Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Super 15 insider: Expert picks, round 12 previews

The Blues showed they could change up their game against the Highlanders and will fancy other avenues at the Cake Tin. Photo / Getty Images
The Blues showed they could change up their game against the Highlanders and will fancy other avenues at the Cake Tin. Photo / Getty Images

Herald rugby writer Wynne Gray breaks down the seven Super 15 matches taking place over the next three days.


Match centre
Wellington, tonight, 7.35pm
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Mike Greenaway (Natal Mercury) - 54/74 73%: Blues
Rachel Glucina (Herald on Sunday) 51/74 69%: Blues
Andrew Slack (Wallaby legend) 51/74 69%: Blues
Dylan Cleaver (NZ Herald) - 50/74 68%: Hurricanes
Wynne Gray (NZ Herald) 49/74 66%: Blues

THE MATCH: First v fourth in NZ section, should be a quick canter to the TAB, slap the pesos on the Queen St farmers. But the Canes did beat the Reds - eventually - last weekend.
WHAT TO WATCH: Another set of tactics from the Blues, who showed they could change up their game against the Highlanders and will fancy other avenues at the Cake Tin.

Match centre
Melbourne, tonight, 9.40pm
Referee: Bryce Lawrence

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

THE MATCH: Top v bottom, but the UN Rebels should still gather a fair crowd from those who have no hankering for aerial pingpong in the southern city.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Reds getting back on track after a strangely sudued start last week, a strong mid-section then another falter. A win keeps them well clear of the Tahs.

Match centre
Johannesburg, Saturday, 5.10am
Referee: Craig Joubert

Mike Greenaway: Lions
Rachel Glucina: Lions
Andrew Slack: Lions
Dylan Cleaver: Cheetahs
Wynne Gray: Lions

THE MATCH: Go to it, boys. Could be a running-fest on Mitch's new home patch with his boys back after a bye and the Cheetahs always ready to give the pill some air.

WHAT TO WATCH: Sarel Pretorius, a nifty little halfback who should be in the Boks, but will lose out to the experience of Fourie du Preez and other selection criteria.

Match centre
Hamilton, Saturday, 7.35pm
Referee:Garratt Williamson

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

THE MATCH: Could the Chiefs confound the form-guide, does Father Xmas fit down your chimney? Don't discount either...and don't use a loudhailer to broadcast the idea.

WHAT TO WATCH: The sometime tight five for the Chiefs. If they have slept well since Seth Effrica and get their ideas sorted, they must get parity to give themselves a chance against the hard-edged visitors.

Match centre
Sydney, Saturday, 9.40pm
Referee: Stu Dickinson

Mike Greenaway: Waratahs
Rachel Glucina: Waratahs
Andrew Slack: Force
Dylan Cleaver: Waratahs
Wynne Gray: Waratahs

THE MATCH: The stumblebums against the maybes. Not much has looked too sharp from the Tahs this year, sometimes their forwards, now and then Beale and Mitchell, but the latter is gone for the season.

WHAT TO WATCH: Tah Man, gallivanting around the SFS to rev up the blazers and their patched elbows, then some spark from James O'Connor. The kid can play.

Match centre
Cape Town, Sunday, 3.05am
Referee: Chris Pollock

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

THE MATCH: Here we go then: The Wall against the Pedigree. Can the Stormers extraordinary defence deny the Crusaders' thrust in the match of the round?

WHAT TO WATCH: Everything from dodgy scrum tactics to Schalk Burger's needle on Richie McCaw, Jean de Villers finesse v Sonny Bill Williams' tricks. Can Chris Pollock cope with the heat?

Match centre
Durban, Sunday, 5.10am.
Referee: Mark Lawrence

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

THE MATCH: Newly appointed Brumbies coach Jake White can saunter up the coast to watch his new roadkill mob try and find some sort of form at the Shark Tank.

WHAT TO WATCH: A few twitches from the Sharks who need a win to keep them clear of the defending champion Bulls who pick up four points for sitting on their derrieres in Pretoria.

BYE: Bulls

- NZ Herald

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