Only two rounds to go and there are still several teams that can make the playoffs. But it’s also important the form that the teams take into them. Here are my predictions.
First here is a link to my review of the previous round.
How did your predictions go last round?
4 from 7, is a poor return as I got the 50:50 calls wrong.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
The Canes suffered a bad loss to the Crusaders last weekend. This weekend though sees the return of Barrett and with it an element of control. They will also hope that some of the “lazy” play last week was a one off and it was a wake up call. I would have found this one difficult to call if it wasn’t the fact that the Landers are resting their All Blacks. With that disadvantage I can only see a home win here.
Hurricanes by 7
Force v Brumbies
This is an easy pick, the Force have only got two wins and both of those were over the Tahs. The last couple of weeks those losses have just got bigger. So I’m predicting a comfortable away win for the title chasing Brumbies.
Brumbies by 15
Rebels v Bulls
Another one that is easy to predict on the face of it, the Bulls are on a long run of overseas losses. But the Rebels form hasn’t been great recently but those were all away games and they will be happy to be back home. So I’m going for a home win but I’m expecting it to be close.
Rebels by 5
Blues v Crusaders
The Blues had been on a winning streak at Eden Park even if they were losing all other games. But that run came to an end against the Canes. Now that even that positive has gone and the Crusaders have shown some good form. So I’m expecting the Saders to throw the ball to Nadolo and take the win.
Crusaders by 10
Reds v Chiefs
Are the Reds coming into form just at the right time to mess up other teams playoff prospects? Or is it just the vagaries of the scheduling? Yes they are playing better but it has also been against the Rebels and Force. The Chiefs will be a different prospect entirely even if they are missing some key players to injury. So I’m backing an away win but not by much.
Chiefs by 5
Cheetahs v Waratahs
Another bottom v top contest. The Cheetahs are having a tough season and the visit of the Tahs isn’t going to make it any easier. The Tahs know that their playoff spot and potential back to back titles are in the balance. This should drive their performance and a relatively comfortable victory on tour.
Waratahs by 10
Stormers v Lions
This is possibly the clash of the round, a do or die game for the Lions. This could be the last game of the season for the Lions and a win will take them top of the their conference. Then they will just have to wait to see how games go next week. But first they need to win away at the Stormers. If the Bulls have lost earlier the Stormers will know that a win here will win the conference and a playoff slot. So it’s a battle royal to end the round and whilst I love the underdog, I feel this will be a tight home victory.
Stormers by 5