Cape Town - Round 9 of this year's Super Rugby tournament includes derbies aplenty! Check
out our SuperBru previews below!
Click HERE to challenge the Sport24 'experts' on SuperBru!
FRIDAY, APRIL 5
Brumbies, Dunedin - 09:35
Still no win for the Highlanders. Their season has pretty
much ended already in terms of qualification for anything, but really they’re
not far off turning losses into wins. Flyer Buxton Popoali'i is among a host
of players who are certainly good enough to reverse this slump; the question
now is, do they believe in themselves enough to do so?
The Brumbies managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of
victory last week, in a quite astonishing game against the Kings in Canberra.
Whether they underestimated them or not they will need to step it up away from
home this weekend. They will be bolstered by the return from injury of Jesse
Mogg, who will provide the X-factor that has been lacking since his injury.
The Brumbies will bounce back with a win against the hapless
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
Chiefs v Reds, Hamilton - 04:35
The Chiefs are in a fine run of form and after a bye last
week sit top of the log. Richard Kahui has looked in great nick since returning
from injury and it is tough to pick a weakness in their team. They haven’t lost
since week four, and have scored the most points and try bonus points in the
completion. It is a big ask for anyone to come to Hamilton and win.
That challenge falls to the Reds this week. Fresh from a bye
last weekend, they have already beaten one New Zealand team on their travels
this year – the Highlanders in round seven. Coach Ewen McKenzie may be leaving
at the end of the season but talisman Will Genia is well and truly back, and
their results have seriously picked up since his return.
The Reds won’t make it easy for them, but the Chiefs should
have enough to win at home.
Prediction: Chiefs by
Blues v Hurricanes, Auckland - 09:35
The Blues looked solid last week in their win over the
Highlanders, with the likes of Rene Ranger and Frank Halai looking particularly
dangerous in the backline. The most pleasing aspect of that game, however, was
the return to form of Piri Weepu, who looks some way back to his old self. They
have, however, lost wing George Moala and prop Charlie Faumuina to a ban and
The Hurricanes are looking very threatening in attack, but
need to be wary of the tries they are leaking after a game is won. At some
point they will come unstuck. That said, Julian Savea looks so dangerous and
Beauden Barrett so accomplished at the moment that you sense they will just
carry on scoring tries.
Could very well be another explosive Kiwi derby. Blues to
sneak it thanks to home advantage.
Prediction: Blues by
Rebels v Kings, Melbourne - 11:40
The Kings’ heroic draw away at the Brumbies, the then
tournament leaders, has been the story of Super Rugby so far. The Rebels will
be well aware of this and any danger of them underestimating the Kings has now
gone out of the window. The South African franchise have showed plenty of heart
and played no little exciting rugby so far. They will not be afraid of the
The men from Melbourne have only won two games so far – both
of them against fellow Australian conference strugglers the Force. They will
target this team as one that they can win, and will be buoyed by an away win
last week despite the various off field travails they are suffering at the
moment. Wing Jesse Woodward is looking dangerous and the Kings will have to
ensure he doesn’t get too much quality service.
Nobody is taking the Kings for granted anymore, but at the
end of a long tour this could be one game too far for them.
Prediction: Rebels by
Force v Crusaders, Perth - 13:45
The Force seem to be in disarray, and their impressive away
win over the Reds in round five looks nothing more than a blip. They have just
one win to their name and while the Crusaders have not been firing on all
cylinders, it is a massive ask for them to turn it around against the seven
time winners of Super Rugby.
The men from Canterbury are having a rocky season, with
three wins and three losses so far. Not
terrible form, but by their high standards it is not good enough.
The Crusaders should get back to winning ways against the
Stormers v Sharks, Cape Town - 17:05
This could be quite a game. Passion and pride will be the
order of the day, and whoever is the more precise and disciplined could well
run out winners. The Sharks have the best defensive record in the competition,
and as such whoever takes the kicking duties for the Stormers will have to be
on song. Influential pair Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute are missing for the
Cape Town franchise through injury.
The Sharks come into the game in great form, sitting at the
top of the South African conference and having beaten the Crusaders last
weekend for the first time in six attempts. They are not scoring many tries
(the 64-7 blitz of the Rebels aside), but that is unlikely to bother their fans
if Pat Lambie keeps banging over the penalties to get them the wins.
The Stormers go into this game with no Jantjies or Grant,
and the Sharks are in great form. It will be mightily close, but the Sharks
could shade it.
Prediction: Sharks by
Bulls v Cheetahs, Pretoria - 19:10
The Bulls are in somewhat of a free-fall, and before their
bye last weekend had lost their previous three games. They are back at home
now, however, where they are likely to be a different prospect.
The Cheetahs are in a rich vein of form, having won their
last five, and their last-gasp win against the Stormers last weekend will give
them invaluable confidence coming into this one. It is, in fact, a record-breaking
sequence for the franchise which they will not be looking to end any time soon.
It is another incredibly tough one to call, but the Cheetahs
could well continue their incredible run of form.
by 4Click HERE to follow Jamie Hosie on Twitter