Thursday, July 26, 2012

Super Rugby Semi Final Time!

Sayonara Sonny (picture

Hamilton is the venue this Friday as the first semi final kicks off. Again, why it’s on a Friday I have no idea. I see the auditions for New Zealand’s Got Talent are on - I suppose they knew they’d never get an audience for the rugby with competition like that. Anyway, how’s it going to shape up?  The Chiefs topped off a great season with a stumble at the end, losing to the Crusaders and the Canes. Then they’ve had a week’s break, and a break before that for the Summer/Winter tour. All the momentum is with the Crusaders, and all the experience, the composure to deal with a big game. The Chiefs have got an awesome attack, but that only works when you have the ball, and the Crusaders have a stout defense anyway.  Even with the X-factor of the departing SBW to me, this is the situation where the Crusaders get down and dirty and grind out a win.

Then on Saturday, we’re off to Cape Town to see the Sharks come up against the Stormers. The Sharks, like the Crusaders, are a team with momentum and self belief.  They’ve chosen just the right moment to show what they can really do, with a rampaging run into the semis.  The Stormers meanwhile, had a less then impressive performance against the Rebels, and then have had a week to think about this match.  They have the most watertight defense in the competition, but not an awesomely effective attack.  The question is, can they prevent the Sharks from scoring more points than they can? I think the Sharks can absolutely beat the Stormers but jet lag has to come into it, they’ve literally flown around the world in the last week. And had to fly to Cape Town after that. The Sharks have also lost Steyn and Jordaan from midfield, and Lambie is out. The Stormers have had a horror run of injuries in the back row, and start with a hooker at eighth man. I’m going with the Stormers because of that jet lag factor for the Sharks.

Chiefs v Crusaders:
Date: Friday, 27 July
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: (19.35 local, 17.35 AUS, 09.35 SA)
Stormers v Sharks:
Date: Saturday, 28 July
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: (17.05 local, Sun 29 Jul 03.05 NZT, Sun 29 Jul 01.05 AUS)

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