Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weekend Super 14 preview

March 16, 2006

Rugby Planet has the barebones previews of this weekends' Super 14 action.

The should be a few blowouts -- expect the Waratahs to annihilate the Western Force in Perth, and a new-look Crusaders should bury the Cats at home.

RP wonders:

No matter how heavy Frans Ludeke's axe has been this week, the Cats simply do not have the quality players in their ranks to even challenge a second-string Crusaders outfit.

It is simply astounding how large the gap is between these two franchises, especially considering the fact that the Cats are one of the richest rugby unions in the world. There is little doubt that the axe should be directed somewhere else, maybe starting with the coaching staff and continuing on to their excess of wasted contracts.

In any other year, the Game of the Week would be the Blues playing host to the Brumbies at Eden Park. But the Blues have been dreadful this season, by far the biggest disappointment in the tournament. They badly have to front and come away with a home victory or some reputations and chances at wearing black jerseys will evaporate. If the Blues play with urgency, it could be a cracker...

...If not, the best games will probably be NZ-SA match-ups: Hurricanes go to altitude and have an enormous job against the Bulls at Pretoria; and the Sharks go deep south to the House of Pain and take on the forward might of the Highlanders. Lean to both home sides to prevail, but things could go either way.

Lastly, the Stormers and Cheetahs are both desperate for a win -- could be a Mexican-style South African street fight for the points.

Chiefs and Reds get byes...

UPDATE: Ben Kimber at Rugby Heaven (via Sydney Morning Herald) provides additional S14 preview analyses...


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