Super Rugby Preview – Waratahs vs CheetahsAuthor: Nick | Filed under: Match Previews, Super Rugby
Match Date: Friday 15th March
Right here exists the opportunity for Fantasy managers to take a gamble! One of these teams rose like a phoenix from the ashes last weekend and the other was quietly taken out back and put out of it’s misery. The Waratahs are hosting the Cheetahs this weekend and after the Free State boys collected their first win on the road for 2013, they can smell blood and the Waratahs are as defenceless as Mike Catt in a Jonah Lomu showdo.
Super Sarel returns to New South Wales this week to prove a point
Oh boy… the Horrotahs are back!! The pre-season fighting talk combined with the smoke and mirrors has not resulted in anything better than what happened last season. Berrick Barnes has even resorted to growing a mustache so that people don’t recognise him – he seriously looks like he has been plucked right out of the Boogie Nights movie set. Michael Hooper must really be wondering why he left the team that gave the Waratahs their biggest hiding in the last 5 or 6 seasons.
Lets put it this way, the Tahs scored 6 points last weekend from the boot of McKibbin and that’s where their highlights reel ends – no tries (except for conceding 4) and on top of that, Tatafu Polota-Nau will likely be out for the clash against the Cheetahs. The Tahs are at least expecting the return of the above mentioned Boogie Nights star
Dirk Diggler Berrick Barnes.
Coach Michael Cheika has indicated that he will keep the faith in his current 9-10 combination so it’s likely Barnes will slot into the familiar position of 12. Looking at the team in it’s current state, you’d have to say that their “superstars” are currently as useful as Mike Tyson in a debating team – Drew Mitchell, Israel Folau, Dave Dennis and Adam Ashley-Cooper are nowhere to be seen, they’re like municipal officials during office hours! The Tahs simply have to front up and if they don’t then they can look forward to a season full of ridicule.
It’s every South Africans’ 2nd favourite team!! (Except for Cheetahs supporters – it’s obviously their first choice… sometimes). After being written off like Clyde Rathbone, the Cheetahs overcame their schoolyard beating from the Chiefs to deliver one of their own to the Highlanders, a 36-19 face palm at Invercargill last weekend.
The Cheetahs were on top of their game and so was the Wunderkind Johan Goosen. The Wunderkind slotted 3 conversions and 5 penalties for a rather mammoth points tally and was instrumental in orchestrating some sublime backline running! Super Sarel fooled everyone who doubted him (including us) and bagged himself 2 tries which now rockets him to the top tier of Fantasy scrumhalves, he was relentless on Saturday and it was great to watch.
If the Ebersohns were compared to the Waugh brother’s Robert would be Steve; and Sias would be Dean (the one you have’t heard of). Robert is finding his big girl pants in the 15 man game and showing why people were touting him as a Springbok when he was sublime in the 7′s format. The Cheetah’s centre scored a try last week and is slowly grafting the artillery of an old pro (at the age of 24!).
The most impressive performance came from the hard working loose trio – Philip van der Walt, Pieter Labuschagne and Frans Viljoen who literally bitch-slapped the life out of their Highlanders’ counterparts last weekend and ultimately set the platform and the tone for the match. It’s clear that these guys have become close friends of Coenie Oosthuizen!
Long story short, the Cheetahs came out of the match rather unscathed on the injury front and when it comes to the match this weekend, pretty much everyone will be saying “more of the same”. Except, we’d obviously like to see a little bit more out of mountain man Willie Le Roux and Everybody Loves Raymond Rhule who have been far too quiet – maybe the awakening last weekend will see these 2 finally spring to action.
The Tahs hold the ace card in this department having won 4 from 7 encounters. However, the Cheetahs hold the ace card when it comes to recent history having not lost to the Tahs in the last 2 seasons and what’s more, the last time these 2 teams faced off in Sydney, the Cheetahs walked out 23-3 victors. the average scoreline sits at 24-22 in favour of the Tahs but thats thanks to some hefty one sided affairs when the Cheetahs were but cubs in the Super Rugby competition.
One team is hot and one is not…..CHEETAHS to send the Tahs further up ”that” creek!
History says 2 points but we say 10+ points – take that history!
The Cheetahs will be given a small head start with the Waratahs at home but we think they’re fast enough without it.
When the bookies publish their odds tomorrow don’t be surprised to see the Tahs as favourites, despite last week’s performances. They have a good home record which is precisely why the Cheetahs will be given good value for a win.
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