After some exciting upsets last week, unfortunately the unlucky 13th round of Super Rugby in 2012 has some uninspiring match ups. That doesn’t mean they are easy to pick however, but it does mean there isn’t anything really juicy to look forward to. The first games of the round, Hurricanes v Brumbies, Highlanders v Bulls and the Crusaders v Blues are probably the most anticipated. However, even the Crusaders v Blues match is more about history than form. The Brumbies are having a terrific season, but unfortunately their injury woes at first five will surely catch up with them. We’re picking the Hurricanes to send some of their ruck and roll team directly down that channel and take the game. The Highlanders are clearly showing the results of a long and rough season, with their high impact game plan and shallow depth really showing. However, we have given them the benefit of the doubt due to their earlier season form and being at home. While the Bulls are top of the table, they showed some signs of frailty against the Rebels. This should be the game of the round and the result will have the biggest impact on the table.
If an embarrassing loss to the Rebels can’t snap the Crusaders out of their funk, then nothing will. They are up against a Blues team who may have finally got the monkey off their back by winning their second game of the season. However, the Crusaders should be far too strong.
The Reds welcome back Quade Cooper and he’s picked the perfect game for it, against the poorest defence in the competition. The Lions have had a tough tour and were particularly poor against the Blues. However, they’ll no doubt give Cooper an appropriate welcome to Super Rugby.
The Sharks have made a late play for the playoffs, and stormed into the reckoning. The Cheetahs have been quiet lately and will have to be at their best to take down the Sharks.
Finally, no prizes for picking which game will be the cripple fight of the round. Completing round 13 is the Force versus the Rebels. The Rebels will be riding high after beating the Crusaders, but consistency was never their strong point. The Force had a dour few weeks and might throw in the towel if Kurtley Beale and the Rebels get a roll on. We’ve given the Force the benefit of the doubt for being at home.
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Friday 18 May at 19:35 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
RugbyFix Pick: HURRICANES to beat Brumbies by 8
Highlanders v Bulls
Saturday 19 May at 17:30 at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
RugbyFix Pick: HIGHLANDERS to beat Bulls by 3
Crusaders v Blues
Saturday 19 May at 19:35 at Rugby League Park, Christchurch
RugbyFix Pick: CRUSADERS to beat Blues by 15
Reds v Lions
Saturday 19 May at 19:40 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
RugbyFix Pick: REDS to beat Lions by 12
Cheetahs v Sharks
Saturday 19 May at 17:05 at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
RugbyFix Pick: SHARKS to beat Cheetahs by 5
Stormers v Waratahs
Saturday 19 May at 19:10 at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
RugbyFix Pick: STORMERS to beat Waratahs by 7
W Force v Rebels
Sunday 20 May at 14:35 at NIB Stadium, Perth
RugbyFix Pick: FORCE to beat Rebels by 1