Here we are at the knockout stages of Super Rugby, and somehow a South African team is favourite for the title. The Lions finished top of the log, securing their knockout matches at home, despite not having played any of the Kiwi teams yet.
Roll on 2018, when the tournament structure should be improved, but here are my Superbru picks for now.
Brumbies v Hurricanes
The Brumbies finished on 34 points (outside the overall Top 8 overall), compared to the Hurricanes on 58 points (3rd overall), and yet this match is being played in Canberra. The ARU rigging of the system to guarantee home advantage for one of their teams still won’t be enough – they’ll still get pumped by the Canes I think. Hurricanes by 23.
Crusaders v Highlanders
The Crusaders lost their first match of the season last weekend, away at the Hurricanes, and that one defeat has cost them a home final if they get there. They need to get past the Highlanders first though – although the Saders won both fixtures between the sides this season, the last 5 fixtures have been decided by an average of just 5 points, so it’s likely to be tight. Crusaders by 4.
Lions v Sharks
These two sides played in Durban last week, with the Lions winning by 17 points. Back at home, you have to pick the Lions to win and it’s just a question of by how much. Lions by 18.
Stormers v Chiefs
This fixture is also fairly tough on the Chiefs, who finished 14 points above the Stormers but still have to travel away to Cape Town for the quarter-final. The Stormers beat the Chiefs in April, and home advantage gives them a reasonable chance, but the smart money is still on the Kiwis. Chiefs by 6.
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