Round 14 Super Rugby Preview with Duncan McRae
The Chiefs are coming off the bye and will be freshened for this clash with the Bulls.
The Bulls have been involved in some physical encounters on their Australian and New Zealand tour and went down narrowly in a tough affair with the Highlanders last week.
It’s a huge match for both sides with the Chiefs sitting in equal first place overall and the Bulls two points behind the Stormers in the South African conference.
Hard to go past the Chiefs and after having the bye will be ready for this one.
This shapes as a must-win match for the Hurricanes as they push for a finals berth.
They looked in control against the Brumbies last week but couldn’t finish the job off.
The Rebels recorded a rare win on the road in their one point victory over the Force in Perth last week.
Despite last week’s victory, The Rebels still have a woeful away record and that’s enough for me to favour the Canes at home.
The Blues were thumped by 47 points at the hands of the Crusaders last week.
It was predicted in the preview last week that this could happen after the Crusader’s shock loss to the Melbourne Rebels.
The Highlanders fought out a tough win over the Bulls and will fancy their chances of knocking off the Blues.
I’m taking a gamble but if the Blues can’t show some pride after their performance against the Crusaders they never will. Blues in a close one.
The Brumbies have exceeded everyone’s expectations so far this year, while the Reds appear to be hitting their straps at the right time of year.
The Brumbies have a good record over the Reds and a win in Canberra will see them most likely wrap up top spot in the Australian conference.
Quade Cooper made his return from injury last week and will be better for the run, while Will Genia has been in great form for the Reds.
This could go either way but I’ll back the Reds to win a tight one.
This could be the battle for the wooden spoon which neither side will want at season’s end.
Fortunately for both of these sides, the Auckland Blues are still in calculations to take out the spoon.
The Force lost a close one to the Rebels last week, while the Lions finished strongly in their loss to the Reds.
It’s hard to pick this match with any confidence but surely the Force can give their home fans something to cheer about.
It’s been a season to forget for the Waratahs, while the Cheetahs have been one of the more exciting sides to watch.
Both of these sides have been competitive in their matches but have lacked the killer instinct to chalk up the victories.
I’m expecting an open affair in Bloem with final aspirations for both sides gone by the wayside in recent weeks.
Should be an entertaining match and I’m expecting the Tahs to get home. I’ll also make the boys in blue, my best bet of the week.
This is arguably the match of the round between two of the South African heavyweights.
It’s an important clash for the Sharks as they try to stay in the top six and hold off the chasers.
The Stormers have been the benchmark all season and will be primed for this one.
Should be an absolute cracker with the Sharks getting home in a thriller.