Saturday, 16 April
The Super Rugby season continues this weekend and it has been a big week for the competition with the announcement it will return to 15 teams in , meaning three sides will be removed at the end of the year. The Sunwolves will enter this match on the back of their first win of the season, however their celebrations will be short lived as they come up against the undefeated Crusaders on their home soil.
The Crusaders enjoyed a week off last week and will hit the field fresh. As expected, the bookmakers are giving the Crusaders a They were whopped in their opening match of the season against the Hurricanes and the Crusaders attack has shown it can be just as deadly at times, even with their injuries.
Crusaders to win at the line They were competitive for the remainder of the opening forty minutes but that was as good as it got for the away side. The Brumbies opened the flood gates and piled on the points on the way to a victory. We are expecting a better Reds side this weekend on their home soil and Quade Cooper will return to the side and be instrumental in their victory. Meanwhile the Kings were involved in an point thriller against the Force last week.
Arguably the match of the round, the two New Zealand sides will go head to head on saturday night and the Blues will be playing for their season.
The side has had a strong year but only has three wins from seven games next to their name. A loss here would put them in a tough position for the run home and keep them stranded on the bottom of the New Zealand conference. The return of Sonny Bill Williams was a huge positive for the Blues and he will continue to create attacking opportunities for them with his offloading ability.
The defending champions the Hurricanes were able to hold off the Waratahs in an entertaining 10 try match. Beaden Barrett orchestrated the victory as he showed off his playmaking ability and speed. The Rebels will host the Brumbies this weekend with either good or bad news coming before the match. It has yet to be announced which Australian team will exit the competition at the end of the season but it will either be the Rebels or Force.
The rebels have struggled this season and are the only winless team. Meanwhile the Brumbies will enter the match up on the back of their best showing this season. They were patient in the match against the Reds and it paid dividends as they raced away with the match in the second half and scored 43 point.
The youth is beginning to develop and we believe they will cruise to another victory against a weaker Australian opponent. The Chiefs will enter this match on the back of their first loss of the season, which we predicted. Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie continues to show off his ability, despite his size. He practically kept the side in the match single handedly as he set up his teammates for tries.
We are predicting another big performance from this weekend, with Aaron Cruden to step up too. Meanwhile the Cheetahs will host the Chiefs fresh off a bye and with two wins to their name. After starting the season competitive and strong, they have fallen off the pace and have lost their last couple of matches. The Chiefs will want to bounce back strongly in this one and they will pounce on the Cheetahs common mistakes.
Chiefs to win at the line The Stormers have saved their best for the last two weeks and are building nicely. Having scored 63 points against the Blues last week, the Sharks could be confident heading into this game but taking on the Hurricanes at home is a much harder task. The Blues showed no respite on defence and simply let the Sharks enforce their will, but it was impressive finishing from the South African side.
The Sunwolves are coming off a bye week which was much needed after losing at home to the Chiefs in Round 6. Coming off a solid win over the Brumbies, the Waratahs appear to be in good shape and they played the majority of that game without star player Israel Folau. They also missed many kicks at goal and the winning margin could have resembled what the Sunwolves could be in store for this Saturday. There is talk in New Zealand about how long Blues coach Tana Umaga has left at the helm after another dismal Blues performance.
The Chiefs have a solid forward pack and some exciting backs. The Brumbies might have lost to the Waratahs last week but there were encouraging signs from the Canberra-based franchise. They might not be the complete package like they used to be, but the Brumbies have shown signs of competing this season and the Reds are inconsistent enough to take advantage of.
They played with plenty of promise during that time but ultimately came away with one only win over the Jaguares. This will be a close contest and while we like the way the Brumbies are heading, the Reds should have too much firepower.