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We analyse the upcoming Super Rugby round.

Spirderman jersey Lions Aphiwe Dyantyi

14 March 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


The Stormers and Lions are steeled for a foreign invasion in Round Five of Super Rugby this weekend.

With the Blues, Bulls and Sharks all enjoying a bye, this week’s menu consists of six showdowns spread evenly over two days.

In the South African context of things, the Stormers face a Jaguares team desperate to bounce back from their 47-39 loss to the Lions in a Friday night Cape Town clash. The action shifts to Johannesburg on Saturday, where the Lions will seek to hand the Melbourne Rebels their first loss of the season.

Derbies kick-off the fifth round of the competition as the Chiefs host the Hurricanes and the Brumbies entertain the Waratahs in the early Friday fixtures, while Saturday morning (SA time) sees the Sunwolves play the Reds and the Highlanders host the all-conquering Crusaders.

The Hurricanes all day. The Chiefs have been diabolical and languish at the bottom of the log. The ‘Çanes, in contrast, have won three of their four fixtures, the lone loss coming at the hands of the Crusaders. Yes, they scraped past the Highlanders last weekend, but they’re bound to add to the winless Chiefs’ woes.

Prediction: Hurricanes by 7. (Suggested BET – Hurricanes 1-12)

A big game in terms of the Australian Conference. The ‘Tahs are three points behind the Rebels in second place on nine, despite both having only played three games. The Brumbies are third, having mustered just one win and seven points in four fixtures, however, they’ve faced considerably stiffer competition and will have home ground advantage.

Prediction: Brumbies by 3. (Suggested BET – Brumbies -1.5)

The hosts are fresh off a timely bye following three bruising local derbies, the last two of which they won against the fancied Lions and Sharks. The win in Durban was a vital, confidence-building triumph fuelled by in-your-face defence.

Of concern for the Stormers is their blunt offence – they’ve only scored two tries in three outings, the first an injury-time winner and the other an intercept. A home game against a Jaguares side who leaked seven tries this past weekend is the perfect opportunity for the Cape franchise to find their attacking mojo. The visitors shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the home side should win rather comfortably.

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

A dance of the desperates as 13 plays host to 14 on the log. The Sunwolves will be in better spirits after a ground-breaking New Zealand tour that saw them claim a historic win over the Chiefs and narrowly lose out on a losing bonus point against the Blues. The Reds are a young side trying to find their identity and I see them picking up their first win of the season in Tokyo.

Prediction: Reds by 2. (Suggested BET – Reds 1-12)

The Crusaders juggernaut rolls into Dunedin in search of a 20th consecutive win and a New Zealand Conference clean sweep. After getting out of jail against the Blues (24-22), the defending champions hammered the Hurricanes (38-22) and Chiefs (57-28), and also eased passed the Reds (22-10) with their complete brand of rugby.

The Highlanders are a hard team to assess at this stage. They seem to rise or drop to the level of the opposition and subsequently have a 2-2 win-loss record. Unlucky to go down to a last-minute Beauden Barrett penalty in Wellington last week, they’ll be up for this one. The ‘Saders, though, are money in the bank at this point.

Prediction: Crusaders by 9. (Suggested BET – Crusaders -8.5)

After a spirited win over the Jaguares, the Lions come up against a different kettle of fish altogether in the Rebels. The men from Melbourne are the only unbeaten team other than the table-topping Crusaders, and showed championship-calibre character to come back from 19-3 down at half-time to edge the Brumbies last week.

With no rain being forecast, this looks set to be another try-fest. As good as the young Lions looked on attack last week, they conceded five tries and will have a tough time trying to contain the experienced Wallaby half-back pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper, who’ve been the driving force of Australia’s early frontrunners.

It’ll largely come down to which side can establish front foot ball for their prolific playmakers to weave their magic. The Lions have the edge here; their pack have been dominant at scrum time and they boast a 93% success rate in the lineouts. Altitude will also take its toll on the visitors.

Prediction: Lions by 5. (Suggested BET – Lions 1-12)

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Chad is the Social Media Manager and contributor to BET Central News.

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