S15 Preview: Round 16, Part One

Wed, 29 May 2013 14:08
Large dan carter with crusaders t Large kieran read crusaders leads Large jesse mogg brumbies hand of Large kings v waratahs3

It is the last full round of Super Rugby before the June break, and things kick off with two trans-Tasman clashes on Friday.

It is the last full round of Super Rugby fixtures before the June break, and things kick off with two trans-Tasman clashes on Friday.

The first stop is in Christchurch where both the Crusaders and the Waratahs will be looking to bounce back from derby losses away from home last week.

From there we hop across the ditch to Canberra and the clash between Jake White's Brumbies and the Hurricanes who are coming off a bye last week.

Whilst there is the threat of teams taking their eye off the ball just ahead of the Test window, we are still calling two home wins to get things started this weekend.

We take a closer look at Friday's match-ups!

Crusaders v Waratahs
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Waratahs can move past the Crusaders on the log by beating them at AMI Stadium, and if they do manage to pull it off then they certainly deserve their spot in the top six.

The Crusaders went down to the defending champion Chiefs in Hamilton last week, and with the Blues level on log points with them they will be fired up to deliver at home.

The Canterbury side are currently 10 points behind the log-leading Chiefs, and that gap will widen further if they go down to the Waratahs as the Chiefs have a bye and will claim a free four points.

They face a Waratahs side who are coming off their first-ever loss to the Rebels last week, but the Sydney side won three consecutive games before that defeat and certainly cannot be taken lightly.

Coach Michael Cheika's team is definitely not short on Wallaby quality and should provide a test for the All Black heavy Crusaders pack up front, so the set-pieces should present some intense battles.

The Crusaders have won seven titles, and part of that success has been their ability to up their game in the second half of the season, so they will be determined to bank these points at home with a complete performance.

The Waratahs have shifted captain Dave Dennis to the back of the scrum where he will be in direct opposition with Crusaders skipper Kieran Read in just one of a few crucial match-ups.

In the backline Tahs fyhalf Bernard Foley will have his work cut out for him up against Dan Carter, but perhaps the most intriguing comparison will be between the fullbacks with All Black star Israel Dagg squaring off with exciting Rugby League convert Israel Folau.

Prediction: The Waratahs will be competitive but they will not have enough to upset the Crusaders who should win at home by about ten points.

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17  Joe Moody, 18  Jimmy Tupou, 19  Luke Whitelock, 20  Andy Ellis, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22  Adam Whitelock.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Pat McCutcheon, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Will Skelton, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Berrick Barnes , 22 Drew Mitchell.

Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly, Shane McDermott
TMO: Glenn Newman

Brumbies v Hurricanes
(Canberra Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 19.40; 09.40 GMT)

After putting the Blues away in Auckland last week, the Brumbies return to Canberra to face what should be a revitalised Hurricanes side coming off a bye.

Although the Brumbies cannot displace the Chiefs at the top of the standings this weekend, this remains an important match for them with the Reds breathing down their necks at the top of the Australian conference.

Jake White's team found themselves in a similar position last year only to fall away at the end of the season and narrowly miss out on the play-offs, so they will be determined to continue their impressive home record.

They face a Hurricanes side that have been boosted by the return of their captain Conrad Smith, and although the Wellington team have not been very consistent this season they certainly have the ability to take any team apart on their day.

The visitors will have their work cut out for them up front against a Brumbies team that can grind it out with the best of them, so they will have to make a big step up in the set-pieces if they want to compete.

Whilst much is made of the dangerous Hurricanes backline, which can be lethal if given free reign, they are unlikely to pose much of a threat from their own half so halfbacks TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett will have to show that they can match the Brumbies' accurate kicking game.

The home side will use their committed defensive system to try and put the Hurricanes under pressure in their own half, thereby neutralising the attacking threat of players like Smith, Perenara and All Black steam train Julian Savea.

If they are allowed to impose themselves physically on the visitors and gain some momentum, then they could run away with it as they certainly have some players of their own who know their way to the tryline.

Prediction: The Hurricanes are capable of playing some impressive attacking rugby, but they will be worn down by this tough Brumbies team who should have enough at home to win by about seven points.

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain) 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 James Marshall.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

By Michael de Vries

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
Cardiff Blues v Munster 17h15 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cheetahs v Bulls 17h30 Bloemfontein
Leinster v Scarlets 19h35 RDS Arena
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 0 0 1 1
Force 1 0 0 1 1
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 5
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 4
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Cheetahs 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 1 0 0 1 0
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Jaguares 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Kings 1 0 0 1 0