Super 15 preview - Week 14
There is just two weeks until Super Rugby takes a three week break for the mid-year Test matches. This weekend is vital to many sides’ playoff aspirations and for the winners of the perspective conferences. The top of the Australian conference clash is going to be a cracking game with both teams desperate to conquer their table.
The Sharks and Stormers clash without a doubt the best clash of the week, both sides would both fancy their chances, and many a debate is taking place on the match winner. Sharks must have the slight upper hand with their recent form and home territory but who would bet against the Stormers impeccable defense? Make sure you guys don’t miss this one!
A closer look at Super Rugby, Week 14 action with Bet.co.za:
(All kick-off's SA time)
Chiefs vs. Bulls (Hamilton) – 9.35am
Odds: Chiefs 11/20 Bulls 7/5
The Chiefs have had a week to stew over their 42-27 loss to the Reds and should be hungry to bounce back with a good win this week. The heat will be on the Chiefs a bit more after the Crusaders smashed the Blues last week, showing what they are capable of. If Chiefs want to win the New Zealand conference this is a must win. The Bulls looked very tired last week and are possibly missing their Braai and Biltong. If they resort to a kicking game again like last week; they won’t have much success against this Chiefs side that is dynamic on the Counter Attack. Although the Chiefs have lost Kauhui for the rest of the season, they should win this fairly comfortably. Chiefs to win by more than 3 points
Sport24 multiple of the week: Chiefs to win by more than 3 points
Prediction: Chiefs win by 9
Saturday's action: (All kick-off's SA time)
Hurricanes vs. Rebels (Wellington) – 7.30am
Odds: Hurricanes 7/20 Rebels 11/5
After beating the Highlanders in Dunedin, the Hurricanes were knocking on the door of a playoff spot but fell short against the Brumbies in Wellington last week. They looked good at times, with TJ Perenara and winger Savea having strong games, but there were too many handling errors that ended up costing them. Cory Jane is expected to be out for six weeks which is a big blow to the ‘canes, but they have plenty of exciting backs to fill his boots. The Rebels will be feeling confident after two wins on the trot, but poor defense remains an issue for them. This should be a very high scoring game, with both sides scoring great tries, and leaking them too. Hurricanes should win this fairly comfortably.
Sport24 multiple of the week- Hurricanes to win by more than 8 points
Prediction: Hurricanes by 11
Blues vs. Highlanders (Auckland) – 09:35am
Odds: Blues 8/5 Highlanders 1/2
After the Blues returned to winning ways in week 11 against the Lions, their season was bought back to reality against the Crusaders. In every aspect of play they were completely outplayed, at times it was embarrassing if you take into account the history of some classic clashes between these two. The Highlanders had a good win against the Bulls and will be very focused on reaching the playoffs. With Blues losing another one of their best players last week, Benson Stanley, you really would think they have very little chance albeit at home. Stranger things have happened but it would be a real shock if Blues were to win here. Highlanders should win this one easily.
Sport24 multiple of the week- Highlanders to win by more than 8 points
Prediction: Highlanders by 11
Brumbies vs. Reds (Canberra) – 11.40am
Odds: Brumbies 7/10 Reds 11/10
This along with the South African derby is the clash of the weekend. The Brumbies are still flying at the top of the Australian conference after coming back from 16-25 down to win 37-25 against the Hurricanes. Concerns had been raised on how they would fare without flyhalf Christian Lealiifano, but Zach Holmes had a cracking debut. They are a well-coached and well drilled side that is highly organised in set pieces. The Reds are starting to play the rugby that saw them lift the trophy last year and will be very hungry to beat the Brumbies for the second time this season, as it is crucial to their playoff aspirations. This will probably be a very tense game, lookout for some old fashioned punches and a few handbag tosses. This one is extremely hard to call. Brumbies record at home is excellent against the Reds so they could edge this one.
Prediction: Brumbies by 3
Force vs. Lions (Perth) – 13.40
Odds: Force 9/20 Lions 17/10
Two of the weakest sides in the competition and if you have lunch plans I don’t recommend you cancel them. This could be a very boring and frustrating game to watch. Although the Lions had some positives from last week it must be said that the entire Reds bench was used for the majority of the second half. The Force have been shocking on attack, and have rarely been able to score tries. Last week was an exception against the Rebels and it will be interesting to see how they fair this weekend. The lions have certainly targeted this game as a must win as it is their easiest game on tour. Let’s hope the Lions can end their tour off on a high.
Sport24 multiple of the week: Lions to win/draw or lose by less than 9
Prediction: Lions by 2
Cheetahs vs. Waratahs (Bloemfontein) – 17.05
Odds: Cheetahs 7/10 Waratahs 11/10
The Cheetahs really are missing Johan Goosen dearly. Their ability to score cracking tries from anywhere on the park was completely diminished upon the talented youngsters injury. Although they have been very physical they just don’t seem to be able to edge out the wins even when the games are close. The Waratahs have been in a similar position and in many ways have been the let down from the tournament, certainly from an Australian point of view. They have so many talented players but have lacked the spark this year, which has cost them dearly. This should be a very tight affair, with Cheetahs track record of close games coupled with a shaky goal kicker the ‘tahs should win narrowly.
Sport24 multiple of the week: Waratahs to win/draw or lose by less than 4
Prediction: Waratahs win by 2
Sharks vs. Stormers (Durban) – 19.10
Sharks 7/10 Stormers 11/10
This is where the competition gets excited. These kind of games are the ones that decide the playoff contenders and both the Sharks and Stormers are desperate. The Sharks still mathematically have a chance of winning the South African conference but much relies on this match and their fixture against the Bulls next week. The Stormers only managed to just beat the Sharks when these two met previously in a very close affair in Cape Town. This is going to be a great game as the Sharks newly found exciting attack will come against the stingiest defense in the competition. Again Heyneke Meyer will be watching this one very closely to see what combinations he wishes to take on the English with. The forward battle is going to be particularly fascinating. This is very hard to call the winner but the Sharks should do the business.
Prediction: Sharks by 4