The conferences are taking shape and whilst the playoffs feel a long way away there are only 6 rounds left. Here are my round 12 predictions.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action.
How did your round 11 predictions go?
4 from 7, I picked the 50-50 but missed the upsets.
Here is my 30 second One Line Predictions, for full reasoning read below.
Highlanders v Crusaders
The Crusaders come into this off the back of eight wins. However they have only faced one New Zealand side and that was the bottom of the conference Blues. The Landers are seen as having slipped up recently but they have been disrupted by injuries and those two losses were by one point. This is going to come down to if the Crusaders forwards can get a significant upper hand to give their backs the front foot ball to breakthrough the suffocating Landers defence. I don’t think they’ll quite do it.
Highlanders by 3
Rebels v Brumbies
The Rebels and the Brumbies have had very similar records this season. Both have lost once in South Africa and to three New Zealand sides. Finally one of these sides will have lose to Australian opposition. Coming into the season it was all about the Brumbies but their off field issues have caused much disruption. Those were sorted out a couple of weeks ago now but these things are solved by one person leaving and they must still be in the healing process. For the Rebels it’s been much more smooth sailing and with that and home advantage I think they’ll win a close one.
Rebels by 3
Hurricanes v Reds
There is a mini scandal going on at the Canes with a rumoured 5 players to be stood down for missing a curfew in South Africa. At time of writing there are few details and so we don’t know the impact to the match day squad. However they are up against the Reds who whilst they are better than they were early season are one of the weaker sides. So it’s an easy home win for me.
Hurricanes by 15
Waratahs v Bulls
The Tahs seem to have started to get their game together and are on a run of three wins including one in South Africa. The Bulls are into their third game on tour and will be feeling the effects of the travel by now. The Bulls are notorious poor tourists and even though they did open with a win it was against the Force. So I’m backing a home win by about a score.
Waratahs by 7
Sunwolves v Stormers
The Sunwolves wer brought back down to earth last weekend by the poor Force. Also this is one of those home games a long way away from home in Singapore. Playing one of the top South African sides in the Stormers means easy away win.
Stormers by 15
Cheetahs v Kings
A clash of the basement boys. These two sides have three wins between them, all against the Sunwolves. I don’t think anyone really cares about this result and it’s not going to impact the standings in any meaningful way. I’m backing the Cheetahs to be not as poor as the Kings.
Cheetahs by 10
Lions v Blues
The Lions have been showing us all seasons long that last seasons form was just a sign of thing stop come and not a flash in the pan. The Blues are into their second game on tour and even though Kiwi sides do travel well it will be taking it’s toll. This is a real test of how the conferences stack up as the Blues are the bottom of the New Zealand conference and the Lions are battling to win theirs. I’m backing home advantage again to be the difference in a hard fought encounter.
Lions by 3
Jaguares v Sharks
The Jags got a much needed win over the Kings last time out and have had a week off to prepare for this game. Even so the Sharks have looked dangerous this season even if they have racked up a few losses. Their New Zealand tour is out of the way and they are coming off the back of a good win over the Canes. I think that they will be too suffocating for the Jags and continue their push for the playoffs.
Sharks by 7
This season I’m competing with Rugby Numbers, check out his algorithmic predictions.
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