Blues vs Cheetahs Super Rugby preview

The Blues moved this match against the Cheetahs a couple of hours north of Auckland to Toll Stadium in Whangarei which will host two of Tonga’s Rugby world cup matches.

The only changes to the Blues team have come about due to injury and Kaino misses out and is replaced by Chris Lowrey while lock Filo Paulo has been replaced by James King on the bench.

The Blues beat the Chiefs 13-16 last weekend in Hamilton and will not be taking the Cheetahs lightly after their shock win over the Waratahs two weeks ago.

For the first time in six games this season, the Cheetahs could field the same captain on consecutive weekends after using five captains thus far in 2011.

The Bloemfontein team lost the services of captains Adriaan Strauss (hooker), Juan Smith (flank) and Andries Strauss (centre) due to various injuries earlier this season. Adriaan Strauss fractured his hand when he captained the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby opener against the Sharks.

Smith, who led the team against the Bulls, injured his Achilles, while Andries Strauss, Adriaan’s cousin, suffered a groin injury when he led the Cheetahs onto the field against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Flyhalf Naas Olivier captained the team against the Stormers in Cape Town but has subsequently warmed the bench for the Cheetahs.

When these two teams met last year the Cheetahs secured their one and only victory over the Blues. Hooker Ryno Barnes, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, flyhalf Naas Olivier and centre Robert Ebersohn were in the starting 15 when the Cheetahs beat the Blues by 36-32 in Bloemfontein last season.

Furthermore, hooker Skipper Badenhorst, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, looseforward Philip van der Walt and fullback Riaan Viljoen were the on the bench that day.

The Blues and Cheetahs have met five times and the Blues have won four of those.

On average the Blues score 38 points against the Cheetahs who on average score 23 points against the Blues. In New Zealand those scores change to 36-10 which suggests a comfortable win for the Blues.

The Bookies certainly think that the Blues will win comfortably as they have given the Cheetahs a 25 point start – with an offer of Bet 10 and Get 20. We can’t see the Cheetahs winning this one and we think the Blues should win by three tries or 21 points.

Blues overall record against the Cheetahs
01 May 2010 Blues v Cheetahs 32-36 Bloemfontein
13 Mar 2009 Blues v Cheetahs 46-12 North Harbour
01 Mar 2008 Blues v Cheetahs 50-26 Bloemfontein
06 Apr 2007 Blues v Cheetahs 26-8 Auckland
29 Apr 2006 Blues v Cheetahs 34-33 Bloemfontein

Blues overall record against the Cheetahs
Played 5 , Wins 4, Losses 1 , Draws 0

Match Officials
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)


Blues :1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Keven Mealamu (C), 3. John Afoa, 4. Kurtis Haiu, 5. Anthony Boric , 6. Chris Lowrey , 7. Luke Braid, 8. Peter Saili, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Stephen Brett, 11. Joe Rokocoko, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Jared Payne, 14. Rene Ranger 15. Isaia Toeava

Reserves : 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 James King, 19 Mat Luamanu, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Benson Stanley

Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Phillip Burger, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Wilmaure Louw, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Phillip van der Walt, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp (c), 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coen

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