SuperBru Round 11 preview

    2012-05-02 11:26

    Ben Coles

    Cape Town - SuperBru fans, it’s getting tight at the top. All of the top six picked up victories last weekend both home and away, with the Chiefs staying at the top.

    The league leaders put in another impressive performance against the Hurricanes. Andre Taylor was on form for the visitors but Aaron Cruden’s boot and the home side’s excellent pack dominated once more to pick up a convincing win.

    The Stormers continued at the top of the South African Conference with a third win on tour against the Force in a washout; Bryan Habana’s interception and another try from Peter Grant bringing them the win. The Brumbies also stayed top of the Australian Conference after their win away against the Lions. It’s been an excellent tour for Jake White’s side, picking up seven points surpassing any pre-season expectations.

    Keeping up the chase were the Highlanders and Crusaders, with the former’s success against the Cheetahs coming after an incredible comeback, recovering from being 30-9 down to win 36-33. The Crusaders’ form also continued against the Waratahs in Sydney, winning a brilliant spectacle thanks to a brace from Robbie Fruean.

    The weekend’s other result was the battle between the two stragglers, with the Reds striking early on against the Blues thanks to early tries from Digby Ioane and Luke Morahan, before Dom Shipperley rounded things off after half-time.

    So with the top sides dominating in Round 10, will they do the same in Round 11? Here’s all the advice you need for this week’s SuperBru picks:

    We get underway on Friday in Wellington with the Hurricanes hosting the Blues. The defence from Pat Lam’s side last weekend was simply unacceptable, so with their confidence in pieces and holding up the bottom of the table, things have to improve, for pride if anything. Eight defeats in a row however make a turnaround seem unlikely, so go for a home win. Hurricanes by 7.

    Next we’re at AAMI Park as the Rebels take on the travelling Bulls. It’s been an eventful week for the home side with Danny Cipriani returning to England and James O’Connor ruled out for six weeks, but it doesn’t look set to get any easier against a rested Bulls side playing their first match on tour. Bulls by 13.

    Saturday kicks off with what should be a one-sided affair between leaders the Chiefs and John Mitchell’s Lions in Waikato. One win in eight makes the visitors definite underdogs and they will struggle to contain a fully firing home pack. Chiefs by 15.

    Next it’s to Canberra for the on-fire Brumbies against the Waratahs. The hosts sit above their rivals in the Australian conference and are playing with great confidence, returning home after a very successful tour of South Africa. As for the Tahs, they need to start winning and fast if they are going to make the playoffs. This one will be close. Brumbies by 5.

    We then cross the Indian Ocean to Durban for the Sharks against the Highlanders. Despite John Plumtree announcing this week that his side are not giving up on making the playoffs, the 10-point gap between themselves and the Stormers and Bulls looks like too much to make up. This is a must-win for the Sharks but the Highlanders have been in fine form. Highlanders by 6.

    The Cheetahs then host the Western Force in Bloemfontein, no doubt still reeling from their remarkable loss last weekend. The Force have had an interesting week following Will Genia’s u-turn, and despite bright patches this season should struggle away from home. Cheetahs by 8.

    Finally on Sunday, the Crusaders host the Reds in a re-match of last season’s final. Still trying to get their season back on track, the Reds are far from their best and against an in-form Crusaders side away from home, will be extremely unlikely to get a result. Crusaders by 9.

    That’s all for this week, best of luck with all your SuperBru picks and see you ahead of Round 12.

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