There was a rare defeat of a New Zealand side by an overseas team last weekend. There are three more opportunities this weekend. Here are my predictions of the round 8 games.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action.
How did your Round 7 picks go?
6 from 7, as I didn’t call the Reds surprise win over the Landers.
Crusaders v Jaguares
Saders return home after a successful overseas tour with three wins. The Jags are coming into their third game in New Zealand so both teams should be fairly knackered. The difference is that the Jags haven’t won since their opening game of the season which is the complete opposite to the Saders. This has home win written all over it and I’ve gone for a LBP for the Jags as the Saders are coming back from a tour. It could blow out though as the Saders have form of racking up big scores against the lower teams.
Crusaders by 5
Rebels v Hurricanes
The Rebels had a real statement win against the Tahs last weekend and now must believe that a playoff berth is a possibility. They have had two losses but one was in South Africa and the other against the defending champions. The Canes are coming off the back of four wins and will be many people’s favourites. Those four wins though have been against the bottom teams from the four different conferences. So I’m going for a narrow home win.
Rebels by 3
Cheetahs v Sunwolves
This is one of those games that already doesn’t count for anything as neither side is going to get anywhere near the playoffs. The Cheetahs won by one point when they met in Singapore and being at home in South Africa should win by a bigger margin. The Sunwolves will be starting to feel tired with their third game in South Africa but this has to be one they are targeting for their first victory. I think they are going to have to wait a bit longer.
Cheetahs by 3
Blues v Sharks
This is one where I have to be careful, I’m a Blues supporter and my boss supports the Sharks. The Sharks started the season well but have disappointed over the last few rounds. South African sides also have a poor reputation when it come stop touring. The Blues maybe bottom of their conference but have enough points to be third in any of the others. I think that the improved form of the Blues will be enough to see off the Sharks. Follow me on Twitter of video and tweets from the game this Saturday.
Blues by 5
Waratahs v Brumbies
This would normally be the game of the round as you’d expect this to be the top two teams in the Australian conference. However the Tahs have really disappointed this season with only wins over the Reds. It’s one of the quirks of the Super Rugby draw that you can play a team twice inside the first 5 rounds. This is also the second meeting of these two sides and even though the Brumbies have stumbled over the last few rounds I expect them to win like they did in round 2.
Brumbies by 3
Bulls v Reds
The Reds have been a much better side since the sacked their head coach. This will be a good test of where the Bulls really stand as some of their wins have been against the weaker sides in the competition. Even with the upturn in the Reds I think that this will be a trip too far and for the Bulls to continue their good from.
Bulls by 7
Lions v Stormers
I chose this as the game of the round and for the twitter vote. The Stormers came into this season as the top side in South Africa. The performances by the Lions though have challenged that. As they are in different conferences this will be their only opportunity for bragging rights. I think that the more expansive Lions will win at home.
Lions by 7
This season I’m competing with Rugby Numbers, check out his algorithmic predictions.
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