This marks the halfway point of the regular season so there is still time to chach-up but any team that has ambitions needs to start now. Here are my predictions for round 9.
How did your predictions go last week?
4 from 6, it was all looking so good getting the first 4 games right…
Blues v Brumbies
Brumbies have been the pick of the Australian sides, though some friends on Twitter seem to think they are too inconsistent. Some of their back play has been great and I’m really looking forward to seeing them at Eden Park this Friday. Whilst I will be supporting the Blues I just can’t see them overcoming one of the form teams. There has been some good rugby coming out of the Blues but their confidence must be shot to pieces and if it’s close they are likely to question themselves.
Brumbies by 7
Crusaders v Highlanders
The performances of the Highlanders has been great to see and with a couple of games in hand could easily shoot up the table. The problem is that they are coming across the Crusaders who have been really getting into form over the last couple of weeks. The Crusaders will be jaded from their South Africa tour but I still think will have enough to take the win. I’m suggesting a wide margin not because I expect it to be one-sided but because the Crusaders seem to be winning or losing big.
Crusaders by 10
Waratahs v Stormers
The Tahs have put in a good couple of performances and they are one of teams that could put in a run. The Stormers started well but it was deceptive and have since lost 3 on the bounce. Long away trips are not the best time to turn thing around so this could be a tough trip.
Waratahs by 10
Force v Cheetahs
The Force might have only won one game all season but the last 3 have only been by one score. The Cheetahs have been losing by double figures and like the Stormers being on tour isn’t going to help.
Force by 7
Bulls v Reds
The Bulls were looking like putting in a run until they cam across the most improved side in the tournament. This week they get a side who not only have travelled far but are looking a lot less than the sum of their parts. For the Reds this season is written off and it’s about who they can get to coach next season. Expect the Bulls scrum to look to dominate before adding the points.
Bulls by 15
Lions v Sharks
Before their tour I would have gone for the Sharks without thinking. But the Lions really are looking very improved and are fighting so much for each other. The Sharks have been having disciplinary issues and are missing players so this could be a very depressing follow-up to last weeks game,
Lions by 5