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Bruising Battles Ahead

T20 World Cup

This competition sees the top twelve national cricket sides come together for two fast and furious weeks of T20 cricket action.

To join us in the fun prediction pool, please go to the Moonstone pool Tref & Trap. The pool code cedeveil, and the tournament is called World T20.

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Super 15 Roundup

Chiefs/Stormers

Jean de Villiers pulled something of an Aussie cricket trick when he highlighted the possibility of illegal tactics by NZ sides. He referred specifically to the Crusaders’ tactics of holding on to players at the ruck, and said that he was expecting the same from the Chiefs this weekend.

“I disagree with the suggestion that there might be a little bit of holding on in Hamilton on Friday. There will be a heck of a lot of holding on.”

Referring to the Schalk Burger incident against the Crusaders, De Villiers said:

“You have two options in situations like that – you leave it to the referee to sort out and if he doesn’t then the players have to sort it out themselves. But when the players get left to do something about it there is the potential for everything to get messy so let’s just hope that Craig is alert to the tactic and doesn’t let it become an issue.”

“I will be in referee Craig Joubert’s ear before the game in Hamilton, you can be sure about that, and if it happens like it did in Christchurch I will be on his case during the game as well,” De Villiers told SuperSport.

The Chiefs’ assistant coach, Andrew Strawbridge, conceded that ill-discipline has been a problem for his team. The fact that his side is one of only three unbeaten sides in the competition thus far makes verbosity a waste of time.

Watch this space!

Hurricanes/Cheetahs

The Cheetahs will have their hands full containing Hurricanes open-side flanker, Ardie Savea, who will make his first start in Wellington on Saturday. Most NZ commentators were surprised at his exclusion from the starting line-up, and now the 20-year-old has the opportunity to prove them right.

The Cheetahs team can at best be described as a “gelapte span” due to numerous injuries, but there are no indications that they will relinquish their open style of play. With the ‘Canes playing the same brand of rugby, expect the score to be high, but not necessarily the points difference. This depends of course on which Cheetahs team runs on – the highly determined, or the lackadaisical one. Thus far, the Cheetahs have amassed 85 points in four matches, but they conceded 108. Poor defence will widen the points gap.

Lions/Blues

Benji Marshall, the rugby league convert, was picked at fullback for the Blues against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday in one of five changes to last weekend’s team who lost to the Bulls. Let’s hope for our sake this is not another Sonny Bill in the making.

Sir John Kirwan said that their focus in preparing had been on keeping things simple, but he did indicate that they intended racking up some points to take home.

“It’s not desperation time but if you want to be around at the end of the tournament then you’ve got to keep in touch with the leaderboard.”

I am holding thumbs that the Lions, aided by the altitude, will deliver the coup de grãce in the second half, when they normally gear up a notch or three.

Sharks/Reds

The NZ Herald writes:

Battle-scarred Queensland flanker Liam Gill has been cleared for this weekend’s test of character for the Reds’ pack against the Super Rugby-leading Sharks. Gill has been their most influential forward in their opening three matches and they’ll need him to be at his best against the bruising Sharks pack on Sunday morning.

Former Brumbies coach Jake White’s new team have brushed aside the Bulls, Hurricanes and Lions with an abrasive power game.

With huge Springbok forwards Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski, the Sharks will again aim to overpower Queensland, who field one of the smaller packs in the competition.

“We expect them to really come at us,” Gill said. “But we’re very excited about it.”

Reds forwards coach Nick Stiles has worked hard on improving technical aspects at the set-piece and a pack mentality and their extra mobility will be keys to combating the Sharks’ size.

Read technical aspects as illegal scrummaging in the hope that the referee does not spot it.

This is one match where I do not see the Reds winning, unless the Sharks lose it through overconfidence.

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