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Super Rugby preview (Round 20)


  • 11 Jul 2013

JON CARDINELLI and RYAN VREDE analyse the key match-ups and pick the winners at the weekend.

2013 RECORD – VREDE: 81/118 (68%), JC: 84/118 (71%)
LAST ROUND'S CALLS – VREDE: 4/5, JC: 4/5

CRUSADERS vs HURRICANES, CHRISTCHURCH, FRIDAY, 09:35

JC'S CALL: The Crusaders have secured a play-off place and still have a mathematical chance of topping the New Zealand conference. The spirits of the Cantabrian community will be raised, if only for a brief period, when the Crusaders take five log points away from this clash. That red and black pack is firing, and Dan Carter is looking every bit the general at No 10. By comparison, the Hurricanes look a defeated and uninterested outfit. Their failure to muck in will render that dangerous backline impotent and ultimately lead to another loss. Crusaders by 12

VREDE'S CALL: The Saders have found their groove at just the right time of their campaign but it still looks likely that any title drought would have to be halted with a couple of tough away wins. They'll win this one comfortably, with Mark Hammett's men already, in their minds, on their season-ending night out in Wellington. The Canes' forwards won't live with the abrasive and powerful Saders eight in any facet of play. And serviced with plenty of good-quality ball, the Saders' backline will cut the Canes to ribbons. Crusaders by 20

Crusaders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Jimmy Tupou, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willie Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal.

Hurricanes – 15 James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua/Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Brad Shields, 6 Karl Lowe, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 John Schwalger, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Blade Thomson, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Ope Peleseuma, 22 Matt Proctor/André Taylor.

REBELS vs HIGHLANDERS, MELBOURNE, FRIDAY, 11:40

JC'S CALL: Talk about a battle of the duds. I expect the Highlanders to build on last week's great showing against the Hurricanes and finish a bad season on a good note. The Rebels haven't played for several weeks and it will take some time to find rhythm. You have to back the side with the momentum. Highlanders by 7

VREDE'S CALL: OK, so having got your gardening and small housekeeping tasks done during the Hurricanes vs Highlanders match last week, this is the time to get to washing the smelly family pet the missus has been complaining about. If you  care about this game you need your head read. Highlanders by 10

Rebels – 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Tom English, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Luke Jones, 19 Jordy Reid, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James O'Connor, 22 Kimami Sitauti.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Shaun Treeby.15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Shaun Treeby.

BLUES vs CHIEFS, AUCKLAND, SATURDAY, 09:35

JC'S CALL: I mentioned in my preview of the Christchurch clash that the Crusaders would be happy for a brief period, and what I meant is that their hopes will be dashed when the Chiefs clinch the conference with a win against the battling Blues in Auckland. Like the Hurricanes, the Blues seem resigned to the fact that there's not much left to play for. To make matters worse, they only recently returned from a failed tour to South Africa. Fatigue and lack of interest will hamper them. Conversely, the Chiefs will be determined to book a semi-final place and possibly overtake the top-ranked Bulls. Again, it's a position they will hold for a few hours, before they are once again toppled by the Bully Boys (read my Bulls vs Stormers preview to see why). Chiefs by 10

VREDE'S CALL: The Blues don't have the quality of personnel nor the tactical game to really trouble the Chiefs. Furthermore, the absence of Steven Luatua is massive and their elimination from the play-off race will do nothing for their motivation. The Chiefs will know not to get too loose in their approach, and while they won't kick often, they will keep the ball close and break down the little resolve the Blues will have, through multi-phase play. The game should open up in the final quarter, from where the Chiefs will ease to victory. Chiefs by 12

Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili/Brendon O'Connor, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett,  5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Sam Prattley.
Subs: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Liaki Moli, 19, O'Connor/Sean Polwart,  20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Marty McKenzie

Chiefs – 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Robbie Robinson, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 August Pulu, 21 Gareth Anscombe, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

WARATAHS vs REDS, SYDNEY, SATURDAY, 11:40

JC'S CALL: This is the toughest call of the week. The Waratahs are at home, but I reckon the Reds have more to play for in terms of taking momentum into the knockout rounds. The Wallabies in the Waratahs side will struggle to lift themselves for this final league game after a gutting Test series defeat to the British & Irish Lions. Those in the Reds camp, however, will have something besides pride to play for, and I'm sure Quade Cooper will have a point to prove. Reds by 6

VREDE'S CALL: I'm going for the Tahs here. I've seen the Reds without Will Genia this season. They're rudderless. Add the loss of James Horwill and Digby Ioane to the mix, and James Slipper as captain, and you have a recipe for defeat. I think it will an open affair for which the Tahs are better equipped. The breakdown will be crucial in a game of this nature and I expect Michael Hooper to come out on top here, creating broken-field opportunities which the Tahs have shown themselves adept at capatilising on. Waratahs by 6

Waratahs – 15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs (from)   Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben Volavola.

Reds – 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 James Slipper (c), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Subs: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Anthony Faingaa, 22 Dom Shipperley.

FORCE vs BRUMBIES, PERTH, SATURDAY, 13:45

JC'S CALL: Regardless of what transpires in Sydney, the Brumbies will be determined to finish strongly against the Force. They will remember how they narrowly missed out on the 2012 play-offs, and will take nothing for granted. Expect a strong forward performance and the halfbacks to play for territory. Expect classic Jake White rugby and, as was the case in 2007, expect these tactics to yield a victory. Brumbies by 10

VREDE'S CALL: The Brumbies will be hoping that the Blues put one over the Chiefs at Eden Park, which would then give them the opportunity to finish second and book a home semi-final. That is unlikely, but they're still be too good for the Force, who simply won't have a rebuttal to their incessant phase play and suffocating territory game. They'll book a play-off spot and despite having a tougher route to the title, will still be strong contenders. Brumbies by 15

Force – TBC

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

SHARKS vs KINGS, DURBAN, SATURDAY, 17:05

JC'S CALL: The Kings have a much bigger set of games to worry about, namely the promotion-relegation series that will be staged at the end of the month. Alan Solomons has thus opted to rest the majority of his first-choice players for this match. The Sharks are coming off a disappointing loss to the Bulls, and will jump at this chance to finish their season with a big win. The Kings' strength has been their defence, but I doubt they will resist the Sharks for 80 minutes. The hosts should boss the scrums and breakdowns, and Pat Lambie and his fellow backs will thrive off that platform. Sharks by 18

VREDE'S CALL: With 12 first-choice players missing or playing from the bench, the Kings will be a soft target for the Sharks. Their determined defence, which was a feature of their campaign early on, has waned and will suffer more with so many new combinations. The Sharks' pack will manhandle them on attack and defence, making for an ugly end to the Kings' Super Rugby season. Sharks by 25

Sharks – 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Fred Zeilinga.

Kings – 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Charl du Plessis.
Subs: 16 Grant Kemp, 17 Bandise Maku, 18 Darron Nell, 19 Thabo Mamojelle, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Michael Killian.

STORMERS vs BULLS, CAPE TOWN, SATURDAY, 19:10

JC'S CALL: Why is this game being billed like it's a World Cup final? No Bulls vs Stormers clash is ever a dead rubber, but the reality is the Stormers are out of the play-offs and are badly depleted through injury. The selection of Gary van Aswegen suggests the Stormers are going to try to beat the Bulls at their own game; that is, a powerful forward showing, backed up by an accurate kicking and defensive game. But swapping Jantjies for Van Aswegen is swapping Mr Inconsistent for Mr Mediocre. Even if the Stormers do enjoy some success in a pragmatic approach, their inability to score tries or even create numerous penalty-goal chances will count against them. The Bulls, on the other hand, are blessed with Morné Steyn's unerring boot and top the tournament in terms of points scored. The Bulls are a threat in the try-scoring department when you consider that only four other teams have scored more five-pointers this season. It won't be a runaway victory, but a one-point win is all that's needed for the Pretorians to top the table. Bulls by 6

VREDE'S CALL: Some of you were awfully distressed by my SARugbymag.co.za video clip saying that the Bulls were everything the Stormers wished they were. The truth stings. There are 17 log points separating these teams and that gap will widen at full-time. The Stormers can't score tries with anything approaching regularity. Their problems stem from their impotence at the gainline (they are the worst on average in the competition for metres made in the carry), and won't have the territorial dominance to put the Bulls under pressure. The Bulls trump them in all these departments, and have dead-eye Morné Steyn to boot them to victory. A miserable season for the Stormers will end with the ultimate humiliation – defeat to their biggest rivals. Bulls by 10

Stormers – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Damian de Allende.

Bulls – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Dewald Potgieter (c), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten,18 Morné Mellett, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jurgen Visser.

What the bookies say

Photos: Grant Down/Bradley Kanaris/Allan James Lipp/Anne Laing/Getty Images/Photosport.co.nz/HSM Images

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