Cape Town - SuperBru previews of all six Super Rugby matches in Round 5 of this year's tournament. Good luck!
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FRIDAY, MARCH 15
Hurricanes, Dunedin - 08:35
Two teams with just one win between them face off on Friday
as the Hurricanes travel to Dunedin. The Highlanders have made a woeful start
to the season, losing two from two at home including a shock defeat to the
Cheetahs last weekend. Winger Kade Poki’s sublime hat-trick wasn’t enough to
drag them over the line and they will need their big names - the likes of Andrew Hore,
Brad Thorn, Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Ma'a Nonu - to step up. Nonu especially will be keen to get
one over his old team.
The Hurricanes snatched an unlikely victory against the
Crusaders last weekend with a last-gasp interception try that broke Canterbury
hearts. They have severe injury issues at hooker, with Dane Coles and Motu Matu’u
both doubts. Julian Savea is in fine form and is an undoubted danger man, but
with Barrett looking good from the tee the Highlanders will have to be more
wary of their discipline than anything else.
The New Zealand derbies have already served up some epic
entertainment; this one is likely to be no different. It will also be close.
Waratahs v Cheetahs, Sydney - 10:40
The Cheetahs pulled off the shock of the round last weekend
when they beat the Highlanders in Dunedin, and will be hungry for more success
on the road. Sarel Pretorius looked back to his best with a brace of tries,
while Johan Goosen was unnervingly accurate with the boot. With their
half-backs firing, they will bring a huge amount of confidence into the game.
The Waratahs were stuffed by the Brumbies in round four and
will need to improve significantly if they are to avoid making it three losses
from four games this season. Berrick Barnes is rumoured to be returning, and
will provide some international class in the backline.
The Cheetahs have beaten the Waratahs the last two times
these teams have met, and it would not be surprising, given their form, if they
continued that trend.
Kings v Chiefs, Port Elizabeth - 19:10
The Kings have already achieved more than most people might
have expected in that they have won a game. They also weren’t blown away by the
Sharks last weekend, managing to keep them from crossing the whitewash for the
whole game - and that was without injured captain Luke Watson. He will also be
missing for them this weekend.
The Chiefs took part in another entertaining, high-scoring
game in round four but this time came unstuck against the Stormers. They
average 40 points a game, and will bring the attacking threat of the likes of
Tim Nanai-Williams and Aaron Cruden to Port Elizabeth this weekend in the hope
that they can continue their rich vein of try-scoring form.
The Kings have been better than anyone expected, but will
not be able to cope with a lethal Chiefs team.
Prediction: Chiefs by
SATURDAY, MARCH 16
Crusaders v Bulls, Christchurch - 08:35
The Crusaders are living up to their name as slow starters.
With no win from two, they will feel desperately aggrieved that a loose pass
robbed them of victory at the death against the Hurricanes last week. They have
found their attacking game, though, and the Bulls will have to be tighter in
defence than they were against the Blues if they are to stand a chance of
The men from Pretoria loosened the shackles last weekend to
cross the line three times in Auckland, beating the Blues for the first time on
their home patch. Influential flanker Dewald Potgieter has been passed fit to
play, while injury doubts Francois Hougaard and Lionel Mapoe should both be fit
It’s another one that is difficult to call. The Crusaders,
though, have to start winning at some point and at home it is tough to look
Reds v Force, Brisbane - 10:40
The second all-Aussie tie of the weekend comes as the
Western Force travel to the Reds. It has been a desperately poor start for the
Force, who are without a win in three games and have suffered the ignominy of a
loss to new boys the Kings. They will be bolstered by the off-pitch news that
captain Matt Hodgson has signed a new two-year contract, but can they translate
that to success on the field?
The news dominating the Reds’ build-up this week is
overwhelmingly positive - Will Genia is set to make his first appearance in six
months. He is a hugely influential player and his partnership with Cooper will
be vital. There is a slight crisis on the wings as Wallaby international
Digby Ioane has been stood down after an incident in a hotel, while Dom
Shipperley is struggling with a back injury.
Genia’s return will galvanise the Reds to a fairly
comfortable win at home.
Prediction: Reds by
Sharks v Brumbies, Durban - 17:05
The Sharks haven’t scored a try in their last two games but
that is unlikely to bother their fans as they find themselves with three wins
from three. They are averaging just over 20 points a game, and they are likely
to need a few more than that with the Brumbies in town. They were dealt a blow
in the week when it was confirmed that loose-forward duo Jean Deysel and
Jacques Botes would be out for around four weeks.
The Brumbies have been exemplary so far, racking up three
wins on the bounce and two try-scoring bonus points in the process. They will
have been rocked, however, by the news that David Pocock will be out for the
entire campaign with a ruptured ACL. George Smith, recently brought back to
Super Rugby by the ACT franchise, suddenly finds himself with a lot more work
on his hands.
The Brumbies have been excellent but away at the Sharks and
without Pocock they could succumb to their first defeat of the season.
Prediction: Sharks by
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HAVE YOUR SAY:
Will the Cheetahs and Bulls build on their impressive away wins last weekend? Can the Kings really upset the defending champion Chiefs? And will Jake White's Brumbies prove too wily for the Sharks? Send your thoughts to Sport24