SANZAR CEO Greg Peters made the announcement today that this week’s round of Super Rugby will be dedicated to Christchurch. This is one of the reasons why I love rugby! During the Qld Floods, the Reds were the first professional team to get out and help the community and now all three SANZAR countries unite for yet another tragedy.
All games will observe a minute’s silence before kick-off and players will wear black and red arm-bands to acknowledge those affected in Christchurch. Flags will also be half-mast while broadcast partners across the three countries will also show their support during games by promoting the Red Cross website where people can donate to the appeal.
If you want to donate to the appeal, head to the Red Cross NZ website.
Highlanders v Chiefs – Carisbrook Stadium, Dunedin
The Highlanders were one of the surprise winners of round 1, and with an almost unchanged side I expect them to produce a nice performance against the Chiefs. Being beaten quite easily by an average Brumbies side last week, the Chiefs need to change their tactics if they hope to beat the resilient Highlanders. With ten changes to the side, I’m hoping the Chiefs turn up with a point to prove and turn this match into a cracker!
Rebels v Brumbies – AAMI Park, Melbourne
The Rebels were my pick for Worst in Class (Team) last week and start this match as obvious underdogs. Macqueen has made 5 changes to the team (forced through injury) and will hope to at least get some points on the board. If they want to improve on last week, they need to start playing attacking football and up their defensive style. If they maintain some of what they did in the first 15 minutes last week, we should see a better side. The Brumbies on the other hand, showed flashes of brilliance and if they maintain their slick style of rugby, they should get up over the Rebels.
Cheetahs v Bulls – Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
I expect the bulls to come out fighting this week like a wounded animal does when trying to save their life or that of their cub. After coming close to a loss against the Lions last week (my pic for surprise packet), the Bulls will be looking to restore some pride. Despite the Cheetahs being at home, I can’t see them pushing the Bulls enough for them to steal victory.
Hurricanes v Crusaders – Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Game cancelled due to the devastating earthquake in Christchurch
Waratahs v Reds – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
This is expected to be one of the games of the round and I for one am looking forward to it. With the Tahs putting on a clinical performance against the Rebels last week, I expect them to maintain their form and put the Reds through the ultimate test. The Reds were quite lucky to get away with a win last week and while I hate to say it, I think the Tahs will be clinical in their play and come away with the win.
Sharks v Blues – ABSA Stadium, Durban
After their big win against the Crusaders last week, the Blues have proved to us that they are one of the teams to watch this season. Their second half display was impressive and if they can control the match in the same fashion, I believe they will prove a difficult match for the Sharks. The Sharks did play a solid game against the Cheetahs and if they continue with this form, will set this up to be an excellent game. I predict this will be the closest of games with only a few points separating them when the final whistle blows.
Stormers v Lions – Newlands, Cape Town
Despite the Lions putting on a fantastic second half performance against the Bulls last week and the surprise packet of round one, I feel that they have an uphill battle to defeat the Springbok laden Stormers side. The Stormers come in to this game fresh and ready to start their 2011 Super Rugby season. I expect them to rip into the new season and kick off with a win.