SUPER RUGBY WEEK 12
Blues v Cheetahs
The Blues were mighty impressive in the first half against the Waratahs on the weekend piling on 26 points to set up the match, winning by a total of 7 points in the end after a nice comeback from the Waratahs in the second stanza. Meanwhile the Cheetahs poor run continues, in what was the game of the round the Cheetahs were up 41-24 with 5 minutes to go and were run down with three tries in 5minutes by the Highlanders.
The Cheetahs travel to NZ for their little tour and it is hard to see them getting any points out of the next two matches. In this fixture the home team has won the last 6 games. The Cheetahs are currently on a 7 game losing streak and the Blues haven't lost to a non-New Zealand team in almost a year.
The Blues will be without midfielder Sonny Bill Williams this week as he has concussion.
The last 5 games between these sides has averaged 57 points per game. The Cheetahs are averaging the third highest amount of points conceded per game this year with 37 points per game.
I think the Blues will win this one easy.
Brumbies v Lions
The Brumbies had the week off last week while the Lions dealt to the Rebels 47-10 in a comprehensive victory.
The Brumbies have won 3 of the last 4 games against the Lions. It's hard to make a case for them in this game however, they've lost 3 in a row and their only wins this year have been against other struggling Australian sides. The Lions have won their last 7 games and have also won 5 of their last 6 away games. The Brumbies last 5 games at home read Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss...so maybe they are due a win? Sadly for them I don't see it.
I think the Lions will get the job done here and win this one.
Crusaders v Hurricanes
The clash I've been waiting for, for a few weeks now. This should be the game of the round and a near top of the table clash. Two of the most in form teams going at it, I can't wait. The Crusaders were incredible in the first half against the Bulls and won 62-24 while the Hurricanes disposed of the Stormers late after looking rather shaky winning 41-22 in the end.
The Crusaders are travelling back from South Africa to Christchurch and may take a couple of days to get over the jetlag. The Hurricanes have won 4 of the last 5 matches against the Crusaders, including 2 of 3 in Christchurch. Last year the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders 35-10 in the last round to leap frog from 7th to 1st at the perfect time before the playoffs.
The Crusaders will still be without Israel Dagg, Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read for this clash - three of the best players. The Hurricanes should be at near full strength this week.
I think the Hurricanes can do the business here but I think it will be a close one. The Crusaders have looked incredible the last few weeks but I think the jetlag might be the difference in this one.
Rebels v Reds
The Rebels season woes continue with another loss, that's 7 losses from 9 games including 1 draw. Things look a little easier this week however, against an underperforming Reds side who were demolished by the Chiefs last weekend 46-17.
The Rebels have a recent favourable record against the Reds winning 3 of the last 4 games against the Reds. The Reds are now an incredible 13 losses (including only 2 wins from last 21 away games) in a row away from home, they haven't won away from home in nearly 2 years.
The Rebels have only played 2 games against Australian sides this year with 1 win against the Brumbies and 1 loss against the Waratahs. Whereas the Reds have lost to every Australian side they've played this year.
The Rebels will have extra motivation this week to try and stay in the competition for next year. All things (apart from form this year) point to a Rebels win you'd think but I really can't tip them up and at the same time I really can't fathom backing the Reds either. In the last 5 games these teams against each other have averaged 55 points.
Might have a play on the total, come Saturday.
Bulls v Highlanders
After two ok wins for the Bulls against the Jaguares and the Cheetahs they were stung badly by the Crusaders last week and may struggle to recover from that. The Highlanders meanwhile had the miracle win against the Cheetahs and would have surely helped their team bond from that win.
The home team has won 5 of the last 6 matches between these two teams, though this was a similar stat for the Bulls v Crusaders last week.
This is really the season on the line for the Bulls and if they don't win this weekend they'll really struggle to make the playoffs. The Highlanders will also want to win this to keep the Blues at least 1 win away from them.
The Highlanders are one of the inform teams at the moment winning their last 6 games, though they haven't really been tested against quality opposition. The Bulls are 3-1 at home this year, losing last week to the Crusaders their only loss.
Kings v Sharks
The Kings would have enjoyed the week off and will be fresh for this clash. Meanwhile the Sharks disposed of the Force with ease wining 37-12 last weekend.
An interesting clash to say the least, the Sharks have been up and down this year and the Kings are riding a massive high winning their last two games and chasing their third successive win which will be a record for the franchise.
The Sharks beat the Kings at home this year by only 2 points, previous to this they have won all games against the Kings by an average winning margin of 29 points per game across all games.
It will be interesting to see if the Sharks decide to rest any players for this match like they did earlier in the round. The Kings are massively better than earlier on in the competition and have really come together after the news they're the likely team to get dropped from the South Africa conference for next year.
I think the Kings can get within the line in this game and they may even cause the upset of the round.
Jaguares v Force
The Jaguares did it tough last week but came from behind in the end beating the Sunwolves 46-39. They've looked very average in the last few weeks and probably don't deserve to be in the playoffs this season. The Force also struggled last week with a loss to the Sharks.
The Force has now lost three on the trot and their season is over. They'll be playing for pride and potentially playing for their contracts for next season if they 're the team to get dropped from the ARU.
The Jaguares have won 4 of 5 home games this year while the Force haven't won away from home in over a year losing the last 8 matches away from home.
I'm really not interested in this game and will be staying out for sure.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Quarter Finals +2.94 9 33% Week Seventeen -1.2 11 -11% Week Sixteen -3.3 9 -37% Week Fifteen +0.52 19.5 3% Week Fourteen -16 16 -100% Week Thirteen +3.81 13.5 28% Week Twelve +2.71 17.5 15% Week Eleven -2.9 11 -26% Week Ten -0.35 14 -3% Week Nine -5.52 13 -42% Week Eight +6.77 12 56% Week Seven +7.8 9 87% Week Six +15.46 13 119% Week Five +1.61 10 16% Week Four -2.24 8 -28% Week Three -10 10 -100% Week Two +4.9 8 61% Week One -4.15 13.5 -31% Futures +5.7 10 57% Total +6.56 217 3%