Surprisingly, some other teams are actually going to be playing this weekend. Odd, I know, but let’s have a bash at getting the results right even though the Sharks aren’t in action.
Crusaders v Sunwolves (Friday 09h35)
Well, the Wolves may have beaten the crappy Bulls last week, but it gets a whole lot more difficult against the unbeaten former champion Crusaders. There’s simply no way that guts and pluck are going to be enough for the outclassed Japanese side, so go big on your pick. Crusaders by 40 points.
Reds v Kings (Saturday 07h05)
This one might actually be closer than we might have thought at the outset of the season. The Kings are improving all the time and were desperately unlucky not to win in Perth. The Reds seem to be going in the opposite direction and wretchedly seemed to have put in their best performance of a poor campaign against the Sharks in Round 1. I’m not going to be so bold as to pick a Kings win here, but it will be close. Reds to win by 5 or fewer.
Blues v Hurricanes (Saturday 09h35)
One fancies there has to be an upset in the Kiwi conference at some stage, but I’m not seeing it happening in Auckland on Saturday. The Blues are being their usual selves this season, flattering only to deceive, whereas the ‘Canes look like a side who are very much going to be in contention come the business end of the competition. Hurricanes by 8.
Rebels v Brumbies (Saturday 11h45)
Ok, seriously, who cares? The Aussies conference is so poor this year I think SANZAAR should have dropped all five of those teams and let the real rugby people get on with it. Anyway, that aside, I expect a sort of “dead cat bounce” from the Rebels, given that they’re facing the chop, so let’s go with Rebels by 5 here.
Cheetahs v Chiefs (Saturday 15h05)
Why are you even still reading this? Trust me – if proof is needed that the Cheetahs aren’t a strong enough union to be in Super Rugby, just watch this game for all the evidence you need. The Chiefs will be hurting and they are going to seek revenge against the spotted cheapskates from Bloem. We will see once and for all why the Cheetahs have tear marks on their jerseys. Chiefs to win by 20.
Stormers v Lions (Saturday 17h15)
Let’s hope this game – the game of the round – will be worth the wait and make all the dross that came before somehow seem worthwhile. The Stormers looks a complete side this year and were clinical at times against the Chiefs, whereas the Lions as just not quite managing to reach the heights of last year. This will be the first time the Lions play since coach Ackies dropped his Gloucester bombshell, so we’ve yet to see what effect that has on morale. My feeling is that the home side will be too strong here, but it should be a classic nonetheless. Stormers to win by 4 points.
Bulls v Jagaures (Saturday 19h30)
Ok seriously, six full games on a Saturday of which only two are likely to be genuinely entertaining? Ag nee man, can we move to 15 teams this season already? Anyway, this game could be one of two things, depending in part on how the Bulls play. Either it will be an ugly, strewn arm wrestle which the Jaguares win by a few points, or it will be a slaughter (again, the winner will be the Jaguares). I’m hoping for the former, but I suspect a big bonus point win is on the cards for the Argies. Jaguares by 15 points.