Super Rugga Watch 2018 – Round 16

Our season predictions are falling apart as we get closer to the Vodacoms Super Rugby playoffs and with another hectic week at work we roped in some avid rugby lovers this week to give you all a better chance at climbing the leader board this week.

Thanks to Captain Hippie we have a nice comprehensive look at this “catchup” weekend of Super Rugby with only the New Zealand and Australian conferences in action.

Hopefully Coach Rassie will do better with the Springboks over in the USA as they take on Wales in his first match in charge of our national team.

With all that said and done, let’s see what Captain Hippie has up his sleeve…

Friday 1 June 2018 – Highlanders v Hurricanes, Forsyth Barr Stadium – 09h35*

On Friday in the first of the New Zealand Conference games, we will be treated to a nail biter as the Highlanders take on the ever dangerous Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium, in which promises to be a clear night in Dunedin.

The Highlanders welcome back fullback Ben Smith and the rest of their All Blacks which will add some fire power to their backline. On the Hurricanes’ side there is not much change from the squad that went down against the Crusaders last week with the only variation to the side being Brad Shields making way for Gareth Evens.

It is always a good idea to back the New Zealand team playing at home but in this case I will have to back the Hurricanes. If the Highlanders can keep it tight and to some extent nullify the Hurricanes’ dangerous backs – as the Crusaders did last week – then we could be in for a tight game but eventually I would think that the pure arsenal of talent in the Hurricanes might just be too much for the Highlanders to contend with on the day.

PREDICTION: Hurricanes by 9

Saturday 2 June 2018 – Blues v Rebels, Eden Park – 07h15*

On Saturday morning we will see the Blues taking on the Rebels from Australia at Eden Park. The weather seems that it might have some impact on this game with rain predicted in Auckland this Saturday.

The Blues are bottom of the New Zeeland conference but they are not to be underestimated. They have proved this year that they are capable of playing some amazing Rugby and can punish teams once they get their momentum going. The Rebels have had one of their best seasons to date and having some in from players has benefitted them greatly this year.

Taking that into consideration and even if the rain does come down in Auckland this weekend we are sure to be in for an epic battle. The Blues will not lie down to the Australians without a fight, while the Rebels need every point to keep their playoff dreams alive. It is going to be a closely fought battle but I have to back the New Zeeland side at home and believe that the Blues will come out as victors.

PREDICTION: Blues by 8

Saturday 2 June 2018 – Chiefs v Crusaders, FMG Stadium – 09h35*

In the last of the New Zealand Conference games the Chiefs will play host to the log leading Crusaders on what is expected to be a sunny day at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. Both the teams are coming off victories in the previous round and this match promises to be yet another brilliant home derby.

There will still be no captain Sam Cane for the Chiefs as their injury plagued season continues. As for the Crusaders, they lost Tim Bateman but should be relieved that Ryan Crotty will most likely be back on the pitch next to young Jack Goodhue.

The Chiefs will have to pull out all the stops to halt The Red Machine this weekend. Home field advantage always plays a part in games but I don’t think it’ll be enough to help the Landers come out on top of the Crusaders. This will be one of the games of the weekend, if not the game and is sure to produce a couple of heart stopping moments. It will be close but I see the Crusaders coming out on top of the Chiefs for the second time this year.

PREDICTION: Crusaders by 6

Saturday 2 June 2018 – Reds v Waratahs, Suncorp Stadium – 11h45*

In Saturday’s last Super Rugby Match the Reds will take on the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The Reds have not beaten their fellow countrymen in almost 5 years and will surely try their best to get the win.

There are some real questions about who we will see on the pitch after the announcement from the Australian National coach, Michael Cheika, asking some Aussie players to be rested.

The Reds have managed to pull off some upsets this year and will surely have to pull a rabbit out of a big, metaphorical hat if they wish to break their draught against the Waratahs. Derbies are always hard to call but I am confident that Michael Hooper’s boys will come out as victors in this matchup and retain their place at the top of the Australian Conference.

PREDICTION: Waratahs by 15

Sunday 3 June 2018 – Brumbies v Sunwolves, GIO Stadium – 08h05*

The last game of the weekend sees the Brumbies returning home from their surprise win over the Bulls last weekend, to face the now touring Sunwolves at home at the GIO Stadium in Canberra. In their last meeting the Brumbies smashed the Wolves in a 66-5 thrashing and even if the score would not likely be that big I think we all know what is coming.

The Brumbies seem to have come to the party a bit late this year but they are sure to put up a bit of a try fest against the struggling Sunwolves. The Japanese side does not seem to tour all too well and are also missing some of their key players like their superstar Hosea Saumake, who is now confirmed to have ruptured an ACL, bringing an end to his season.

It is safe to say that I do not see the Brumbies losing to the Sunwolves this weekend. The Canberra team should comfortably win the match in front of their home fans as Super Rugby then takes a break for the international series that kicks off next week.

PREDICTION: Brumbies by 26

Let us know if you agree with the Captain and his predictions or should he walk the plank and feel free to join the conversation on Twitter with #SuperRuggaWatch

#welovesports #wedontsugarcoatit

*denotes South African kick-off times

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