The team at the bottom of the New Zealand conference, the Blues, hosts the team sitting third in the Africa 1 conference, the Cheetahs. Join The Roar for commentary, scores and your say from 5:30pm AEST.
These sides didn’t play each other last year, but the last time they played it was a heart-stopping win for the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in 2015. They will, however, be looking to score their first win against the Blues in Auckland.
Their recent form though has been poor, they have lost their last seven games, and away from home have lost 10 in a row. The bad news continues for the Cheetahs with the last six matches between these sides being won by the home team.
Expect this one to be an exciting and high scoring encounter, with both sides playing their rugby with ball in hand. The Cheetahs have tried to play running rugby this season while the Blues are the side that averages the most minutes in possession of the football.
It has been the Cheetahs’ defence this season that has let them down, as was the case last week. The South African side managed to score six tries, but they also conceded six tries to go down 45-41 against the Highlanders, they’ve also conceded an average of five tries a game.
For the Blues they have been in great form in their last two, holding the Brumbies try-less in Canberra, and then beating the Waratahs, again away from home. The Blues have shown when they play games that aren’t against New Zealand conference teams that they are a class above sides from elsewhere.
Patrick Tuipulotu will boost the starting side, with Kara Pryor and Ihaia West returning on the bench. They will again look to Steven Luatua to continue leading the side, with the All Black flanker in some great form.
Blues coach Tana Umaga said ahead of the game: “Our playing group have had a big run of games and we will be looking for the players coming in to add some real energy to the team.”
“Last week we produced probably the best first half of the season but dropped off in the second half. We are still looking for 80 minutes of complete football.”
Keep an eye out for Rieko Ioane who tore the Waratahs to shreds last week. It’s scary to think the winger is only 20 years old, and looks a star of the future. It should be an exciting battle against his opposite number Sergeal Petersen.
A high-scoring and entertaining affair with the Blues winning this comfortably.
Blues by 14
Join The Roar for commentary, scores and your say from 5:30pm AEST.