Friday, March 30, 2007

Super 14, Round 13 preview

May 4, 2006

Rugby Planet has their preview of this weekends' Super 14 action. It's getting to nail-biting tiome for the playoff contenders and home semi-finalists. The Game of the Week is presumambly the Bulls hosting the mercurial Crusaders.

Bulls v Crusaders

Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - 19.10 (17.10 GMT)

This is undoubtedly the clash of the weekend. The Bulls would have gained momentum after keeping out a strong Sharks side last week, while the champions might still be punch drunk after the Stormers gave them a hiding in Cape Town.

The return of 15-man rugby to Loftus is precisely what is needed to topple the Canterbury giants. However, the Bulls may start off slowly, keeping the ball with their big forwards before they decide to get adventurous and give the ball air.

If the Bulls get it right early on, they should win this encounter. But if the Crusaders get on top, it will be interesting to see what belief is possessed by the boys in blue and how far they are willing to stretch themselves to beat the best.

The absence of captain Richie McCaw on the side of the Crusaders scrum will be a boost to the Bulls in the loose, as the All Black plays such a vital role in winning possession at the breakdown. Johnny Leo'o and Mose Tuiali'i will need to put in a huge effort for their side to come away with the four points.

The Crusaders rumbling style of attack in broken play that extends from numbers one right through to 15 will be hard to defend against for 80 minutes. Thus the need for the Bulls to dominate possession in this match-up is going to be critical.

Prediction: The Bulls by 5 points.


Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Tim Dlulane, 6 Jacques Cronjé, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Danie Thiart, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Wessel Roux.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Pierre Spies, 20 Francois van Schouwenburg, 21 Heini Adams, 22 Bryan Habana.

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Caleb Ralph, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andrew Ellis, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Johnny Leo'o, 5 Reuben Thorne (captain), 4 Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Campbell Johnstone, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Brad Mika, 20 Kevin Senio, 21 Cameron McIntyre, 22 Stephen Brett/Scott Hamilton

Referee: Scott Young (Australia)
Touch judges: Matt Goddard (Australia), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
Television match official: Louis Mzomba (South Africa)
Assessor: Arrie Schoonwinkel (South Africa)

Rugby Planet also has the Waratahs taking the hometown Chiefs to the cleaners by 20 points, but hopefully it'll be closer than that -- a little Mooloo pride and an upset may be on the cards.

All games are available at Mediazone's Rugby Channel.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home