Some big games lined up for this week with the top two from the Australian conference and two of the form teams in the New Zealand conference going head to head. Here are my predictions for round 6.
How did the predictions go last week?
5 out of 7, not bad but looking back the two I got wrong were obvious but that’s hindsight.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
A clash of two of the form teams in the competition. The Highlanders did a job on the Tahs last weekend at home and their only loss was in their first game of the season, where there were questions over the number of new players introduced. Since then they have gone from strength to strength with their first TBP of the season last week.
The Canes have been perfect including wins in all their away games in SA. Many are asking if this is finally the season where they go all the way with a very talented side especially in the backs. I think it’s going to be close and I’m backing a home win which is probably calling an upset.
Highlanders by 3 points
Rebels v Lions
The Rebels are finally showing some character of their own and seem to be a franchise that is getting comfortable with its self. This isn’t to say they are going to be a tool half side but at least they have something to build from. The Lions got turned over by a clinical Crusaders side last weekend and will again put up a good fight with lots of tackling but this is the third game on their tour and that will take its toll. I’m expecting a home win with a little but of comfort.
Rebels by 10 points
Crusaders v Cheetahs
Crusaders looked more like themselves last weekend and put 34 points into the Lions. They week they face the other perennially bottom dweller of the SA conference. Having lost a lot of players in the off-season many were predicting hard season for the Cheetahs. They came out fighting at the beginning of the season and surprised a few folks. Perhaps though their best days are already over and I can’t see them upsetting the Saders this weekend.
Crusaders by 15 points
Bulls v Force
The Force kicked the season off with a surprise win but since then it’s all been down hill. A tour to SA is a hard place to arrest that kind of slide. Also facing a resurgent Bulls first up is going to be a hard ask. Put simply this is going to be a comfortable home win possibly with a bonus point as the Bulls have their season on track.
Bulls by 15 points
Sharks v Chiefs
The Sharks have had a poor start to the season with only wins over the Lions and Cheetahs. Facing one of the favourite isn’t going to help that record. One slip-up aside the Chiefs have worn that pre-season favourite tag with ease. They have already racked up one win on their SA tour and I think they will do it again.
Chiefs by 7 points
Waratahs v Brumbies
Another block buster clash with the top two in the Australian table going head to head. The Brumdies have opened up a 10 point lead on the Tahs. Even with a game in hand the Tahs need to win or the gap will already be over 3 wins. The Tahs though have not clicked this season where as the Brumbies have been one of the most impressive. So I think this is going to be a fairly comfortable away win for the men from the capital.
Brumbies by 10 points