Super 15 preview - Week 15
The South African squad for the test matches against England will be announced after the North vs. South Derby, The Bulls against the Stormers. Although the performances of individuals on Saturday will more than likely have no influence on Springbok selection at all, that will not change how hard these guys play! All the players know that this outcome is pivotal in the outcome of the South African Conference winner, which will more than likely lead to a home semi-final. The phrase ‘best for last’ certainly comes to mind, although the rest of the fixtures will also be cracking!
A closer look at Super Rugby, Week 15 action with Bet.co.za:
(All kick-off's SA time)
Crusaders vs. Highlanders (Christchurch) – 9.35am
Odds: Crusaders 7/25 Highlanders 10/3
The Highlanders will be full of confidence after they ended their drought at Eden Park last weekend against the Blues. They have seemed to have the wood over the Crusaders in the last few years with many a close battle, Highlanders coming out on top in the last two. Although the Canterbury faithful will be expecting a blood bath, they will more than likely be disappointed as the men from Dunedin will put up a brave fight before the Crusaders manage to scrape home. The fight for All Black Positions continues as don’t expect anyone to hold back in this game!
Prediction: Crusaders by 6
Rebels vs. Brumbies (Melbourne) – 11.40am
Odds: Rebels 7/25 Brumbies 10/3
The Rebels will find comfort in the fact that they are at home again this weekend. The differences in their performances at home, and on the road have been drastic. The last time they were at home they had their best performance since inception beating the Crusaders. Since then they have lost the inspiration behind their success, Kurtley Beale. This is a massive loss and coupled with Brumbies hunger to win this game after losing to the Reds last weekend the Rebels will do very well to keep this one close! The Brumbies are too well organized and will more than likely repeat what they did against the Rebels the first time these two met this year, pull off a sizable victory.
Prediction: Brumbies by 16
Saturday's action: (All kick-off's SA time)
Blues vs. Chiefs (Albany) – 09:35am
Odds: Blues 10/3 Chiefs 7/25
The Blues terrible season will most likely continue as the Chiefs look to maintain ascendancy at the top of the New Zealand Conference. The Chiefs will be motivated to acquire a bonus point here as they have a few tough fixtures after the International window. The Blues have no chance of winning this game as motivation and player skill and experience are all at an all-time low. The Chiefs will more than likely achieve the bonus point they are looking for and win comfortably in the process.
Prediction: Chiefs by 15
Waratahs vs. Hurricanes (Sydney) – 11.40am
Odds: Waratahs 7/10 Hurricanes 11/10
The Waratahs somehow managed to lose against the Cheetahs last week after twice being in a position where they seemingly could not lose. Losing has become a culture for the men from Sydney who have previously had an excellent Super Rugby record! They have now won five games on the trot, and have received seven losing bonus points this year! That shows they have not been able to close out games and a failure to be clinical this week will see the Hurricanes put plenty of points on the board with their clinical and exciting backs. The Hurricanes have not beaten the Waratahs since 2006, but will be pumped to change that record as they try hold onto playoff aspirations! This game could go either way but you would have to side with the ‘Canes as it is feared the Waratahs will again trip up on the finish line.
Prediction: Hurricanes by 5
Lions vs. Sharks (Johannesburg) – 17.05
Odds: Lions 4/1 Sharks 11/50
These two sides have had a very contrasting last few weeks. The Lions have not won since their week one victory against the Cheetahs, whereas the Sharks have suddenly hit an amazing run of form to claim some pretty big scalps including the Stormers last weekend in Durban. The Lions are on their way home from a long and very unsuccessful tour and upon losing arguably their best backline player, Jaco Taute, it must be said that they have no chance of winning this. Stranger things have happened but with not much support from the Ellis Park ‘faithful’, the Sharks should secure a bonus point win, furthering their chances of the playoffs as well as a small chance of topping the South African conference!
Prediction: Sharks by 17
Bulls vs. Stormers (Pretoria) – 19.10
Odds: Bulls 13/20 Stormers 5/4
This is the game we have all been looking forward to for a matter of weeks! The North vs. South derby is never one to miss, but with so much more on this line this year than previous years it is that much more appealing! Although the Bulls may be fairly lethargic after a long overseas tour they will need no more motivation as a packed Loftus will welcome them home against their fiercest rivals! The Stormers after losing last weekend will have their backs against the wall, and the players they have lost will not help the cause at all. The Bulls tactical kicks coupled with chasers should break up the Stormers well renowned defense and pave the way for a good victory. Make sure you do not miss this game as you’d more than likely be the only one in South Africa!
Prediction: Bulls by 6
Bye: Cheetahs, Force and Reds.