Following on from the brief analysis of the Australian conference, I wanted to inspect the trans-Tasman rivals and see how the New Zealand conference had fared in the off-season too.
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Sunwolves vs Blues
Super Rugby, 14 April, 2018
|Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium|
|Fulltime - Sunwolves 10, Blues 24|
|Referee: Nick Briant|
|Touch judges: Shuhei Kubo & Tasuku Kawahara|
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The Sunwolves will continue searching for their first win of the season when they host the Blues during Round 9. Be sure to join The Roar for live scores of the match from 1:05pm (AEST).
In truth, the Sunwolves have played better than their zero and six record to start 2018 suggests.
While they do have an average losing margin of more than 21 points per game, they have suffered a handful of blowouts and been close to picking up their first win a few other times.
Last week, they hosted the Waratahs and while their offensive work looked good at times, running up 29 points, their defence, which has let them down all season, was poor.
They conceded 50 points against the New South Wales-based outfit. The week before that, they let in a staggering 61 points against the Chiefs, although their offence also failed them on that occasion, scoring just ten.
While the Sunwolves have shown some positive signs in elements of their game, they are far from good enough at this stage of the season to challenge against any of the top teams whether playing at home or away.
The Blues haven’t been a great deal better than the Sunwolves though, winning just one of their first seven games to this point in the season.
They have had some close, frustrating losses though, including a two-point one to the Chiefs a fortnight ago. They will come into this game somewhat refreshed though after a bye last week.
Like the Sunwolves, their defence has been awful. They conceded 63 points at home against the Sharks in Round 7 and another 37 against the Stormers two weeks before that.
One would expect, based on that, for this to be a free-flowing, high-scoring sort of game, but with the Blues only win five weeks ago, it’s unpredictable at best.
The Blues have been anything but good this season, but they should have enough to tackle the Sunwolves away from home. Given the Sunowlves attack, this could be a lose, high-scoring game.
Blues by 5.
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