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Super 14 preview Round Eleven – Part One

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The Super14 picks up again on Friday and here we have a quick look at the matches coming up on Friday in Round Eleven of the 2008 Super 14 starting with yet another big one – the Crusaders vs the Blues.


The Bulls and the Force have the bye so they get the weekend off.


CRUSADERS V BLUES


Who would have thought that with the Blues topping the table in Round 3 that in Rd. 11 they would be almost out of contention for a Semi. While they are still in with a shout they need to win this weekend to stay in the hunt for a play off place.


The last two weeks have cost the Blues a number of places and with their bye coming last weekend they have slipped to seventh place on 25 points which is 13 points behind the Crusaders who are this week’s opposition.


The Crusaders look like they have already secured a play off place but a home semi is not yet secure. Last week they were definitely off the boil and Coach Robbie Deans has worked his team extra hard this week to ensure that the cobwebs from last week and well and truly shaken off.


Looking at the stats the Blues are one of the few teams that regularly get the better of the Crusaders having beaten them eight times out of their 14 clashes. Even in Christchurch they have the edge with 5 wins compared to 3 for the Crusaders.


Even with their admirable record against the Crusaders it’s hard to see the Blues who have been shaky of late beating the Crusaders at home this year.


Crusaders by 8


Friday April 25
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Brent Murray(New Zealand), Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Assessor: Stuart Beissel (New Zealand)
Head-to-Head: Played 14, Blues 8, Crusaders 6
In Christchurch: Played 8, Blues 5, Crusaders 3
Last season: Round 1, February 2 2007: Blues 34-25 Crusaders at Eden Park, Auckland


Teams


Crusaders:


Leon MacDonald, Kade Poki, Caleb Ralph, Tim Bateman, Sean Maitland, Stephen Brett, Andrew Ellis, Mose Tuialii, Richard McCaw, Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks


Reserves: Tii Paulo, Wyatt Crockett, Ross Filipo, Nasi Manu, Kahn Fotualii, Hamish Gard, Scott Hamilton.


Blues:


1 Tony Woodcock , 2 Keven Mealamu , 3 John Afoa , 4 Anthony Boric , 5 Troy Flavell ‘ , 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Daniel Braid , 8 Nick Williams , 9 Taniela Moa , 10 Nick Evans , 11 Rudi Wulf , 12 Benson Stanley , 13 Anthony Tuitavake , 14 David Smith, 15 Isa Nacewa


Reserves: 16. Nick White, 17. Bronson Murray , 18. Kurtis Haiu , 19. Justin Collins , 20. Danny Lee , 21. Isaia Toeava , 22. Ben Atiga.


BRUMBIES V LIONS


Let’s face it, only a miracle will see the Lions pulling off a win here. The Brumbies have not been the team they were a few years ago but it’s hard to see the Brumbies losing to the Lions. The Lions may well end up all square at half time like last week but they have developed a habit of going off the boil in the second half.


The Brumbies are still in with a chance for the play offs and picking up five points this week will keep them in the hunt ahead of their daunting away tour against the Stormers, Bulls and Force.


The Brumbies will have captain Stirling Mortlock back after he was ruled out late last week which will be a boost.

 

The Lions won their first match (Cheetahs) and since that match they have only managed a draw (Reds) in eight matches.

Expect the Brumbies to win this comfortably.


Brumbies by 15


Friday April 25
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Brett Bowden (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)
Assessor: Wayne Erickson (Australia)
Head-to-Head: Played 13, Brumbies 10, Lions/Cats 3
In Canberra: Played 7, Brumbies 7, Lions/Cats 0
Last season: Round 9, March 31 2007: Brumbies 14-9 Lions at Ellis Park, Johannesburg


Teams


Brumbies


1. Nic Henderson,2. John Ulugia,3. Guy Shepherdson ,4. Alister Campbell ,5. Mark Chisholm,6. Mitchell Chapman ,7. George Smith ,8. Julian Salvi ,9. Patrick Phibbs,10. Christian Lealiifano,11. Francis Fainifo ,12. Tyrone Smith ,13. Stirling Mortlock (c) ,14. Adam Ashley-Cooper ,15. Mark Gerrard


Reserves : 16. Saia Faingaa,17. Salesi Ma’afu ,18. Peter Kimlin ,19. Ben Alexander,20. Stephen Hoiles,21. Joshua Holmes,2. Sanualio Afeaki.


Lions:


Earl Rose, Louis Ludik, Jannie Boshoff, Walter Venter, Rayno Benjamin, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Joe van Niekerk , Cobus Grobbelaar (capt.), Gerhard Mostert, Dewald Senekal, JC van Rensburg, Willie Wepener, Heinke van der Merwe.


Reserves :Ethienne Reynecke, Eugene Maqwelana, Franco van Merwe, Wilhelm, Koch, Chris Jonck, Rudi Vogt, Dusty Noble.

 

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