Super Rugby Round 6 is another full round featuring seven matches with only one local derby in each conference, the Bulls vs Sharks match is sure to be a cracker! Otherwise there are teams scattered all over the South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The Cheetahs and Stormers seem to have been on the road for ages, while the Reds are the only overseas team in South Africa while the Chiefs start their tour in Perth.
The Crusaders have the bye this round, this should affect players of fantasy rugby games with Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock out. Managers should be aware of three teams having the bye next week in the Force, Cheetahs and Lions. After two teams lost after having the bye, maybe it isn’t a good thing to have a bye. Both the Waratahs and Highlanders lost last week.
Managers need to be weary of players who are injured, suspended or being rotated and check the team lists before making any selections. Blade Thomson from the Hurricanes is injured, while Ben McCalman from the Force is suspended. The Highlanders Shaun Treeby and John Hardie are being rested.
For Super Rugby Round 6 Team Lists go to
Highlanders vs Hurricanes
The Highlanders host the Hurricanes in a local Super Rugby Round 6 derby on Friday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Both teams have had far from convincing starts to 2014 and have only registered one win each. It is difficult to know what affect last week’s results will have on both of these teams. The Hurricanes won a glorified game of touch rugby 60-27 over the Cheetahs, while will the Highlanders’ agonising 31-29 to the Force inspire them to victory?
This match has a mate on mate feel to it with so many players in the Highlanders coming from the Hurricanes region, this should be a great game, played in the right spirit. Jamie Joseph used to coach Wellington.
Both teams have made changes for this match with the combination of both sets of loose forwards the major talking point. The Hurricanes have benched Blade Thomson and are starting Faifili Levave and two opensides in Ardie Savea and Jack Lam, while the Highlanders have moved away from two openside flankers by resting John Hardie and included Elliot Dixon in the loose forward mix.
Big Brad Thorn and Patrick Osborne return from injury for the Highlanders. While Jamie Joseph is rotating his squad by including Ma’afu Fia and Phil Burleigh this week in an attempt to rest some players. Joseph has faith in the depth of this squad and may have learned to rotate players after previous seasons.
My pick – Hurricanes
Players to watch – Dane Coles has been playing well in www.testrugby.com while the Hurricanes backs will fancy their chances of scoring some tries, so Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett and Conrad Smith are options. Keep your eye on Ardie Savea. The Highlanders have some good value in Joe Wheeler, Malakai Fekitoa and Elliot Dixon. Ben Smith is a more expensive option.
WARNING – Blade Thomson is injured and so you will have to find another great value lock although he may start on the bench.
Waratahs vs Rebels
The only local derby features Australian conference teams the Waratahs and Rebels. These matches are always difficult to pick, but the Waratahs should win well at home and will be hurting after losing to the Brumbies last week. Both teams lost narrowly last weekend. The Tahs now have the firepower in the backs to convert their opportunities with the Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau combination causing problems. The Rebels have some injuries and will start with two Japanese players on the bench, which is great for rugby in Asia.
My pick – Waratahs
Players to watch: Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley have been on fire for the Waratahs, while Michael Hooper has been strong in the forwards. For the Rebels only Scott Higginbotham is worth a mention here.
Blues vs Cheetahs
Both of these teams have been disappointing in 2014. The Blues were unlucky in South Africa, but need to nail down some victories, especially at home. The Cheetahs conceded sixty points last week to the Hurricanes and must improve their defence. While the Blues also have to work on their defence after letting 39 points past them in South Africa last week. Both of these teams have won only one game each and if they are to avoid the wooden spoon in their conference then they will need to win here. The Cheetahs have the bye next week and this is their last game on tour and so they have nothing to lose against a Blues team who just returned home. There could be an upset here given how tired the Blues might be, but I am picking the Blues to win.
John Kirwan has dropped Benji Marshall to the bench where he joins returning stars Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu. Simon Hickey starts at Number 10 and Liaki Moli is at lock. For the Cheetahs the main change is the inclusion of Jean Cook in the loose forwards with Lappies Labuschagne on the bench.
My pick – Blues
Players to watch: Teams playing the defensively vulnerable Cheetahs score well in www.testrugby.com so watch for Simon Hickey, Charles Piutau, Luke Braid and Frank Halai. The Cheetahs have their own fantasy studs in Willie Le Roux, Adriaan Strauss, Philip Van Der Walt, Johan Goosen and the bargain priced Boom Prinsloo are great options.
Brumbies vs Stormers
What a difference a month makes. The Brumbies went from needing Jake White after losing their opening game to the Reds in Canberra to being the top team in the Australian Conference after winning three straight against the Force, Hurricanes and Waratahs. The Stormers are struggling on the road in 2014 and were comfortably beaten by the Chiefs last week. The Stormers have good defence and this may keep the score down, but expect the Brumbies good form to continue.
My pick – Brumbies
Players to watch in www.testrugby.com – For the Brumbies, Jesse Mogg has been elusive, while Robbie Coleman, Ben Mowen, Scott Fardy and Stephen Moore are other options.
Jean De Villiers, Tiaan Liebenburg, Deon Fourie and Duane Vermeulen are good points-scorers for the Stormers while Damian De Allende is a bargain. Don’t expect a high scoring game!
Force vs Chiefs
Both of these teams are on winning streaks with the Force winning their last two games after a dreadful start to the competition, while the Chiefs are unbeaten. The Force will miss Ben McCalman who is suspended after the Highlanders game, but they have nothing to lose against the Chiefs since they have the bye the following week. The Force will have gained confidence from their victories, but realistically, neither the Rebels or Highlanders are Super Rugby contenders and so expect the Force to come crashing back down to earth against the Chiefs, but don’t expect a repeat of the large scores the Force conceded in their first two games.
My pick: Chiefs
Players to watch – Neither team has been named yet. Nathan Charles and Nick Cummins are the best Force players to watch now that Ben McCalman is out. Hugh McMeniman is a lock playing at Number Six.
Liam Messam will be up for the challenge against the Stormers, while Aaron Cruden is always a good option for the Chiefs. There are some bargains in this game with young Tasman Makos talents Liam Squire and Tom Marshall good value after outstanding ITM Cup form last season. Check who is starting as Sam Cane is due to return soon, but neither team has been named yet.
Lions vs Reds
This shapes as an entertaining game with the Lions winning a high scoring game over the Blues last week while the Reds lost a relatively high scoring game last week too against the Sharks. The Lions haven’t named their team yet but will miss their hooker Robbie Coetzee. The Reds were well beaten by the Sharks last week but on paper have the better team, but the Lions have won all three games at home games this season and have been brave in their defeats. This is another difficult pick in Super Rugby Round 6 with both teams threatening to slip off the pace if they don’t pick up a win here.
My pick: Reds
Players to watch: For the Lions, Marnitz Boshoff is dirt cheap. There are also some cheap loose forwards like Jaco Kriel and Willie Britz. Franco Van Der Merwe did well last week as did Warren Whiteley and cheap outside back Courtnall Skosan. Check the team lists before selecting. For the Reds Quade Cooper and Saia Faingaa, are worth a shot, while Aidan Toua is a bargain.
Bulls vs Sharks
Both of these teams have started off Super Rugby 2014 promisingly. The Sharks sit at the top of the South African conference and lead overall, while the Bulls are in the Top Six and are on a two game winning streak. The massive Sharks pack is thriving under Bismarck du Plessis and new coach Jake White. The Bulls are coming right but now have some injury problems and have called Dewald Potgieter into their team. Is it a coincidence that the Bulls have improved with Victor Matfield starting at lock? There will be plenty of feeling in those forward exchanges, but expect the Sharks to have too much class for the inexperienced Bulls. These two teams have already played in 2014, with the Sharks winning.
My pick – Sharks
Players to watch: The Sharks haven’t been named but players like Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo and the Sharks loose forwards are consistent points scorers. The Bulls players have hardly set the world on fire in www.testrugby.com but watch for Dewald and Jacques-Louis Potgieter to score some points while Victor Matfield has been playing well since his inclusion in the team.
Who are you picking to win Super 15 Rugby Round 6 matches?
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