There was no GSP for me in the final stage of the regular season, with 6 out of 7 correct picks. The last-minute win for the Sharks over the Stormers cost me those extra points, and leaves me needing to pick an upset to win my pools.
After 18 rounds of action, 15 teams have been whittled down to 8, with just over half qualifying for the quarter-finals this weekend.
Here are my Super Rugby predictions with increased Win Points available for these four games.
Crusaders v Highlanders
The Crusaders finished way ahead of the pack in the regular season, and now name their strongest line-up for the first time this season. All Blacks everywhere, home advantage, knockout rugby and the Highlanders don’t stand a chance. Crusaders by 16
Jaguares v Chiefs
Both teams managed huge wins last weekend, and the Jaguares did so with their second-string lineup. All the big guns are back, and with 9 wins in their last 10 matches, they’ll be confident of reaching the semi-finals for the first time. Instinct says to pick a home win, but this looks the likeliest ‘upset’ this weekend, so I’m going for the Chiefs. Chiefs by 2
Hurricanes v Bulls
The Canes haven’t quite been at their best this season, losing three matches and drawing 1, but this is knockout rugby, it’s a team full of All Blacks and I can’t see anything but a home win. Some pundits have said that a huge forward effort might give the Bulls a chance, but the Hurricanes pack isn’t exactly week. Hurricanes by 13
Brumbies v Sharks
The Brumbies have surprised me this season, particularly in the absence of star man David Pocock. They have won 8 of their last 9 matches in a well-timed run to the playoffs, and will likely be too strong for the Sharks. I think there’s the chance of an upset here, and I’ll see how the other three go, reserving the right to switch to the Sharks, but my head says the Brumbies will take it. Brumbies by 4
Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James