Super Rugby Round 15 preview
The Super Rugby season takes a break after this week, but round 15 hosts some big match-ups, with the round hosting an all-derby affair.
The round gets underway with the Crusaders hosting the Highlanders. Both sides will be desperate to win this one as one sits just in the top six and the other just out of it.
The Highlanders are backing up off a six day break after defeating the Blues while the Crusaders come back from a bye which given the way they destroyed the Blues probably came at a bad time.
The key to this game for me is how the Crusaders come out of the blocks. It is no doubt they have the better side. But traditionally they have struggled to get into their rhythm following a bye.
They will need to be switched on because this Highlander side is a good one and they have won their last two against the Crusaders.
The game itself I feel will have a final like atmosphere given the importance and I can see the Crusaders rising for the occasion.
The Crusaders to get up in this one by 6 points and consolidate a top six spot.
Rebels and Brumbies square off next. The Brumbies will be livid they just missed winning last week while the Rebels will be licking their wounds after being flogged by the Hurricanes.
The injuries the Rebels suffered and the way the Brumbies dominated them a few months back, I can’t see the Rebels turning the tables.
The Brumbies to win this by 15 points and register a bonus point win to give them a nice 6 point cushion from the Reds.
Next is the local derby of the Blues and Chiefs. They met in round two down in Hamilton and the Chiefs had the game and a bonus point wrapped up at halftime.
Even if the Blues turned up and played a full 80 minutes I doubt they would beat the Chiefs who love nothing more than beating the Blues.
I expect the Blues to put up a fight in the first 40 then get overrun by the power and class of the Chiefs.
The Chiefs to win this one by 10 points and go into the break with a healthy lead over the Crusaders.
Waratahs versus Hurricanes is very tricky. How will the Waratahs go after travelling back from South Africa? Will the good or the bad Hurricanes turn up?
If both sides play to their ability I would give the Hurricanes the slight nod, but back home I am tipping the Waratahs to sneak this in by 5 points.
Lions versus the Sharks will show the king of jungle getting devoured by the king of the ocean here. The Sharks are playing great rugby at the moment and the Lions, well they are trying but are outgunned everywhere.
Expecting the Sharks to notch a bonus point win here and put the pressure on the Bulls and Stormers. The Sharks by 15 points.
The Bulls square off against the Stormers in the match of the round. The Bulls have just returned from a marathon trip to New Zealand. This is the only positive the Stormers have going for them because on form the Bulls are far more impressive.
Even with the jet lag, I think the Bulls will be far too much for the down on confidence Stormers to contain at Loftus. The Bulls to win this by 6 points and make the race for the South African contest wide open.
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