberts, 23 Tom Kingston.

Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Rynhardt Landman, 20 Jean Cook, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Hennie Daniller.

Game 3: Stormers v Hurricanes (Friday 19h10 SA time)

Wow, who fancies calling this one? Let’s be frank, if the Stormers play like they did last week, the Canes will kill them, simple as that. A week is a long time in rugby, though and one feels that the wake-up call has probably been properly heard in Cape Town. I’m not sure that “backlash” is exactly the right word to use here, but it’s unlikely that the Stormers can be as utterly woeful for a second successive week. Add to that a pack which really should replicate the sort of dominance that the Sharks showed and you should have the foundation for a reasonable win. I also think that the Canes might suffer a bit of a delayed effect after the beating they took upfront in the energy-sapping Durban heat. All the signs, in other words, point to a Stormers win; now if only they could find a way to score some tries to make it a telling victory. Stormers to prevail by 6 points.

DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Ryno Eksteen.

Hurricanes: 15 Marty Banks, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 John Schwalger, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 James Marshall.

Game 4: Chiefs v Highlanders (Saturday 08h35 SA time)

Another Kiwi derby, this one should be a bit easier to get right. The Highlanders defied expectations in downing a somewhat off-colour Blues team last week, but look unlikely to really threaten the defending champs, especially without talisman Brad Thorn up front, who is now out injured. Expect the Mooloo Men to record a decent enough victory at home; Chiefs by around 10 points.

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Tevita Koloamatangi, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Brad Webber, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 James Lowe.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Malakai Fekitoa, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Craig Millar, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Shane Christie, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Game 5: Waratahs v Reds (Saturday 10h40 SA time)

These games are so tough to call and pretty much always go the way you don’t expect them to. The Reds were decent, without being great against the Brumbies, whilst the Tahs got off to a flying start against a new look Force side that quite simply couldn’t match them in any area. Don’t expect another big win here, but I fancy the home side should edge the contest given their slightly better form. Waratahs to win a humdinger (which might be high-scoring) by about 4 points.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Pat McCutcheon, 25 Jonno Lance.

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Game 6: Force v Brumbies (Saturday 13h00 SA time)

The Force haven’t been named yet (big surprise) but they really did take a whipping in Sydney on Sunday. The Brumbies looked a little underdone in their opening loss against the Reds, but there was enough in that performance to suggest that they’ll probably have too much for a Force side full of new players and still trying to find rhythm. Brumbies to win by around 7.

Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Chris Alcock, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Sias Ebersohn, 23 Jayden Hayward.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Leon Power, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Lionel Cronje.

Game 7: Bulls v Lions (Saturday 19h10 SA time)

Probably the most interesting game of the round from a South African perspective, after surprising all comers with their opening performances, the Lions have a real chance of adding an unprecedented third South African scalp in as many weeks. The Bulls have not gone winless for in their opening three matches since 2005, though and have made a few changes that should strengthen a side that has been very poor in the opening weeks. There’s a lot of rather smart money on the Lions this week, given form, but I’m going to buck that trend and back the Bulls to pull off a gritty and much-needed home win. It won’t be pretty, but I think the Bulls will pull through, by about 6 points. Let’s hope there are at least some of the “faithful” at Loftus to see them do it.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 HandrΓ© Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Coenie van Wyk.


  • Landers to pip the Tjiewe

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.02.14 12:44:22 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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    West Indies Cricket Board
  • First time I’ve ever heard am Australian derby described as a “Humdinger”

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.02.14 12:47:15 by byron Reply

  • cant bring yourself to back the Lions ? πŸ˜› πŸ˜†

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.02.14 12:50:52 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @byron (Comment 2) : a little poetic licence

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.02.14 13:08:01 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Zibbie (Comment 3) : you should be thanking me…. they’ve defied my prediction two weeks running πŸ™‚

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.02.14 13:08:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    i have noticed they never win when you pick them πŸ˜› so hopefully this week will be the same πŸ™‚ i suspect it to be a tight match . winner 3 points either way imo not over confident . but would be a good win if it happens .

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.02.14 13:13:27 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • Allrighty then, let me get to it πŸ˜•

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.02.14 13:20:46 by Son Of Mayhem Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Is it prudent to think that we could have 2 SA home teams being boooooood by their home crowd this weekend.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.02.14 13:43:44 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Eish Rob there some tough games to call. I think with Read and Mccaw the Saders could probably get it done against the Blues. I have a little feeling that the Highlanders could upset the Chiefs- but its only a little feeling. The Rebels side do look average- but that game is anyone’s bet. Same as Tahs vs Reds.Brumbies will win unless they are poor. Stormers side looks much more balanced and should win. Bulls will be desperate and also look more balanced. Think the Lions 2 weeks of all hands on deck could catch up in the 2nd half.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.02.14 14:02:09 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : its definitely a distinct possibility

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.02.14 14:04:10 by benji Reply
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  • “Lions wary of Bulls…iol headline. πŸ˜€ the times, they are achanging

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.02.14 14:31:36 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : and this is why LMS is such a gamble this week

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.02.14 14:39:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • So it looks like the Stormers have gone and got themselves another Pacific Islander wing. Hoo boy, but will they be able to convince the masses that he can talk Afrikaans.

    I sometimes wonder what the hell actually happens in that boardroom.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.02.14 14:40:21 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) :

    when is LMS ever NOT a gamble ? oh wait .. we have 4 byes πŸ˜†

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.02.14 14:48:01 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • Last week I got 2 of 7 – Sharks and Tahs, this week I’m with Rob on all but one of his calls – Crusaders, let’s see if my record will improve.

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.02.14 15:07:16 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Went with the Saders and . . gulp the lions! For the rest I backed the favourites.

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.02.14 22:00:35 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Crusaders, cheetahs, stompies,Chiefs, reds,brumbies,lions. @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 1) : no way

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.02.14 08:13:34 by BR Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 1) : of nie πŸ™‚

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.03.14 11:16:18 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Wow, 5/6 so far, not bad. Now lets the see the bulls knock over the lions and have them coming to Durban next week a little demotivated (not that we’ll need it).

  • Comment 19, posted at 01.03.14 15:45:14 by MarkiSharki Reply

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