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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Stormers vs Chiefs
Super Rugby, 12 May, 2018
|Fulltime - Stormers 9, Chiefs 15|
|Referee: Michael Fraser|
|Touch judges: Nick Briant & Quinton Immelman|
|TMO: Willie Vos|
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The Chiefs will look to maintain momentum on their ongoing, daunting road trip when they take on the Stormers, who are out to make it three wins on the trot. Join The Roar for live scores from 11:05pm (AEST).
It’s one of the toughest trips for any team this season. The Chiefs have already been on the road for three weeks and now have two back-to-back games in South Africa before they are able to head back home.
While the first two matches away from home were more local – as they were beaten by the Hurricanes and then hammered the Reds in Brisbane – it was around the world last week, with a stop in Argentina as they went down to the Jaguares by four points in a hard-fought battle.
They now finish in South Africa, taking on the Stormers first, then the struggling Sharks next week.
If they can pick up a victory in one of their two South African games, they will be feeling confident about things, given it would leave them a two and three record on the tough trip, and an almost-certain spot in the final eight.
With four of their final five at home, they would be anticipated to win more than they lose.
The Stormers, meanwhile, really are up against it. A win here could be crucial in terms of grabbing a wildcard spot, but they currently sit outside the top eight, even if it’s just by a point to the Sharks.
They have found themselves on a run of form though, winning the last two games. While they have had the comfort of playing at Newlands, victories over the Rebels and Bulls were quality – their defence, which had been questionable, holding firm when it counted.
The way the South African outfit managed to control the last two games was impressive, taking their opportunities to score and playing an aggressive brand of rugby which has followed them around nicely all season.
The Stormers, at home and in some decent form, should pick up the win. The Chiefs still should win a game in South Africa, but that’ll come next week against the Sharks, as they round out their time on the road strongly.
Stormers by 7.
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