Local derbies are in vogue in round fifteen of the 2012 Super Rugby competition. While some big local derbies can increase the intensity but lower the quality of games, such as the Reds v Brumbies last week, upsets can be more common. However, the Rebels would be a long shot to pip the Brumbies, and the Lions even longer to stop the Sharks. Still, look for some big clashes in the opening minutes of those matches as the underdogs try to measure up.
The round kicks off with the much anticipated Crusaders v Highlanders. The Crusaders would have been stewing about their early loss to the Highlanders and will be rearing to go after destroying the Blues then having a week off. The Highlanders on the other hand have been faltering of late.
The Blues showed signs of improvement against the Highlanders while the Chiefs have lost captain Craig Clarke and stalwart Tawerau Latimer for this game. Upsets abound in Chiefs v Blues games, but usually it is the Chiefs who are the underdogs. A win for the Chiefs is probably dependent on them not getting complacent.
The Waratahs have returned from a dire road trip with their management hitting the panic buttons. They have been instilled slight favourites over the Hurricanes, but we’ve picked them to be fatigued from their trip while the Hurricanes will be fizzing after running riot over the Rebels. However, the turning point will be if the Waratahs desperation finally turns to form on the field.
There is a huge game to finish off the round, with the Bulls hosting the Stormers. The Bulls may be weary from their trip while the Stormers are showing some speed wobbles. Look for these two teams to absolutely smash each other, with the result having a big impact on the South African conference. The Springbok coaching staff will undoubtedly be watching this game through their fingers as they count the injury toll.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Friday 1 June at 19:35 at Rugby League Park, Christchurch
RugbyFix Pick: CRUSADERS to beat Highlanders by 7
Rebels v Brumbies
Friday 1 June at 19:40 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
RugbyFix Pick: BRUMBIES to beat Rebels by 12
Blues v Chiefs
Saturday 2 June at 19:35 at Eden Park, Auckland
RugbyFix Pick: CHIEFS to beat Blues by 10
Waratahs v Hurricanes
Saturday 2 June at 19:40 at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
RugbyFix Pick: HURRICANES to beat Waratahs by 3
Lions v Sharks
Saturday 2 June at 17:05 at Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
RugbyFix Pick: SHARKS to beat Lions by 15
Bulls v Stormers
Saturday 2 June at 19:10 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
RugbyFix Pick: BULLS to beat Stormers by 2
BYES: Cheetahs, W Force, Reds