Originally Posted by katman
A couple of big games coming up this weekend (ignore the kick-off times - they're South African):
Friday 22 February Hurricanes v Reds Wellington 19:35
Friday 22 February Cheetahs v W Force Bloemfontein 18:00
Friday 22 February Bulls v Crusaders Pretoria 20:05
Saturday 23 February Chiefs v Waratahs Hamilton 19:35
Saturday 23 February Brumbies v Highlanders Canberra 19:40
Saturday 23 February Sharks v Stormers Durban 17:00
Saturday 23 February Lions v Blues Johannesburg 19:05
A really tough ask for all the Ozzy teams, if you ask me. Considering they're playing at home against the Highlanders, you''d expect the Brumbies to walk this one. But I've never seen such a depleted/inexperienced Brumbies side.
The two favourites, Blues and Crusaders, both travel to the highveld to play the Lions and Bulls respectively. Should theoretically be wins for both NZ teams, but Ellis Park and Loftus Versfeld are notoriously hostile environments for traveling teams. Plus the thin air up on the highveld really bites the lungs in the second half. Could just be an upset or two on the cards. Go Lions.
Sorry, Ozzy, but I think the 'Canes will have too much gas in the tank for the Reds in Wellington. Cheetahs and Force could go down to the wire. I'm going with Cheetahs, but that's just my patriotism speaking. Chiefs Waratahs is a really tough one to call. Hamilton is never kind to visitors, but I'm going with the Sydney boys on this one. And finally, the Sharks (our best bet for another title) should ease past the Stormers in Durban. Going to be very hot and humid there - not sure we'll see the best display of running rugby.
I'm a 'Tah's man, so the Reds sucess isn't paramount to me. I'd just like to see them have a good year. The 'Tahs have an amazing forward pack; 1. Matt Dunning, 2. Adam Freier, 3. Al Baxter, 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Dan Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. Phil Waugh (c), 8. Wycliff Palu, with Mumm being the only non-starting Wallaby. Add some young talent in the backs; Kurtley Beale, Lachlan Turner, Luke Burgess as well as Lote Tuquiri and league convert Timana Tahu. It's a seriously strong base for the young backs to feed off, and the reserve bench is strong too. Wallaby Benn Robinson, Luke Burgess and Beau Robinson are my favourites. Beau is a seriously hard hitter, he put Jerry Collins down for a few minutes with a massive tackle.