Vodacom Super Rugby 2014: Round 16 preview and predictions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 29 May 2014 at 11:44
Tagged with : ,

Can you believe we’re almost at the end of the regular season? This week sees the last round of action ahead of the June break.

Game 1: Crusaders v Force (Friday at 09:35 SA time)

There are knock-out games all round this weekend, with these two sides only a point apart on the table. So tight are both the Australian and New Zealand conferences that whichever team loses here is probably going to drop right out of the top 6 and will have a real mountain to climb in the last 3 fixtures. We’re backing the Crusaders to win, which is not good news for the Force, who have punched above their weight all season. Crusaders to win by 8 points.

Crusaders : 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Johnny McNicholl, 13. Tom Taylor, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 10. Colin Slade, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (Captain), 7. Richie McCaw, 6. Jordan Taufua, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Dominic Bird, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Ben Funnell, 1. Tim Perry
Replacements: 16. Corey Flynn, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Owen Franks, 19. Jimmy Tupou, 20. Luke Whitelock, 21. Willi Heinz, 22. Adam Whitelock, 23. Nafi Tuitavake

Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Ryan Hodson, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Dillyn Leyds.

Game 2: Reds v Highlanders (Friday at 11:40 SA time)

We’re not going to go with many away wins this round, but we’ll make an exception for the Brisbane game. The Highlanders can get right back on the horse after their unlucky loss last week and with the Reds dishing up really poor fare week in and week out, I feel there will be a good four – or maybe even five – log points heading back to Dunedin. Highlanders to win by 10.

Reds : 15. Mike Harris, 14. Dominic Shipperley, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Anthony Faingaa, 11. Rod Davies, 10. Ben Lucas, 9. Will Genia, 8. Jake Schatz, 7. Beau Robinson, 6. Curtis Browning, 5. James Horwill (Captain), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. Greg Holmes, 2. James Hanson, 1. James Slipper
Replacements: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Albert Anae, 18. Sef Faagase, 19. David McDuling, 20. Liam Gill, 21. Nicholas Frisby, 22. Samu Kerevi, 23. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Chris King, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Game 3: Chiefs v Waratahs (Saturday at 06:35 SA time)

This is the game that Sharks fans will be watching with interest, because any slip from the Waratahs now plays directly into their hands. This will be the match of the round, without a doubt, but we’re hoping the Chiefs will manage to hold on at home. After all, the defending champions are suddenly looking vulnerable in terms of even making the play-offs and will throw the kitchen sink at the Tahs in the hope of getting back on track. Chiefs to win by 3 points, we say with a nervous chuckle.

Chiefs: 15. Tom Marshall, 14. Dwayne Sweeney, 13. Tim Nanai-Williams, 12. Andrew Horrell, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden (capt),9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Liam Squire, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick,4. Matt Symons, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 2. Nathan Harris, 1. Jamie Mackintosh
Replacements: 16. Mahonri Schwalger, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Josh Hohneck, 19. Michael Fitzgerald, 20. Tanerau Latimer, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Gareth Anscombe, 23. Bundee Aki

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

Game 4: Blues v Hurricanes (Saturday at 09:35 SA time)

The Blues are now out of contention, whereas the Hurricanes are in blistering form. That said, I’m going to pick against that form and go with a home win for the Blues, who have been pretty good in Auckland this year. Blues to win by 5 points and deal the Canes a major blow in their quest for a kncok-out spot.

Blues: 15. Lolagi Visinia, 14. Frank Halai, 13. Pita Ahki, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. George Moala, 10. Ihaia West, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Jerome Kaino, 7. Luke Braid (captain), 6. Peter Saili, 5. Tom Donnelly, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. Keven Mealamu, 1. Tony Woodcock
Replacements: 16. James Parsons, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Hayden Triggs, 20. Steven Luatua, 21. Piri Weepu, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. Albert Nikoro.

Hurricanes: to be confirmed

Game 5: Brumbies v Rebels (Saturday at 11:40 SA time)

The Rebels are starting to look a little ragged, despite a bright start to the campaign. The Brumbies are themselves reeling after a poor tour to South Africa, but will know that nothing less htan a bonus point win here will be good enough to resurrect their campaign. Brumbies to win by 14 points.

Brumbies: 15. Pat McCabe, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (capt), 7. Jarrad Butler, 6. Fotu Auelua, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Ruan Smit, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio
Replacements : 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. Ben Alexander, 18. JP Smit, 19. Leon Power, 20. Jordan Smiler, 21. Michael Dowsett, 22. Andrew Smith, 23. Jesse Mogg

Rebels: 15. Jason Woodward, 14. Male Sau, 13. Tamati Ellison, 12. Mitch Inman, 11. Tom English, 10. Bryce Hegarty, 9. Ben Meehan, 8. Scott Higginbotham (capt), 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 6. Colby Fainga’a, 5. Luke Jones, 4. Cadeyrn Neville, 3. Laurie Weeks, 2. Pat Leafa, 1. Toby Smith
Replacements : 16. Shota Horie, 17. Cruze Ah-Nau, 18. Paul Alo-Emile, 19. Hugh Pyle, 20. Jordy Reid, 21. Josh Holmes, 22. Jack Debreczeni, 23. Tom Kingston

Game 6: Lions v Vodacom Bulls (Saturday at 17:05 SA time)

Our second and final away win of the round will come in Johannesburg. This is simple: the Lions have never beaten the Bulls in Super Rugby and with a depleted squad (and nothing other than pride at stake) there is simply no way they will prevail over a team that is already in “knock out mode”. Bulls to win by 8 or so.

Lions : 15. Coenie van Wyk, 14. Courtnall Skosan, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Chrysander Botha, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (Captain), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Rudi Mathee, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk (FS) van der Merwe
Replacements: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Willie Britz, 20. Derick Minnie, 21. Francois de Klerk, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Deon van Rensburg

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. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Jacques Du Plessis, 6. Jono Ross, 5. Grant Hattingh, 4. Flip van der Merwe (Captain), 3. Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16. Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17. Werner Kruger, 18. Paul Willemse, 19. Wimpie van der Walt, 20. Piet van Zyl, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. William Small-Smith, 23. Morné Mellett

Game 7: Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers (Saturday at 19:10 SA time)

Let’s not underestimate the “banana peel” effect here, with the out of contention, but in form, Stormers coming to Durban to take on a Sharks team who have just completed a long and arduous tour. On paper, the Sharks should have the upper hand in the pack and provided they can keep going with the low-risk game plan that brought them so much success in New Zealand, it’s hard to see them losing. This probably won’t be pretty – apart from the inevitable try from Juan de Jongh or Cheslin Kolbe that will give the Sharks fans cause for concern – but should see the home side do enough to win. Sharks by 6.

Cell C Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Lubabalo Mtembu, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Heimar Williams.

DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Manuel Carizza, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Peter Grant.


  • Alex Ferguson coined the phrase “Squeeky Bum Time” and that’s the feeling I’ve had over the last three weeks watching the Sharks. I hope a return to Kings Park fixes that and the team can keep 15 players on the field for 80 minutes and get win before the June break.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.05.14 12:01:20 by Jacques Venter Reply
  • I’ve got the Hurricanes for the win, but these New Zeeland teams are so up and down, you just never know.

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.05.14 12:15:43 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Jacques Venter (Comment 1) : Love that phrase, completely forgot about it :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.05.14 12:22:36 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Tahs to beat the Chiefs, Canes to smash the Blues, Lions will upset the Bulls

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.05.14 12:24:24 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 4) : I hope you have that first one wrong

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.05.14 12:31:03 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    Waratahs finally living up to their pre-season hype. They are looking good. Chiefs wheels are coming off.

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.05.14 12:34:57 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 6) : ja, I was very surprised at the way the Canes dismantled a frankly disinterested Chiefs side last week.

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.05.14 12:47:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • we really do need the Tahs to lose this week, though. I don’t see them losing any of their last 3 fixtures.

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.05.14 12:49:24 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • What do I think will happen? Wins for the Crusaders, Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes (though I also have a sneaky suspicion the Blues will pull off a surprise), Brumbies, Bulls and Sharks. But I really, really, really hope the Crusaders and the Waratahs lost this weekend! I’m with Rob: we especially need the Waratahs to lose, otherwise I can see them end top even if we win all three our games.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.05.14 12:54:57 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Should be a cracking weekend of rugby! Unfortunately I’ve recovered from the flu and I have lots of work this weekend…oh well…

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.05.14 12:56:17 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • My head says the Bulls, but my heart hopes my Lions can pull of another surprise win

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.05.14 13:00:31 by Mutley Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : I would really love that he gets the third one right!

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.05.14 13:03:35 by Greg Reply

  • Worried about de Jongh or Fourie scoring the match winning try or Vermeulen winning that crucial match winning penalty

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.05.14 13:04:58 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • I have the same picks as you this week rob, lekker. I picked the chiefs over the tahs with that same nervous chuckle lol. Unless the chiefs really pick themselves up after last week’s devastating crush I cant see them beating a tahs team that looks more dangerous by the day. I can’t not now or ever see the force do what we did in Christchurch, they will try shame, but by the 60th min they game will already be won. I picked the blues cos well apart from us bursting their bubble, their about as dangerous in Auckland as the bulls are at loftus. your right the only game (other than ours ofcoz) that will really matter this weekend is tahs game. everything else is starters to the sharks frenzy in the tank. 😈

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.05.14 15:02:25 by Stiko85 Reply

  • Guaranteed the Stormers are going to throw the bucket at us. We need to shut them down, as you say it won’t be pretty.

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.05.14 06:26:52 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus (Comment 15) : Sharks needs to dominate their forwards and be ruthless. Stormers must not even get a sniff of victory.

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.05.14 21:56:57 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator

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