The Super Rugby juggernaut rolls on but the SuperBru picks remain as hard to call as ever. Here are our picks for Round 8:
We get underway this week in Auckland, where Pat Lam’s under-pressure Blues side desperately need a win against the visiting Sharks. It’s all going wrong for Pat Lam’s team, with off-field indiscipline seeing Peter and Francis Saili both suspended and confidence at rock bottom after one win from six matches. They’ll be hoping the Sharks arrive drained for their fourth match on tour, but with Bismarck du Plessis and Pat Lambie back for the visitors, the losing streak should continue. Sharks by 8.
Next we travel to Perth for the Force’s third home game on the bounce against the Waratahs. The home side struggled to threaten the try line last weekend and will only find it harder against a strong Tahs defence. Waratahs by 9.
Friday starts in Christchurch with a mouth-watering clash between the Crusaders and the Stormers. The visitors pack was very impressive last weekend against the Highlanders, youngster Eben Etzebeth starting to turn heads in the second row along with Rynhardt Elstadt behind him. The Saders comeback last week was nearly perfect against the Bulls, but they just fell short. Tough to call. Stormers by 4.
The Brumbies then host the Rebels, with both teams in good spirits after recent results. In what will be a battle of the packs, don’t expect one side to dominate in the scrum. It could come down to a moment of brilliance, but home advantage should tell. Brumbies by 5.
We then jet over to South Africa, first to Bloemfontein where the exciting Cheetahs host the equally entertaining Chiefs. This looks set to be a very high scoring affair given they way both sets of back have performed in the last few weeks. The shift to altitude might upset the visitors’ fitness slightly, but expect it to be close. Cheetahs by 3.
Finally, the lowly Lions face the Bulls in Johannesburg in what is by far the easiest result to pick this weekend. It’s just not going right for John Mitchell’s side at the moment and with the Bulls on a high after defeating old adversaries the Crusaders last weekend, this could be a heavy scoreline. Bulls by 15.
That’s all for this week, best of luck with your SuperBru picks and see you in Round 9!
by Ben Coles