With a few shocks last weekend making life hard for some sides they know that there is no more room for mistakes. Here are my round 13 predictions.
First here is a link to my review of round 12.
How did last week’s predictions go?
3 from 7, a very poor week as I didn’t pick any of the upsets and the one I did go for didn’t happen.
Crusaders v Reds
This week the first four games should be predictable, but with the upsets last week nothing is for sure. The Crusaders are clearly not the side of old but this weekend should bring the best out of them. This is the last game in Christchurch for MaCaw, Carter, Slade and Taylor so the whole team will want to send them off on a high. With the Reds only having beaten the Force and Cheetahs so far this season this has big home win written all over it.
Crusaders by 20
Rebels v Blues
This really has been a breakthrough season for the Rebels where they found their character. That has led to them registering their first overseas win, first win in the Canbrra and also completing the set of victories over all the NZ franchises. It has been the total opposite for the Blues who are having one of their worst seasons ever. A couple of moral boosting victories recently will help but the loss of their best player and captain to injury is a major setback. So this should be a home win but it’s unlikely to be comfortable as the Blues attack has been better than results suggest and nearly all the Rebels games have been decided by single figures.
Rebels by 5
Hurricanes v Sharks
The Canes have suffered a major setback with the injury to Barrett during their TBP win last week. Luckily for them the next set of fixtures are not the hardest, starting with the poor Sharks at home. The Sharks have had a poor season and clearly there are some issues off the pitch that has led to ill discipline on it. Removing the players wages whilst they are suspended isn’t going to have improved moral. At least they are starting to get players back from their suspensions but I still think this is going to be another loss.
Hurricanes by 10
Force v Waratahs
Put simply away win. It might not be by many points but the Tahs won’t mind that. They aren’t at their flowing best but are racking up the wins that should get them into the playoffs. Against a poor Force side and looking for revenge for the opening day loss they could rack up the TBP but they need to be careful to build the win or it could be scrappy.
Waratahs by 5
Lions v Highlanders
Finally we get to a couple of hard to call games. The Lions 5 game winning run came to an end last week against the Bulls. It was a case of them losing the game rather than being beaten as their execution was very poor at times. This week they host a side that is not only having an impressive playoff challenge but can also now sniff the chance of winning the NZ conference. They are still behind the Canes and Chiefs but they have a fit fly half. With that big carrot their I can see the Landers picking up a valuable away win and putting a big dent in the Lions challenge.
Highlanders by 5
Stormers v Brumbies
We were all intoxicated by the manner of the opening weekend win for the Brumbies. Since then though we have found out that the Reds aren’t a credible challenge and the Brumbies haven’t really got the back line firing in the same way. The Stormers at no point have deceived us in the same way but have been quietly picking up their wins. Last week was the first time they had lost to non-NZ opposition. They have admitted that they were complacent facing the Cheetahs but you can’t see that happening again and I’m backing them to bounce back and get another non-flashy win.
Stormers by 6