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Super 14 preview Round Fourteen – 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 Fourteen of the 2008 Super 14 starting with a big NZ derby that has the potential to knock the South African teams out – the Blues vs the Hurricanes.

 


This is the last of the scheduled or round robin matches for the 2008 Super 14. This round could even be the last scheduled round of the Super 14 as we know it because SANZAR is desperate to change the format.


But before that happens we have some more matches to play that  will decide who will contest the Semi-finals next week end and then the winners of those matches will play in the final.


BLUES V HURRICANES


This really has come to a fine end. Local derbies are always good but when you add the spice of playing for a Semi-final place and a possible selection for the All Blacks in a couple of weeks the stakes are high.


The Blues need a bonus point victory to stay in the hunt for a Semi-final. It is a long shot but not as long as the odds are for the Chiefs. The match will be David Nucifora’s last coaching the Blues so they will all want to end on a high at Eden Park. A large number of the Blues will be leaving for various parts of the world after this.


The Hurricanes showed last week that they are capable of playing two types of games. Instead of the normal attack focused game they played a much slower and determined game plan holding back the Force. If they win this week with a bonus point they are guaranteed a home Semi-final. A win alone should see them hosting a home semi provided that the Waratahs don’t put up a weird cricket score against the Reds like the Bulls did last year.


The Hurricanes will be back to pretty much full strength with the return of Jerry Collins. His return will provide an almighty clash in the loosies.


The Hurricanes haven’t had too much luck at Eden Park only winning twice out of six visits. With the Hurricanes being so close to a home semi they will be determined again and they should be able to shut the Blues down and get the win.


Hurricanes by 9


Friday May 16
Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Assessor: Stuart Beissel (New Zealand)
Head-to-Head: Played 12, Blues 8, Hurricanes 3, Drawn 1
In Auckland: Played 6, Blues 4, Hurricanes 2
Last season: Round 3, February 17 2007: Hurricanes 23-22 Blues at Westpac Stadium, Wellington


Teams

 

Blues

 

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

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

 

Hurricanes:

 

15 Cory Jane, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Piri Weepu; 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.

 

Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Tamati Ellison.

 

 

WESTERN FORCE V BRUMBIES

 

Both of these teams promised a lot at different stages of the tournament. Crucial injuries hampered both of their campaigns showing that they don’t have the depth that they would like.

 

Both teams have 28 points on the table and both teams have 6 wins and 6 losses. Points difference between the two teams is just 5 points showing just how close these two teams are. The winner of this match will be the second best Australian team (after the Tahs) and that title is exactly what they are playing for.

 

The Force have home advantage (and that awesome Blue wave of a crowd) but they have never beaten the Brumbies and former Brumby Matt Giteau will have no trouble lifting his game from last week to beat his old team-mates from Canberra.

 

Other than having your team finish higher on the table the players themselves will know that this is their last chance to impress incoming coach Robbie Deans. There are a number of on field battles to watch out for but our pick is the battle between Mark Gerrard and Cameron Shepherd who are both in the running for the Wallaby No.15 jersey.


Force by 5


Friday May 16
Subiaco Oval, Perth
Referee: Paul Marks (Australia)/Nathan Pearce (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Grant MacNeill (Australia)
TMO: Geoff Acton (Australia)
Assessor: Scott Young (Australia)
Head-to-Head: Played 2, Brumbies 2, Force 0
In Perth: Played 1, Brumbies 1, Force 0
Last season: Round 12, April 20 2007: Brumbies 14-12 Force at Canberra Stadium, Canberra


Teams

 


Emirates Western Force


1. Pek Cowan,2. Tai McIsaac,3. Troy Takiari,4. David Pusey,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),6. Matt Hodgson,7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown,9. Chris O’Young,10. Matt Giteau (vc),11. Drew Mitchell,12. James O’Connor,13. Josh Tatupu,14. Dane Haylett-Petty,15. Cameron Shepherd


Reserves:16. Luke Holmes,17. Kieran Longbottom,18. Sitaleki Timani,19. Sam Wykes,20. James Stannard,21. Scott Daruda,22. Haig Sare.

 

Brumbies

1. Nic Henderson 2. John Ulugia 3. Guy Shepherdson 4. Alister Campbell 5. Mark Chisholm 6. Mitchell Chapman 7. George Smith 8. Stephen Hoiles 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. Julian Salvi 20. Joshua Holmes 21. Matt Toomua 22. Afusipa Taumoepeau.

 

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