A couple of local derbies in the Hurricanes v Blues and Brumbies v Waratahs, and a grudge matche between last year’s grand finalists should light up round eleven of the 2012 Super Rugby competition. Even the Hurricanes v Blues, between two of New Zealand’s lowest ranked teams, will have plenty of venom. The Hurricanes, particularly fly half Beauden Barrett, broke Blues hearts when they met earlier in the season (see the video on the Beauden Barrett player profile article). It was a devastating loss the already precarious Blues never recovered from. Neither team have had great results over the last few weeks. RugbyFix is re-instituting it’s policy of not picking the Blues having regretted backtracking on it last weekend.
The other local derby, between the Brumbies and Waratahs will also provide plenty of fireworks from the closely fought Australian conference. The Brumbies have continued to surprise in 2012, but no Australian team can afford to drop games against each other. The Waratahs in particular will be desperate for a win or they can consign themselves to being also rans in 2012.
New Zealand fans will be looking forward to a rare Sunday afternoon game between last years finalists. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, but the in-form Crusaders are not likely to forget the hurt from last year’s loss. RugbyFix does not envy the Reds players selected to face them at home in Christchurch.
Those three games, and with the possible exception of the Sharks v Highlanders, the remaining matches seem to appear to be a mix of mismatches and swill. Last week the Highlanders out-Cheetahed the Cheetahs to score 23 points in ten minutes to inexplicably steal the match. However, the Sharks at home will not be as fickle. The Chiefs and Bulls should be far too strong for the Lions and Rebels respectively. However, the table-topping Chiefs have rested a number of players, such as lock Brodie Retallick. Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam has been ruled out with a rib injury.
The Cheetahs number ten, Sias Ebersohn, needs to recover from the humiliation of last week’s loss where his missed penalty from in front seemed to lose the Cheetahs the game. If he can, his team should be able to beat the Force.
Hurricanes v Blues
Friday 4 May at 19:35 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
RugbyFix Pick: HURRICANES to beat Blues by 3
Rebels v Bulls
Friday 4 May at 19:40 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
RugbyFix Pick: BULLS to beat Rebels by 14
Chiefs v Lions
Saturday 5 May at 19:35 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
RugbyFix Pick: CHIEFS to beat Lions by 17
Brumbies v Waratahs
Saturday 5 May at 19:40 at Canberra Stadium, Canberra
RugbyFix Pick: BRUMBIES to beat Waratahs by 1
Sharks v Highlanders
Saturday 5 May at 17:05 at Kings Park, Durban
RugbyFix Pick: SHARKS to beat Highlanders by 3
Cheetahs v W Force
Saturday 5 May at 19:10 at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
RugbyFix Pick: CHEETAHS to beat Force by 5
Crusaders v Reds
Sunday 6 May at 16:00 at Rugby League Park, Christchurch
RugbyFix Pick: CRUSADERS to beat Reds by 13