NEW YORK, NY: The Super 15 semi-finals playoff matches highlight a light weekend. This weekend there will only be 3 mens matches of note but they are of much importance.Quality not quantity is the key, so let’s begin the Weekend Rugby Preview.
Chiefs vs Crusaders: This is a rematch of last years semi-final. Like last year the Crusaders won the most recent head to head leading into the playoff match. The Crusaders are known for slow starts and hot finishes. However, the Chiefs are also known for being a team greater than the sum of its parts. They may not have as many All Blacks as the ‘Saders but they will pull together and get the victory. Here is the info:
Saturday, July 27th
Referee: Steve Walsh (Aus)
AR1: Glen Jackson (NZ)
AR2: Chris Pollock (NZ)
TMO: Glenn Newman(NZ)
Dave Rennie – Chiefs
Todd Blackadder – Crusaders
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
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 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Luke Whitelock, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Bulls v Brumbies: This is guaranteed to be low scoring affair. Both teams styles are very pragmatic. Good defense kick for the corners and when inside the opposing 22 methodically go for it. White being a South African coach will be very familiar with the Bulls style. The Bulls play a very effective style and though most know what is coming very few have stop it. Get your nose ring in, it is gonna be a Bullish day. Here is the info:
Pretoria, South Africa
Saturday, July 27th
Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)
AR1: Jonathan Kaplan (SA)
AR2: Marius Jonker (SA)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SA)
Frans Ludeke – Bulls
Jake White – Brumbies
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 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.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Mornè Mellett, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Jürgen Visser.
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 George Smith, 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 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Joe Tomane.
Kings v Lions: The SA Super Rugby conference is the only conference with a promotion/relegation match. This will be 1st match in a home and home series to decide who plays Super Rugby next season. The Kings will be without their 1st and 2nd choice captians due to injury. However, the Lions team is full of players returning from being loaned out, some having played last week for a different franchise. With both teams tough to read, I will go with my heart and say Kings win. Here is the info:
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,
Friday, July 26th
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
AR1: Jason Jaftha (SA)
AR2: Sindile Mayende (SA)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (SA)
Matt Sexton – Kings
Johan Ackermann – Lions
Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell (capt), 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Charl du Plessis, 17 Hannes Franklin, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Waylon Murray.
Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Chrysander Botha.
That is it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @ckuxmann and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.