July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Regular Sports24 readers will know that Sports24 Chief writer Rob Houwing does his weekly Super rugby predictions only involving SA teams. With that in mind, I thought I’d also make a couple predictions of my own but with a bit of a twist. I believe that the upcoming penultimate round in Super rugby is a bit more important than the last round of the round robin stages. Technically, it doesn’t make sense because come the last round, teams will know exactly what they’ll need to do to either qualify for the knockout stages or lock up a home semi-final or a potential home final. But as the saying goes: you have to crawl before you can walk and because of that, the top 8 teams will be doing a whole lot of crawling in this upcoming round, starting with:
Chiefs vs Crusaders
Looking at the remaining fixtures for the top 8 teams, the Chiefs probably pulled the shortest stick when it comes to the teams they still have to play albeit the Sharks will probably beg to differ (more on that later) . Their opponents, the Crusaders, I believe will throw the kitchen sink at them this coming Friday as they (Saders) are not out of the woods yet when it comes to making the playoff rounds. If the team from Hamilton play to their full potential, they can beat the most winning team in Super rugby history and even though I believe that teams must win their home games, I don’t see that happening in Hamilton this weekend. I think that the Saders are ruing their loss against the Hurricanes and the Chiefs are going to feel their wrath. Just read that DC, Dagg & Reed are all back. Damn..
Crusaders by 10
Ps: Regardless of where the Chiefs end up on the log or even if they lose in the semis, they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved this season compared to where they ended up last year (10th ).
Reds vs Highlanders
The Reds came to the party at just the right time and with their 2 remaining games being played at home, nothing less than 8 points will do.
A maximum of 10 points and 2 losses for the Brumbies (with no BP) and they can even top the Ozzy conference, unlikely but possible. The Highlanders know that they realistically blew their chances of qualifying for the knockouts against the Chiefs last weekend but will definitely make a game out their last fixture in the round robin stages, even though it will not be enough.
Reds by 13
Sharks vs Bulls
These 2 teams have shown in the past that home advantage doesn’t count for much in Super rugby and it wasn’t illustrated better than the ’07 final when the Bulls rocked up in Durbs & went home with the trophy. The Sharks then waited 4yrs to go to Loftus to kick the Bulls out of knockout contention and in the process got themselves in. Once again for the Sharks, victory is non-negotiable. They have to win if they want to stay in contention of grabbing that 6th & final playoff spot and let’s not forget who they’re facing next weekend hey!! I must say that the Bulls looked very good against the Cheetahs but if the Sharks don’t win this one, I personally feel that they don’t deserve to be in the top 6. Frans Steyn always brings something to table, good or bad (but with maturity it’s been more good than bad lately) so it will be interesting to see how the Bulls handle him. Last time he cut his hair, he was one of the Boks stars in the RWC. Just sayin..
Waratahs vs Brumbies
Hands up!? Who honestly thought the Brumbies would’ve been this good this fast under Jake & friends?? I know I didn’t, this team finished in the bottom 3 last season for peet’s sake and look where they are now.
Just like the Chiefs they should be very proud & then some!! I don’t know a lot about ozzy derbies coz frankly, I don’t really watch them so it’s tough for me to call this one. The Waratahs has been disappointing this season and would probably want to give their fans a good show as it’s their last game at home for the season. I think that will tilt this game in their favour unless the Brumbies want to make a big statement.
Tahs by 3
Ps: Stormers will probably be very interested in this game.
Cheetahs vs Stormers
Also known as the team that conceded the 2nd most tries in the SA conference against the team that scored the 2nd least amount of tries. It should therefore be a fun game to watch but the type of rugby we’ll see will probably depend on the Sharks-Bulls result. Should the Bulls win, I think the Stormers won’t take as many chances as they would have if the Sharks won. However, just like the Tahs, this will be the Cheetahs last game at home and they’d love to cap off a better season than what they had last year with a win and we all know how the men from the Cape just love bringing opponents back into the game that in 10-15min just after half time but: The Stormers have the Bulls & Brumbies breathing down their neck, not to mention an opportunity to go on top of the log depending on the Chiefs-Saders result. I said earlier that the Sharks game will say a lot about their credentials this season and the same could be said about the Stormers in this game as they’re a much better team this season than just winning at home. They should & will have enough to beat the Cheetahs.
Stormers by 10
And these are also my picks I made in my Superbru: