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    Preview: SuperBru Super Rugby Week 3

    2016-03-09 11:26

    Jaime Hosie

    Cape Town - What does Week 3 of this year's Vodacom Super Rugby tournament hold? Time to get your SuperBru campaign back on track!

    Click HERE to challenge the Sport24 'experts' on SuperBru!

    FRIDAY, MARCH 12

    Blues v Hurricanes, Auckland - 08:35

    Much will depend on what team Blues coach Tana Umaga decides to pick. He bizarrely chose to make several changes between rounds one and two, and was duly punished as the Crusaders proved too powerful. If he restores the team that beat the Highlanders in round one - and crucially the brilliant half-back pairing of Bryn Hall and Ihaia West - then the Blues should have enough to beat a Hurricanes side still searching for its first win.

    Prediction: Blues by 5

    Force v Brumbies, Perth - 13:05

    The Force have won this fixture just once in the last nine instalments of it, and given the way that the Brumbies have started the season, that trend doesn't look like changing this weekend. The men from Canberra were ruthless in the way that they picked apart the Waratahs, and although the Force did enough to beat the woeful Reds in round two, this represents an entirely different - and likely insurmountable - challenge for them.

    Prediction: Brumbies by 15

    SATURDAY, MARCH 13

    Highlanders v Lions, Dunedin - 08:35

    The Lions can't win two games in New Zealand in a row, can they? They were utterly brilliant against the Chiefs, playing some exhilarating rugby that ultimately was too good even for a Kiwi side. Whatever element of surprise they had for that game will have evaporated when they arrive in Dunedin, however. The Highlanders will not take them for granted, especially as they are coming off the back of a really narrow win themselves. As good as the Lions were last weekend, I can't see them doing it two weeks in a row on the road.

    Prediction: Highlanders by 3

    Rebels v Reds, Melbourne - 10:45

    The Reds actually had dominance up front against the Force but are so woefully inept in all other areas at the moment that they still didn't even come close to winning. They have since binned their head coach Richard Graham, although whether it will make much difference, only time will tell. One suspects they are in for a long, troublesome season. The Rebels showed great heart to fight back against the Bulls and deny them a bonus point under the new rules - but the way they went so far behind, so quickly, was of real worry. Back at home, against a much less disciplined Reds side, they should win comfortably.

    Prediction: Rebels by 12

    Sunwolves v Cheetahs, Singapore - 12:55

    This will represent one of the Sunwolves' best chances at getting a win this season, and given how competitive they were in their opening fixture against the Lions, it is far from outside the realms of possibility. The Cheetahs have played some lovely rugby in the opening two rounds, but have also shipped 54 points - their defence must tighten up. Given they will not be put under the same forward pressure by the Sunwolves as they have been so far, I'd expect their free-running backs to have some time and space to express themselves - and to get the win.

    Prediction: Cheetahs by 9

    Kings v Chiefs, Port Elizabeth - 15:05

    The Chiefs' loss to the Lions was a real setback for the pre-season bookies' favourites, but they handily have a nice soft landing this week in the form of the Kings. The men from Port Elizabeth were predictably abject in their only outing thus far, and with another week of preparation under their belts will hope to tighten up in what is gruellingly tough opening few weeks for the newbies.

    Prediction: Chiefs by 28

    Stormers v Sharks, Cape Town - 17:15

    For two sides that have traditionally had little between them in terms of quality, the last three instalments of this fixture have been remarkably one sided: Sharks by 22, Stormers by 16, Sharks by 24. Given both have started the new season at an electric pace - not a loss between them - you can expect this one to be a lot tighter. Both are looking to expand their game and have played some lovely stuff thus far, but as always the game will be won up front. The Stormers just about look to have the edge there, and allied with their home advantage, they must be slight favourites.

    Prediction: Stormers by 6

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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