Last weekend was a round for upsets, with three very surprising results – few people expected wins for the Force, Chiefs and Brumbies. I was accurate in the others though, and moved up nearly 2,500 places, and hopefully that trend will continue this week.
First up it’s an all-Kiwi affair, and I’m backing the Chiefs to beat the Hurricanes. The away side may have won the last two in a row with bonus points, but that was against weaker opposition, and they still leaked 55 points across the two matches.
The Brumbies are next on the schedule, and after their upset over the Reds last weekend (only 2% playing SuperBru got that one right!), they’ll be confident of beating the Rebels, even if they welcome Danny Cipriani back to the fold.
The Crusaders versus the Blues should be a cracker, although the Blues are suffering from a dip in form with three straight defeats. They won’t fancy taking on the Crusaders after their rest week, and I’m predicting a home win.
The Highlanders have been so difficult to call this season, but based on the fact they’ve lost to the Force and the Lions in the last fortnight, surely the Waratahs will have too much at home? I hope so.
On paper, the Reds should thrash the Force, but then the Force go and beat the Highlanders away, and the Reds lose at home to the Brumbies. I still have to back the Reds, but it’s not as clear cut as it might have been this time last week.
The Sharks ought to beat the Lions in Johannesburg, and then there’s the brilliant prospect of the Stormers against the Bulls at Newlands. The home side are returning from a successful tour in which they won three from four games, whilst the Bulls have won the last five in a row. Nevertheless, I’m going with the home side for a narrow victory in what will hopefully be a great fixture.
Here are my Super Rugby predictions for Round 17:
Chiefs v Hurricanes: Chiefs by 7
Brumbies v Rebels: Brumbies by 13
Crusaders v Blues: Crusaders by 9
Waratahs v Highlanders: Waratahs by 8
Force v Reds: Reds by 7
Lions v Sharks: Sharks by 10
Stormers v Bulls: Stormers by 5