ACT Brumbies

Round 8 Ultimate Preview

Round 8 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 8th April

Highlanders v. Cheetahs @ Carisbrook, Dunedin 5:35pm AEST

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 James Paterson.

IN: Bekhuis, Te Moana, Robinson
OUT: Donnelly, Aulika, Brown

A few small changes for the Highlanders, with Josh Bekhuis coming in to the starting lineup for Tom Donnelly as well as some bench subs.

Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Burger 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Wilmaure Louw, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp (c), 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen. Replacements: 16 Skipper Badenhorst , 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22  Riaan Smit.

IN: Johnson, Muller, Karemaker, Smit
OUT: van der Walt, van der Westhizen, Gee

The injuries continue for the hapless Cheetahs, losing key backrower van der Walt this week. Ashley Johnson comes in to the XV in his place.

Recent History: Highlanders 5 – 0 Cheetahs. The Highlanders have been surprisingly dominant over the Cheetahs, and won 31–24 away from home in their last encounter.

Last 5: Highlanders WLLxW, Cheetahs LLWLL

Hornet’s Tip: The train just keeps rolling for the Highlanders this season and last week was no exception. They are increasingly looking like a pretty complete team, against all predictions. Hats off to the job Jamie Joseph has done with them. The Cheetahs will be looking forward to getting home after a long road trip. They’ll need a mighty effort in Dunedin to take any points… it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to get anything out of this one. Tartan Army by 15.

Odds: Highlanders $1.17, Cheetahs $5.15

Saturday 9th April

Crusaders v. Bulls @ Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru 5:35pm AEST

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Matt Berquist, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Kahn Fotuali’i, 21 Tom Marshall, 22 Adam Whitelock.

IN: Berquist, Jack, Romano, Marshall
OUT: Carter, S. Whitelock

A couple of big losses for the Crusaders, with Carter expected to be out for just one week but Sam Whitelock is facing two months on the sideline.

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

IN: Russouw
OUT: van der Westhuyzen

Just one change as the Bulls resort to a 5/2 split on the bench.

Recent History: Crusaders 3 – 2 Bulls. The Bulls won both meetings in 2010, although both were at Loftus. Before then it was all the Crusaders though.

Last 5: Crusaders WWWWx, Bulls LxLWW

Hornet’s Tip: The Cru look nigh-on unbeatable at present and the scary part is Sir Richard hasn’t suited up for them yet. They are in just about the best form they could hope for right now, with their pack supplying quality ball to Super Rugby’s most destructive midfield. The Bulls ground out a good win last week, thanks in large part to the accurate boot of Morné Steyn. They’ll have their work cut out for them, but I reckon this will be fairly close. Cru, but not by much (6).

Odds: Crusaders $1.32, Bulls $3.45

Brumbies v. Hurricanes @ Canberra Stadium, Canberra, 7:40pm AEST

Brumbies: 15. Matt Toomua, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10. Matt Giteau (c), 9 Josh Valentine, 8. Ita Vaea, 7. Julian Salvi, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Mark Chisholm, 4. Ben Hand, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Huia Edmonds, 1. Ben Alexander. Reserves: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Dan Palmer, 18. Colby Faingaa, 19. Michael Hooper, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Tyrone Smith/ Pat McCabe, 22. Francis Fainifo/Pat McCabe.

The Brumbies are unchanged, although Pat McCabe could come onto the bench if he is passed fit to play.

Hurricanes: 15. Andre Taylor, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tyson Keats, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Serge Lilo, 6. Jack Lam, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Neemia Tialata, 2. Andrew Hore (c), 1. John Schwalger. Reserves: 16. Dane Coles, 17. Michael Bent, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Faifili Levave, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22. Charlie Ngatai.

IN: Taylor, Cruden, Keats, Bent, Levave, Leiua
OUT: Kirkpatrick, Eaton, Ellison, Reddish, Jane, Savea

Plenty of changes for the struggling Canes, with Taylor, Leiua, Cruden and Keats all coming into the backline.

Recent History: Brumbies 1 – 4 Hurricanes. The Canes have won the last four clashes with the Ponies, the last being a 23–12 win in Canberra.

Last 5: Brumbies LxLLL, Hurricanes – xWLLL

Hornet’s Tip: The battle of who can suck least, this one. Both of these teams have been pretty deplorable at times and go into this game in ordinary form. Let’s hope one or both teams decide to chuck the pill around and go for broke. Neither really has anything to lose. In a total lottery, I’m going with the Canes by 5.

Odds: Brumbies $1.72, Hurricanes $2.15

Force v. Waratahs @ nib Stadium, Perth 10:05pm AEST

Force: 15. James O’Connor, 14.  David Smith, 13. Nick Cummins, 12. Gene Fairbanks, 11. Cameron Shepherd, 10. Willie Ripia, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Ben McCalman, 7. Jono Jenkins, 6. Richard Brown, 5. Nathan Sharpe (c), 4. Sam Wykes, 3. Tim Fairbrother, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pek Cowan. Reserves: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Kieran Longbottom, 18. Tom Hockings, 19. Tevita Metuisela, 20. James Stannard, 21. Rory Sidey, 22. Pat Dellit.

IN: Ripia, Jenkins
OUT: Sidey, Hodgson, Brandon

This week sees the long-awaited debut of Willie Ripia, a change that pushes JO’C to fullback and Shepherd to the wing. Jono Jenkins comes in for the injured Hodgson.

Waratahs: 15. Lachie Turner 14. Afa Pakalani 13. Ryan Cross 12. Tom Carter 11. Drew Mitchell 10. Kurtley Beale 9. Luke Burgess 8. Wycliff Palu 7. Pat McCutcheon 6. Ben Mowen 5. Kane Douglas 4. Dean Mumm (c) 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 1. Benn Robinson. Reserves: 16. Damien Fitzpatrick 17. Al Baxter 18. Sitaleki Timani 19. Dave Dennis 20.  Chris Alcock 21. Brendan McKibbin 22. Daniel Halangahu.

IN: McCutcheon, Douglas, Baxter, Alcock
OUT: Waugh, O’Connor, Ryan

Phil Waugh is out yet again for the Tahs, with Pat McCutcheon taking the 7 shirt in his place. Kane Douglas comes back in place of Pat O’Connor, while Al Baxter returns from injury to the bench.

Recent History: Force 1 – 3 Waratahs. Other than the 32–7 Tahs win in 2006 these games have been tighter than a chook’s proverbial. The average margin of the last four games has been just 2.5, and that includes a 16-all draw in 2007. Last year the Tahs just got up 14–10 in the west.

Last 5: Force LDWLL, Waratahs LxLWW

Hornet’s Tip: The Force had one their now-customary fade-outs/brain explosions/whatever you want to call it and blew it against the Rebels last week. They seem unable to close out the tight ones at the moment and it’s very frustrating for fans like yours truly! The Tahs aren’t necessarily in the best nick themselves, but they are at least winning the ones they need to (Cheetahs notwithstanding). The continued non-selection of Chris Alcock is baffling, but I expect them to have too much class in the backs and composure for the Force. The battle in the inside backs should be good value though. Tahs by 8.

Odds: Force $2.88, Waratahs $1.42

Sunday 1oth April

Stormers v. Reds @ Newlands, Cape Town 1:05am AEST

Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Wicus Blaauw. Reserves: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nick Koster, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 . Juan de Jongh.


Reds: 15. Luke Morahan, 14. Rod Davies, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 12. Mike Harris, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Will Genia; 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. Beau Robinson, 6. Radike Samo, 5. James Horwill (c), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. James Hanson, 1. Ben Daley. Res: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19. Leroy Houston, 20. Liam Gill, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Will Chambers.

IN: Samo, Simmons, Hanson, Daley, Gill, Chambers, Shepherdson
OUT: Houston, Wallace-Harrison, S. Faingaa, Holmes, Schatz, Tapuai

Link is playing musical chairs this week, with no injuries but plenty of changes. A backline reshuffle sees Mike Harris move to IC, pushing Faingaa to OC, Ioane to the wing and Morahan to the back. In the forwards Samo, Simmons, Hanson and Daley come in for Houston, AWH, the other Faingaa and Holmes.

Recent History: Stormers 4 – 1 Reds. The Stormers were dominant over the Reds until the Queenslanders got up 16–13 at home last year.

Last 5: Stormers WWWWW, Reds WxWWW

Hornet’s Tip: The Stormers, like the Cru, look nearly impregnable right now. They are super-solid in the set piece, at the breakdown and around the ground. Their only real weakness is a slight lack of attacking flair, but that doesn’t matter hugely when you are winning. The Reds go to Cape Town with a first tour win under their belt and with some pretty reasonable form. They’ll need to really front up against the big Stormers pack and try to run them around to have any chance. It should be an immense battle in the collisions, and out wide. I’m going with the men from the Cape by 10.

Odds: Stormers $1.32, Reds $3.45

Sharks v. Lions @ ABSA Stadium, Durban 3:10am AEST

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik , 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche (c), 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Gerhard Mostert, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Eugene van Staden, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. John Smit . Reserves: 16. Tendai Mtawarira, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Conrad Hoffmann, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo

IN: Mostert, van Staden, Smit, Skeate
OUT: Hargreaves, J. du Plessis, Mtawarira

Alistair Hargreaves goes out with injury, and the front row is rotated yet again.

Lions: 15 James Kamana, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies La Grange, 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss, 6 Derrick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe (c), 4 George Earle, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Reserves: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 David de Villiers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22  Jaco Taute

IN: Kamana, Minnie, Earle, de Villiers
OUT: Killian, Grobbelaar, Bulbring

James Kamana returns at fullback, while dynamic forwards Earle and Minnie return to the starting lineup.

Recent History: Sharks 5 – 0 Lions. Last year’s 32–28 result was the closest the Lions have ever got to the Sharks. Their record at Durban is less than pleasant though.

Last 5: Sharks WWLLL, Lions LWLLL

Hornet’s Tip: The Sharks have lost their last couple but they haven’t looked that bad doing it. They’ve just been up against some quality teams. They are at home and against one of the weaker teams in the competition and therefore should right the ship this week. The Lions will once again offer plenty of enthusiasm and gusto but have nowhere near the class across the paddock the Sharks have, and I’m tipping the men from Durban by 9.

Odds: Sharks $1.21, Lions $4.50

Note: All of the teams are listed in convenient table form on our Ruggapedia. Add it as a favourite, as it will be updated as teams are released and late changes are made.

Expect the Hurricanes to be blown away this weekend (I know, I'll show myself out)

The Bet: We had a cracking result last week thanks to the Stormers and Lions, and now are sitting on a $27 profit. Not too shabby if you ask me, and we are going to push the boat out a bit in hope of a big return. The Waratahs v. Force games are traditionally tight encounters, and I don’t expect it to change this year as both sides are desperate for the win. They are the first leg of our multi. The second leg is the Brumbies, who weren’t as bad as some have suggested in losing a tight one to the Highlanders. The Canes, on the other hand, were pretty average indeed and I don’t expect that to change this week. So:

Take a multi of the Brumbies straight out into the Waratahs (1-12) at $4.90 with Centrebet.

Whom are you tipping this weekend?

ACT Brumbies

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