We head into round 2 off the back of a weekend of upsets, here are my predictions.
First here is a link to my round 1 review.
How did last week’s predictions go?
3 out of 7, sounds like a disaster to kick the season off but with 3 big upsets I was in the same boat as most people.
Chiefs v Brumbies
This is many people’s choice of game of the round. It’s a repeat of the 2013 final and both sides started their campaigns with a win. Brumbies racked up the most points in the first round and looked the most clinical. Chiefs on the other hand showed signs of class but also signs of rustiness, some of that will be brushed off now but how much? I’m backing a home win but not with a lot of confidence.
Rebels v Waratahs
Rebels won their first ever overseas game last weekend against the famously slow starting Crusaders. Their pack stepped up and did a great job but this week they are up against the champions. Waratahs on the other hand stumbled last weeks against the Force with their pack being over powered. Can they get their mojo back or will they be over powered again? The Rebels young guns stepped up last week but I think inconsistency will be their downfall.
Bulls v Hurricanes
The Hurricanes continue their South Africa tour after a good win over the Lions. This week it’s a much tougher prospect against the Bulls. The Hurricanes possibly the best back line in Super Rugby if their pack can get enough ball. The Bulls had a good pre-season but came unstuck last weekend. The default option is to say the travelling team will lose this but Hurricanes are dark horses for the whole thing so I’m going out on a limb on this one.
Highlanders v Crusaders
The Highlanders kick off their campaign this weekend after an un-required bye week. They had a good pre-season and the question is have they lost any form with the break? Crusaders have had their normal slow start and with their All Blacks missing pre-season that shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m guessing that Crusaders will still be getting up to speed so home win.
Reds v Force
The Reds were thumped by the Brumbies last weekend and have issues with squad harmony. Cooper wasn’t happy at being told he couldn’t box before getting injured and O’Connor has history. Force on the other hand put in a committed performance and seem to be on the same page. My prediction is another recent champion team is going to fall to the Force.
Stormers v Blues
The Stormers backed up their good pre-season by putting in an impressive win over the Bulls. Where as the Blues showed plenty of rustiness as they fell to the Chiefs. Getting on a long haul flight isn’t the best way to work out that rustiness and so this looks like it’s going to be a long hard tour.
Sharks v Lions
Both these teams lost in the opening week and so who is going to be least worst? Sharks were being tipped as the top South African side but last week against Cheetahs they looked nothing like that. Lions need to make their kicks and keep hold of the ball but I think that’s going to take more than one week to fix.