Cape Town - Looking back to Round 3 of Super Rugby, there was a handful of excellent matches across the Southern Hemisphere, but let’s start in Pretoria where there was both controversy and some excellent rugby between the Bulls and the Blues. The ridiculous incidents with Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger aside, this was the Gareth Anscombe show, the young Blues flyhalf scoring all of his side’s 29 points.
Teams: Super Rugby Round 4
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Down in Durban the Sharks picked up a first win of the season against the Lions, Jacques Botes grabbing the bonus point try with seconds left on the clock. The Stormers had a bye week meaning the final South African side in action was the Cheetahs, who travelled to Canberra to take on the Brumbies, coming up short thanks to a late penalty from Christian Lealiifano.
The two other games in Australia saw champions the Reds patiently wear down a much improved Rebels side, whilst the Western Force were thumped heavily at home by the visiting Hurricanes, who are starting to look like real contenders despite being written off at the start of the season. Finally in New Zealand the Chiefs picked up a second win in a row against the Crusaders, whilst the Highlanders went three from three against the Waratahs.
So the Chiefs and Blues results aside, Round 3 went pretty much according to plan. Looking ahead to Round 4 though and your SuperBru picks get tricky:
We start in Waikato on Friday with the Chiefs
hosting the Brumbies
. Given both sides won last weekend confidence should be on a high. That said, the Chiefs are starting to fire despite their injuries up front, so judging by the quality in each squad they should win this. Chiefs by 7.
Next, we travel to Cape Town to see the Stormers
take on the travelling Blues
. A week’s rest will have helped to relieve any niggles in the home side’s camp, whilst after Gareth Anscombe stole the show in Pretoria the Blues will be on a high. Home advantage to be the difference. Stormers by 4.
Saturday starts in Wellington as the Hurricanes
return home after two out of three wins on tour to take on the firing Highlanders
, who should keep their hot streak going. It’s a tricky one to pick, but I’ve gone for Highlanders by 8.
Then we’re in Sydney to see the Waratahs
looking to bounce back against the beleaguered Western Force
. It doesn’t get any easier for Nathan Sharpe’s side and it’s hard to see them being successful this weekend. Only one winner in this one, the Waratahs by 12.
The final game on Saturday sees the Reds
travel to Durban to take on the Sharks
. This is probably the hardest game to call of the lot, purely because so far the Reds are yet to match the form of last season. With so many keys players not on top form, including Will Genia, plus injuries to the key duo in the backs of Quade Cooper and Anthony Faingaa, they are yet to really cut loose. The Sharks may have only won once, but if their pack can get on top as they did last week, then this could be an upset. That said, if Mike Harris continues his rich vein of goalkicking form, then it will be a Reds win by 3.
Finally, Sunday morning sees the Rebels
play their second home match of the season against the Cheetahs
. Two struggling sides but the Melbourne outfit’s showing in Brisbane last week suggests a first win is not far off, and it could come this weekend. Rebels by 5.
That’s all for this week, best of luck with your SuperBru picks and see you ahead of Round 5.Click HERE to follow Ben Coles on Twitter