Chiefs vs Cheetahs
From NZ Herald:
Chiefs coach, Dave Rennie, is wary of a Cheetahs side which lost to the Sharks in their opening game, but there is no doubt he is taking the chance to rest co-captain Clarke and All Blacks halfback, Kerr-Barlow.
Rennie said: “Out of all the South African sides the Cheetahs probably play a style that is closest to ours. They are innovative and can score tries from anywhere around the park and like all South African sides, they are big and physical.
“We had a really free-flowing match against them in Bloemfontein last year, and we are expecting them to play a style of game similar to us, which is a free-flowing, high-paced, ruck and run game.”
Benewens die feit dat hulle vlugflou (jet lag, Tony) gaan wees, is dit voorwaar ‘n taai toets vir die Vrystaters om in hul eerste twee wedstryde teen die finaliste van verlede jaar te speel. Mens kan amper verstaan as hulle sou besluit om net met eer uit die stryd te tree, maar dis nie hoe die Cheetahs se koppe werk nie. Iets wat in hulle guns kan tel, is oorgerustheid by die Chiefs, soos blyk uit die weglaat van twee sleutelspelers uit hul beginspan.
As die Cheetahs hierdie een kan wen, gaan hulle seisoen sommer baie rooskleuriger lyk.
Bulls vs Western Force
Soos die Chiefs, is die grootste gevaar vir die Bulls dat hulle oorgerus kan wees. Op een stadium het ek gedink hulle moet hierdie wedstryd beskou as nog ‘n opwarmingswedstryd, maar die verkeerde ingesteldheid kan hulle duur te staan kom. My voorspelling is meedoënlose inklimspel, en die bonuspunt vir drieë voor rustyd. Die Sydney Morning Herald stel dit so:
Former Cheetah Ebersohn has a reliable boot which will be crucial against the Bulls. Still, the Force appears road-kill in Pretoria where Pierre Spies’ monster pack revels. The Bulls have made minor changes with flanker Dewald Potgieter and centre JJ Engelbrecht replaced. The Force were sloppy against the Kings and must, at the very least, muscle up and get the basics right.
The winless Force have led at halftime in both matches this season but crumbled in the second-half. With Bulls five-eighth Morne Steyn on song, the Force won’t be leading after 40 minutes in Pretoria – nor at fulltime.
Sharks vs Stormers
The media hype is all about revenge, but as we have seen in politics, revenge is seldom a positive driver. Expect both sides to have learnt from their last encounter, and play the game required on the day.
The Sharks must be favourites at home, and even more so in the expected wet conditions. They have loaded their line-out to prevent the spoiling game played by the Cape side in the Currie Cup final. With Lambie on song, and their Springbok props raring to go, the result should be a foregone conclusion.
The Stormers would have had some serious words after last week’s very poor first half. In the past, they managed to remain in the game, thanks to the kicking boots of Peter Grant and Joe Pietersen. Last week, Jantjes could not do so, and they ended up losing convincingly, despite the narrow score line. Key for the Capies will be confidence from Jantjes, not only in the goal kicking department, but also in general play. Coach Coetzee’s will hope that his show of confidence in the team who lost last week will be vindicated, or some serious rethinking will need to be done.