Picking the Highlanders to beat the Waratahs last weekend nearly came off – they had some chances to win it in the closing stages, but to be fair to the Waratahs, their defence late on was outstanding and they deserve their place in the semi-finals.
Here are my predictions for the two matches this weekend, where two home wins would be the obvious picks if you are leading your Superbru pools, but I need to pick an upset if I’m going to challenge for silverware.
Crusaders v Hurricanes
This is the match for the upset. Everything points to a win for the Crusaders, and that’s definitely the sensible pick, but with only three matches left in the season, I need to pick the underdog in one of them. And it’s this one. The ‘Canes have won three of the last five against the Crusaders, which includes a win by 25 points in Christchurch in 2016, and unlike most away teams in previous semi-finals, they haven’t had to travel around the world to get to the game. Up against familiar foes, if there’s one team that can stop the Crusaders winning the title, it’s the Hurricanes. Hurricanes by 2
Lions v Waratahs
Having fought so ferociously to come through a huge test in Sydney last week, I think the Waratahs will struggle to compete at altitude, after a long flight from Australia. They haven’t won at Ellis Park since 2009, when the Lions were not nearly as strong as they are now, and I think the Lions will win – and we might as well go for a big margin to hunt that bonus point. Lions by 18
Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James