Some cracking games of rugby this weekend, starting with the Highlanders v Blues in Dunedin. Blues have history and desperation on their side, but not much else. Last year’s champions and this year’s pace setters meet when the Reds take on the Stormers at Suncorp. Against a clinical Crusaders side, the Stormers played well in their first loss of 2012. While the Reds have finally shown some glimpses of form, we are picking the Stormers to come storming back to top the table.
Arch rivals Crusaders and Hurricanes square off in Wellington, with the Crusaders starting to show some of the class and form they are famous for. The Hurricanes have continued to defy expectations and statistics to be in the top six. However, the Crusaders should be too complete across the park and too disciplined to crumble against the Hurricanes impressive counter attack.
The Waratahs will expect to put the Rebels to the sword in Sydney. Even though the Waratahs haven’t responded well to favouritism and the Rebels are capable of upsets, the smart money should still be on the Waratahs.
In South Africa the table topping Chiefs will struggle to hold their place against the Sharks in Durban. In recent years the Chiefs have one of the most successful records in South Africa, but the Sharks in Durban are tough to beat and the Chiefs’ record breaking run has to end sometime.
Although the Brumbies currently top the Australian conference, they are yet to play a game in South Africa. Expect their position to start being threatened as they face one of the biggest challenges in Super Rugby, the Bulls in Pretoria.
Highlanders v Blues
Friday 20 April at 19:35 at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
RugbyFix Pick: HIGHLANDERS to beat Blues by 5
Reds v Stormers
Friday 20 April at 19:40 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
RugbyFix Pick: STORMERS to beat Reds by 3
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Saturday 21 April at 19:35 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
RugbyFix Pick: CRUSADERS to beat Hurricanes by 7
Waratahs v Rebels
Saturday 21 April at 19:40 at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
RugbyFix Pick: WARATAHS to beat Rebels by 17
Sharks v Chiefs
Saturday 21 April at 17:05 at Kings Park, Durban
RugbyFix Pick: SHARKS to beat Chiefs by 3
Bulls v Brumbies
Saturday 21 April at 19:10 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
RugbyFix Pick: BULLS to beat Brumbies by 7
BYES: Cheetahs, W Force, Lions