Happy Easter everyone!! This week’s Super Rugby action boils down to one game for me and that is the Reds v Waratahs grudge match! With a crowd of over 35,000 people set to attend, this is going to be one cracker of a game! I hope we get to see more try celebrations like the one from Digby Ioane last week!
Blues v Rebels – North Harbour Stadium, North Shore
The Rebels will be desperate to make amends for their unimpressive game against the Highlanders last week. They are boosted by the return of Stirling Mortlock but they are going to need something more than that to overcome a Blues side that is playing some great attacking rugby. The Blues looked impressive during the first 40 minutes against the Tahs last week but stepped off the pace during the second half to allow them back in the game. Their back line is very impressive at the moment and I can’t see the Rebels defence being able to cope.
Sharks v Hurricanes – Shark Tank, Durban
The Hurricanes aren’t having a good season so far and although they were victorious over the Cheetahs last week they are facing an uphill battle against the Sharks. Their forwards will really need to up their game if they are to take it to the big boys of the Sharks pack. Ma’a Nonu hasn’t had the best season so far and their backline are missing their spark. The Sharks will be too strong for them in defence.
Lions v Chiefs – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Both teams have been a bit disappointing this season with both playing messy and inconsistent rugby. The Lions have only been able to snatch one victory and although they showed some guts against the Reds in round 7, they are really yet to close out the tough matches. The Chiefs are much the same and although they took it to the Crusaders last week, this game is anyone’s guess. Going to go against the trend and tip the Lions.
Crusaders v Highlanders – AMI Stadium, CHRISTCHURCH
This looks set to be a thrilling game with both the Crusaders and Highlanders playing some fantastic rugby of late. The Crusaders are definitely proving to be one of the teams to beat, especially after they thrashed the Bulls without Dan Carter or their legendary captain Richie McCaw in round 8. The Crusaders backline is absolutely stunning and even without their big names they should have no problem taking care of the Highlanders.
Reds v Waratahs – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
This is the most anticipated game of the round especially for the Australian fans. The Reds have been building momentum and will be out to seek revenge for their loss to the Tahs in round 2. The Reds had a great tour of South Africa and their display against the Bulls at home was amazing. Despite giving away two soft tries, the one at half time was pathetic; their strength at the breakdown and in the backline should make it very tough for the Waratahs to compete against. The Waratahs are however boosted by the return of Phil Waugh, which will help to slow down the Reds attack. They will need to be 100% focused if they are to contain the likes of Will Genia and Quade Cooper who have been reading and dictating play magnificently. With the crowd expected to exceed 35,000 this is going to be one hell of a match.
Force v Bulls – nib Stadium, Perth
The Force have been inconsistent so far in the season and really need to get a win against the Bulls to get them back on track. Despite a win against the hapless Brumbies in Canberra, they will have a much tougher opponent in the Bulls who have named 12 Springboks in their starting line-up. In saying that, the Bulls will be fatigued from travel and their loss to the Reds last week so they will need to ensure they keep things tight. Morne Steyn was on fire with the boot last week, so if the Force are to take this they will need to stay disciplined and not give away easy shots at goal.