Home > Rugby, The Drawing Board > The Drawing Board (13/4/11)

The Drawing Board (13/4/11)

Welcome back to another instalment of The Drawing Board. It’s been a great week of rugby action, with the Heineken Cup moving to the semi final stage and Super Rugby chugging along quite nicely at this stage. These competitions may not have the glitz and the glam of the IPL, but it’s not needed. Its all (well in the southern hemisphere anyway) substance here; with no show ponying or football (soccer) style antics allowed.

News

  • Nathan Sharpe looks set to re-sign with the Force
  • Looks like you will only be able to pay in cash or by using a MasterCard at the RWC. Kinda would suck if you got a visa to come to NZ.
  • England are going to split their World Cup base between Queenstown, Dunedin and Auckland
  • Injury crisis’s for both the Hurricanes and the Waratahs
  • IRB has reported a 20% jump in playing numbers, with the main reason being put down to Olympic inclusion.
  • Referees have been appointed for the RWC with Stu Dickenson and Mark Lawrence the unlucky ones to miss out. It’s mostly northern hemisphere dominated with a 6 – 4 split.
  • Liam Messem has re signed with the Chiefs for two years.
  • Mike Delany is heading to Japan next year. This makes the race for Dan Carter’s back up easier.
  • Richie McCaw, Mills Muliaina and Dan Carter should return this week.

North of the Border

This is a new feature that I’m going to add to my blogs from now on. As things are beginning to heat up over in the Northern hemisphere rugby comps, I thought it best to keep you informed as to what is going on. We’ll start by looking at the Heineken cup results from the weekend.  Perpignan managed to outlast Toulon in an exciting finish to a match that ended 29-25. Leinster easily accounted for the Leicester Tigers 17 – 10 to prove that they are the best Irish team in Europe.  The Northampton Saints kept English dreams alive in the competition with a 23 – 13 win over Ulster whilst Toulouse needed extra time to overcome a spirited Biarritz side 27 – 20.  The Leicester Tigers are still leading the Aviva Premiership by three points over Saracens with a few rounds left. Munster is in full control of the Magners league with three rounds remaining in the round robin phase. Toulouse is in the lead in the Top 14 which still has a way to go before finishing.

Super Wrap

Highlanders 24 – 21 Cheetahs

The Highlanders managed to keep an impressive Cheetahs side from snatching victory by three points. Both sides managed three converted tries, with the difference being a Colin Slade penalty. Both sides are not playing Crusader-type rugby, but both are still proving to be more than dangerous this year, with the Highlanders now just outside the top 6. The game was hard fought for most of it, with the forwards dominating. All the tries were of good quality, with the Cheetahs proving on this tour that they can pounce on any opportunities.

Crusaders 27 – 0 Bulls

The Crusaders continued on their impressive run with a comprehensive win over the Bulls. The defending champions had no answer to a Crusaders side that starved them of possession and forced them into an error ridden display. To put it into perspective, the Crusaders out kicked the Bulls in terms of kicking meters and only allowed Morne Steyn one shot at goal during his time on the field. However, the Crusaders could only manage three tries during the game, but did enough to stay on top of the NZ conference.

Brumbies 17 – 16 Hurricanes

This game was painful to watch at times but the Brumbies managed to finally get a win for player power. Both sides have not been playing great rugby and it showed as this game was marred by errors. The Brumbies were just a bit more clinical in taking their opportunities, as a late penalty allowed them to just get up over the Hurricanes. Both sides will be looking for improvements next week.

Force 3 – 31 Waratahs

The Waratahs got their season well and truly back on track with a comprehensive victory over the Force in Perth. They were all over the Force, with Luke Burgess having a whale of a game.  James O’Conner looked as if he could spark the Force at occasions during the match, but it came to nothing for them. The Waratahs were just too good as they clinically took their opportunities. Another game where the Four try bonus point failed to materialise.

Stormers 6 – 19 Reds

The Stormers turned in an error-strewn performance to suffer their first loss of the season against the Reds, with victory sending the Queenslanders top of the overall standings. As Charlie Sheen put it, they are now Bi-Winning (atop both the overall and conference logs). The Stormers couldn’t get anything going against the Reds, with poor discipline letting them down. It was close for most of the game, but a late Mike Harris try sealed an important game for the Reds.

Sharks 27 – 3 Lions

The Sharks ended their losing streak by condemning the Lions to another loss. The result was never in doubt after the Sharks put in a good first half display to lead 20 – 3, with three well constructed tries. They left it late to put away the Lions for good, as the only points in the second half came via the bonus point try after the siren for the Sharks. In saying that, they had the game under control during it and went a bit complacent in the second half.

BYE: Rebels, Blues and Chiefs

Tips

Maybe I should get another bookie as I didn’t manage to get all the games right. This round should prove to be difficult again as there are close match ups. This is exactly what I was hoping for this season, close and hard to pick games.

Chiefs vs. Crusadersmatch up between teams at the opposite side of their conference. The Chiefs are desperate for a win, whilst the Crusaders managed to continue their red hot form without some of their superstars. Richie McCaw looks set to return via the bench. All in all I think that the Crusaders should be too good for the Chiefs and gain another 13+ win.

Rebels vs. HighlandersTough one to pick with the Rebels coming off a bye and at home against an impressive Highlanders side.  Both sides have beaten pre season expectations already, but I think it will be the Highlanders who will take this one by 12 or less and be the first kiwi super 15 side to win in Melbourne.

Blues vs. Waratahsanother one that is tough to pick, as both teams have been in form in the lead up to this match. However, the Waratahs are in the middle of an injury crisis and are missing several key players. Also, they have had to travel from Perth, as opposed to the Blues having the bye.  This should mean a win for the Blues, possibly by 12 points or less.

Reds vs. Bullsthe Reds will be making the trip back from South Africa to take on a Bulls side that would be pumped up for the match after taking a beating. Should be a close game, but I think that the Reds will be tired after their big game against the Stormers and the trip home.  In my big call for the week, I’ll say the Bulls to take this one by less than 12 points.

Lions vs. Stormers the Stormers will be looking to rectify last week’s lose against the Reds against a dangerous Lions side. The Lions have been competitive, but don’t seem to know how to close out games or put a complete 80 minute performance in. The Stormers should have enough class to shut out the Lions and win by at least 13 points.

Cheetahs vs. Hurricanesthis is another tough one to pick as the Hurricanes are yet to show their potential whilst the Cheetahs have come off their best tour ever. On paper, the Canes should have enough class to win this one, but they’ve been their own worst enemy so far this year. One thing working in their favour is that they will be fresher, having only travelled from Canberra and not Dunedin like the Cheetahs. Bold prediction here again, Cheetahs to win by 12 points or less at home.

Brumbies vs. Forcethe Brumbies got their season heading in the right direction last week with a tight win and should be too good for a Force side that hasn’t shown much this year. Brumbies to win by 12 points or less

Super XV for Round 8:

15. Israel Dagg (Crusaders) 14. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 13. Robbie Freuan (Crusaders) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (Crusaders) 11. Digby Ioane (Reds) 10. Quade Cooper (Reds) 9. Will Genia (Reds) 8. Kieran Read (Crusaders) 7. Matt Todd (Crusaders) 6. Adam Thomson (Highlanders) 5. Chris Jack (Crusaders) 4. Brad Thorn (Crusaders) 3. Ben Franks (Crusaders) 2. Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks) 1. Jamie MacKinstosh (Highlanders).

Well that’s me signing off for another week. Catch you next week for another installment of The Drawing Board.

Advertisements
  1. Anonymous
    April 23, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Good blog David, just hope the Cheetahs pick up their game

  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: