Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm going Brumbies and Sharks this weekend!


As the play offs begin, I was having a look at some stats. Super Rugby in the last 10 years has only been won by a side finishing first or second. So while 4 sides toil away this weekend, the winners are probably sitting at home in Sydney and Christchurch. Also, the Crusaders haven’t played the Tah’s yet, although with the alchemy of the of how the playing schedule is decided, they probably had an easier run in than the other NZ sides.

Putting all that aside, we have some great games to look forward to this weekend. The Chiefs haven’t quite found their form of the last two years this season, while the Brumbies have done better than expected after Jake White left them in the lurch in the off season. There are two great backlines coming up against each other, and although semis are normally cagey affairs, I reckon this could be something special, neither of them is going to leave anything on the filed. I’m going with home advantage to see the Brumbies home.

The other match takes place in Durban, with the Sharks out to prove a point, after the Highlanders caught them on the hop at home early in the season. The Sharks have an awesome starting team, a great bench, but seem to blow hot and cold. The top spot was theirs for the taking mid-season, then they lost their way. The Highlanders meanwhile, are the only side in the top 6 to have a negative points difference, so while we know they are fairly handy on attack, their defense is not exactly watertight. I’m expecting no great pyrotechnics, and for the Sharks to grind out the win.

In Ireland, the big news is the signing of Simon Easterby to replace John Plumtree in the Ireland set up. Plumtree will be missed, he certainly seemed to have made improvements in the Irish scrum in his brief time there, but Easterby no doubt has a great deal to contribute himself.

Super Rugby
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies vs Chiefs 
Sharks vs Highlanders 

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