With rest weekends it’s a bit imprecise but we are about a quarter of the way through the season already. Here are my predictions for round 5.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action
How did your round 4 predictions do?
4 from 9, even though there were a couple of draws it was a poor week.
Hurricanes v Kings
This is one of the easiest games to call. We have last years run away regular season leaders against a team that hasn’t managed to be within thirty points of their opposition at the end of a game. The only question is the margin, will it stay below forty points now that Kings are into their second week on the road? The Canes are still getting up to speed so I’m going to give the Kings the benefit of the doubt.
Hurricanes by 35
Chiefs v Force
Another relatively call as we see the top of the Australasia group host a yet again limited Force side. The Force have managed one win this season but that was a bottom of the table clash against the Reds. So Chiefs to comfortably reinforce their table topping status.
Chiefs by 10
Rebels v Highlanders
The third game should be closer. I believe that the Rebels have a real shot at making the playoffs for the first time this year. With their only loss coming away in South Africa they have been backing this up. This week though they face the champions. I have incorrectly predicted loss for the Landers over the last couple of weeks. They have been proving me wrong with their counter attacking rugby when I thought they would be dominated up front. This week I can’t continue that error and think this will be a setback for the Rebels ambitions.
Highlanders by 5
Sunwolves v Bulls
The Sunwolves host another “home” game in Singapore this weekend as they rack up even more airmiles. To be fair to the Japanese side they have been more competitive than I expected them to be. This week they host a side that are notoriously bad travelers in the Bulls. However I think after seeing the Sunwolves get beaten by a poor Cheetahs side I can’t see them picking up their first win this weekend.
Bulls by 7
Cheetahs v Brumbies
The Cheetahs are another of the poor sides in Super Rugby this season as the talent is stretched too thinly across so many teams. Their only win so far has come against the under prepared Sunwolves. They have the unenviable proposition of hosting the team being tipped to win the whole thing in the Brumbies. The Brumbies will obviously have to earn the right to play but it should be a relatively comfortable away win, even with all the off field issues going on back home.
Brumbies by 7
Sharks v Crusaders
For me the game of the round. The Sharks have started the season very well and are the last unbeaten team in the competition. I have seen comments that they have been lucky in their last couple games but winning is a habit and if you’re continuing to win at some point you have to admit it’s not all luck. The Saders are looking similar to last year. If they have the upper hand they will run away with games. However if a team can stand up to them upfront then they struggle as they are over reliant on the excellent Nadolo. I’m going to go against the public vote and back the Sharks at home to stand up to the Crusaders and win it.
Sharks by 5
Jaguares v Stormers
The Jags have been playing the most attractive rugby by any team any where this season. In some ways they are more reminiscent of a Barbarians side than team that should be concerned about points. They have a remit to be entertaining but really need to figure out when the offloading game is and isn’t on. When they do they will be very dangerous. The Stormers have started well but this is their first trip outside of South Africa. Maybe I should be going with the South Africans as there is no proof that the Jags will add the decision making to their game. However I think they will win one at home soon and I’m going for this week.
Jaguares by 5
Reds v Waratahs
The Reds have shown some improvement since sacking their head coach and bringing in his assistants as co-interim leaders. However they are still a set piece side with not that much threat from behind. The Tahs will be looking to bounce back from their two defeats and get themselves on track for the playoffs. They have a set piece that can compete and with a much better attacking division should take this one.
Waratahs by 7
Check out RugbyNumbers and his algorithmic predictions
Finally my one line predictions on YouTube if you prefer video: