Super Rugby Quarter Finals: Preview
The Super Rugby playoffs are always an occasion to look forward to by players and fans alike. The top teams in the southern hemisphere go head to head in arguably the best domestic rugby competition on the planet.
The players on display would like to cement their places in their respective international teams for the upcoming Rugby Championship as well as the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019. The teams on show this weekend have opted to select all the international players available in order to advance to the semi final stage.
Crusaders vs Highlanders at AMI Stadium
The Crusaders have been the team to watch throughout the 2019 season and this Quarter Final will be no different. The Highlanders will need to match the Crusaders forwards to have any chance of coming out victorious in this crucial clash.
The Crusaders will be bolstered by All Blacks', Codie Taylor and Owen Franks, returning from injury this week. Ben Smith returning for the Highlanders will make a massive difference in attack and defence for the men from Dunedin.
The exciting wings going up against each other will be great to watch, Sevu Reece going head to head with Sio Tomkinson, Waisake Naholo opposite George Bridge. The Clash of the Flyhalves could also be a massive factor in deciding who will progress to the Semi Finals. ,
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Sio Tomkinson, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 1 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Elliot Dixon
Prediction: Crusaders by 8
Jaguares vs Chiefs at José Amalfitani-stadion
The men from Argentina have been in great form, prior to the finals stage, and will be looking to continue their exceptional attacking ability. The Jaguares have made a few changes to the team that took on the Sunwolves last weekend.
They welcome back their Captain, De la Fuente and Emiliano Boffelli to name couple. On the Chiefs side they have looked a different outfit after the return of the experienced Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane in the pack.
The consistent performances of All Blacks' centre, Anton Leinert-Brown have been a very influential factor in the Chiefs reaching the playoff stage, however the Chiefs will need to deliver an exceptional performance in Argentina.
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Tomas Lezana, 20 Francisco Gorrissen, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Santiago Carreras
15 Solomon Alaimano, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Alex Nankivell/Ataata Moeakiola
Prediction: Chiefs by 3
Hurricanes vs Bulls at Westpac Stadium
The Hurricanes welcome the return of their pivotal fly half, Beauden Barret, the try scoring machine, Ngani Laumape and a man who needs no introduction, Ardie Savea.
The return of the All Black Hooker, Dane Coles boosted the side from Wellington in the last couple of weeks especially the attacking ability of the forwards and set plays especially during lineouts.
The Bulls also have a very influential player returning in Jesse Kriel, Kriel will partner with Johnny Kotze in the midfield for the Bulls with another Springbok, Handre Pollard captaining the men from Pretoria in this crunch match.
The Bulls will not be an easy opposition for the Hurricanes, because of the fact that they know how to win big games in Super Rugby. The Bulls are three-time champions (2007,2009,2010).
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May/Alex Fidow, 19 Kane Le'aupepe, 20 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd/Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Salesi Rayasi
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw
Prediction: Hurricanes by 6
Brumbies vs Sharks at Canberra Stadium
The Brumbies has experienced an inconsistent season in 2019 with good performances during some rounds and pathetic outings in others.
Tevita Kuridrani has been a standout player for the men from Canberra with strong carries and exceptional running lines. He will be a crucial player in the playoffs for the Brumbies to advance.
The Sharks will need to stop the Brumbies backline from getting over the advantage line and getting quick phase ball to their ball carriers.
Their opposition, The Sharks, have made an obscure selection yet again with Robert Du Preez preferred at Flyhalf ahead of the inform, Curwin Bosch. Bosch has been exceptional this season especially in attack thus he could be key from the fullback position this week.
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola
Substitutes: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith
Prediction: Sharks by 8