In pre-season my friend Hermann predicted that the Stormers would win Super Rugby. Well they sit in the number 1 seed position at the moment! Catchup with all the action from last weekend in the Super Rugby 2020 Round 4 Review with Steven and I.
Highlanders v Rebels – Highlanders by 5
Two sides that are struggling this season and I think that we can already say won’t be doing much in the playoffs. The Highlanders have lost comfortably to two of the tournament contenders and their win came over the Australian Conference leaders. That’s a tough opening set of fixtures for a side that’s seen a lot of turnover in the off season. This should give them a moral boosting win in front of their home fans.
Wessels was being talked as a potential future Wallabies coach when he handled the Force as they left Super Rugby. This is his third season with the Rebels and he really hasn’t managed to get this talented squad to perform at their best. It’s looking like another long season and maybe it’s time for a new voice.
Join me straight after the final whistle for post match reaction to Highlanders v Rebels.
Waratahs v Emirates Lions – Waratahs by 3
Another two sides that are really struggling this season. The Tahs are another side that have the skills but decision making has been their downfall. How well have they managed to use their week off? This is the kind of fixture that they want to come back to, a visiting South African side that’s struggling.
The Lions also had last weekend off so could have used that to get over jet-lag. I don’t know when they left but with four weekends of games they might have wanted home comforts for as long as possible. The Lions have used tours to jump start their season in the past. However I don’t think they have the same quality they did then.
Hurricanes v Sunwolves – Hurricanes by 40
The Canes look fully recovered from their opening round nightmare over in South Africa. Wins over the Jaguares and Sharks before their weekend off really put them back into contender status. Both of those sides will be there or there abouts come the playoffs.
The Sunwolves have gone in the exactly opposite direction. A great opening game and big losses since. Ben Darwin pointed out that they had changed 7 players between games. For a brand new team (it’s not the same side as last year) they really just need to figure out their best 15 and stick with it as much as possible. They haven’t done that and it’s showing.
Reds v Cell C Sharks – Cell C Sharks by 7
The Reds will be very happy with their big win over the Sunwolves last weekend. They had a horrid opening three losses but their South Africa and South America tour is out of the way. They are in a position that they could start to build something. However what they don’t need is a contender turning up at their doorstep.
This has been a really good tour for the Sharks. Two wins from three games despite losing players. This team is clearly enjoying playing together. It was great when Mapimpi gave up a hat trick to allow Bosch to score. Bosch was back in South Africa on bereavement leave for the Canes game and it shows that this squad care about each other. That care and enjoyment is allowing a talented squad to start to show it’s potential.
DHL Stormers v Blues – DHL Stormers by 7
OK I didn’t see the Blues winning at altitude over the Bulls last weekend. However we need to remember that’s not the Bulls side that won three titles in four years. It’s a side that’s very much in transition. The three playmakers selection seamed to work and I expect to see Rieko back this weekend.
The problem for the Blues though is that they are visiting the best defensive side in the competition. With that defence they sit as the number 1 seed and only side yet to lose. The Stormers are looking really good this season and with their narrow win over the Lions have showed they also have fight. A comfortable home win for me (but I said that for the Chiefs last weekend).
Vodacom Bulls v Jaguares – Jaguares by 3
The Bulls have had a shocking start to the season, at least the LBP from last weekend means they are above the Waratahs. What they showed in that game though is that they don’t know how to close out a game.
The Jaguares don’t have the best record on the road and lost last weekend to the Stormers in South Africa. However this is one that they have to win if they want to make the playoffs. With the Stormers and Sharks going well it’s not a given that the finalists from last year will make the playoffs. It’s games like this that will decide that.
Bye – Crusaders, Chiefs and Brumbies
All three of these teams getting a rest will be happy with their opening block of results. Sure they would all liked to have won the one that got away. Three wins and a loss though is a good start to the season and sees these sides fill the second third and fourth seed spots.
The big question for these teams is how do they carry that momentum over to the next block of games? Arguably the Chiefs are the side that need this break the most with that unexpected loss last weekend. However I’m confident that all three have the coaching setups to use this bye week constructively.
Record So Far
19 from 27 or 70% not so bad considering I had a 50:50 weekend last round.
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