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We analyse the upcoming Super Rugby round.

11 April 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


Top spot in the hotly-contested South African Conference will be on the line in Round 12 of Super Rugby this weekend.

With the last-placed Lions (22) enjoying a bye, any of the four teams who’ll be in action could end the round in pole position.

The pace-setting Sharks (26) have the toughest task of all as they kick-off proceedings against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday. The Durban team claimed their first win in Sydney in 19 years last weekend and will have to somehow halt the defending champions’ record home unbeaten streak if they are to remain on top.

The Bulls (24) look most likely to finish the weekend in first place as they’ll welcome the Waratahs to Loftus on Saturday. Should both the Sharks and Bulls come up short, then the winner of the late Jaguares-Stormers (both on 23) encounter in Buenos Aires will shoot to the summit.

The surprise win in Sydney would’ve done wonders for the morale in the Sharks camp. The men from Durban have a better record against New Zealand teams than most, but the Crusaders have been unbeatable in Christchurch, winning 26 in a row. They lead the try (45) and clean break (134) stats by a mile and although the Sharks were outstanding on defence last weekend and the hosts are resting a number of All Blacks, the ‘Saders should win comfortably.

Prediction: Crusaders by 15. (Suggested BET – Sharks +19.5)

The wheels well and truly came off for the Sunwolves last weekend as they endured a 52-0 home hammering at the hands of the Highlanders. It’s hard to see them reverse their fortunes Down Under. The Reds are rested after their bye and will be energised in their first match back in Brisbane after their South African tour. Complacency on their part might affect the margin, but not the outcome.

Prediction: Reds by 12. (Suggested BET – Reds -9.5)

The Crusaders are the only team who have beaten the Hurricanes this season. The 2019 ‘Canes know how to win and made a statement by crushing the Chiefs, who’d held them to a draw in Round Five, 47-19 in the rematch last weekend. The Rebels are on the slide and will crash to a third consecutive loss here.

Prediction: Hurricanes by 14. (Suggested BET – Hurricanes -12.5)

The Highlanders eked out a 30-27 win in the sides’ first clash in the opening round and one would have to favour them at home, especially after their runaway victory and the Chiefs’ bad loss last weekend. It’s been a struggle for the Chiefs this season; they’re in lowly 14th with just three wins in 10 outings and there’s no reason to believe the injury-ravaged visitors will spring a surprise in Hamilton.

Prediction: Highlanders by 8. (Suggested BET –  Highlanders by 1-12)

I see fatigue being the determining factor in this cross-conference clash as the Brumbies have had a taxing two weeks in Cape Town and Buenos Aires, while the Blues are fresh off a bye. They toppled the ‘Tahs, their only Australian opposition so far, and the time seems right for the Blues to break their duck on the road.

Prediction: Blues by 3. (Suggested BET – Blues win)

Coming off a bye, the Bulls were slow out of the starting blocks and subsequently lost to the Stormers last week. The 24-23 defeat also saw them relinquish top spot in the South African Conference, so they’ll be fully-focused and come out guns blazing. The Waratahs’ loss to the Sharks at home saw their 2019 win percentage drop to 44%. They’ve been erratic and will struggle to keep up with a better Bulls team on the Highveld.

Prediction: Bulls by 10. (Suggested BET – Bulls -8.5)

The Jaguares are the form team in the South African Conference having won three on the trot. The Stormers, meanwhile, showed in the upset over the Bulls what they’re capable of. That win would’ve been a big confidence-booster, as is the fact that they won the first meeting against the Argentinians 35-8. The Jaguares are a different animal to the one that rolled over in Round Five and while it’ll be close, the in-form hosts should see off the talented but inconsistent tourists.

Prediction: Jaguares by 3. (Suggested BET – Jaguares by 1-12)

BET: Super Rugby 2019

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