Super Rugga Watch 2018 – Round 9

We finally got our SuperBru GSP (Grand Slam Point) of the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season and now we need to build on it to climb the leader board to greatness.

Having reached the halfway point of the regular season the heat will now be on the lower ranked teams to make a move if they want to make the playoffs and if the season to date is anything to go by then it won’t be an easy task.

So without wasting anymore of your “precious” work time, let’s get down to business in this week’s Rugga Watch!

Friday 13 April 2018 – Hurricanes v Chiefs, Westpac Stadium – 09h35*

For many this will be the game of the weekend in regards to log positions and even though it will be the first time these two sides meet this season we don’t think it is really the one to get excited about as exciting as the rugby might be in this game. The Hurricanes might be lying fourth on the table at present with the Chiefs one place back only 2 points behind them but we still believe the men from Wellington are the team to beat if anyone wants to lift the trophy come 4 August 2018.

The only difference between the two sides at this stage of the tournament is the bonus point column and this weekend will decide who will get the bragging rights going forward. We do however believe the Canes have been a tiny bit more consistent in their performances than their neighbours and when you look at the points for and points against columns then you can see this. In recent years this has been a ding-dong battle with no team really stamping its authority on the other as yet. The visiting Chiefs had the upper hand in 2017 and will be running everything at the Canes come Friday.

One of these teams will experience Friday the 13th in all its glory and we don’t think it will be the Canes.

PREDICTION: Hurricanes by 6

Sat 14 April 2018 – Sunwolves v Blues, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium – 05h05*

The men from the home of the Rising Sun are dishing up some excellent rugby this season and making life for anyone whether home or away. The Blues will be wary of their hosts, especially after the Sunwolves hammered them in 2017. The home team have shown plenty of promise this season and if the men from Auckland don’t “arrive” on Saturday then last year’s 27 point loss could be on the cards again. With a fiery home crowd behind them the Wolves will like to believe they can do “the impossible” again.

If you are willing to get up early on Saturday this game should be worth it we reckon. We do believe however that the visitors will have one of their stellar once off performances and put the Wolves to the sword.

PREDICTION: Blues by 13

Saturday 14 April 2018 – Rebels v Jaguares, AAMI Park – 07h15*

The Rebels had a bye weekend after their 19 – 50 mauling at home by the Canes and will be looking to get their campaign back to winning ways when they host the travelling Jaguares. The Jags have shown this season that when they can keep 15 men on the park they can be very competitive and will want to keep their discipline in check as they get their Australasian tour underway in Melbourne before heading to Canberra next week. The men from Argentina are not the best of travellers and should find Dave Wessels’ Rebels quite a challenge even though they got the better of the Aussies in 2017 by 2 points.

This is a new Rebels outfit and they have been very good at home besides the one game against the Canes two weeks ago.

PREDICTION: Rebels by 10

Saturday 14 April 2018 – Highlanders v Brumbies, Forsyth Barr Stadium – 09h35*

Another team coming of a bye is the Highlanders who are welcoming the Brumbies who will be facing their first Kiwi challenge of the season. The men from Dunedin started the season like a house on fire until they met the Canes in Round 6. Since then they have had two losses on the trot and will be meeting a fired up Brumbies team that showed they have the goods when they came back from the dead against the Reds a week ago to win in emphatic style.

This fixture has had its ups and downs in the past for both teams and this week shouldn’t be much different. The break would have done the Landers the world of good and hopefully they have enough to stop a Brumbies outfit who is high on confidence.

The Highlanders have never been able to beat the men from Canberra in four consecutive matches and this might be the first time we see them do it we believe.

PREDICTION: Highlanders by 7

Saturday 14 April 2018 – Waratahs v Reds, Sydney Cricket Ground – 11h45*

Derby day in Australia yet again and this time it’s the Waratahs hosting the Reds from Queensland. The Tahs are currently on a 7-game winning streak over the Reds and if last week’s showing against the Brumbies is anything to go by then the men from New South Wales are almost assured to extend their record to 8 matches. The Queenslanders started very convincingly against the Brumbies and then somehow lost complete control. The Tahs though have not been overly convincing themselves and will want to continue the form they showed against the Sunwolves last week.

If that match is anything to go by, the Reds are in for another long day at the office in Sydney.

PREDICTION: Waratahs by 17

Sat 14 April 2018 – Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls, Jonsson Kings Park – 17h15*

So we mentioned earlier that we don’t see the Canes vs Chiefs game being the game of the week as we feel that this match between the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls carries more weight even though much further down the overall table. The importance to the whole scheme of things going forward is what makes this game so much more important we believe. Both teams are on fire at the moment and if both sides deliver on Saturday, we as rugby lovers are in for one hell of a derby in Durban and we truly hope that both teams’ supporters flock to the stadium in their droves.

I have to admit that it is a tough call to make as I believe the Sharks have found some super form on the last two matches of the tour. The only question for me is how they are going to respond after losing a match they dominated for 80 minutes, only to let it slip in the extra 5 minutes after the hooter. The Bulls are coming off their second bye after beating the DHL Stormers with a team that was not even full strength. How much will the bye have taken away from the momentum the Bulls had after that win?

Notably the Bulls have had the Sharks’ number over the last two seasons in Durban and one thing is sure, we are in for another cracking South African derby come Saturday.

PREDICTION: Vodacom Bulls by 5

* – denotes kick-off South Africa Time

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