Super 15 preview: Round 15

YOUR complete guide to the latest round of the Super 15.

HURRICANES v FORCE

Palmerston North, tonight, 7.35
Referee: Glen Jackson

TIPS

Mike Greenaway (Natal Mercury) - 64/93 69%: Hurricanes
Andrew Slack (Wallaby legend) - 62/93 67%: Hurricanes
Wynne Gray (NZ Herald) - 61/93 66%: Hurricanes
Dylan Cleaver (NZ Herald) - 61/93 68%: Hurricanes
Rachel Glucina (Herald on Sunday) - 60/93 67%: Hurricanes

THE MATCH

Not a great table setter for a big weekend of footy. Neither of these teams are going to feature after June 18. One is the great under-achiever, the other a non-achiever. A bold move by Mark Hammett to drop captain Andrew Hore, so we get a peak into the future with Victor Vito leading the side out.

WATCH OUT FOR

Let's see how many scarfies turn out for a game between two also-rans. Night rugby is never the most attractive proposition in Palmy, the Force are dreadful to watch so if they get a decent crowd then it's ample evidence that the Hurricanes' brand remains strong in the provinces.

HIGHLANDERS v LIONS

Dunedin, tomorrow, 7.35pm
Referee: Jonathon White

TIPS

Mike Greenaway: Highlanders
Andrew Slack: Highlanders
Wynne Gray: Highlanders
Dylan Cleaver: Highlanders
Rachel Glucina: Highlanders

THE MATCH

It still takes a bit of getting used to writing this, but the Highlanders are virtual locks for this match, and the next one against the Force. Looking at the big picture, they'll want 10 points in the next eight days. That will put them in position to challenge for a playoff spot with a tricky last fortnight away in the brightly lit harbour towns of Sydney and Auckland.

WATCH OUT FOR

A Ben Smith fan club. The man can play. He does everything Israel Dagg does, but in a less ostentatiously talented way (if that makes any sense). Can he play with as much confidence at the highest level? Let's at least have a look.

BRUMBIES v STORMERS

Canberra, tomorrow, 9.40pm
Referee: Marius Jonker

TIPS

Mike Greenaway: Brumbies
Andrew Slack: Stormers
Wynne Gray: Stormers
Dylan Cleaver: Stormers
Rachel Glucina: Stormers

THE MATCH

Everything here points to a Stormers wi, so who is South African and leading tipster Mike Greenaway predicting a win for the Brumbies? All this and more will be answered tomorrow night.

WATCH OUT FOR

Or more to the point, listen out for the Australian commentary team. There has been a disernible lack of enthusiasam when covering the team from the capital lately. Understandable really.

SHARKS v WARATAHS

Durban, Sunday, 3.05am
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

TIPS

Mike Greenaway: Sharks
Andrew Slack: Sharks
Wynne Gray: Sharks
Dylan Cleaver: Sharks
Rachel Glucina: Sharks

THE MATCH

Big game. Massive. H-u-u-u-ge. Won't be that great to watch, mind, but the Sharks really have to come away with five points in their final home match if they are to convince they can foot it with the big boys. If the Waratahs lose, the Sharks would overtake them on the table and, most likely, the Highlanders would too.

WATCH OUT FOR

Just a sneaking suspicion that the Waratahs will try to shed their unnatural conservatism and push the ball wide at every opportunity. The Sharks won't be sucked in to an open game like they were against the Crusaders in London. Watch them stuff it up the jumper and play territory.

BULLS v CHEETAHS

Pretoria, Sunday, 5.10am
Referee: Mark Lawrence

TIPS

Mike Greenaway: Bulls
Andrew Slack: Bulls
Wynne Gray: Bulls
Dylan Cleaver: Bulls
Rachel Glucina: Bulls

THE MATCH

Another really important match though one that might not be immediately attractive to viewers outside the Republic. If the Bulls win this, as they should, and the Waratahs lose, they will be close enough in the rear vision mirror to scare the bejesus out of the Sydneysiders. It's not fait accompli, however. The Cheetahs have emerged as a dynamic side who will win that prize nobody wanted at primary school - "Most Improved".

WATCH OUT FOR

A contrast in styles. The nippy Cheetahs should try to run the Bulls off their ageing feet. The home team really needs five points, but they will be happy enough to shift the score along in multiples of three.

REDS v CRUSADERS

Brisbane, Sunday, 6.10pm
Referee: Stuart Dickinson

TIPS

Mike Greenaway: Crusaders
Andrew Slack: Reds
Wynne Gray: Crusaders
Dylan Cleaver: Reds
Rachel Glucina: Crusaders

THE MATCH

We should see a lot more of this: Sunday afternoon footy. What a cracker to end the round. The Crusaders opened at slight favourites though it is difficult to see how, given their punishing travel schedule and the amount of sick notes on Todd Blackadder's desk. Let it be said here: If the Crusaders travel to Brisbane and win after the month they've had, then you shouldn't get a price on them finishing champions.

WATCH OUT FOR

Rugby the way it's meant to be played. This has every chance of being an instant classic, hopefully played in Queensland sun with a large crowd on hand.
 



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