Friday, July 29, 2016

Super Rugby Semifinals

Super Rugby Semifinal Saturday: July 30, 2016
1st Semifinal


1 - Loni Uhila
2 - Dane Coles
3 - Ben May
4 - Vaea Fifita
5 - Michael Fatialofa
6 - Brad Shields
7 - Ardie Savea
8 - Victor Vito
9 - TJ Perenara
10 - Beauden Barrett
11 - Jason Woodward
12 - Willis Halaholo
13 - Matt Proctor
14 - Cory Jane
15 - James Marshall

16 - Ricky Riccitelli
17 - Chris Eves
18 - Michael Kainga
19 - Mark Abbott
20 - Callum Gibbins
21 - Jamison Gibson-Park
22 - Vince Aso
23 - Julian Savea
                Coach: Chris Boyd

1 - Kane Hames
2 - Nathan Harris
3 - Atunaisa Moli
4 - Dominic Bird
5 - Brodie Retallick
6 - Taleni Seu
7 - Sam Cane
8 - Tom Sanders
9 - Tawera Kerr-Barlow
10 - Aaron Cruden
11 - James Lowe
12 - Anton Lienert-Brown
13 - Seta Tamanivalu
14 - Sam McNicol
15 - Damian McKenzie

16 - Hikawera Elliot
17 - Siegfried Fisiihoi
18 - Mitchell Graham
19 - Lachlan Boshier
20 - Michael Leitch
21 - Brad Weber
22 - Toni Pulu
23 - Shaun Stevenson
                      Coach: James Joseph

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has made no changes to his quarterfinal prize-winning roster that will face Chiefs on Saturday, while El Jefes welcome a healthy Tawera Kerr-Barlow on the side at scrumhalf with Brad Weber taking a bench spot. Weber had a smoking try last weekend in support a break made by Damian McKenzie’s slick offload to James Lowe, who then transferred on to Weber for the speedster’s finish; Kerr-Barlow came on to replace Weber just prior to the hour mark in the quarterfinal dustup and grounded himself the final dot before time; Stephen Donald has been ruled out for an upper body injury and Anton Lienert-Brown moves in to cover #12 from his outside center position, while Seta Tamanivalu is promoted onto the side and will start at #13; these travelers may be the best scraggers in the business applying deft skill and raw power at breakdown to either maintain or claim the pill, and the countering capabilities of the back-three backs make the long range game a risky proposition at best.

‘Canes bring flyhalf Beau Barrett’s pinpoint kicking accuracy - whether it be short lookers over the top of the defense, high hangers for his chasers to gather, lengthy territorial gainers, or shots on goal – into play early to augment the ebb and flow of their pick-and-go, but it’ll be the yeomen-like industry of centers Willis Halaholo and Matt Proctor that will setup the outside magic on the corners for homeboys; Hurricanes shall want to sort their shoddy lineout play from last week (8 lost), or Saturday will not a great day make for the home team; not a lot of noise from Cory Jane last weekend, expect that to change in a winning hometown scenario.

Both beat their opponents last week by a margins of 42 points, so one might reckon there will be points aplenty in this derby; the guy down at the end of the bar at the Hogg is calling for an over/under of 80; it will be the XV whose tightly executed, somewhat risky, offloads work that will carry the day; nevermind the weather as it’ll effect both sides equally and each are well-acquainted with funky climate manifestations. Can the Hurricanes, who’ve made the quarterfinals seven times, advancing to the Grand Final twice, finally consummate? With Barrett in the best form of his career, you absolutely bet… they just have to retire Men of Hamilton first!

Prediction: Hurricanes 39, Chiefs 42

2nd Semi:

1 - Dylan Smith
2 - Malcolm Marx
3 - Julian Redelinghuys
4 - Andries Ferreira
5 - Franco Mostert
6 - Jaco Kriel
7 - Warwick Tecklenburg
8 - Ruan Ackermann
9 - Francois de Klerk
10 - Elton Jantjies
11 - Courtnall Skosan
12 - Rohan Janse van Rensburg
13 - Lionel Mapoe
14 - Ruan Combrinck
15 - Andries Coetzee

16 - Armand van der Merwe
17 - Corne Fourie
18 - Jacques Van Rooyen
19 - Lourens Erasmus
20 - Stephan de Wit
21 - Dillon Smit
22 - Howard Mnisi
23 - Jaco van der Walt
                Coach: Johann Ackermann

1 - Dan Lienert-Brown
2 - Ash Dixon
3 - Josh Hohneck
4 - Alex Ainley
5 - Thomas Franklin
6 - Elliot Dixon
7 - James Lentjes
8 - Luke Whitelock
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 - Patrick Osborne
12 - Malakai Fekitoa
13 - Matt Faddes
14 - Waisake Naholo
15 - Ben Smith

16 - Greg Pleasants-Tate
17 - Aki Seiulii
18 - Ross Geldenhuys
19 - Joseph Wheeler
20 - Liam Squire
21 - Dan Pryor
22 - Te Aihe Toma
23 - Marty Bank
                Coach: Jeff Joseph

Lions will be decided favorites in the second semifinal on schedule at home in Johannesburg, but only the accomplished fool might discount the defending champions, who defeated Australia #1, Brumbies, last weekend in their knockout at Canberra; large issue for mine host losing the services of captain and 8man, Warren Whitely, to injury… 20 year old Ruan Ackermann will lock down the pack while blindside Jaco Kriel dons the skipper’s cloak; the explosive energy of #9 Faf de Klerk will enable #10 Elton Jantjies’ distribution to the Rohan van Rensburg-Lionel Mapoe transition team in the middle, then it’s one of the most dangerous men in world rugby on the fly, Ruan Combrinck, called “the Punisher” for his lively and volatile style of play; Big Cats will like to use their prowling, meter-devouring, energy-sapping maul from their lineout to wear down the Highlanders on the oxygen-demanding Highveld; figure some long rangers from Jantjies and Garryowens from de Klerk to soften the defense, then skips mixed with inside channel work in the centers to eventuate an attainment of the corner and ultimately, the Promised Land;

All Black Liam Squire moves to the bench for the ‘Landers and he is replaced by Luke Whitelock, who changed his 5 jersey for the 8 shirt; James Lentjes gets the nod at openside and Elliot Dixon remains on the blindside; front row is a constant and numbers 9 through 15 all began last week’s match in the identical spots they’ll find themselves in on Saturday at Ellis Park; Highlanders will look to tighten up their ball control at tackle, for their hosts are hungry for loose, scrappy bits of ball and will pounce and acquire with vicious determination; nice thing about the visitors three-quartersline is that they can and do punch through the gainline from every slot with a mesmerizing array of interchanges;

Lions rely on their forwards more than Highlanders do, but that does not mean one won’t see much from the traveling pack… they’ll be evident by the adroit manner in which they, to a man, slip to space for rear heel-promoting defensive, desperation-caused excitements; meanwhile 9-10, de Klerk-Jantjies will keep the Park rocking and the big, mobile Catpack will be looking to enhance the effects of their guests half-day flight to Jo’burg with stern, steady and steadfast attention on their counterparts for the full eighty-odd; if it’s close, it could go the visitors way, if it’s a blowout, it’ll blow homeboys’ joy.

Prediction: Lions 32, Highlanders 20

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