The fourth round of Super Rugby 2012 begins with the Chiefs v Brumbies. The Brumbies are limping into this match on the back of a number of injuries as well mixed form in their two victories so far. The Chiefs on the other hand come into the match on the back of two wins over traditional New Zealand powerhouses the Blues and Crusaders. Despite early season injuries, their cobbled together forward pack is performing as well or better than any Chiefs pack of the past. With that in mind it should be an easy win for the Chiefs, and therefore the biggest test for the new coaches, as this would be the sort of game the Chiefs would traditionally lose. Rather than a victory over a lauded opponent, a victory over a struggling team is the real opportunity to see if this Chiefs team is the real deal.
Despite an epic victory over the Bulls last weekend, it will take everything they have for the Blues to show that was not a false dawn. Further injuries and withdrawals leaves them without 8 top line players, including the irrepressible Jerome Kaino for the season. One of the tournament’s favourites, the Stormers, await for them at Cape town, fresh off the bye.
The Highlanders v Hurricanes game will either prove that the new Hurricanes team have turned a corner or it will show just how bad the Force are. Alternatively, it could also show what a toll the opening rounds have taken on this physical Highlanders team. The Force have lost further players following the thrashing from the Hurricanes, and although the Waratahs aren’t known for their expansive play, their fans will be expecting a big score line.
Last week’s Reds game against the Force showed some of their old flakey habits return. However, they could also have understandably just taken that game too lightly. The defending champions are undefeated so far this season, but face their biggest test of 2012 against the Sharks in Durban.
This week’s cripple fight is brought to you by the Rebels and Cheetahs. Neither team has a win so far, although somehow the Rebels have sneaked five bonus points. This, as well as their close loss to the Reds would imply they are ready for a win or two. Although despite their new awesome backline, they have only accumulated 25 points in their opening two games.
Chiefs v Brumbies
Friday 16 March. at 19:35 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
RugbyFix Pick:CHIEFS to beat Brumbies by 10
Stormers v Blues
Friday 16 March. at 19:10 at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
RugbyFix Pick: STORMERS to beat Blues by 8
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Saturday 17 March. at 19:35 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
RugbyFix Pick: HIGHLANDERS to beat Hurricanes by 5
Waratahs v W Force
Saturday 17 March. at 19:40 at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
RugbyFix Pick: WARATAHS to beat Force by 15
Sharks v Reds
Saturday 17 March. at 17:05 at Kings Park, Durban
RugbyFix Pick: SHARKS to beat Reds by 6
Rebels v Cheetahs
Sunday 18 March. at 16:10 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
RugbyFix Pick: REBELS to beat Cheetahs by 7
BYES: Bulls , Crusaders, Lions