Cape Town - Last weekend there where once again big surprises in Super Rugby, and true to form there will be another few this weekend!
The Sharks will need to improve drastically after the pounding they received from the Hurricanes. After a comfortable win against the Lions the Cheetahs will want to maintain momentum while the Bulls and the Stormers, the best looking South African sides will be targeting a victory once again.
Without a doubt the Crusaders v Stormers game is the clash of the weekend. Many are dubbing this as the eventual final with both sides being fancied on the outright market. The Stormers are now 3/1 to lift the trophy with the Crusaders slightly shorter at 11/4. It is said that jetlag and fatigue hits the hardest in the second week of travel, but the Stormers will give it everything they have to keep their record this year unblemished. Dan Carter is slowly starting to run things for the Crusaders and the Red Storm have been improving week by week. Whatever you guys do, make sure all your plans are cancelled, this game is a must watch! A closer look at Super Rugby, Week 8 action with Bet.co.za:
(All kick-off's SA time)Blues v Sharks (Auckland) – 09:35
Odds: Blues 7/10 Sharks 11/10
It will be vital for the Sharks to forget about the drubbing they received last week at the hands of the Hurricanes, and focus on this clash against the Blues, as it could prove vital to their playoff aspirations. In order to win rugby games you have to be able to tackle! Something the Sharks have not been doing very well! Although it would not surprise anyone, it is a mystery that Sharks are one of the few sides in the tournament, who do not have a defensive coach. The Blues have been awful this season! Guys have been gunning for Pat Lam, but it must be pointed out that their World Cup winning All Blacks have been in terrible form! Judging by his recent ballooning, Weepu clearly took the celebrations a little too far. This game could be very scrappy to watch and a very tight battle. With Lambie set to return for the Sharks, they should back themselves, provided they make a few tackles this time!Prediction: Sharks by 4 Force vs. Waratahs (Perth) – 13:40
Odds: Force 13/10 Waratahs 6/10
The Force can expect some backlash from the Waratahs after they edged out a narrow victory in Sydney a few weeks back. It must be said that the Waratahs starting lineup looks much more impressive than weeks back with key players returning from injury! The Force too have been hit with injury problems, most notably in the backline but a few of these may well be returning this week. Despite this it remains to be seen whether the Force can penetrate with their backs, despite the forwards always setting an impressive platform! With the Reds struggling, Waratahs goals will be set on a top place in the Australian conference. They will be well up for this game and should win fairly comfortably. Prediction: Waratahs by 9
(All kick-off's SA time)Crusaders vs. Stormers (Christchurch) – 09:35
Odds: Crusaders 5/9 Stormers 7/5
This has all the ingredients to be one of the classics. The Stormers are the only side who are yet to lose this season and their win against a more fancied Highlanders last week was an incredible performance! It was made even more impressive by their extremely long and tiresome travel from Cape Town to Dunedin. The Crusaders have managed to win just half of their games to date, but are starting to look better and better! They have an impeccable history against the Stormers winning five of the last six encounters. On the contrary Stormers have a remarkable record in New Zealand of late winning five from their last six. It is going to be so difficult to separate these two sides. You feel that discipline is going to be crucial as both goal kickers have pin point accuracy! Due to the possible pending fatigue of the Stormers, Crusaders should edge this one. Prediction: Crusaders by 3 Brumbies vs. Rebels (Canberra) – 11:40
Odds: Brumbies 5/10 Rebels 8/5
A lot of passion will be thrown into the Derby with both sides having contrasting fortune in their last few games. Despite losing three from their last four games the Brumbies are still on top of the Auzzie conference, a position they would dearly want to hold onto! The Rebels have won two on the trot, with their linchpin James O Connor being largely responsible. Although the Rebels backline have been ignited it remains to be seen what sort of job their forwards can do! They are also notoriously bad on the road and Canberra has never been an easy place to force a result. The Brumbies should have too much ball in this game for the Rebels to challenge. Expect a lot of passion to be in this one! Prediction: Brumbies by 11
Cheetahs vs. Chiefs (Bloemfontein) – 17:05
Odds: Cheetahs 11/10 Chiefs 7/10
This is set to be a humdinger! Both sides play such an attractive brand of rugby and this one will be well worth cancelling your dinner date for! The Chiefs electric backline has been impressive this year; however it is their forwards that have shocked a few! They have dominated packs against the odds and with forwards and backs in unison have been an extremely imposing side to conquer! The Cheetahs Oh the Cheetahs! It seems as though every South African rugby fan, despite their allegiances have been supporting the Cheetahs this year! The dynamic brand of rugby they are playing is really great for the spectator! A lot of this has been down to the prodigy Johan Goosen who has been touted by many as the next Springbok hero! The bad news is that he is under an injury cloud at the moment and will undergo a late fitness test on Friday. If he does not play the Chiefs should win fairly comfortably. If he does, it is anyone’s guess!Prediction: Chiefs by 10
Lions vs. Bulls (Johannesburg) – 19:10
Odds: Lions 63/20 Bulls 2/9
The signs are all there for another big win for the Bulls. The Bulls have averaged the most points per game this season with 33 and have had two big wins against the Reds and the Cheetahs! When their tales are up, there is no stopping them! Lions are still struggling with a massive injury list, with no sign of things improving anytime soon! Lions have not beaten the Bulls since 2005, a record that will most probably be maintained. The Bulls have been very impressive this year and will be eyeing a four try bonus point to stay well within the top 6. Prediction: Bulls by 22
Visit www.bet.co.za for updated odds ahead of the weekend.