With the Bulls and the Blues letting us down last week, it was only a moderately successful Round 9 as far as predictions were concerned.
Both the Blues and Cheetahs are on a bye this week.
With that, let’s go straight into the previews for Round 10…
Chiefs vs Saders
This is another one of the very few games that the Crusaders could actually lose this season. The Chiefs are still a very unpredictable team, but having won their last 3 games, they are starting to gain a bit of momentum.
You’d still have to be a real gambler to go against the Crusaders, however. Even though they’ve lost Dan Carter, they still seem to be able to do more than enough to win games. Saders by a few in this one.
Reds vs Force
As always, derbies are never easy games, and it won’t be any different in this one. The Reds haven’t had the greatest season, but have just come off a bye and should be raring to go.
The Force have been sliding a bit in recent weeks, and it seems to be mainly their home form letting them down. Nobody seems to have an answer as to why they perform so poorly at home, so it is just as well that they are the away team this week.
Force to edge a close one here – the quality of their players should shine through.
Waratahs vs Lions
This should be the easiest game to call this week. You just do not see the dismal Lions winning any of their away games, even though they had a strong first half last week against the Crusaders.
The Waratahs are clicking nicely into gear right now, and it is a great time to be doing so. Another win here will just cement their place in the top 4.
Tahs to take this quite comfortably – SuperBru players, get your margins up for this one!
Brumbies vs Sharks
The Brumbies pulled a real surprise by beating the Blues last week. Not many people expected them to get the win in Auckland. Admittedly, it was against a poor Blues side who will be grateful for the bye this week.
The Sharks keep winning, which is a good thing, but you just wonder how long they can continue to play like they have and still keep on winning games. They have players in their backline who can do real damage, but they do not seem to be using them properly.
This is a critical game for the Sharks, because if they lose, they will fall back into that chasing pack of 6 or 7 teams. That is something they do not want, especially with games against the Saders and Tahs coming up. You still feel that they should have enough to take this one, however. Sharks to win with a bonus point here.
Bulls vs Highlanders
What can you say about these two teams? They are both rather poor and their log positions show it. The Bulls are having a nightmare season after being the flagship SA team for the last 3 years. They still have the players, but none of them seem to want to play for their current coach.
The Highlanders are still very poor, and their close result against the Sharks last week is misleading. The Sharks played very badly, and would not have gotten away with it against most other teams in the competition.
This might not be a popular choice, but I feel the Bulls should take this. They cannot possibly miss as many tackles as they did against the Canes last week. Habana might be the difference in this game.
Stormers vs ‘Canes
The game of the weekend. Both sides are bang-on-form and both play such an exciting brand of rugby. There is rain predicted in Cape Town this weekend, but the neutrals will be hoping that it stays away so that the runners in this game get to showcase their skills.
The Stormers played an awesome first half against the Cheetahs, but their failure to put them away will not have gone unnoticed by the Canes. A second half like last week will see the Hurricanes walk away with a win here.
The Hurricanes looked awesome against the Bulls, but you just wonder how much of it was actually down to their own genius. The Bulls unwillingness to tackle allowed the Canes to gain in confidence and play rugby that they would not have been allowed to, had it been a closer game.
Such a tight game to call, and one that could hinge on the bounce of the ball or a ref’s call. I’m going to go with the Stormers, simply because of home ground advantage and the visible growing belief of their players.Tweet