Sorry for the quiet week on the blog, I’ve been on holiday with my family, switching off from Rugby and everything else for a while. I’m back now for the season run-in and as the Rugby World Cup build-up, with plenty in the pipeline over the coming months.
I missed all of last weekend’s Super Rugby action as a result – normally I’m able to watch at least 2 or 3 matches per round, which is way more than any other Rugby. With three young kids, the early morning kick-offs work quite well for me!
It was four correct picks out out of seven last week, matching the community average by predicting all the obvious ones and none of the upsets, as the Reds beat the Stormers (predicted by 37%), the Sharks thrashed the Lions (14%) and the Jaguares shocking the understrength Bulls (6%).
Here are my Super Rugby predictions for Round 9.
Crusaders v Highlanders
The Highlanders nearly upset the Hurricanes in Wellington last weekend, and their four match losing streak paints a bleaker picture than the actual state of their season. But up against the defending champions in the New Zealand capital (only joking, sorry about that error made in pre-holiday haste last week), I think there will only be one winner. Crusaders by 16
Rebels v Stormers
The Stormers’ results on tour have been getting worse since they pushed the Hurricanes close three weeks ago, and last week’s defeat to the Reds was most disappointing. The Rebels are better than the Reds, and will likely send their opposition back to Cape Town with four defeats from four on tour. Rebels by 9
Chiefs v Blues
The Blues are on a four-match winning streak but their record against the Chiefs is abysmal, going back to 2011 for their last win. The Chiefs are back to winning ways, and with a rest after their trip to SA and Argentina, I think they’ll be too good at home. Chiefs by 7
Brumbies v Lions
The Lions were destroyed by the Sharks at Ellis Park last weekend, which is not the ideal preparation for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Brumbies have had some mixed results so far this season, one minute thrashing the Chiefs, the next being thrashed by the Hurricanes, and then losing two in a row by the exact same score – 36-14 away at the Reds and the Crusaders. On paper, the Lions are the better side, but this is a potential upset. Lions by 6
Sharks v Jaguares
The Argentinians made the Bulls pay for making so many changes to their team, coming back to win at the death. The Sharks shouldn’t make the same mistake, and after that performance against the Lions last week, you have to back them in this one at home. Sharks by 9
Bulls v Reds
With the big guns likely to return for the Bulls, the defeat last week will be quickly forgotten as the Reds visit Pretoria. The home team usually wins this fixture, I still don’t rate the Reds and I expect it to be fairly comfortable. Bulls by 18
So that’s five home wins out of six – which ones do you disagree with?