A crowd of 35,094 turned up to Twickenham last week to watch the spectacle that is Super Rugby and wow it was a great show the Sharks and Crusaders put on! SANZAR is now going to conduct a review of the match to determine whether this should be a regular event. I say bring it on!
Highlanders v Brumbies – Carisbrook, Dunedin
The Brumbies come into this game after their narrow loss to the Tahs last weekend and they desperately need a win if they are to remain competitive this year. Adam Ashley Cooper finally announced his move to the Tahs during the week and was aptly punished with a move to the wing so it will be interesting to see the team dynamics this week. The Highlanders are coming off a bye last week and have home ground advantage so will be fresh and ready to go. Despite losing their last two matches, the return of Colin Slade will be a huge boost and see them take this one out.
Waratahs v Chiefs – Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
The Tahs were lucky to get a last minute victory against the Brumbies last week and will need to appease their disgruntled fans at home with a win this week. Despite their shock loss to the Cheetahs, I don’t believe they are in as much trouble as everyone thinks. Bone cruncher Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson return to the lineup which is a massive boost to their front-row and should have a lot of impact. There has also been a backline reshuffle due to Berrick Barnes absence due to his concussion but this won’t hurt their chances. The Chiefs lost a tight match against the Blues at home last week, and although they have been playing a tight forward game I think the strength of TPN and Benn Robinson will outclass them.
Lions v Reds – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
The Reds are looking, pardon the pun, Red Hot right now and are playing the exciting style of rugby we witnessed last season. Although at times scrappy against the Cheetahs, the backline with the likes of Cooper, Davies and Ioane was simply mesmerising to watch. There have been several changes to the starting line up for the match and it will be interesting to see how they cope on their first road trip of the season. The Lions have had an interesting season so far and are really starting to show huge improvements on last year. Despite only winning one of their six games this season, they have come close on several occasions. They will need to shut down the running rugby of the Reds if they are any chance of winning.
Sharks v Stormers – Shark Tank, DURBAN
This is going to be a great South African derby this weekend and has the makings of blockbuster. The Sharks will be rebounding from their loss last week at Twickenham, and although they were outclassed by the Crusaders, they showed real class. They have a distinct home ground advantage at the Shark Tank I am going to go against the trend and tip an upset. The Stormers are yet to lose a game this season and although they thrashed the Force last week, I think that the hoodoo of Durban will continue to hurt them.
Blues v Cheetahs – Toll Stadium, WHANGAREI
Despite their win against the Tahs in round five, the thrashing by the Reds last week will have put a definite kink in their step. They have lost a lot of players to injury and being on the road will also have an impact. The Blues on the other hand are building some momentum and despite being hot and cold, their tight win against the Chiefs last week, I think they will blow the Cheetahs out of the stadium.
Force v Rebels – NIB Stadium, Perth
This one is going to be a very exciting match up! The Rebels were a massive surprise last week with their gallant win from behind. They were dynamic and I am still reeling at how dominant they were in the last 63 minutes. They are also boosted with the return of Mark Gerrard and Kevin O’Neill so I think they will be hard to beat this week, despite missing out on the Rebel Army support. The Force will be looking to rebound from their thumping from the Stormers last week with a win at home. James O’Connor is playing really well but the loss of David Pocock seems to be taking its toll on the side.
Hurricanes v Bulls – McLean Park, Napier
The Hurricanes looked amazing for the first 17 minutes of the game against the Rebels last week and then proceeded to severely lose the plot against the resurgent Rebels. They are boosted by the return of All Blacks winger and our Player of the Week winner Hosea Gear. If they can maintain some momentum; they should be a tough match for the current lacklustre Bulls side. The Bulls are certainly not the championship winning side from last year and with jetlag not their friend, this match should be a close one. Hurricanes will be like wounded animals and I think they will come out fighting for the win.