The Super Rugby juggernaut rolls on but the SportGuru picks remain as hard to call as ever. Here are our picks for Round 10:
We get underway on Friday morning in Auckland, were two struggling sides will come together desperate to pick up a much needed win. The Blues were far more competent against the Highlanders last weekend, Rene Ranger providing a decent threat at 13 and Gareth Anscombe kicking well, whilst the Reds gave themselves far too much to do against a well-drilled Stormers side, 20-3 down before half-time.
How to choose then between two struggling sides? Home advantage. Blues by 6.
Next up, John Mitchell’s Lions return from their week off to face the touring Brumbies. The visitors really rattled the Bulls last weekend, their three tries in a late comeback no doubt leaving many SuperBru players worrying, Jesse Mogg and Henry Speight looking very promising at Loftus. Their spirit was outstanding, so expect them to win again. Brumbies by 12.
We then start on Saturday morning in Waikato, with table-toppers the Chiefs hosting the Hurricanes. Easily second-best last week against the Crusaders, Mark Hammett’s side haven’t put together back-to-back wins since Round 3 of this year’s tournament – and travelling to Waikato is not an easy prospect. Chiefs by 8.
The Stormers then play their fourth match on tour against the Western Force away in Perth. Injuries are starting to take their toll on the second-placed side, with Jean de Villiers, Andries Bekker, Schalk Burger, Gio Aplon and Duane Vermeulen all on the sidelines, but the depth in their squad has come through so far. They should return home with three wins out of four on the road. Stormers by 10.
The Cheetahs are then in action after their bye week, facing the Highlanders in Bloemfontein. The visitors two-match tour of South Africa – they face the Sharks in Round 11 – could make or break their playoff chances after an impressive start, but if the home pack can get on top this should be a victory for Naka Drotske’s team. Cheetahs by 5.
Last but not least, we have a rare Sunday game in Super Rugby when the Waratahs host the Crusaders in arguably the tie of the round in Sydney. The Tahs welcomed back Rocky Elsom last week from the bench but also lost highly rated full back Bernard Foley, along with openside Chris Alcock, leaving them short of an openside against the impressive Crusaders back-row of George Whitelock, Matt Todd and Kieran Read. For that reason, this will be won at the breakdown. Crusaders by 9.
That’s all for this week, best of luck with all your SportGuru picks and see you ahead of Round 11.
This article was also published on Sport24
by Ben Coles