S15 Preview: Round Five, Part One
S15 Preview: Round Five, Part OneSHARE
There will be three matches played in three different countries on Friday, and we are calling three away wins.
First up we have a New Zealand derby which could well be the closest of all the matches this weekend, as the Highlanders and Hurricanes have a history of tense, hard-fought encounters.
From there it is on to Sydney where the Waratahs will be looking for the spark to ignite their season against the electric Cheetahs who are aiming for a clean sweep on their Australian tour over the next fortnight.
Finally the defending champion Chiefs will take on the tournament newcomers in Port Elizabeth where the Kings will be looking for one of the upsets of the season in front of their passionate fans.
We take a closer look at Friday's matches:
Highlanders v Hurricanes
(Forsyth-Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)
The Highlanders will be desperate to get off the mark for the season when they host the Hurricanes in Dunedin.
The only log points the Highlanders have are from their bye, so they will be determined to get over the line in what will be their third consecutive home match.
The Hurricanes notched their first win of the season in dramatic style against the Crusaders last week, and with a bye coming up next week they will be keen to take advantage of a Highlanders side low on confidence.
Coach Jamie Joseph has lost the services of a few key players, and his side will have to pull together fast if they are to avoid getting left behind in the New Zealand conference.
The Hurricanes know that if their pack can deliver the ball on the front foot then they have the firepower to cause a few issues for the Highlanders who have been a bit defensively frail this season.
Although an out-of-sorts Andre Taylor has been dropped, the addition of Ben May up front gives them the kind of power they will need to take the Highlanders pack on.
No doubt the Highlanders will be looking for a major response after some patchy performances, and it will be crucial to build some sustained presssure if they are to get the better of the Hurricanes.
Prediction: The Highlanders will come out hard, but the Hurricanes are a more balanced side and should have enough to win this by about five points.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Buxton Popoalii.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 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 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes/Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Andre Taylor.
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Waratahs v Cheetahs
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney – Kick-off: 19.40; 08.40 GMT)
The Cheetahs will be out to repeat their Sydney victory of 2011 when they take on a stuttering Waratahs side on Friday.
The Free State side is high on confidence after their convincing victory over the Highlanders last week, and their sights will be set on continuing that good form against Michael Cheika's embattled Waratahs who are coming off a heavy defeat to the Brumbies.
Cheika has reacted to that limp performance by making some changes, with Berrick Barnes back in the mix and a new-look back three, and he will be hoping that the adjustements inject some energy and purpose into their performance.
The Cheetahs made a big statement last week by excelling in defence and taking the game to the opposition up front, which have been perceived weaknesses in the past, so they will be keen to build on that.
The Cheetahs loose trio was nothing short of inspirational last week, and if they can provide the same amount of quality ball in Sydney then the Waratahs could find themselves under pressure in front of their home fans.
For all the talk of a new approach from the Waratahs they have lacked the accuracy to put the opposition under pressure, and if they slip up on Friday the speedy Cheetahs will make them pay.
The Cheetahs are likely to attack the Waratahs' set-pieces and force them to send the ball wide without any proper momentum.
Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss and flyhalf Johan Goosen have not trained much this week as they recover from niggles, so that may disrupt them somewhat as they look for another valuable win on the road.
Prediction: The Waratahs will be fired up and take the Cheetahs on physically but the visitors have more momentum and should take a narrow victory by a few points.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Rob Horne.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 2 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip 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 Oosthuisen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smit, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
Kings v Chiefs
(Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth – Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)
The Kings will have their work cut out for them once more when they take on the defending champion Chiefs in Port Elizabeth.
The newcomers have shown plenty of heart already this season, but they will need to find another gear if they are to get past the Chiefs who are a ruthless attacking side.
The Men from Hamilton managed to score four tries against the watertight Stormers defence last week, and are sure to run the Kings off their feet if they opt to try and tackle for 80 minutes.
Coach Dave Rennie's side will be frustrated with their narrow loss at Newlands last week, and would have marked this game as a must-win, so they should throw everything at the Kings on attack in search of a bonus point.
The Kings will be aware of the size of the task before them, and are likely to play with freedom as few will give them much chance of keeping the Chiefs out.
However, the Eastern Cape side have already won respect this season for the grit they have shown against the odds, so they will certainly not lack for commitment.
Kings coach Alan Solomons has opted for the same combination that kept the Sharks from scoring a try last week, and he will hope that the continuity in selection will give them a bit more fluency which will be vital if they are to challenge the Chiefs.
The Chiefs have quality across the park and will be focused on making that advantage count, rather than engaging in an arm-wrestle with the hard-working Kings.
Prediction: The Kings will play with gusto, but the Chiefs simply have too much class and should win this by about 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 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)
By Michael de Vries