It’s starting to look like we know the eight teams that will be in the Super Rugby finals. It might feel like it’s early days but there’s a gap opening up between eighth and ninth that will take some closing. Catchup with all the action from last weekend in the Super Rugby 2020 Round 5 Review with Steven and I.
Sunwolves v Brumbies – Brumbies by 30
This is going to be a long old season for the Sunwolves. They have been dealt a poor hand and it’s getting worse with Corvid19 meaning they can’t play home games. However they aren’t helping themselves with all the chopping and changing they are doing in their match-day squad. I can’t see them winning another game to be honest.
So big “away” win for the Brumbies who are coming off a bye. The only worry really is complacency. After such a significant win over the Chiefs in Hamilton the Brumbies really need to back it up with a comfortable TBP win here.
Crusaders v Reds – Crusaders by 20
I was really surprised how positive the Australian coverage of the Reds was prior to the game last weekend. Their only win up to that point was over the Sunwolves. It still is. The Reds might have a lot of potential but they really aren’t putting that onto the pitch against serious opposition.
Opposition doesn’t get much more serious than the Crusaders. Just like the Brumbies the only question mark here is will the Crusaders be complacent? History suggests not.
Waratahs v Chiefs – Chiefs by 7
This is a crucial game for the Chiefs. According to reports Gatland is sticking with his rotation policy that saw them lose the last time out against the Brumbies. That was their first setback of the season. Will that dent their confidence or will we see them bounce back?
The Tahs picked up their first win of the season over the Lions last weekend and that will have done them the world of good. However this weekend really is a much sterner test. Whilst their confidence will be much improved I can’t see the Chiefs tackling going missing in the same way the Lions did.
Hurricanes v Blues – Hurricanes by 7
This has become the big game of the weekend. Everyone has been impressed with the Blues over the last two rounds. They went to South Africa and picked up two big wins. The first over a struggling Bulls but that was only the third win this century in Pretoria. Then to be the first side to beat the Stormers this season!
A lot of people are saying that the Canes will be the acid test. However you have to say the Blues have already proven that they are in that top 8 conversation. That alone is a massive step up from previous seasons.
The Hurricanes are coming off the back of an easy win over the Sunwolves. That will have removed any rust from their bye week. Sure the Canes slipped up in week 1 but that’s a long time ago now. They are not only in the top 8 conversation but legitimate finalist contenders. I’m expecting they’ll have too much firepower for the Blues.
Rebels v Emirates Lions – Rebels by 3
This is already looking like a game that doesn’t really matter when it come to talking about finals qualification. Maybe I’m being harsh on the Rebels who finally turned up last weekend to beat the Highlanders. That win in Dunedin will raise expectations and they need to deliver on that this weekend.
The Lions used to be the best South African touring side. That’s a couple of years out of date now though. I know I say it time and time again but they have lost too much talent over the last few years to be contenders anymore.
Cell C Sharks v Jaguares – Cell C Sharks by 7
OK we have another really big game this weekend. Second hosting third in the Africa conference. The Stormers are coming off a really good tour to NZ & Oz where they picked up three wins from four games. The only game they lost was when Bosh returned home on bereavement leave.
This is far from a one man team however there are positions where the drop-off is more noticed than others. International wingers may not be missed but there isn’t the same depth at fly-half and keeping Bosh fit and playing is key for this side.
The Jaguares are on a WLWLW run of games. For a team that made it to the final last season we were expecting a bit more out of them. They are still on course to reach the finals but home advantage is looking a tough ask.
It just shows how much this expansion side has grown that our expectations are so high. I think that they are going to find this another week where they just going to come up short though.
Vodacom Bulls v Highlanders – Highlanders by 3
It’s a real shame that after only 5 rounds there are already games that don’t look like they are going to have any bearing on the outcome of the tournament. I’m finding it hard to care about this game to be honest.
I’m going with the away team as the Bulls have yet to win but maybe that’s unfair. The four sides that they have faced are all heading towards finals footie. So it’s been a tough draw so far. Also the Highlanders are missing a bunch of players and have pulled in fringe squad members to travel.
I’m talking myself out of my pick. In the past when I do that and change my pick if normally goes badly. So I’m going to stick with my original pick but not with a lot of confidence.
Bye – Stormers
Straight after the loss to the Bulls last weekend the pitch-side interviewer suggested that it was a bad time for the Stormers to have a bye. Their coach was really unhappy during the halftime interview and it’s not going to be a comfortable two weeks for the squad.
Record So Far
23 from 33 or 70% I could be going better but climbed in all the SuperBru leagues I’m taking part in except the DrivingMaul Supporter League!
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