ACT Brumbies

Round 18 Ultimate Preview

Round 18 Ultimate Preview

This is the Super Rugby Ultimate Preview, your one-stop shop for everything you need to know for those all-important tips or fantasy transfers. As always the Brown Hornet is on board, providing his well thought-out tips for each fixture.

Friday 10th June

Blues v. Highlanders @ Eden Park, Auckland 5:35pm AEST

Blues: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Charlie Faumuina. Reserves: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Sean Polwart, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers

IN: Smylie, Munro, W Stanley
OUT: Mathewson, Ranger

Rene Ranger is gone for up to four weeks, while Alby Mathewson has been given a week on the bench.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Matt Saunders, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: 16 Mo Schwalger, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Robbie Robinson 22 Telusa Veainu

IN: Donnelly, Saunders, Cowan, King
OUT: Bekhuis, Poki, Smith, Murray, Hardie

Tom Donnelly returns to the fold, as does Jimmy Cowan. Kade Poki is out with a knee injury.

Recent History: Blues 5 – 0 Highlanders. The Blues have been dominant, but only won 15-10 when these two sides met in Dunedin in Round 11.

Last 5: Blues LLxLL, Highlanders WxLLL

Hornet’s Tip: Two teams on the slide square off in this one. The Blues have been for most of the season a bloody good footy team and deservedly near the top of the standings. However the wheels, while not falling off, do seem to have a bit of a wobble in them. Their finals spot isn’t under any threat, but if they aren’t careful, they could spend their finals campaign playing away. A bonus point win here would be very handy indeed. They’ve got most of their squad intact, but they need to play some smarter footy. The Highlander’s season is over after their loss to the Tahs last week and it has to be said that they’ve undone a lot of their good work earlier in the season. They just couldn’t do a thing right last week and had more than enough of the pill to win — if only they’d known what to do with it! I reckon the Blues will right the ship this week and take the points. Blues by 10.

Odds: Blues $1.24, Highlanders $4.15


Rebels v. Force @ AAMI Park, Melbourne 7:40pm AEST

Rebels: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Richard Kingi, 13 Afusipa Taumopeau, 12 Stirling Mortlock (c), 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Alister Campbell, 4 Adam Byrnes, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson. Reserves: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Kevin O’Neill, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Lachie Mitchell, 21 Peter Betham, 22 Julian Huxley

IN: Taumopeau, Byrnes, Henderson
OUT: Huxley, O’Neill, Blake

Hux is dropped to the bench after a less than impressive display against the Brumbies. Byrnes comes in for O’Neill, and Henderson in for Blake.

Force: 15. Pat Dellit, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Mitch Inman, 12. Rory Sidey, 11. David Smith, 10. James Stannard, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Richard Brown, 7. David Pocock, 6. Matt Hodgson, 5. Ben McCalman, 4. Sam Wykes, 3. Matt Dunning, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Kieran Longbottom, Reserves: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Tom Hockings, 19. Ben McCalman, 20. Mark Swanepoel, 21. Willie Ripia, 22. Cameron Shepherd

IN: Inman, McCalman, Jenkins, Ripia, Shepherd
OUT: O’Connor, Sharpe, Fairbrother, Mafi

Two big losses in Sharpe (injured) and O’Connor (suspended) give opportunities to Mitch Inman and Ben McCalman.

Recent History: Force 0 – 1 Rebels. The Rebels have a 100% success record against the Force, after winning their Round 7 match 26-25 in Perth.

Last 5: Rebels LLxLL, Force xDLWL

Hornet’s Tip: In truth, a pretty meaningless game this one in the context of the Australian conference; they are playing for pride only (and maybe a Test jersey or two). The Rebels haven’t addressed their defensive issues that have been problematic all season. They’ve won a few more games than anyone thought they would (and more than the Force did in their first season), but there are some problems that will need to be sorted out next season, even with the arrival of Messrs Beale and (probably) O’Connor. The Force will want to finish strongly, especially in light of the situation with O’Connor this week. It will either have the effect of galvanising the team or hurting morale and that will probably be what decides this game. I’m expecting a pretty free flowing affair and probably not a lot of tackling. Force by 8.

Odds: Rebels $2.90, Force $1.42


Saturday 11th June

Chiefs v. Reds @ Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 3:30pm AEST

Chiefs: 15. Mils Muliaina (c), 14. Lelia Masaga, 13. Save Tokula, 12. Dwayne Sweeney, 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10. Stephen Donald, 9. Brendon Leonard, 8. Fritz Lee, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Craig Clarke, 4. Romana Graham, 3. Nathan White, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 1. Ben May. Reserves: 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Ben Afeaki, 18. Callum Retallick, 19. Matt Vant Leven, 20. Taniwha Kerr-Barlow, 21. Tim Nanai-Williams, 22. Jackson Willison

IN: Tokula, Graham, de Malmanche, Afeaki
OUT: Kahui, Ross, Elliot, Smith

Richard Kahui and Isaac Ross both bow out with injury, and Elliot rotates with de Malmanche.

Reds: TBA

Recent History: Chiefs 4 – 1 Reds. The Reds will be confident of a victory after a 23-18 victory in Hamilton last year.

Last 5: Chiefs WLxWD, Reds WxWLW

Hornet’s Tip: The Chiefs are coming to the end of what has to be said is a very disappointing season for them. The squad they have should, on paper, be much better than their results would suggest. They even drew against a hapless and divided Canes team last week. This week will be interesting to observe in terms of whether they want to finish strongly or have given it away. For the Reds, this game has danger written all over it. For starters, they are a wounded squad right now, especially in the backs. The pack, fortunately, are in pretty good shape and will want to starve the very handy Chiefs backline. Horwill, Samo and co. will really need to step up, just like they did in the latter stages of the equally dangerous Force last week. A lot will also rest on smart football from Genia and Cooper (he of the miracle double cut-out pass) to play good field position and limit the mistakes. The Reds have proven they can win with that kind of game plan and will be hoping to escape from the Tron with fifteen fit blokes and look forward to a week off. Reds by 5.

Odds: Chiefs $1.87, Reds $1.95


Crusaders v. Hurricanes @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington 5:35pm AEST

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks. Reserves: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathon Poff, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Matt Berquist, 22. Tu Umaga-Marshall

IN: Crotty, Umaga-Marshall
OUT: Williams

The loss of SBW is the Crusaders’ only change.

Hurricanes: 15. Cory Jane, 14. Julian Savea, 13. Alapati Leiua, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Piri Weepu, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. James Broadhurst, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Neemia Tialata, 2. Andrew Hore (c), 1. John Schwalger. Reserves: 16. Laurence Corlett, 17. Anthony Perenise, 18. Jason Eaton, 19. Mark Reddish, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Jayden Hayward, 22. Richard Buckman.

IN: Corlett, Perenise, C Eaton
OUT: Coles, Ellison, Keats

Three changes for the Canes, all on the bench.

Recent History: Crusaders 2 – 1 Hurricanes. This game was called a draw in Round 2 due to the earthquake, but the 2010 meeting was also a draw, 26-26 in Wellington.

Last 5: Crusaders LWLxW, Hurricanes LxWWD

Hornet’s Tip: The Crusaders can assure themselves of first place in their conference by beating the Canes, preferably with a bonus point. On paper, you’d have to say that they are a big chance to do precisely that. Even with the injury toll they’ve endured, they’ve gone about their season in a typically professional manner. They play smart footy and mostly beat their opposition in the key areas (set piece, break down, restarts, field position). The Canes probably can’t wait for the season to be over and we’re already starting to see some changes being made by Mark Hammett. There are big problems at that franchise and their coach will either look a genius or a goose by the end of next season. The Cru should realistically give them a flogging this week. Cru by 15.

Odds: Crusaders $1.32, Hurricanes $3.45


Waratahs v. Brumbies @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney 7:40pm AEST

Waratahs: 15. Kurtley Beale 14. Lachie Turner 13. Ryan Cross 12. Tom Carter 11. Atieli Pakalani 10. Daniel Halangahu 9. Luke Burgess 8. Dave Dennis 7. Phil Waugh (c) 6. Dean Mumm 5. Sitaleki Timani 4. Pat O’Connor 3. Al Baxter 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 1. Benn Robinson. Reserves: 16. John Ulugia 17. Jeremy Tilse 18. Dan Vickerman 19. Chris Alcock 20. Hugh Perrett 21. Josh Holmes 22. Sosene Anesi

IN: Cross, Pakalani, O’Connor, Vickerman
OUT: Barnes, Anesi, Palu

Barnes and Palu are out with injury (again) and in come Cross and O’Connor. Pakalani comes in for Anesi, and Dan Vickerman makes his triumphant return to Aussie rugby on the bench.

Brumbies: 15. Christian Lealiifano, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tyrone Smith, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10. Matt Giteau (c), 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8. Ita Vaea, 7. Julian Salvi, 6. Mitch Chapman, 5. Ben Hand, 4. Peter Kimlin, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Jerry Yanuyanutawa . Reserves: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Jono Owen, 18. Henry Vanderglas, 19. Tom Boidin, 20. Josh Valentine, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Andrew Smith

IN: Vaea, Valentine
OUT: Vanderglass, Carter, White

Ita Vaea comes back for suspension for Henry Vanderglas, who drops to the bench.

Recent History: Waratahs 3 – 2 Brumbies. The Waratahs won a nailbiter in Round 6 thanks to a late Timani try.

Last 5:  Waratahs xWLLW, Brumbies LDLWW

Hornet’s Tip: Massive, massive game for the Tahs this week and against one of their traditional Super Rugby rivals. Like the Reds and Cru, they have an injury list a mile long, but I’ll give them credit — they are survivors. With the season they’ve had, to still be in contention is a commendable effort in my view. With injuries all over the park, they are going to need a massive effort against a team who would really, really want to beat them this weekend. The Brumbies have improved quite a bit over the last couple of weeks and have started to show the kind of form expected of them at the start of the season. Where the hell has that been all year? This will be a very spirited affair, I’m sure. Tahs by 5.

Odds: Waratahs $1.33, Brumbies $3.35


Sunday 12th June

Bulls v. Sharks @ Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 1:05am AEST

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling. Reserves: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Fourie de Preez, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Akona Ndungane

IN: B Botha, Ralepelle, du Preez, Ndungane
OUT: Rossouw, G Botha, Kuun, Jinka, Dippenaar

Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez both make comebacks from injury, while Gary Botha rotates with Chiliboy.

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Freddy Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Gerhard Mostert, 4 Alistair Hargreaves, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Subs: 16 John Smit, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Marcel Coetzee, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Louis Ludik.

IN: Michalak, Deysel, Hargreaves, J Du Plessis, B Du Plessis, Skeate, Alberts
OUT: Ludik, Potgieter, Botes, Sykes, van Staden, Smit

Plenty of changes for the Sharks, with internationals Freddy Michalak and Jannie Du Plessis making their much-anticipated returns to the starting XV.

Recent History: Bulls 4 – 1 Sharks. The Bulls won only a month ago over the Sharks, 32-23 in Durban. The Sharks last win over the Bulls came back in 2008.

Last 5: Bulls WWWWW, Sharks xLWWD

Hornet’s Tip: Win or go home for both teams in this one and it should be absolutely huge. The Bulls have a real roll-on going and will be feeling pretty good about their chances. The pack that looked old and tired earlier in the season have stepped up a gear and their old game plan still looks like it has some life in it. Expect them to absolutely harrass the Sharks all game. The Sharks, for their part, ought to be wondering how they find themselves playing a virtual elimination semi to make the finals. They’ve at times played some pretty good footy this season, but have given up some points when they really ought not have. This is harder to pick than a broken nose and I expect the battle in the pigs to be immense. I’m flipping a coin and saying the Bulls by 3.

Odds: Bulls $1.40, Sharks $3.00


Cheetahs v. Stormers @ Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein 3:10am AEST

Cheetahs: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Riaan Viljoen, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Barry Geel, 11. Ryno Benjamin, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Ashley Johnson, 6. Johan Wessels, 5. Martin Muller, 4. Francois Uys, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Coenie Oosthuizen. Reserves: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Lourens Adriaanse, 18. Izak van der Westhuizen, 19. Pieter Myburgh, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Corne Uys, 22. Riaan Smit.

IN: Geel, Benjamin
OUT: Uys, Snyman, Olivier

Only a couple of changes for the Cheetahs, with Benjamin coming back from suspension on the wing.

Stormers: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Jean De Villiers, 13. Jaque Fourie, 12. Juan de Jongh, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Francois Louw, 6. Schalk Burger (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Rynhardt Elstadt, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Wicus Blaauw Reserves: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. Anton van Zyl, 19. Nick Koster, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Johann Sadie, 22. Conrad Jantjes

IN: de Jongh, Grant, Duvenage, Liebenberg, Schreuder
OUT: Jantjes, Coleman, Januarie, D Fourie, Kitshoff

Peter Grant makes a crucial comeback, while Juan de Jongh returns to the centres forcing a backline shuffle.

Recent History: Cheetahs 1 – 4 Stormers. The Stormers have won the last four games, and took it out 21-15 in a tight one back in Round 3.

Last 5: Cheetahs WWLLx, Stormers LWWWL

Hornet’s Tip: The last game of the regular season and one where the result won’t really won’t make a huge difference, apart from a chance for the Stormers to take top spot and play all their games at Newlands. The Cheetahs will give plenty of cheek I reckon, but I can’t see them penetrating that brick wall defence of the Stormers. They’ll need to try and run those big bodies around and conjure up a result that way. The Stormers will probably play exactly how they have all season try to win off the back of their defence, good field position and strong set piece. And win I think they will, by 10.

Odds: Cheetahs $3.25, Stormers $1.35



Backing up on the Brumbies, who are in top form

The Bet: Well we were dudded by the Chiefs last weekend, and as a result are now sitting on a $56 profit. So I am going back to my previous winning strategy of backing underdogs to get within the points margin. This week I am going with the Highlanders and Brumbies, who have both been given juicy starts in games I expect them to be very competitive in. The Clan will fancy their chances against a Blues side that has lost four straight games and is struggling for confidence. The Brumbies always get close to the Tahs, and with a bit of momentum I expect Saturday night’s game to be another nailbiter. So:


Take a multi of the Highlanders +10.5 into the Brumbies +8.5 at $3.64 with Centrebet.



Whom are you tipping?

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