The Super Rugby season has reached its second last round. There are still up to 8 teams fighting it out for the last finals spot with The Hurricanes still a long way ahead despite suffering their second loss of the season on the weekend. Continue reading for our Round 17 Super Rugby preview and predictions.
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Hurricanes vs Highlanders (Friday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Hurricanes suffered their second loss of the season but they were up against a defiant Crusaders side that was playing for their season. Meanwhile the Highlanders put on their best performance and have taken a big step towards sealing a finals berth. This match will determine a lot about the look of the final six and the Highlanders are the only other side that could finish first. The Hurricanes will be out to return to their best but the match should be closer than expected.
Force vs Brumbies (Friday 9pm AEDT)
The Brumbies travel west with the intent to put the pressure on the Waratahs as both sides enter the round tied on 42 competition points. The Brumbies are starting to reach top gear as they were convincing in their win against the Bulls last week. They also have a superior record against the Force and it is very likely that they will leave Perth with a win on Friday night.
Rebels vs Bulls (Saturday 3pm AEDT)
The Rebels have never defeated the Bulls before and I can’t see them overcoming that this weekend with their hopes of finals being dashed last weekend. The Bulls are still fighting it out with the Stormers for top spot and the Lions just won’t go away. The Rebels will put up a fight but the Bulls will have more desire to win.
Blues vs Crusaders (Saturday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Crusaders victory last week was the best they have looked all year and it is no surprise that it coincides with the move of Daniel Carter to first receiver. The more times Carter touches the ball the better for any side. He is the best in the business at knowing when to get involved and get his hands on the football.
He will be playing there again this weekend with Slade still injured and with the side still fighting for a finals spot they will be too good for the lowly Blues.
Reds vs Chiefs (Saturday 7.40pm AEDT)
The Chiefs loss last weekend hurt their position on the ladder but there is no need for them to panic at all. They are still sitting in fifth position and have a bit of breathing space before they drop out of a finals place. They will need to beat the Reds to secure their spot but unfortunately for them the Reds are finally starting to live up to their potential. Quade Cooper was brilliant in his return last weekend and the side players better when he is in the line up. I expect them to cause an upset at home this weekend.
Cheetahs vs Waratahs (Saturday 11pm AEDT)
The Waratahs were disappointing last week as they lost their first match in South Africa to the Lions. It was their discipline that let them down as they were forced to play for two 10-minute periods with 14 men after receiving two yellow cards. It was ultimately what let them down as they were forced away from their game plan during these times. I expect the Waratahs to come out and try to make a statement in this match as they have responded well after a loss all season.
Stormers vs Lions (Sunday 1.05am AEDT)
This is arguably the match of the round as these two sides fight it out for a finals spot. The Lions have never made it to the knock out stages before and a win would move them from 7th on the ladder to the top of the South African Conference. However, the Stormers have found the form they showed early on in the season. They have won three in a row and looked lethal against the Cheetahs last weekend. The Stormers held on to a narrow lead in their meeting early on in the season and I expect a similar result again this time round.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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