Thursday, March 20, 2008

Over the Neglect

I began with good intentions, but have been tied up with assignments due this week.

Anyway, my look at this weekends Super 14 matchups:

Crusaders v Waratahs

Without question the Crusaders are the form team in the competition at the moment, despite that little shake up the Force gave them - May I add the Force were very unlucky to lose that one and deserved to win. Waratahs have been struggling for consistency following their thrashing of the Canes where they had looked to be a force.

All eyes on:
Beale vs Carter


Brumbies v Cheetahs

Another easy pick. Although the Cheetahs head to Brisbane with a number of rested players, the Brumbies should cruise.

All eyes on:
Tyrone Smith


Highlanders v Force

Could swing either way. on the one hand, the Highlanders have done a fantastic job this season and defend like a brick wall. On the other hand, the Force put in a mighty effort against the Crusaders and showed up the Blues, so it could go either way, which is what makes it the Game Of The Round. Giteau could spark a solid attack if he spies any chinks in the Highlanders armour.

All Eyes On:


Blues v Stormers
Another two form teams, with the Stormers beginning to pick up their act at the moment. The Blues will need to be ruthless to bounce back from their loss last week, without allowing the Stormers to assert control.

All Eyes On:
Tony Brown


Chiefs v Bulls

Its always a shame when the defending champion fails to fire the following season - a common occurrence in the NFL, yet not so much in the Super series. Yet this is the story of the 08 Bulls, underlined by their performance against the Reds last weekend. The Chiefs will get their season back on track this weekend, relieving a little of the pressure they're feeling from their nearly written off season.

All Eyes On:
Stephen Donald (although this could change, I'd be more interested in watching Stephen Brett at #10 for the Chiefs as RugbyHeaven say he is)


Lions v Reds

The Reds are coming off a strong performance against the aforementioned Bulls(**ts) and should dust off the hapless Lions with ease.

All Eyes On:


Bye Hurricanes


Friday, March 7, 2008

Roughies [An irregular feature]

The first edition for Roughies has to be split between two sportsmen, as both have had potentially career-ending ailments revealed very publicly this week.

First off, 29 year-old Julian Huxley.

The former Queensland Reds and current Brumbies player was taken to hospital after collapsing following a tackle during last weekends game against the Reds. Cleared of any spinal injuries, he was sent for an MRI and was found to have a benign brain tumour. The tumour is believed to be at the top of his brain which can affect an individuals motor skills - obviously not the most desirable affliction for a world-class utility.
Peter Playford has been named as Huxley's replacement for this weekends derby against the Warratahs.

Next, New Zealand rower Rob Waddell.

Waddell was World Champion in 1998 and 1999, then an Olympic Gold medalist in 2000 and has also won the Halberg Award. After leaving the sport he joined Team New Zealand as a grinder in the 2003 and 2007 Americas Cup series, before returning to rowing and beginning training no more than six months ago. The past summer has seen him competing against current world champion, Mahe Drysdale. The two have been locked into an enthralling battle all summer for the Olympic single-sculls berth. Unfortunately, in the final race in a best-of-three series, Waddell encountered a flare-up of atrial fibrillation, a condition he has lived with in secret for many years. This led to Drysdale scoring an easy victory over Waddell and as announced today, the single sculls berth.
Waddell can still attempt to qualify for a seat in the men's double scull.

Good luck to both Huxley and Waddell in bouncing back from their rough week.


Monday, March 3, 2008

The Opening Salvo - On Super14, Cricket and Rowing

My, what an excellent weekend I can use to kickstart this blog.
A triumph for the beloved Hurricanes, Brendan McCullums surgical disembowelment of the Auckland Aces in the national cricket final and the looming regatta between Rob Wadell and Mahe Drysdale.