Tuesday 23 July 2013

Super Rugby Review: The Qualifiers

Last weekend saw only two games in the tournament, who were supposedly the 3rd to 6th best teams in the competition. However, the Crusaders (4th) hammered the Reds (5th), while the Brumbies scraped by the Cheetahs early on Sunday.

The New Zealanders are getting into championship winning form at just the right time, with Dan Carter and Tom Marshall in particular producing fantastic displays. 38-9 to the Crusaders is a fair reflection of a game in which they dominated. Perhaps teams shouldn't be that dominant at a stage where only title contenders should, in theory, still be involved.

The Brumbies were fortunate to be through, with the Cheetahs missing a few key kicks. Perhaps having Johan Goosen back could have helped the Cheetahs again. They can be happy with their season, and it's even more remarkable when you consider they were down to their 3rd choice outhalf for the majority of the season.

Looking for to next weekend, there are THREE huge games. Three you ask? Yes three.

On Saturday morning, the Crusaders travel to the Chiefs in a mouth watering clash. The Chiefs are considered favourites, but I can't look past the Crusaders are in top form and hammered the Chiefs only three weeks ago 43-15. Liam Messam may have been missing that day, but it remains to be seen if his absence reduces the 28 point deficit.

Later on Saturday, the Brumbies travel to the Bulls. The Bulls will be without Jan Serfontain, who has had a marvelous season, and the Brumbies will fancy their chances, although they will have to improve hugely.

But the game of the week is in Port Elizabeth on Friday night, with the Southern Kings hosting the Lions in the first of a two-legged playoff to see who enters the competition in 2014. This will be a humdinger, and the Lions have some of their loanees back, like Elton Jantjies, who could flourish when allowed to play the expansive rugby the Lions play, and the Stormers didn't.

In the fantasy competition, a huge tactical mistake from Ball Handling Hooker cost him 64 points, by not having Dagg, Stephen Moore, Liam Gill and Johan Sadie, although mistakenly putting Frisby ahead of Genia saved him from losing 6 points.

As it were, with two rounds left, Cillian Hogan's lead has been cut by 25 points, and he leads by 95.

Will it be enough?

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