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We analyse the upcoming Super Rugby round.

4 April 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


The Lions host the Sharks in the feature South African Conference fixture of Round 8 of Super Rugby on Friday evening.

The action kicks off with a New Zealand derby in Dunedin, where after the Stormers will be seeking their first win on tour in Brisbane before the attention shifts to Johannesburg for the all-important South African showdown.

The two most successful franchises in Super Rugby history will get things going bright and early Saturday morning in Christchurch, followed by matches in Auckland and Melbourne before the Bulls welcome the Jaguares to Pretoria to close out the round.

That the Highlanders are at home – where they beat the Reds 36-31 in Round Two – and not on the road – where they’ve gone 0-4 – will give them hope.

The Hurricanes are coming off a humiliating 32-8 home loss to the Crusaders. The defending champions are the only team who’ve toppled the ‘Canes this season, though, with the men from Wellington boasting the second-most points in the competition.

A Beauden Barrett penalty at the death was the only thing that separated the sides in their first meeting in Round Four, and I expect history to repeat itself in the rematch.

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

While the Stormers haven’t won in New Zealand in six years, their record in Australia is much better. The Cape franchise have won four of their last five Down Under and they’ll fancy their chances against a young, developing Reds team.

The hosts had their two-match winning streak snapped rather demoralisingly last weekend, going down 32-12 to the Rebels at home, leading many fans to turn on the team. They seem ripe for the picking. The Stormers were pretty mediocre in Auckland and will be without their two most influential players in Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth.

The absence of the star Bok duo and a number of curious changes by Robbie Fleck makes this match tricky to call, but the Stormers should still be able to sneak it.

Prediction: Stormers by 4. (Suggested BET – Stormers Win)

For whatever reason, the Sharks can’t buy a win against their fellow countrymen. Their 19-16 home loss to the Bulls last weekend was their third in a row against South African opposition. It was also the second time that they seemingly played the better rugby, yet ended up on the losing side.

It’s the first meeting between the teams this year and both coaches have made some interesting changes, which should make for an entertaining encounter. At the end of the day, everything’s in the Lions’ favour. They are fresh off a bye, at the top of the conference standings with three wins on the trot and are playing at home.

Prediction: Lions by 5. (Suggested BET – Lions Win)

The mighty Crusaders bounced back from their shock loss to the Waratahs with a proper hammering of the Hurricanes in Wellington last weekend and are the clear favourites. The Brumbies have had a week to recover and reassess following their 36-14 loss to the Reds and are up against it here. This is the Crusaders’ first match back in Christchurch since the deadly terror attacks that rocked the city and I see them putting on a show for their supporters.

Prediction: Crusaders by 20. (Suggested BET – Crusaders -17.5)

Both teams are on 15 points having won three and lost three, with the Waratahs one spot above the Blues in seventh due to a slightly superior points’ difference. The key difference between them is momentum – the hosts are on a rare three-match winning streak while the ‘Tahs crashed to one of their most embarrassing defeats, to the Sunwolves, in Newcastle last weekend. I think the home crowd will help the Blues over the line.

Prediction: Blues by 2. (Suggested BET – Blues Win)

The Sunwolves have turned into low key giant killers this season having picked up a historic win in Hamilton and an equally monumental 31-29 victory over the Waratahs last weekend. Unfortunately for them, they’re running into a dangerous Rebels team who ripped the Reds apart last weekend and are back at home after three weeks on the road.

Prediction: Rebels by 17. (Suggested BET – Rebels -13.5)

The saying goes good teams are able to win even when they’re not operating at their best and that sums up the Bulls’ narrow away win over the Sharks last weekend. The Jaguares, interestingly, found themselves on the opposite side of that equation, as they suffered a heart-breaking home loss against the Chiefs.

The Argentinians have a mental edge in that they came out comfortable 27-12 winners in the teams’ Round Two clash, however, that’ll be offset by the Bulls having home ground advantage. The Jaguares are really battling this season, languishing at the bottom of the South African Conference and 14th overall, and I can’t see them troubling the Bulls at Loftus, even with the hosts resting a number of key players.

Prediction: Bulls by 10. (Suggested BET – Bulls -6.5)

BET: Super Rugby 2019

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Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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