Cape Town - SuperBru fans, Round 9 was all about the return to form of the Crusaders
, who travelled to Wellington and ran in five outstanding tries to take down the Hurricanes
. Todd Blackadder’s side are beginning to find their feet in this year’s competition, moving into the final wildcard spot and into third in the New Zealand conference behind the Highlanders and the Chiefs.
The weekend’s other New Zealand derby in Dunedin saw the struggling Blues
suffer their fifth successive loss due to a late try from replacement Highlanders
wing Kurt Baker. The visitors’ performance was far improved from their recent efforts, but they came up short once again, moving them to the bottom of the table.
The fifth and final Kiwi side in action were the Chiefs
in Durban, whose win over the Sharks
was far from aesthetically pleasing but made sure that they stayed put at the top of the table. The SuperBru community was split down the middle with this one, with 50.09% predicting a victory for the visitors.
Further north in Pretoria, the Bulls
may have been outscored by five tries to two, yet they still came out on top against the Brumbies
thanks to 26 points from the boot of flyhalf Morné Steyn.
The remaining matches included the Stormers
bouncing back from their defeat in Christchurch to defeat the Reds
in Brisbane, the home side’s bad luck with injuries continuing as both Sam Lane and Ben Tapuai were forced to withdraw. The Waratahs
won the only Australian derby of the round against the Rebels
.Looking forward, here’s all the SuperBru tips you need for success in Round 10:
We get underway on Friday morning in Auckland, where two struggling sides will come together desperate to pick up a much-needed win. The Blues
were far more competent against the Highlanders last weekend, Rene Ranger providing a decent threat at 13 and Gareth Anscombe kicking well, whilst the Reds
gave themselves too much to do against a well-drilled Stormers side, 20-3 down before half-time. How to choose then between two struggling sides? Home advantage. Blues by 6.
Next up, John Mitchell’s Lions
return from their week off to face the touring Brumbies
. The visitors really rattled the Bulls last weekend, their three tries in a late comeback no doubt leaving many SuperBru players worrying, Jesse Mogg and Henry Speight looking very promising at Loftus. Their spirit was outstanding, so expect them to win again. Brumbies by 12.
We then start on Saturday morning in Waikato, with table-toppers the Chiefs
hosting the Hurricanes
. Easily second-best last week against the Crusaders, Mark Hammett’s side haven’t put together back-to-back wins since Round 3 of this year’s tournament - and travelling to Waikato is not an easy prospect. Chiefs by 8.
then play their fourth match on tour against the Western Force
away in Perth. Injuries are starting to take their toll on the second-placed side, with Jean de Villiers, Nick Koster, Schalk Burger, Gio Aplon and Duane Vermeulen all on the sidelines, but the depth in their squad has come through so far. They should return home with three wins out of four on the road. Stormers by 10.
are then in action after their bye week, facing the Highlanders
in Bloemfontein. The visitors’ two-match tour of South Africa - they face the Sharks in Round 11 - could make or break their playoff chances after an impressive start, but if the home pack can get on top this should be a victory for Naka Drotske’s team. Cheetahs by 5.
Last but not least, we have a rare Sunday game in Super Rugby when the Waratahs
host the Crusaders
in arguably the tie of the round in Sydney. The 'Tahs welcomed back Rocky Elsom last week from the bench but also lost highly rated fullback Bernard Foley, along with openside Chris Alcock, leaving them short of a 7 against the impressive Crusaders back-row of George Whitelock, Matt Todd and Kieran Read. For that reason, this will be won at the breakdown. Crusaders by 9.
That’s all for this week, best of luck with all your SuperBru picks and see you ahead of Round 11.Click HERE to follow Ben Coles on Twitter