It’s the final round before the 3-week international break and the sides will all be keen to make one last push for maximum log points.

**Crusaders v Highlanders 01 June at 09:35**

This first match is a huge one from a New Zealand conference point of view, with both sides well in the running for a wildcard play-off spot (but also battling hard against three South African sides in the same position). The Crusaders have been up and down, but they should take this at home. **Saders by about 5**.

Crusaders : 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (Captain), 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett

Replacements: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Matt Todd, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Taylor, 22. Tom Marshall

Highlanders : 15. Ben R Smith, 14. Kurt Baker, 13. Tamati Ellison, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Chris Noakes, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Nasi Manu, 7. James Haskell, 6. Adam Thomson, 5. Josh Bekhuis, 4. Jarrad Hoeata, 3. Chris King, 2. Andrew Hore, 1. Jamie MacKintosh (Captain)

Replacements: 16. Jason Rutledge, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. Nick Crosswell, 19. Tim Boys, 20. Jimmy Cowan, 21. Mike Delany, 22. Kade Poki

**Rebels v Brumbies 01 June at 11:40**

The Brumbies took a bit of a knock in losing to the Reds and will know that a loss in Melbourne will leave them vulnerable to being knocked off top spot in the Aussie conference – and missing out on the knockouts as a result. While the Rebels will be competitive, I don’t think they’ll win without so many of their star playmakers. **Brumbies by 4**.

Rebels: 15. Julian Huxley, 14. Mark Gerrard, 13. Mitch Inman, 12. Stirling Mortlock (Captain), 11. Cooper Vuna, 10. James Hilgendorf, 9. Nick Phipps, 8. Gareth Delve, 7. Hugh Perrett, 6. Luke Jones, 5. Hugh Pyle, 4. Cadeyrn Neville, 3. Jono Owen, 2. Adam Freier, 1. Nic Henderson

Replacements: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Rodney Blake, 18. Alister Campbell, 19. Tom Chamberlain, 20. Tim Davidson, 21. Richard Kingi, 22. Nick Stirzaker

Brumbies : 15. Robbie Coleman, 14. Jesse Mogg, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Joseph Tomane, 10. Zack Holmes, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (Captain), 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Leon Power, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ruaidhri Murphy

Replacements: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Henry Speight, 22. Tevita Kuridrani

**Blues v Chiefs 02 June at 09:35**

Can the Blues finally manage a win? The answer, I fear, is no, not this week. The Chiefs are on a roll and are heading for a first-place finish. There’s no way they will relinquish that against the lowly Blues. **Chiefs by 8**.

Blues : 15. Rudi Wulf, 14. Lachie Munro, 13. Francis Saili, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Rene Ranger, 10. Michael Hobbs, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Luke Braid (Captain), 7. Daniel Braid, 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Ali Williams, 4. Liaki Moli, 3. Tevita Mailau, 2. James Parsons, 1. Tony Woodcock

Replacements: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Angus Ta’avao, 18. Filo Paulo, 19. Peter Saili, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Hadleigh Parkes, 22. David Raikuna

Chiefs : 15. Andrew Horrell, 14. Maritino Nemani, 13. Jackson Willison, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Kane Thompson, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Messam (Captain), 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Fitzgerald, 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 1. Sona Taumalolo

Replacements: 16. Hikawera Elliott, 17. Ben Tameifuna, 18. Romana Graham, 19. Scott Waldrom, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Robbie Robinson, 22. Lelia Masaga

**Waratahs v Hurricanes 02 June at 11:40**

This game means little, in reality and both of these teams have been so wildly inconsistent that it’s hard to pick a winner. Home ground advantage means the Tahs should probably eke out a win, but since they’ve just returned from South Africa, we’ll back the Canes to go big and grab their second Aussie scalp in as many weeks. **Hurricanes by 6**.

Waratahs : 15. Bernard Foley, 14. Tom Kingston, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Berrick Barnes, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Jono Jenkins, 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson (Captain)

Replacements: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Richard Stanford, 19. Lopeti Timani, 20. Brendan McKibbin, 21. Daniel Halangahu, 22. Tom Carter

Hurricanes : 15. André Taylor, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith (Captain), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben May

Replacements: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Reg Goodes, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Brad Shields, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. Jayden Hayward

**MTN Lions v Sharks 02 June at 17:05**

This is the Sharks’ game to lose, given relative form and log position – then again, we’ve seen them do exactly that far too many times in the past to be complacent about a result. If they pitch for the game, the class in positions 1 through 22 surely must see the **Sharks win, by at least 10 points**.

Lions: TBA

Sharks: TBA

**Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers 02 June at 19:10**

This is the big one, but alas, the Stormers’ injury woes may just take a fair bit of spice out of the clash. While they’re still a well-coached team and miserly on defence, I don’t see the battle-weary Capetonians finding a way to win at Loftus. **Bulls by around 9 points**.

Bulls : 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. CJ Stander, 6. Dewald Potgieter, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Dean Greyling

Replacements: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Arno Botha, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. Francois Venter

Stormers: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (Captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Jebb Sinclair, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Deon Carstens

Replacements: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Quinn Roux, 19. Don Armand, 20. Nick Fenton-Wells, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Burton Francis

gio is going to have a long day with morne”up and under”steyn

Chiefs by 8? 😯

Hope the Landers can limit the Saders not to get a bonus point, and similarly Tahs need to beat the Canes

@Bokhoring (Comment 3) : I don’t mean to sound negative even though I will. But I don’t buy into all of that. I don’t care what happens in the other games. At the end of the day the Sharks will finish where they deserve to finish.

@Ben (Comment 2) : what?

@robdylan (Comment 5) : Don’t you think they will win by more?

@Ben (Comment 6) : there have been relatively few runaway results so far this year

@robdylan (Comment 7) : I think the Chiefs will win by about 20.

@Ben (Comment 4) : At the moment we are unfortunately at the mercy of what happens with other teams. Real championship teams should never be – but that is how it is this year

@Ben (Comment 8) : or 40 🙂

@Bokhoring (Comment 9) : No, that is how it is every year.

@Ben (Comment 11) : Except in 2007

@Bokhoring (Comment 9) : if the Saders win this, and we win over the lions, we in a posssion of ,can afford to loose a game and still qualify, a place where the sharks have not been in with 2 games to go for many years….

@Bokhoring (Comment 12) : Correct.

All the same here 😈

@Bokhoring (Comment 9) : we are not, we have it all in our own hands, it does not matter what oter teams do from now on….

@Franshark (Comment 16) : Winning this thing from 5 or 6 on the log is near impossible IMO