Super XV: Round 18 Preview

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SXV round 18: Who will be winners

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:00 pm

The final pool round of Super XV dawns, with 7 teams chasing 6 playoff spots. Home semi-finals and week-offs are still in contention. As usual I'll add in team selections, bookmaker odds etc as they become available.

Game of the round is probably Bulls vs Sharks, with the Crusaders vs Hurricanes match running second.

Top 7
1. Reds Australian Conference Leader 62 (played 15)
2. Stormers South African Conference Leader 58 (played 15)
3. Crusaders New Zealand Conference Leader 57 (played 15)
4. Blues Wildcard 56 (played 15)
5. Bulls 53 Wildcard (played 15)
6. Sharks 53 Wildcard (played 15)
7. Waratahs 52 (played 15)


Draw
Friday 17 June Venue WST AEST NZ RSA
Blues v Highlanders Eden Park 1535 1735 1935 0935
Melbourne Rebels v Western Force AAMI Park 1740 1940 2140 1140
Saturday 18 June Venue WST AEST NZ RSA
Chiefs v Queensland Reds Waikato Stadium 1330 1530 1730 0730
Crusaders v Hurricanes Westpac Stadium, Wellington 1535 1735 1935 0935
Waratahs v ACT Brumbies ANZ Stadium 1740 1940 2140 1140
Bulls v Sharks Loftus Versfeld Stadium 2305 0105* 0305* 1705
Cheetahs v Stormers Vodacom Park 0110* 0310* 0510* 1910
*Sunday 19 June
BYE: Lions

Competition Background and links
Full points table
Super XV Power Rankings
Last week's preview and discussion
All Blacks selection barometer
Betting odds summary
Taylorman's post-weekend writeup: http://www.606v2.com/t6898-interesting-last-round-for-the-super-xv

Casualty List
List of absentees this weekend (not complete by any means Wink ):
Rene Ranger, Blues, hamstring, rest of competition
Albie Mathewson, Blues, head-knock, listed on the bench this week
Berrick Barnes, Waratahs, concussion, rest of competition
Sonny Bill Williams, Crusaders, hip, at least 1 week
James O'Connor, Force, suspension, 1 week
Richie McCaw, Crusaders, foot, at least 1 week
Israel Dagg, Crusaders, rest of competition
Rockie Elsom, Brumbies, rest of competition
Colin Slade, Highlanders, jaw, rest of competition
Juan Smith, rest of competition
Serge Lilo, Hurricanes, knee
Tony Woodcock, Blues, foot
Scott Waldrom, Chiefs, shoulder
Isiah Toeava, Blues, hip
Andre Taylor, Hurricanes, hamstring
Digby Ioane, Reds,
Anthony Faingaa, Reds,
Ben Lucas, Reds,
Luke Morahan, Reds,
Kahn Fotuali'i, Crusaders, knee
Sean Maitland, Crusaders, foot
Adam Whitelock, Crusaders, chest
Richard Kahui, Chiefs,
Guthro Steenkamp, Bulls


Bookies' odds
TBA


Matches info

Blues v Highlanders
The Blues need a win to ensure a home playoff, and they still have an outside shot at second place overall and a week off in the playoffs. Rene Ranger's hamstring sidelines him, costing the Blues a potent attacker. The Highlanders have faded badly at the end of the competition, injuries and fatigue highlighting a lack of depth. However there's still statements to be made for All Black selection.

Blues
15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Charlie Faumuina. Reserves: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Sean Polwart/Daniel Braid, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers.

Highlanders :
Ben Smith, Matt Saunders, Kendrick Lynn, Shaun Treeby, Siale Piutau, Tony Brown, Jimmy Cowan, Nasi Manu, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Tom Donnelly, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh (captain). Reserves: Mo Schwalger, Bronson Murray, Josh Bekhuis, Nick Crosswell, Aaron Smith, Robbie Robinson, Telusa Veainu.

Melbourne Rebels v Western Force
Not even a win can lift the Rebels past the Lions (who get 4 points for the bye this week) out of the competition wooden spoon. However they'll want a win to end the season on a high, and (in some cases) impress any watching Wallaby selectors. The Force are without James O'Connor, suspended for 1 week for a dangerous "dump" tackle last week, and off to fresh pastures next season after rejecting a new contract offer. They're in a tight tussle with the Brumbies for 3rd place in the Aussie conference so will want bragging rights. Rumour has it that Rebels coach Rod MacQueen will be standing down at the end of the season and taking time out from coaching.

Melbourne Rebels: Mark Gerrard, Richard Kingi, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Stirling Mortlock (captain), Cooper Vuna, Danny Cipriani, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Michael Lipman, Jarrod Saffy, Adam Byrnes, Alister Campbell, Greg Somerville, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Reserves: Adam Freier, Laurie Weeks, Kevin O’Neill, Tim Davidson, Lachlan Mitchell, Peter Betham, Julian Huxley.

Western Force: Patrick Dellit, Alfie Mafi, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, David Smith, James Stannard, Brett Sheehan, Richard Brown, David Pocock (captain), Matt Hodgson, Sam Wykes, Ben McCalman, Matt Dunning, Nathan Charles, Kieran Longbottom. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner, Tom Hockings, Jono Jenkins, Mark Swanepoel, Willie Ripia, Cameron Shepherd.



Chiefs v Queensland Reds
The Reds are all but guaranteed top spot, though the Chiefs in Hamilton are never easy. It's veteran Chiefs coach Ian Foster's last game in charge. A spate of injuries in the backs has forced the Reds to call up ex-Crusader and All Black Caleb Ralph from Sunshine Coast club rugby. If Zara Phillips' ex plays he'll earn his 136th Super cap, putting him equal with Geroge Gregan in second on the all-time caps list

Chiefs:
1. Ben May, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 3. Nathan White, 4. Craig Clarke, 5. Romana Graham, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Fritz Lee, 9. Brendon Leonard, 10. Stephen Donald, 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu, 12. Dwayne Sweeney, 13. Save Tokula, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15. Mils Muliaina (Captain) Reserves: 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Ben Afeaki 18. Culum Retallick, 19. Matt Vant Leven, 20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21. Tim Nanai-Williams, 22. Jackson Willison


Queensland Reds:
TBC

Crusaders v Hurricanes
Quote of the day... "We're one-eyed Cantabrians, mate. Our city may be in a bit of a mess, but our rugby team's good." -Christchurch resident interviewed after Monday's 2 big "aftershocks". The Crusaders roadshow sees the Cake Tin in Wellington make its debut as their newest home ground (the match there vs the 'Canes was cancelled in Feb following the 'Quake). Sadly SBW's hip injury means the long awaited SBW vs Nonu clash is postoned again. The Crusaders need at least a bonus point to guarantee a "home" playoff in Nelson next week, while it's still possible for them to finish in the top 2. Nonu and Andrew Hore head the list of outgoing 'Canes with a point to prove. Could be an epic!

Crusaders:
Tom Marshall, Brent Ward, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Luke Romano, Jonathan Poff, Willi Heinz, Mat Berquist, Tu Umaga-Marshall.

Hurricanes:
Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Alapati Leiua, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu, Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore (captain), John Schwalger. Reserves: Laurence Corlett, Anthony Perenise, Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish, Chris Eaton, Jayden Hayward, Richard Buckman


Waratahs v ACT Brumbies
It's simple for the Waratahs, win and make the playoffs, lose and the great underachievers of Super Rugby have "choked" again. They're 1 point behind the Bulls and Sharks who play each other this weekend. The Brumbies have improved this season since Jake White was put in charge of the Canberra Rugby Players' Collective.

Waratahs:
Kurtley Beale, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Tom Carter, Atieli Pakalani, Daniel Halangahu, Luke Burgess, Dave Dennis, Phil Waugh (captain), Dean Mumm, Sitaleki Timani, Pat O’Connor, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: John Ulugia, Jeremy Tilse, Dan Vickerman, Chris Alcock, Hugh Perrett, Josh Holmes, Sosene Anesi

ACT Brumbies:
Christian Lealiifano, Henry Speight, Tyrone Smith, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau (captain), Patrick Phibbs, Ita Vaea, Julian Salvi, Mitchell Chapman, Peter Kimlin, Ben Hand, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Jerry Yanuyanutawa. Reserves: Anthony Hegarty, Jono Owen, Henry Vanderglas, Tom Boidin, Josh Valentine, Andrew Smith, Robbie Coleman


Bulls v Sharks
Both teams will come into this game knowing exactly what's required. Depending on results earlier in the weekend the winner could potentially be aiming for a home playoff, while the loser could be out of the running.

Bulls:
Zane Kirchner, Gerhard van den Heever, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (captain), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Reserves: Gary Botha, Rossouw de Klerk, Flip van der Merwe, Danie Rossouw, Fourie du Preez, Francois Brummer, Akona Ndungane.

Sharks:
TBC

Cheetahs v Stormers
The Stormers play away chasing a home semi and final against the improving Cheetahs, and they have Peter Grant back from injury.

Cheetahs:
Hennie Daniller, Riaan Viljoen, Robert Ebersohn, Barry Geel, Ryno Benjamin, Sias Ebersohn, Sarel Pretorius, Davon Raubenheimer, Ashley Johnson, Johan Wessels, Martin Muller, Francois Uys, WP Nel, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Coenie Oosthuizen. Reserves: Ryno Barnes, Lourens Adriaanse, Izak van der Westhuizen, Pieter Myburgh, Tewis de Bruyn, Corne Uys, Riaan Smit

Stormers:
Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duan Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger (captain), Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Wicus Blaauw. Reserves: Deon Fourie, Frans Malherbe, Anton van Zyl, Nick Koster, Louis Schreuder, Johann Sadie, Conrad Jantjes


Match Officials
TBA





Last edited by Kiwireddevil on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 11:03 am; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : Added team details)
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Post by Feckless Rogue on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:17 pm

if Crusaders can finish second in the table I think they'll win the playoffs
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Post by Biltong on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:32 pm

Log to finish like this

Reds 66
Stormers 62 (second spot by virtue of points difference)
Crusaders 62
Blues 60
Bulls 57
Waratahs 56.

Matches that could help the Sharks out, the Brumbies beat the waratahs
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Post by Biltong on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:41 pm

Sorry I am sniffing glue, the Crusaders have a superior points difference to the Stormers but the Stormers will then have one more win than the Crusaders and will remain in second place, or they must score a bonus point in the win.
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Post by Ozzy3213 on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:45 pm

I fancy the Crusaders to win the whole shebang to be honest.

I also see the Brumbies doing a number on the Tahs and earning the Sharks a play off spot with the knockout stagegoing like this.

Quarter Finals
Crusaders vs. Sharks (Crusaders to win)
Blues vs. Bulls (Bulls to win)

Semi Finals
Reds vs. Bulls (Reds to sneak it providing they don't lose any more players to injury this weekend)
Stormers vs. Crusaders (Crusaders know they can win in Cape Town and will go there and win again)

Final
Reds vs. Crusaders (It would take a brave man to back against the Crusaders in a Super Rugby final, and I am a coward! Wink )
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 14 Jun 2011, 5:05 pm

I think a Cheetahs victory is more likely than a Brumbies victory which is not to say I think either is likely.

But the Cheetahs and Force have been my picks for teams that have underperformed in the past and have improved their consistency dramatically. The Highlanders would´ve been the pick of that if they hadn´t decided to change their jerseys to bogey green and won more games at the business end of the comp. But they are like a reverse Brumbies side.

Anyway I have been impressed with the Cheetahs and have noticed that the SA sides seem to lift the most for the home derbies. Some real upsets there in recent times. I know you won´t be too impressed with me cheering on the Cheetahs Biltong but what can I do? I´m just a one-eyed Cantabrian.

I sill can´t believe the Crusaders never get to play the Rebels or Lions (two 5 point games for most teams). To me that´s ridiculous. But the earthquake at the start of the season seemed to harden their resolve and this latest one might just do the same. The Hurricanes have improved in recent weeks but I can´t see them upsetting the Crusaders.

Despite two games against the Rebels, I can´t argue really with the top of the table. The Stormers had a few upsets at home but really kept their composure and had a fantastic tour of Oz and NZ showing SA sides can travel well (the Bulls have done it in the past but this year they were more impotent away than a Viagra ad showing someone before he takes Viagra). The Reds have somehow managed to nullify their front row weakness and when Genia and Cooper are on song they´re a pleasure to watch.

I think the final will see the Reds in it and it´s a toss up between the Stormers and Crusaders. On form, I think the Stormers and Reds deserve to play the final but as a one-eyed Cantabrian I hope the Crusaders make it. Lord knows the good people of Christchurch need something to smile about. But if the Crusaders finish 3rd, they won´t make it. 1st and 2nd is too big an advantage. Not impossible to win from lower down but not exactly easy.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Wed 15 Jun 2011, 10:29 am

Blues team to face the Highlanders:

15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Charlie Faumuina.

Reserves: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Sean Polwart/Daniel Braid, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers.
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Post by Biltong on Wed 15 Jun 2011, 12:29 pm

kiakahaaotearoa wrote:Anyway I have been impressed with the Cheetahs and have noticed that the SA sides seem to lift the most for the home derbies. Some real upsets there in recent times. I know you won´t be too impressed with me cheering on the Cheetahs Biltong but what can I do? I´m just a one-eyed Cantabrian.

I sill can´t believe the Crusaders never get to play the Rebels or Lions (two 5 point games for most teams). To me that´s ridiculous.

Well Kia it's only natural mate, I do hope the Brumbies upset the Waratahs.

This format is definitely wrong, all teams shoould play all teams.
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Post by emack2 on Wed 15 Jun 2011, 10:31 pm

With due respect the next round barrring miracles ,Reds and Stormers bye and semi -finals place.History says home sides win Semi Finals and Finals.On that basis both sides rested Reds v Stormers Final.Reds will have home advantage in Final.Reds will win S15 in Sydney for the first time.

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Post by Taylorman on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 1:05 am

Tend to agree Alan- with the head.

Obviously I'd prefer a NZ team to win so I'll be supporting both.

Heres my reasons for thinking a NZ team 'deserves' to win...

1 Because the saders have had the worst luck. Disrupted completely by the Earthquake. Not one single home match. A bye with the canes when the canes were losing to all and sundry and had the worst pick of the away teams- denied last and second to last teams (Lions and Rebels) for a potential 10 points. And to make it worse have just had another huge shake at home base.

2 Because all 5 teams finished top 10- none in pos 11-15 meaning the other 5 are shared between SA and Oz.

3 NZ had a much greater away differential (8 I believe) than SA (+2) then Oz who were minus.

4 Cos I'm a Kiwi and by golly I'll find some reasons why I think we should win it!

In saying that, good luck to all and the games tomorrow make watching them much more interesting again!

Good luck to your faves all...

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Post by Artful_Dodger on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 1:09 am

Going for the Blues their backline is scintillating

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 10:19 am

Crusaders team for the weekend:
Tom Marshall, Brent Ward, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Luke Romano, Jonathan Poff, Willi Heinz, Mat Berquist, Tu Umaga-Marshall.

The Chilean ash-cloud has cleared somewhat from South Island skies so both the Crusaders and Highlanders have managed to fly North for their matches this weekend.
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 10:30 am

Chiefs side to face the Reds:
Chiefs:
1. Ben May, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 3. Nathan White, 4. Craig Clarke, 5. Romana Graham, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Fritz Lee, 9. Brendon Leonard, 10. Stephen Donald, 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu, 12. Dwayne Sweeney, 13. Save Tokula, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15. Mils Muliaina (Captain)

Reserves:
16. Hika Elliot, 17. Ben Afeaki 18. Culum Retallick, 19. Matt Vant Leven, 20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21. Tim Nanai-Williams, 22. Jackson Willison
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 10:36 am

Highlanders to face the Blues: Ben Smith, Matt Saunders, Kendrick Lynn, Shaun Treeby, Siale Piutau, Tony Brown, Jimmy Cowan, Nasi Manu, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Tom Donnelly, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh (captain). Reserves: Mo Schwalger, Bronson Murray, Josh Bekhuis, Nick Crosswell, Aaron Smith, Robbie Robinson, Telusa Veainu.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 16 Jun 2011, 10:45 am

The SMH is suggesting Rebels Coach (and RWC winner) Rod MacQueen is to step down after their last game this weekend. Though they also said James O'Connor would re-sign with the Force ...

Rebels and Force teams:
Melbourne Rebels: Mark Gerrard, Richard Kingi, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Stirling Mortlock (captain), Cooper Vuna, Danny Cipriani, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Michael Lipman, Jarrod Saffy, Adam Byrnes, Alister Campbell, Greg Somerville, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Reserves: Adam Freier, Laurie Weeks, Kevin O’Neill, Tim Davidson, Lachlan Mitchell, Peter Betham, Julian Huxley.

Western Force: Patrick Dellit, Alfie Mafi, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, David Smith, James Stannard, Brett Sheehan, Richard Brown, David Pocock (captain), Matt Hodgson, Sam Wykes, Ben McCalman, Matt Dunning, Nathan Charles, Kieran Longbottom. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner, Tom Hockings, Jono Jenkins, Mark Swanepoel, Willie Ripia, Cameron Shepherd.

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Post by nganboy on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 1:52 am

"by golly"
Taylorman said "by golly" laughing

Gadzooks Taylorman how can you type such an old fashioned phrase.
Where's your lol?
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Post by Guest on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 2:21 am

Somervile retiring?? why should be in WC squad.

Blues props terrible Payne should be 13 not 15??. Crusaders hard to bet against.

That cheetahs frontrow is unreal.

Bulls my tip as they are so tough to beat and full of winners

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 12:06 pm

Here's the NZ Herald's summary of the playoffs permutations. Note that the Blues beat the Highlanders 33-16 this morning, so finish on 60 points (no 4 try bonus point).

So the top 7 is now:
1. Reds Australian Conference Leader 62 (played 15)
2. Blues New Zealand Conference Leader 60 (played 16)
3. Stormers South African Conference Leader 58 (played 15)
4. Crusaders Wildcard 57 (played 15)
5. Bulls 53 Wildcard (played 15)
6. Sharks 53 Wildcard (played 15)
7. Waratahs 52 (played 15)

So the Crusaders must win to top the NZ conference and the Stormers must win or draw to earn a week off. Blues are guaranteed at least 4th, so will either have a home game or a week off next week. It's pretty much impossible for the Waratahs to earn a home playoff match, and very difficult for the Bulls or Sharks to do so.


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Post by emack2 on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 1:02 pm

Blues win but no bonus point.

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Post by emack2 on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 5:58 pm

Crusaders win,means Stormers must win a draw would not be enough.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Fri 17 Jun 2011, 6:07 pm

emack2 wrote:Crusaders win,means Stormers must win a draw would not be enough.

True.

And the Stormers get to play knowing exactly what they need to do.
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Post by Taylorman on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 2:17 am

Well the blues have done what they had to bar getting the bonus point. Crusaders task is tougher tonight with a lot of emotion swirling around Nonu and his supporters not that home advantage means a lot to them since they have none.

be great to see the Saders come through this sxv for the Canterbury region- registering a vote for having resolve for its people. Would represent the most difficult title they have endured so far.

You just get the itching feeling they'll fall just short of the line in the finals, the year taking its toll finally.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:15 am

Chiefs 11 - Reds 19, the Reds finish as Minor Premiers (to steal the NRL term for winning the league).

The top 7 is now:
1. Reds Australian Conference Leader 66 (played 16)
2. Blues New Zealand Conference Leader 60 (played 16)
3. Stormers South African Conference Leader 58 (played 15)
4. Crusaders Wildcard 57 (played 15)
5. Bulls 53 Wildcard (played 15)
6. Sharks 53 Wildcard (played 15)
7. Waratahs 52 (played 15)

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Post by Adam D on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:17 am

So I guess thats home advantage for the reds in the next round?

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:19 am

They get next week off, then get home advantage against one of next week's playoff winners.

Crusaders vs Hurricanes up next
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Post by mpc28 on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:21 am

When did Caleb Ralph sign for the reds? i thought he had retired

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:26 am

Caleb Ralph got called up out of amateur Sunshine Coast club rugby this week due to the Reds' outside back injury crisis. Today was his 136th Super match, 2nd equal with George Gregan for most Caps. Should the Reds win the title he'll have 8 Super trophies. Not bad ...

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 8:52 am

Chefs over the line 3 or 4 times at the end... shame they couldnt take the Reds off the top.

Tight start to the Canes match in this 'home' Saders match at the cake tin. 3-0 after a somewhat dubious tackle on Carter and hard case comment by Hore... "Are we not allowed to tackle Carter or something?"

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 10:19 am

Crusaders win 16-9 and take the NZ conference.

The top 7 is now:
1. Reds Australian Conference Winer 66 (played 16)
2. Crusaders New Zealand Conference Winner 61 (played 16)
3. Blues Wildcard 60 (played 16)
4. Stormers South African Conference Leader 58 (played 15)
5. Bulls 53 Wildcard (played 15)
6. Sharks 53 Wildcard (played 15)
7. Waratahs 52 (played 15)

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 12:31 pm

Waratahs thrash the Brumbies 41-7.

The top 7 is now:
1. Reds Australian Conference Winer 66 (played 16)
2. Crusaders New Zealand Conference Winner 61 (played 16)
3. Blues Wildcard 60 (played 16)
4. Stormers South African Conference Leader 58 (played 15)
5. Waratahs Wildcard 57 (played 16)
6. Bulls 53 Wildcard (played 15)
7. Sharks 53 (played 15)

Pressure goes onto the Bulls vs Sharks match now ...
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Post by Ozzy3213 on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 12:45 pm

Winner takes all in Northern Transvaal then.
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 6:02 pm

Bulls 23 Sharks 26, so the Bulls bow out

The top 7 is now:
1. Reds Australian Conference Winner 66 (played 16)
2. Crusaders New Zealand Conference Winner 61 (played 16)
3. Blues Wildcard 60 (played 16)
4. Stormers South African Conference Winner 58 (played 15)
5. Waratahs Wildcard 57 (played 16)
6. Sharks Wildcard 57 (played 16)
7. Bulls 54 (played 16)

So we're waiting on the Stormers result.
If the Stormers win the playoffs are:
Crusaders vs Sharks in Nelson
Blues vs Waratahs in Auckland, with semi-finals in Brisbane and Cape Town the following week.

If they draw or lose but get 2 bonus points (Stormers have 1 more win than the Blues, 30 worse points diff than Crusaders) then the playoffs are:
Stormers vs Sharks in Cape Town
Blues vs Waratahs in Auckland, with semi-finals in Brisbane and Nelson the following week.

If the Stormers lose and get 1 or 0 BP then the playoffs are:
Blues vs Sharks in Auckland
Stormers vs Waratahs in Cape Town, with semi-finals in Brisbane and Nelson the following week.


Last edited by Kiwireddevil on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by emack2 on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 9:47 pm

Every thing gone to Scriptt but the Sharks one,Stormers,Reds,bye week and Home Semis.In Event of home wins in Semi,Reds home final in Sydney.Crusaders and Blues home draws facing Sharks or Waratahs.In Semis.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 10:16 pm

As emack said, Stormers beat the Cheetahs 44-34. So the top 6 finishes
1. Reds Australian Conference Winner 66 (played 16)
2. Stormers South African Conference Winner 63 (played 16)
3. Crusaders New Zealand Conference Winner 61 (played 16)
4. Blues Wildcard 60 (played 16)
5. Waratahs Wildcard 57 (played 16)
6. Sharks Wildcard 57 (played 16)

The playoffs next week are:
Crusaders vs Sharks in Nelson and Blues vs Waratahs in Auckland, with semi-finals in Brisbane and Cape Town the following week.

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 18 Jun 2011, 10:36 pm

Considering the circs the Crusaders topping the conference in NZ is not much short of incredible.

How many teams in this years sxv would have done that playing all their games away from their home ground and many at the oppositions home ground.

They even need to beat the Hurricanes in Wellington for their 'home' match to do so.

I keep saying it but... simply a class act.


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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 1:04 pm

I agree Taylorman. Should the Crusaders make it through playing all away it'd be phenomenal. Only their unbeaten season in 2002 comes close.

Game times for the playoffs

So Friday morning UK time for Blues vs Waratahs, and Saturday morning for Crusaders vs Sharks. I think the top-ranked playoff winner travels to Cape Town and the Stormers the following week, with the other winner off to Queenstown.
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Post by Taylorman on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 10:59 pm

Both the Reds and Stormers will be very hard to beat at home so a Stormers Reds final on Brissy- Reds winning is to me the most likeliest outcome but I wont discount the saders who have overcome so many obstacles this year- what difference is another one piled on the heap going to matter...

Crusaders should beat the Sharks- They are in Nelson and small venue close to the crowd support is actually more of a plus the Saders have found. Plus they beat them in style at Twickenham so... who knows. Sharks did look impressive against the Bulls so its the travel thing that could tip the scales.

Blues tahs will be interesting. Tahs worst ground in the world is probably Eden park so Blues will have that at least plus a bit of momentum. Tahs couldnt be in a better position form-wise after the Brumbies thrashing.

Glad that we're at the Business end after a very very very long league...

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Post by Cymroglan on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:04 pm

Taylorman did you get another earthquake the other day ?

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Post by Taylorman on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:11 pm

Christchurch gets them literally 'all the time'. Have a look at this:

http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/recent_quakes.html

29 out of 30 since Thursday were there.

Early last week they got 2 biggies- high 5 and a 6 which did some more damage. saders were training during one and that threw them a bit- everyone straight onto cellphones to friends and family etc.

Some discussion is around moving the whole city West but at least permanently abandoning major residential areas is on the cards.

Just never ending it seems...


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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:18 pm

Over 7,000 aftershocks since September in Canterbury Sad. I woke up to a 5.3 when I was there after Easter, not fun. I struggle to comprehend what it's been like for people who've been there for all of them.
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Post by Cymroglan on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:19 pm

I did not know you had them that often I have saved that link.
Earthquakes are not needed at the best of times but for you they could not have come at a worst time.
If they continue on this scale will they have a major impact on the world cup ?

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:29 pm

Cymroglan wrote: I did not know you had them that often I have saved that link.
Earthquakes are not needed at the best of times but for you they could not have come at a worst time.
If they continue on this scale will they have a major impact on the world cup ?
.

Assuming there's none worse than we've had already the RWC will be fine. The Chch games have already been moved, so the rumbling there won't have any further impact. NZ is on the Pacific Rim "Ring of Fire" network of faultlines, just like Japan, California and Chile so small shakes are something you deal with. With 15,000 measurable shakes (3+ on the scale) in the country most years (similar to Japan) you normally expect to feel 2 or 3 in your location. And at school kids get taught earthquake drills like fire drills here in the UK.

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Post by emack2 on Sun 19 Jun 2011, 11:30 pm

If the Crusaders and Blues win there quarters,the travel factor plus the fact
Reds and Stormers have a bye as well as home advantage.I agree with your
conclusions[they were my original thoughts].
But given the closeness of the results by both NZ sides only 2 and 1 points in it,The fact that the Reds now have the injury problems.
Also the Crusaders expect to be near full strength by Semi`s time only Dagg and McCaw likely to miss out.
I would say the Semi`s are by no means a done deal Crusaders in Capetown,yes that one will be close and Sydney if they win maybe that is on too.
In fairness I feel the Reds have been the most consistemt team this year.
If they win the S15 it will be richly deserved and it is some time since an Australian franchise won a Super title.

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 12:32 am

Thats true Alan and I think that will be the fave pick, though...

Reds havnt been as sharp lately with a loss to the Brumbies and 2 close wins over no chance Force and Chiefs last 3 matches.

They also didnt play the Sharks or Highlanders- both stronger than the Rebels/ Lions equivalents that the Saders 'missed out on' not to forget the enforced draw with the Hurricanes which they'd likely have won, so the home advantage hasnt been gained on the basis of a fair draw.

Yes the reds would deserve it but certainly no more than the Crusaders who have had far more obstacles to overcome and through all that are 5 points behind the Reds.

Reds (or anyone else for that matter) playing that many away games (ie- all of them) simply would not be in the same position they are now.

So I'm pumping for the Saders purely because of the circumstances they've found themselves in.

Do the reds deserve the title? Absolutely.

Are they better than the Crusaders.. I doubt it.

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 1:05 am

purely an emotional pick there Alan... Of all the teams I think sharks have the hardest battle. They had the toughest fight of the weekend vs the Bulls and now travel to play Crusaders. Be very surprised if Blues/ Crusaders arent standing still after this week.

Next week however... ummm...

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 11:49 am

Tough ask for the Sharks indeed. Can´t see them tipping over the Crusaders at ´home´. You never know with the Waratahs but an Auckland match is far better than a game in SA. I would go for the Blues but the Waratahs are more than capable.

Then out of those I think the team that plays the Reds has an easy draw in terms of the travel but a very difficult game. Brisbane has been a fortress for the Reds and they will be very tough to beat there. I see the Reds in the final at home.

Crusaders vs Stormers would be, if the script goes to my plan at least, one hell of a match. I think the Crusaders will take confidence from their win there but the Stormers will be gunning for revenge. The Crusaders do have the forwards though to nullify the Stormers. To be honest I´d rather play the Stormers at home rather than the Reds.

I´d love to see it happen but I just don´t think the Crusaders can pull off back to back wins with that travel schedule and then it seems far too difficult even if they were to win to beat the Reds at home in the final. But if one team could do it, it´s the Crusaders so I´ll be definitely be cheering them on.

That said, if the Reds do win, then that´s a fair result. Or the Stormers. Don´t mind if the Blues win either, (I´m not that one-eyed) but the top two who have the bye have been the teams of the tournament and deserve that week off. That said, the Crusaders have had to overcome huge odds and it really would be a fairytale win if they pull through. Just think that travel schedule is too much against quality opposition.

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Post by Biltong on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 12:09 pm

As far as the play offs are concerned i think the blues will take out the waratahs and the crusaders will take out the Sharks.

Not so sure the reds are in that good form as they were in the beginning of the season.

Some injuries have changed that.

The Crusaders are well deserved to reach a final and against the stormers would be, well just great.

Best attacking team against the best defending team, what a spectacle that would be.
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 12:16 pm

biltongbek wrote:As far as the play offs are concerned i think the blues will take out the waratahs and the crusaders will take out the Sharks.

Not so sure the reds are in that good form as they were in the beginning of the season.

Some injuries have changed that.

The Crusaders are well deserved to reach a final and against the stormers would be, well just great.

Best attacking team against the best defending team, what a spectacle that would be.

I agree. Sadly Stormers vs Crusaders (if it happens) is destined to be a semi-final - being 3rd overall means the Crusaders can't have a semi-final in Brisbane.

The Reds' backline outside Cooper & Genia has been ripped apart by injury. Caleb Ralph as a starter in the final anybody?
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