Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Super Rugby Round 4 Preview: 3.7-3.9


Super Rugby Round 4: Preview 3.7-3.9
Thursday, 3.7:
               Hurricanes (9) v (9) Highlanders at the Westpac, Wellington, 11:35pm MST: identical records at 2-1-0 and they’ve each tallied 85 points in the young season; the XVs are drawn on table points and sit 5th and 7th on the chart; this is the absolute Match-of-Weekend in the Land of the Long White Cloud; ‘Canes smashed Brumbies last week on the North Island and look to continue winning ways; visitors were on the wrong end of a five-point decision in Melbourne; Boom-boom-boom-BOOM! to start the 4th Round; travelers blindside, Shannon Frizell, has accomplished the try zone with greater frequency than any other player so far; there will be a considerable breeze blowing out of the north-northwest, but otherwise ideal conditions for the match;

Friday, 3-8:
               Rebels (8) v (6) Brumbies at AAMI Park, Melbourne 1:45am MST: home team is one of two unlost squads and topped their opponents by a converted score to open their 2019 campaign; a bit of inconsistency displayed by the visitors in that their win was a large one over Chiefs, but their other loss was a pounding by the ‘Canes last week at Westpac; this would be the Match-of-Weekend in Oz; warmish, high 70s with a bit of wind from the south for the start of the match;

               Crusaders (12) v (0) Chiefs at the AMI, Christchurch, 9:15pm MST: visitors on the slow get-go this season, while their hosts are ordering rounds and brandishing broadswords; whether its Bryn Hall or Mitch Drummond in the halfback pairing with Richie Mo’unga, good things happen when the ball is slung from the scrum by the home team; for their part the Chiefs are not liking the manner in which their 2019 run has begun and will be looking to take down the league’s TopDog; about as perfect a rugby afternoon as you’d like with temps in the high 60s, little wind and no precipitation of which to speak;

               Blues (2) v (5) Sunwolves in QBE at North Harbour, 11:35pm MST: homeboys just returned from the road trip from Hades: 2 continents in two weeks at Jags and at Sharks, but they’re home now and looking to feast; one may think Blues 12, Ma’a Nonu, might be a tad long in the tooth at 36, but that’s 36 years young and the first five-eighths has only gotten more better with experience; ‘Wolves topped the Chiefs last time out at Waikato Stadium with Kiwi-born 10, Hayden Parker, banging 13 first-40 points true the sticks in the win; visitors like to fly straight out of the gate, heavy and pointed; it’ll be their hosts task to contain that rush Friday evening; temps in the mid- to high-60s and showery to slicken the piggy;

Saturday, 3.9:
               Waratahs (5) v (1) Reds at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, 1:45am MST: ‘Tahs have not won at home, dropping their opening match to Hurricanes; they’ll want to change that stat, stat; Reds are young and each of those relative Super newcomers are capable of breakout performances; could be the Sleeper-of-Weekend; chance of rain for the show with temps in the mid- to low-70s;   

               Lions (5) v (9) Jaguares at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, 6am, MST: catfight; visitors will like their chances on the HighVeld versus last season’s runnersup; Sleek Cats lost to Big Cats in Buenos Aires to open accounts in 2019 and see this as an opportunity to level the scores, so to speak; Lions on an 0 and 2 skid and that won’t sit well with the faithful at Ellis Park; outcomes of the battle of the backrows and between the scrumhalves will direct flow; the conditions are perfect for footy: mid-70s, bit of wind and no precipitation;

               Bulls (9) v (11) Sharks at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 8:15am MST: the South African Match-of-Weekend; Sharks were looking mighty sharp before takedown by Western Stormers last weekend, and at home in Kings Park, too; Bulls have already knocked off reigning runnersup, Lions, on the road; Sharks played the badboys last time out, with a brace of yellow assessed and Stormers standoff, Sarel Marais, punished them with sticksplitters; Bulls 10, Handre Pollard, has his three-pointer functioning sublimely well as he drove half-dozen true the sticks in the win over Lions; high 70s, no rain, bit o’ wind, but not really - ideal match from the seats!
Stormers on the bye

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