After what turned out to be the highest scoring round of the season in Round 6, Ben Coles sits down to plot his predictions for Round 7 of Super Rugby, which starts on Thursday in Melbourne.
The Rebels have put in some spirited performances in the last few weeks they’ve struggled to finish games off. This week they take on the Blues, who have only won once out of their first five matches this season. Picking a winner out of two strugglers is not easy, but the Rebels feel as though they’re on the brink of finally clicking. Rebels by 4.
The Hurricanes then kick things off on Friday against the travelling Sharks. Both sides have been playing some excellent stuff in recent weeks, but the visitors should take this one. Sharks by 7. Next in Brisbane the Reds face a must-win match against the Brumbies to keep their season alive. The defence will have to be tighter, but they need the leadership of James Horwill and Will Genia more than ever now. The Brumbies are outstandingly well-drilled and could follow-up their win at Suncorp from last year. Brumbies by 5.
The final match on Friday sees the confident Force face the Chiefs in Perth. Repeating last week’s success though looks against the odds given the visitor’s firepower. Chiefs by 10.
Saturday starts with the Highlanders taking on the Stormers in the clash between the top two sides on the log. The visitors are leaving South Africa for the first time this season but arrive in good shape, mainly down to the fact that apart from Schalk Burger and Gary Van Aswegen they have a fully fit squad. The home pack will give them everything, but this could be an important away win in the course of the season. Stormers by 8.
Back on home territory the Cheetahs finally return home to take on the Lions in Bloemfontein, buoyant after last week’s big win and they should follow it up with another. Cheetahs by 8. Last but not least, two of Super Rugby’s giants battle it out in Pretoria as the Bulls take on the visiting Crusaders. In what has the potential to be a classic, the home pack will rise to the occasion. Bulls by 7.
by Ben Coles