With the top sides dominating in Round 10, will they do the same in Round 11? Here’s all the advice you need for this week’s SportGuru picks:
We get underway on Friday in Wellington with the Hurricanes hosting the Blues. The defence from Pat Lam’s side last weekend was simply unacceptable, so with their confidence in pieces and holding up the bottom of the table, things have to improve, for pride if anything. Eight defeats in a row however make a turnaround seem unlikely, so go for a home win. Hurricanes by 7.
Next we’re at AAMI Park as the Rebels take on the travelling Bulls. It’s been an eventful week for the home side with Danny Cipriani returning to England and James O’Connor ruled out for six weeks, but it doesn’t look set to get any easier against a rested Bulls side playing their first match on tour. Bulls by 13.
Saturday kicks off with what should be a one-sided affair between leaders the Chiefs and John Mitchell’s Lions in Waikato. One win in 8 makes the visitors definite underdogs and they will struggle to contain a fully firing home pack. Chiefs by 15.
Next it’s to Canberra for the on-fire Brumbies against the Waratahs. The hosts sit above their rivals in the Australia conference and are playing with great confidence, returning home after a very successful tour of South Africa. As for the Tahs, they need to start winning and fast if they are going to make the playoffs. This one will be close. Brumbies by 5.
We then cross the Indian Ocean to Durban for the Sharks against the Highlanders. Despite John Plumtree announcing this week that his side are not giving up on making the playoffs, the 10 point gap between themselves and the Stormers & Bulls looks like too much to make up. This is a must-win for the Sharks but the Highlanders have been in fine form. Highlanders by 6.
The Cheetahs then host the Western Force in Bloemfontein, no doubt still reeling from their remarkable loss last weekend. The Force have had an interesting week following Will Genia’s u-turn, and despite bright patches this season should struggle away from home. Cheetahs by 8.
Finally on Sunday, the Crusaders host the Reds in a re-match of last season’s final. Still trying to get their season back on track, the Reds are far from at their best and against an in-form Crusaders side away from home, will be extremely unlikely to get a result. Crusaders by 9.
That’s all for this week, best of luck with all your SportGuru picks and see you ahead of Round 12.
by Ben Coles