Home > Rugby, The Drawing Board > The Drawing Board (1/4/11)

The Drawing Board (1/4/11)

with David Shipton

 

Welcome to another instalment of The Drawing Board. Well, I hope you enjoyed the last week of rugby as much as I did. I have to give a big shout out to those who had the idea of conferences in Super Rugby.  All the games have been meaningful and interesting to watch. This has been a breath of fresh air that was badly needed in this competition.  Before we analyse the matches, here is some news to keen you up to date.

 

Headlines

  • The ARU will implement a new salary cap for its Super Rugby franchises that will dramatically widen the gap between top-earning stars and their lesser-paid teammates. This is in a bid to cut out of control costs.
  • Reallocated Rugby World Cup matches have been confirmed, with Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill to host pool games set down for Christchurch while two other matches have been reallocated to Wellington and Albany.
  • An axe wielding South African rugby player has been in court this week. We can only speculate at this point, but apparently he killed someone as an act of revenge. Watch this space.
  • Lewis Moody will captain England in the RWC.
  • NZ has won the Hong Kong sevens, beating England in the final. This may be the only final they win this year.
  • Sitiveni Sivivatu has signed to play for Clermont after the RWC.

 

Super Wrap

See, I told you that I would do better this week! After luring you all into a false sense of security, I have sprung back into prime picking form. Now that I’ve said that though, I’ll probably have another shocker of a round. Anyway- here we go with the weekend wrap.

 

Rebels 42 – 25 Hurricanes

What an upset! The Rebels are turning into a nightmare to pick this season as their form fluctuates dramatically. To be fair, this was the Hurricanes game to lose after they lead 17-0 after 17 minutes. However, the Rebels fought back with a couple of tries to be level just before the break. It was all done and dusted by the hour mark though, as the Rebels secured the five points as they put a further three tries past the Hurricanes. Good stuff.

Reds 41 – 8 Cheetahs

This was never really going to be a contest as the Reds were always going to be too good for the Cheetahs at home. After performing well in Sydney last week, the Cheetahs were brought down to earth with a thud as the Reds ran riot. It was effectively over as a contest before the end of the first half, although I guess you could credit the Cheetahs for not letting through a half century.

Chiefs 13 – 16 Blues

A strong second half performance from the Blues overcame a fast start to the match by the Chiefs in appalling conditions in Hamilton. Now I don’t know what it is with these Chiefs, as they seem to turn on the sprinklers just as the rugby wants to start up. It made for a real arm wrestle as two first half tries had the Chiefs up 10 – 6 at the break. However, the Blues showed their class and experience by finishing strongly and playing the last 10 minutes in the right end of the park. They effectively closed out the game once they had the lead, having looked the better side all night.

Brumbies 29 – 22 Waratahs

The Waratahs and the Brumbies played out a tight and sea sawing encounter that wasn’t decided until the last play of the game. A kicking duel in the first half ensured that the scores were locked at the break. The game suddenly burst into life at the hour mark when Ryan Cross scored the first try for the Tahs. However, the Brumbies looked to have snatched a draw as Ben Alexander burrowed over for a converted try five minutes from the break.   Sitaleki Timani had other ideas though as he scored with the last play to give the Waratahs a much needed victory.

Stormers 51 – 16 Western Force

The Stormers finally showed that they can score tries as they blew over the Force. After only scoring two in four games, the Stormers put six past the hapless Force, who were their own worst enemies at times. James O’Connor played well as he scored all the points for the Force. However, the rest of his team couldn’t match his performance as the Stormers showed what a threat they can be in this tournament as they finally put together a performance that was worthy of their standing on the log.

Bulls 30 – 23 Lions

A good local derby in the republic was played out between the Lions and the Bulls. A try in the 75th minute by the Lions would have had a few of the Bulls faithful looking a bit nervous as they moved to 23 – 16 but a late Bjorn Basson try settled the matter. The Lions will be rueing some dreadful kicking errors as they fell to yet another loss. This was a physical game between two committed sides, but the Bulls showed their class to close this one out.

Crusaders 44 – 28 Sharks

Game of the round, no doubt about it.  In this historic match, both teams turned on a great game for the London faithful. After an early Sharks try, the Crusaders put in an epic first-half performance to lead 34-18 at the break having run in four tries. However, they let the Sharks back in with tries just before and just after the break pulling the score back to 28 – 37 to the Crusaders. A late Sean Maitland try confirmed the result, and left the Sharks rueing missed kicks at goal.

Bye: Highlanders

 

 

Tips

After getting all but one of the games right last week I should be in good form, however these are usually notorious for proving the undoing of many an expert. Ah well, onwards to the picks.

 

Highlanders V Brumbies – After a week off the Highlanders should be fresh and ready for this game. However, it remains to be seen if they can continue their impressive start to the season against a Brumbies side that will be looking to make up for last week’s loss. Highlanders by less than 12

Waratahs V Chiefs – battle of the two teams that have been a tad disappointing this season.  The Waratahs however have experienced victory a few times this year and should be able to see this one out at home. Then again, they did say that about the game against the Cheetahs. Waratahs to take this one by 12 and under.

Blues V Cheetahs – should be a relatively easy game for the Blues, especially considering the form that they have shown and the fire power they have at their disposal. Cheetahs have lost their inspirational loose forward combo of Heinrich Brussow and Juan Smith. Blues by 13 and over if not more.

Hurricanes V Bulls – should be an interesting game this one as neither side has lived up to what was expected of them. The Hurricanes were awful last week whilst the Bulls have lost dropped a few points along the way as well. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Bulls even though it is away from home for them.

Force V Rebels – battle of the two Aussie strugglers. The Force have not been up to much this season, but the Rebels have done badly away from home. Hard one to pick, but I’ll go with the Rebels as they have the confidence and momentum needed to get their first away win.

Lions V Reds – should be a match full of tries (weather permitting) as both teams like to run the ball. The Reds should have enough to beat the Lions, who have shown that they are close but cannot finish games well enough. Don’t be surprised if this is closer than expected. Reds to win by less than 12

Sharks V Stormers – Game of the round by the looks of it. Should be a good game between two of the form sides. However, I think that the Sharks will run into a defence that is tougher then they had last week and have come back from a long trip overseas. Stormers to win by 13+.

 

I’m really looking forward to what promises to be a great weekend of rugby ahead. Till then, Kia Kaha.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: