LIVE

    SuperBru Week 19 preview

    2014-07-09 15:30
    Jamie Hosie

    Cape Town - We've reached the final round of the "regular" Vodacom Super Rugby season. Who'll reach the playoffs?

    FRIDAY, JULY 11

    Blues v Chiefs, Auckland - 09:35

    It's been a hugely difficult season for making SuperBru picks, and it doesn't get any easier at the beginning of the final round of regular fixtures. Just four points separate the Blues and the Chiefs, with both sides needing a win to confirm a place in the play-offs. The Blues know they probably need a bonus point, too, so expect it to be fairly open from quite early on. The Chiefs have the better of the recent history between these two, having not lost since 2011, but the Blues have lost only once in Auckland this season. All of which means it's pretty much even. Got a coin handy? Flip it.

    Prediction: Chiefs by 2

    Brumbies v Force, Canberra - 11:40

    The Force have been one of the biggest success stories of the season, and led (off the field, at least) by the effervescent Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins they're a tough team not to like. Their performances have been strong, too, and this is essentially a straight shootout for second place on the Australian log and spot in the play-offs. The Brumbies' form has been patchy at best recently, smashing the Rebels but getting trounced themselves by the Waratahs and the Bulls. The difference? That Rebels game was in Canberra, where they have not lost since their opening game. That'll be enough to see them past a resilient Force side.

    Prediction: Brumbies by 5

    Bulls v Rebels, Pretoria - 19:10

    Comfortably the easiest game to call of the weekend. The Rebels seemed to switch to holiday at the end of round 14 - the date of their last win, way back in the middle of May. The Bulls are unbeaten at home, and despite being out of the running for a play-off place, will want to sign off in style in front of their home fans. Expect a rout.

    Prediction: Bulls by 25

    SATURDAY, JULY 12

    Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch - 09:35

    Another intriguing all-New Zealand match up. The Crusaders are safe, but will be desperate for a home spot in the play-offs, whichever stage that might be. The Highlanders' position is less clear-cut - they could make the knockouts even if they lose, but they won't want to leave that in other sides' hands, and will be gunning for the victory that would guarantee them that, and, potentially, a home tie. The Crusaders' home form is good, although they made hard work of it against the Blues last week, and won the reverse of this fixture a few weeks ago. The home side holds the advantage.

    Prediction: Crusaders by 6

    Reds v Waratahs, Brisbane - 11:40

    This is difficult to call without seeing the team-sheets, as there is every chance the Waratahs will decide to rest some players, given that they are already guaranteed to top the overall log (an impressive feat with one round still to play). The Reds have had a mini-upturn in fortunes in recent weeks, halting a run of six straight defeats with bonus point wins over the Highlanders and Rebels before returning to losing ways against the Force. The Waratahs may rest players but their whole squad is on such a high that I'd expect them to win this one regardless.

    Prediction: Waratahs by 5

    Lions v Cheetahs, Johannesburg - 17:05

    The Cheetahs shocked us all last weekend with their win over the Sharks, while the Lions have been doing just that all season - winning when no-one gave them a chance. Given that there will be no relegation/promotion play-off in the South African conference for the 2015 season, there is little to play for other than pride in this one, but there's still plenty of that on the line, and after an impressive season back in the big time, the Lions will be looking to go out with a bang in front of their home fans.

    Prediction: Lions by 3

    Stormers v Sharks, Cape Town - 19:10

    What a game to round off the weekend. The two side's form charts couldn't be more different - the Stormers have returned home from a gruelling tour schedule to win four on the bounce in South Africa, including a shock away win against this weekend's opponents in Durban back in May. The Sharks do not look like the same side that set such an impressive early pace in the tournament, and while they are guaranteed a spot in the play-offs - something that is beyond the Stormers - they need a win to guarantee a home tie and potentially a top two spot. That should be motivation enough, and I think they'll upset the odds and come out on top against a resurgent Stormers.

    Prediction: Sharks by 2

    Click HERE to follow Jamie Hosie on Twitter

    Read More On:  super 15 rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    5 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read
    Commented

    Fixtures

    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05

    Results

    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.