SuperBru S15 Week 11 preview

    2015-04-23 11:13

    Jamie Hosie

    Cape Town - Round 10 of Super Rugby proved to be a toughie for SuperBru fans. How will you fare in Week 11?

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    Chiefs v Force, Hamilton - 09:35

    The Chiefs sent out a real statement of intent last round, as they not only beat but smashed the Crusaders - fellow title hopefuls, in theory if not practice - in their own back yard in Christchurch. It leaves them a point off the Hurricanes at the very top of the log. Their reward is a softball fixture at home to the Force, who have tumbled to the bottom of both the Aussie conference and the overall log. Their shock win against the Waratahs feels like an awfully long time ago.

    This is probably the easiest win point you'll get all weekend - the only question is, what margin to go for?

    Prediction: Chiefs by 20

    Brumbies vs Highlanders, Canberra - 11:55

    With just one win from their last four games, the Brumbies' season has somewhat come off the rails. Injuries to key individuals - particularly in the midfield, where the absence of Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani is being keenly felt - has left them looking a shell of the side that hit such impressive early form. Looking to take advantage are the Highlanders, whose own form is more impressive - their win last weekend took it to three on the bounce. Can they make it four in a row for the first time this season?

    The Highlanders have only won one of the last seven meetings between these two sides, a trend which looks set to continue despite the Brumbies' poor recent form.

    Prediction: Brumbies by 5


    Crusaders v Blues, Christchurch - 09:35

    When the Crusaders hammered the Sharks in Durban in round eight, everyone expected it to be the catalyst for their typical mid-season resurgence, a time in which they normally climb unstoppably towards the summit of the table. But two home losses to Kiwi rivals, first to the Highlanders and then to the Chiefs, has left them in dire straits, some way off the conference pace setters. In fact the only New Zealand side below them right now are this weekend's opponents, but the Blues, who again battled valiantly only to come away with a losing bonus point in the last round, this time to the Highlanders, will take heart in the Saders' struggles.

    This is a rivalry that has been dominated by home wins - the last time an away team got a victory was six games ago, back in 2012. For that reason, I'm backing the home side to turn this slump around.

    Prediction: Crusaders by 3

    Waratahs v Rebels, Sydney - 11:55

    These two sides pulled off two of the more shock results of the last round. Starting with the away side, just 2% on SuperBru picked the Rebels' amazing win over the Brumbies in Canberra, while only 7% had the Waratahs to beat the Hurricanes in Wellington. The Tahs finally performed as the champions elect that they are, in outmuscling the previously unbeaten Canes. As for the Rebels, they pulled off one of the least expected results of the season to give themselves a decent run of two wins in their last two games, going into this one.

    They do not, however, have a happy history against the men from Sydney, winning just once in their brief history, and never at the ANZ Stadium.

    Prediction: Waratahs by 12

    Lions v Cheetahs, Johannesburg - 17:05

    The Lions have put together a serious run of form to surge into the mid-table. They have four wins on the bounce now, and will bring plenty of confidence into this game as they have a good recent record against the Cheetahs, winning five of the last six games against the Bloemfontein side. The Cheetahs undid all the hard work of their win over the Force by returning home and putting in an insipid display to crumble to the Reds, who were previously bottom of the log - a position the Cheetahs are now dangerously flirting with.

    The Cheetahs' last win in Johannesburg was back in 2011, while last year in this fixture the Lions put 60 points on them. While it won't be that big a margin again, I'm backing the home side to continue their good form.

    Prediction: Lions by 10

    Stormers v Bulls, Cape Town - 19:10

    This is a game between two great rivals with remarkably similar stats this season - both have six wins from nine games, and both have recovered with fine victories in the last two weeks after suffering mid-season blips. The Stormers have roared back to form with away wins in Perth and Sydney, while the Bulls have pumped the Reds and snuck past the Sharks in Durban in recent weeks.

    The Stormers have won three of the last four meetings between these two but perhaps the most telling stat is that the Bulls have not won at Newlands since 2011. That makes the home side favourites in my eyes.

    Prediction: Stormers by 4


    Reds v Hurricanes, Brisbane - 08:05

    What a relief it must have been for the Reds to get a win last weekend, their victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein elevating them off the bottom of the log for the first time in a while. This weekend they return home and their reward is a game against the tournament leaders, although this is arguably a good time to be playing the Hurricanes. They had to lose at some stage and as it turns out it finally happened last weekend, at home to the Waratahs. That, combined with the Reds' win, makes this an altogether more difficult proposition than it looked a week ago.

    That said, the 'Canes have a superb record against the Reds, having lost just twice to the Queensland side since 2003. I expect that run to continue this weekend.

    Prediction: Hurricanes by 9

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