Home > Rugby, The Drawing Board > The Drawing Board (08/06/2012)

The Drawing Board (08/06/2012)

Hello and welcome to Who’s playing Who?’s weekly rugby blog. Super rugby takes a break for this week as the June internationals take place. This will allow teams to relax and recuperate. There will be friendly games going on as well during this time, as teams look to keep their fitness up. However, the main focus for those not involved in the internationals will be to rest and get over any niggles that they may have.

Super Wrap

This was the last week before the super rugby break, and it was an important week in terms of the play-off race. There were several important results, and several teams that have improved their positions on the table, and others have suffered potentially devastating blows to their title hopes. It is tight, with South Africa and New Zealand looking to get  a third side into the top 6, whilst the Reds are aiming to be the second Australian team in the playoffs.

Crusaders 51 – 18 Highlanders

The Crusaders sent out another ominous warning as they dismantled the Highlanders. This was a bit of a weird game, as for the first quarter it was a really tight game, with both teams enjoying a period of dominance. However, the sin binning of James Haskell signalled the end, as the cursaders ran in three tries to take control.

They were firmly in control of the match by half-time having already run in four scores through George Whitelock, a brace from Zac Guildford and a further try from Ryan Crotty. They added a further three in the second 40 with Richie McCaw, Wyatt Crockett and Matt Todd all crossing. The result takes them to second in the New Zealand conference and second overall.

Rebels 19 – 27 Brumbies

The Brumbies remained top of the Australian conference as they dispatched the Rebels. Tries from Andrew Smith and Robbie Coleman, along with the boot of Jesse Mogg and Zack Holmes was enough to get them over the line. Cooper Vuna scored the Rebels’ sole try. The Brumbies are now five points clear at the top of the Australian conference table.

“I’ll take that every day of the week, that’s four points in this competition and it’s extremely hard to do,” Brumbies’ skipper Ben Mowen told the Courier Mail. “Melbourne is an improving side and an extremely tough side to play at home and I think if you asked the Crusaders would they take a four-point win out of here I think they would have taken it as well.”

Chiefs 41 – 34 Blues

The Chiefs just managed to just hold out the Blues and remain top of the super rugby ladder. Winger Alaesi Tikoirotuma bagged four tries to equal the individual try-scoring record in a Super Rugby match.The Blues’ Francis Sali opened the try-scoring on 12 minutes, before Tikoirotuma grabbed his first three minutes later. Both teams added another try and two penalties apiece to go in at half-time tied 20-20.

Two quick tries from Tikoirotuma after the break put the Chiefs firmly in control and while Rudi Wolf and Rene Ranger pulled back another two tries for the Blues, Tikoirotuma’s fourth and the boot of Aaron Cruden allowed the Chiefs to record a win that puts them on the brink of the play-offs. “We are definitely happy with the five points. They were hard earned,” Chiefs captain Liam Messam said. “It was a tough game and full credit to the Blues they really took it to us.”

Waratahs 12 – 33 Hurricanes

The Hurricanes gave themselves the best send off to the break as they managed to beat the Waratahs. Substitute Chris Eaton grabbed a late try to secure the four-try bonus point following earlier efforts from Julian Savea, Moto Matu’u and captain Conrad Smith. The Waratahs’ only response was four penalties from Berrick Barnes.

“It was a nice way to cap it off,” Smith said. “We’ve managed to score a few tries this year, but even if we didn’t get that try at the end, we still would have been stoked because it is a while since we’ve won over here.”

Lions 38 – 28 Sharks

The Lions caused a huge shock as they beat the high flying Sharks. Grant Hattingh, Derick Minnie and Lionel Mapoe gave the Johannesburg-based team a substantial early lead that the Sharks were unable to recover from. Lwazi Mvovo crossed for the Sharks before the break, but Deon van Rensburg ensured the Lions had a four-try bonus point before halftime.

JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane pulled further tries back in the second half, but two penalties from Elton Jantjies was enough to keep the Lions outs in front. This has the potential to be a defining loss in the Sharks season, as they have now slipped out of the top six.

Bulls 14 – 19 Stormers

The Stormers managed to stay top of the South African conference as they beat the Bulls. At half-time, the Bulls looked on course for the win that would lift them above their neighbours in the race for the play-offs thanks to a try from No.8 Pierre Spies and the ever-reliable boot of Morne Steyn.

Things looked bleak for the Stormers midway through the second half following the sin-binning of prop Frans Malherbe but they rallied with a late try from winger Bryan Habana swinging the game in their favour before No.10 Peter Grant sealed the win. “We had a good heart to heart last night and the boys really wanted to do it for each other,” said Stormers captain Jean de Villiers, whose side were looking to bounce back from a defeat to the Sharks last time out. “We played against a massively good team.”

Bye: Cheetahs, Reds and Force

Congratulations to:

Dewald Potgieter, Stephen Moore and Rudi Wulf who all played their 50th games for their respective franchises this weekend. Moore has also played 47 games for the Reds.

Super XV for week 15:
15. Israel Dagg (Crusaders) 14. Rene Ranger (Blues) 13. Francis Saili (Blues) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs) 11. Zac Guildford (Crusaders) 10. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 9. TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) 8. Victor Vito (Hurricanes) 7. Richie McCaw (Crusaders) 6. Siya Kolisi (Stormers) 5. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) 4. Luke Romano (Crusaders) 3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies) 2. Quentin MacDonald (Crusaders) 1. Tony Woodcock (Blues).

Tips

SOUTH AFRICA V ENGLAND – For both teams this will be the first Test under new coaches and a lot of eyes will be on this match. This will also be the first time South African born Brad Barritt and Mouritz Botha will be playing against the Springboks and it will be interesting to see how they fair against the Boks. This match will be the Springboks first game after their World Cup exit and with a lot of “old guards” retired or not available for selection it will be good to see how the team will fair without the Matfield’s and Botha’s in the team. The matchup between the centers of Jean de Villiers & Frans Steyn vs Manu Tuilagi & Brad Barritt will be an awesome one to watch. I think that the Springboks should just edge this one.

AUSTRALIA V WALES – This is going to be a tough one between the Six Nation Champions and Australia who will want to bounce back from their defeat against Scotland on Tuesday. The matchup between skippers/fetchers David Pocock and Sam Warburton will be vital as the one who wins that one could possibly be the team who walks off the field victorious.

NEW ZEALAND V IRELAND – Both coaches named strong teams for Saturday clash. New All Blacks coach Hansen only had one week to assemble his team to take on the Irish due to the Super Rugby tournament while Kidney had a bit more time to prepare his team. The All Blacks have a proud record of never losing a match against the Irish and would do everything to keep the record intact. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top with the one-on-one battle between Sonny Bill Willams and Brian O’Driscoll. The All Blacks should take this one out by around 8 points.

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