Only 2 weeks to go in the regular season and there are still questions to be answered. Here are my predictions.
How did your predictions go last week?
6 from 9, I didn’t pick any of the upsets.
Here is my 30 second one line predictions, read below for the reasons.
Blues v Brumbies
The Blues season has been a great improvement on last year but they are still bottom of the NZ conference and no chance of making the playoffs. The Brumbies on the other hand are fighting it out with the Tahs to top the Australian conference and make the playoffs. The second place is unlikely to get a wildcard so it’s practically knockout rugby for them already. As the Blues have suffered injuries and there is so much more on the line for the Brumbies I’m backing them to buck their poor Eden Park record and win.
I’ll be at Eden Park so follow @DrivingMaul on twitter for videos and live updates from the ground.
Brumbies by 5
Reds v Chiefs
The Reds are capable of an upset and all their wins and draw have been at home. That includes a win over the Landers. However those wins have been few and far between and the visiting Chiefs are probably the favourites to win the whole thing. They know they need a big win to try and stay ahead of the Saders, Cane and Landers to win the conference so I’m backing the visitors to win with all guns blazing.
Chiefs by 10
Lions v Kings
Simply top verses bottom, this will be a TBP home win even though the Lions have already qualified as conference winners. They will still be gunning for that top seeding and home advantage all the way.
Lions by 25
Crusaders v Rebels
This fixture last year was when the Rebels announced that they were on the up with their first ever overseas win. This time though it’s not the opening game of the season and the Saders are on a roll even if they did stumble against the Chiefs last weekend. At home though I can’t see them stumbling again and expect them to revenge that home defeat last season.
Crusaders by 10
Waratahs v Hurricanes
This is the game of the round and the one that I chose for the #RugbyChat poll. Both these sides stumbled early on but have pulled things together. Home advantage should count for quite a lot but I’m agreeing with the vote. The reason is the form that Barrett has been showing over the last month. He’s just running the show so well and as we saw last weekend this Canes side has resilience and knows how to turn things around.
Hurricanes by 5
Force v Stormers
The Stormers put in a good touring performance last weekend to win easily over the Rebels. It is another week on tour but they are up against easier opposition. The Force might not get pushed around so much but they are a limited side and I can only see a win of the visitors.
Stormers by 7
Bulls v Sunwolves
The Bulls know that they need a TBP win in both their final games just to put pressure on the Sharks in that fight of a wildcard. With that incentive and with them hurting from their loss to the Jags last weekend it should be a big home win.
Bulls by 10
Sharks v Cheetahs
The Sharks know that their destiny is in their hands as they have a 3 point lead over the Bulls. Also both of them face the same 2 sides to finish the season. A TBP win here would see the job half done. The Cheetahs have only beaten the Sunwolves, Kings and Force so it’s easy home win.
Sharks by 7
Jaguares v Highlanders
The Jags got a great win last weekend over the Bulls in very wet conditions. If they have those conditions again they will cause the Landers some real problems. If it’s dry though this should be a relatively comfortable Landers win. I don’t know what the forecast is but I still think that the Landers will win as they hunt that wildcard and as high a seeding as possible.
Highlanders by 10
This season I’m competing with Rugby Numbers, check out his algorithmic predictions.
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