SuperBru S15 Week 10 preview

    2015-04-17 08:39

    Jamie Hosie

    Cape Town - Round 9 brought upsets aplenty, and yet an impressive 401 people managed GSP points. What's in store in round 10? Read on for our verdict on who to pick this weekend.

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    Crusaders v Chiefs, Christchurch - 09:35

    The Crusaders followed up their thumping of the Sharks away from home with an insipid loss to the Highlanders in front of their own fans. They need to make amends this week, or risk losing pace with the frontrunners in their conference - only the Blues now sit below them, and both the Highlanders and Hurricanes have a game in hand. The Chiefs have had a week off and know a win is vital if they are to keep the conference-leading 'Canes within reach. 

    The Chiefs slammed the Saders by 24 points back in round three, their biggest win of the season so far. I reckon, however, the home side will bounce back this weekend with a much-needed win of their own.

    Prediction: Crusaders by 3


    Hurricanes v Waratahs, Wellington - 06:30

    This is a hum-dinger of a match-up, between the team that have set the pace this season and the side that did similar last year. The Hurricanes have put together an astonishing run of seven wins on the bounce - it's one that has to come to an end at some stage, but the question is, when? The Waratahs certainly possess the quality to be the side to put them to the sword, but are not playing like champions elect at the moment.

    Their loss to the Stormers was a surprise one but it showed the soft underbelly to this Tahs side. Expect the Hurricanes to take full advantage in front of their fans, who are becoming ever greedier for wins.

    Prediction: Hurricanes by 7

    Highlanders v Blues, Dunedin - 09:35

    The Blues finally got the monkey off their back with a win in round nine, and it was no less than some of their play has deserved. Dan Bowden was instrumental to their win and proved why he was so criminally underused during his time in England. This week they travel to a Highlanders side with their tails firmly up after their ransacking of Christchurch last weekend. In Waisake Naholo they have one of the most dangerous predators in the competition, and confidence will be sky high.

    This fixture has typically gone the way of the home side in recent years - that's unlikely to change this weekend.

    Prediction: Highlanders by 9

    Brumbies v Rebels, Canberra - 11:40

    The Rebels were the only Australian side not to lose in round nine - by virtue of it being their bye weekend. It has sent the Aussie media into a spin, but there will at least be one win for their sides this weekend (barring a draw in this one). The Brumbies lead the Australian conference but have had a blip in form with two losses from their last three, including handing the Blues their first win of the season last weekend. The Rebels tasted success in this fixture last season, but in Melbourne - they have never won in Canberra since their inception in 2011.

    It's not a pretty statistic for the franchise, but it's a losing run that's unlikely to come to an end this weekend.

    Prediction: Brumbies by 10

    Force v Stormers, Perth - 13:45

    The Force's season plummeted to new lows in round nine with the loss at home to the Cheetahs, a side that were on a similarly dire losing run and that boasted significant injury issues. That the men from Perth could not even grab a bonus point was merely a rub of salt into the wounds. The Stormers, by contrast, halted their own (admittedly lesser) losing run with a hugely gutsy win over the Waratahs in Sydney, and if they can back it up with a victory this weekend they will head home with their tour approaching something like a success.

    It would be typical of this Super Rugby season for the Force to pull a win out of nowhere in this game, but I just can't bring myself to pick it.

    Prediction: Stormers by 6

    Sharks v Bulls, Durban - 17:05

    The Sharks' topsy-turvy season continued with a loss to the Lions that could have been salvaged had a last minute kick gone over, but it would hardly have been a deserved win for the men from Durban. Once again they will enter this game with a long list of senior players absent through injury and suspension, but they are at least back at home. The Bulls are flying the flag for the South African conference at the moment, and with just one loss in their last six games they will rightly bring plenty of confidence into this game.

    The visitors have a good record against the Sharks and have tasted victory in Durban as recently as 2013. With the Sharks in disarray it is the perfect time to reset that record.

    Prediction: Bulls by 3

    Cheetahs v Reds, Bloemfontein - 19:10

    Neither of these sides is having a season to remember, but the Cheetahs at least managed to halt a five game losing streak with their win over the Force last round. The Reds had no such luck against the Bulls, taking their number of games without a win to six, and making it seven losses from eight games this season. They did play some good rugby but their defence was astonishingly porous. The Cheetahs have similar issues, so this could well be an entertaining game.

    The Reds have had a horrific season both on and off the pitch, and while this will be the least troublesome game of their brief South African sojourn, it remains unlikely to lead to a win.

    Prediction: Cheetahs by 6

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