The hosts Kings have proven to be the surprise package of Super Rugby 2013 thus far. From the kickoff their excellent defence will be given its most stern examination yet as New Zealand conference leaders the Chiefs will be looking for a full 5 point haul after dropping 2 log points against the Stormers last weekend.
Venu: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.
Kick-off: Fri 15 Mar 19:10 (Local)
Sat 16 Mar NZ 06:10 (Auck)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Chiefs: 15. Gareth Anscombe, 14. Lelia Masaga, 13. Tim Nanai-Williams, 12. Andrew Horrell, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Ross Filipo, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Michael Fitzgerald, 4. Craig Clarke (c), 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Hika Elliot, 1. Toby Smith. Bench: 16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Brodie Retallick, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Charlie Ngatai, 22. Patrick Osborne.
Previous results: Kings: Away 31 – 41 Lions
Home 22 – 10 Force
Home 12 – 21 Sharks (most recent fixture).
Chiefs: Home 25 – 21 Hurricanes
Away 41 – 27 Highlanders
Home 45 – 3 Cheetahs
Away 32 – 36 Stormers (most recent fixture).
The Kings’ form to date indicates that they have the potential to be a mid-table side having beaten the Force and lost to the Sharks (the highest ranked RSA side) by only 9 points. Both of these matches were relatively low-scoring indicating their strength in defence. In their favour then is the fact that the Chiefs have faired worst against primarily defensive sides (i.e. the Stormers) whilst their largest victory came against the primarily attacking Cheetahs (horses for courses).
The challenge this weekend may prove far greater than last weekend however as the Chiefs will be applying their immense attacking aptitude in every way possible with the Sharks’ (ineffective) blueprint to work from. Also consider the quality of rugby on display in the Chiefs’ last 3 outings and the Kings will have to step up a gear to go toe to toe this time round.
Betting: Outright: 8/1 v.s 1/8
Handicap: +16 v.s -16
Prediction: Chiefs to win but the handicap is dangerous territory.
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