We are into the last round of the regular season. We know the top 6 for the playoffs but the order and home ties are still up for grabs. Here are my predictions.
First here is a link to my review of round 17.
How did you do with last week’s predictions?
6 from 7, the only one I didn’t get was the draw! So close to my first clean sweep of the season and this is now my last chance.
Blues v Highlanders
The Blues will be glad once the season is over. At Eden Park they had a good record until the last couple of games against New Zealand opposition. The Highlanders had a poor performance last week with their All Blacks rested and will want to rectify that before the playoffs. So a bounce back away win.
Highlanders by 15
Rebels v Force
As I have said many times this has been a breakout year for the Rebels. This week they play the weakest team in the competition so they should sign off with a win in front of their home fans. Where the Force go from here is anyones guess.
Rebels by 6
Brumbies v Crusaders
The Crusaders dropped out of contention last week and so this is only about pride. This bunch of players do have a lot of that. The Brumbies on the other hand are playing for a potential top spot in the Australian conference. They will want to win big to put pressure on the Tahs who player later in the round.
Brumbies by 5
Chiefs v Hurricanes
The Chiefs are playing for a home playoff and not having to travel. With the Highlanders having played earlier in the round they will know exactly what they need to go. For the Canes it’s a bit of a difficult one, do they rest players or do they want to go into the playoffs in winning form. The capitulation to the Crusaders will have made the decision more difficult and I think they will want winning form. So I’m backing the Hurricanes to go to their old province and beat the new owner.
Hurricanes by 3
Waratahs v Reds
The Reds have had a poor season, initially things looked up with the extra coaching support but the dropped off quickly. The Tahs are trying to go back to back and winning the conference will make that so much easier. So expect the Tahs to come out all guns blazing if the Brumbies have pulled off a win. Either way this is a home win.
Waratahs by 10
Bulls v Cheetahs
This has been a poor com pain for the Bulls, initially they struggled to the extent of open letters being written to the club. Then they picked things up but as soon as they went on tour it all fell apart with four losses on the trot. They get to end the season in front of their own fans against one of the weakest teams. So at least they should sign off with a victory after taking all their best players in the off season.
Bulls by 10
Sharks v Stormers
The Sharks have just been a mess, losing players to either injury or discipline they have been down on resources for most of the season. The Stormers are going to win the South African group and will likely go into the playoffs with the fewest points out of the six team. They have been quietly doing their thing and I expect them to do it again this weekend.
Stormers by 7