11 March 2020, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld
Super Rugby Predictions – Round 7
All eyes will be on Kings Park when the Sharks and Stormers collide in a crunch South African Conference clash on Saturday, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
Round Seven of Super Rugby sees all four South African franchises in action on Saturday. The Lions will seek the first win of their Australasian tour when they battle the Blues in Auckland, while the Bulls will want to start their tour Down Under on a winning note when they take on the Reds in Brisbane before the coastal derby goes down in Durban.
Here’s how we see things playing out in Round Seven:ALSO READ: SA SUPER RUGBY TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 6
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ALSO READ: SUPER RUGBY COACHING JOBS CHEAPENEDWhat a way to kick-off Round Seven! The Hurricanes (2.30) will be hurting after their shock loss to the Blues at home last weekend. Lying fourth in the New Zealand Conference on 13 points, five behind both the Chiefs (first via points-difference) and Crusaders, the Wellington side need a win to stay in touch with the pacesetters. Redemption and desperation will make them particularly dangerous in this massive derby. The Chiefs (0.40) also have some making up to do. Even though they crushed the Waratahs 51-14 last weekend, they were upset 26-14 by the Brumbies in their last home game, so they’ll be fired up to defend their turf. Warren Gatland’s side have a better balance of lethal attack and stoic defence, so we see them edging an entertaining encounter.Prediction: Chiefs by five.
Total Points scored: 67.
Suggested BET: To be confirmed
BET: SUPER RUGBYThis could get ugly. The Blues (0.08) are on a high they haven’t experienced in years, shocking the Stormers and Hurricanes back-to-back away from home to head into this match riding a Tsunami of momentum. The Lions’ (7.75) tour went from bad to worse last weekend, a shameful showing seeing them take a 20-point hiding courtesy of the Rebels. They lacked direction, were beaten to the breakdown and their lineout was a shambles. Most damning of all was their porous defence. They’ll be unable to plug all the holes the Blues are bound to drill into their increasingly leaky boat.Prediction: Blues by 25.
Total Points scored: 55.
Suggested BET: Blues -16.5 at 0.95
BET: SUPER RUGBYA mismatch of epic proportions. The most successful against the least successful franchise in Super Rugby history. The Crusaders (0.01) were well off their best in last weekend’s narrow win over the Reds, although the Queenslanders deserve credit for their inspired efforts. The Sunwolves (16.75), meanwhile, were hammered for the third week in a row (47-14 by the Brumbies), and the Crusaders will compound their woes. Wait for the team sheets to bet on the margin of victory for this one, which will be played in Brisbane due to the global spread of the coronavirus, but even a second-string ‘Saders side will smash the woeful Sunwolves.Prediction: Full-strength Crusaders by 50+/Second-string Crusaders by 38.
Suggested BET: Crusaders -37.5 at 0.90
BET: SUPER RUGBYWhen the draw was announced, the Bulls would’ve been well-pleased and confident that they’d be able to start their Australasian leg on a high against the young Reds. Brad Thorn’s troops, however, have surprised many and shown great promise. They punched well above their weight against the mighty Crusaders last weekend, and while they ended up on the wrong side of the 24-20 scoreline, they would’ve taken a lot of confidence from the performance.
Speaking of confidence, the Bulls received a welcome boost after breaking their duck in style against the Highlanders last weekend. Whether they can replicate that performance in Brisbane is the big question. The timing of the match suits the Reds, who, with home ground advantage, should see off the men from Pretoria.Prediction: Reds by 7.
Total Points scored: 43.
Suggested BET: Reds to win by 1 -12 points
BET: SUPER RUGBYIt’s the match South African rugby lovers have been waiting for. A titanic meeting between this season’s leading local franchises…a coastal derby with high stakes. Based on form, you’d think the Sharks (0.45) should win it. They’ve been sensational so far and deservedly top of the log after continuing their hot streak with an emphatic homecoming win over the Jaguares last weekend.
The Stormers (1.95), in contrast, were brought down to earth by the Blues in their own backyard in their last outing following a flawless 4-0 start to the tournament. The Capetonians have struggled to find their rhythm and a spate of injuries to the likes of Springbok stars Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi and Pieter-Steph du Toit is much of the reason why.
So, too, is the fact that Damian Willemse’s switch from fullback to flyhalf hasn’t gone as smoothly as John Dobson had hoped. Curwin Bosch, conversely, has thrived in the No.10 jersey for the Sharks and this much-anticipated battle between the perceived future Springbok flyhalves will be pivotal to the outcome of this all-important derby, which will see the winners take control of the South African Conference.
As sublime as the Sharks have been, they dipped noticeably in the final quarter against the Argentinians – evidence of the toll the terrific yet taxing Australasian tour has taken. Man of the Match Bosch admitted as much during his post-match interview. It’s because of this, coupled with the fact that the Stormers will be rejuvenated after their bye, that we think the men from Cape Town will clinch a narrow win.Prediction: Stormers by 3.
Total Points scored: 49.
Suggested BET: Stormers to win at 1.95
BET: SUPER RUGBYBoth teams have made the trip to Argentina after losses in South Africa last weekend. The 33-19 defeat in Durban marked the end of a three-week South African safari for the Jaguares (0.12) that yielded one win and two losses. While they haven’t hit their straps yet, they’re a different side in front of their ardent home fans. The Highlanders (6.00) look the weakest of the New Zealand teams this year with just one win from five and are coming off a lashing at Loftus. They were annihilated at scrum time and outmuscled at the gain line in the 38-13 defeat, where the Jaguares are set to have a decisive advantage. If it rains, as forecast, this will likely be a low-scoring arm wrestle.Prediction: Jaguares by 11.
Total Points scored: 37.
Suggested BET: Jaguares to win by 1-12 points
BET: SUPER RUGBYGone are the glory days of this traditional top Australian derby. The Waratahs (5.00) are in dire straits with just a solitary win in five outings, against the struggling Lions a fortnight ago. Any optimism due to that 29-17 win was wiped away by the humiliating 51-14 home loss to the Chiefs last weekend in what was their most cringe-worthy performance so far. They are rudderless and are running into the form Australian side (0.15) whose lone loss came in the final moments against the Highlanders a few weeks back. The derby factor will likely lift the ‘Tahs, but it’ll take a capitulation on the Canberra collective’s part for them not to be victorious.Prediction: Brumbies by 10.
Total Points scored: 44.
Suggested BET: Brumbies by 1-12 points