Friday 15 December 2017 / 03:14 PM

SUPER RUGBY ROUND 16 PREVIEW

We’re getting down to the pointy end of the Super Rugby regular season, and the acid is on Australian heavyweights the Brumbies and Waratahs, who are both teetering on the razor-thin gap between the conference lead and finals oblivion as they approach difficult Kiwi assignments this weekend.

Blues v Brumbies – 5.35pm (AEST), Friday, July 8 @ Eden Park

This encounter may be a banana skin game for the Brumbies. Although the Blues haven’t been that successful this year, they are still a good team with quality players. The Brumbies really need to win this game if they have any chance of making the finals and beating the Waratahs for top spot in Aussie conference. The Blues spoiled the party for the Brumbies a couple of years ago and they may just do it here again.

Prediction: Blues 12 and under

Reds v Chiefs – 7.40pm (AEST), Friday, July 8 @ Suncorp Stadium

The Chiefs need to win this game with a bonus point to make sure they stay on track to top the table. The Lions are one point ahead of them, while the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders are breathing down their necks. The Reds have nothing to play for apart from pride and with some dangerous players, they could be a dangerous opponent for the Chiefs. The team from Waikato are notorious for playing poorly in Brisbane, which does not bode well for this game. The Reds have a rookie No.10 in the form of Duncan Paia’aua – who comes in for the injured Jake McIntyre – and the Chiefs will look to target him.

Prediction: Chiefs 12 and under

Lions v Kings – 3.00am (AEST), Saturday, July 9 @ Ellis Park
The Lions are the dark horse of the competition even though they are at the top of the table. They will surely get five points here against a lacklustre Kings side. The Kings seem to play for 60 or 70 minutes but drop their bundle in that last 10.

Prediction: Lions 13+

Crusaders v Rebels – 5.35pm (AEST), Saturday, July 9 @ AMI Stadium

The Crusaders are one point behind the Chiefs – who they went down to in Fiji last Friday – at the top of the New Zealand Conference. This should be an easier one for them against the Rebels at home. They will want to put in an 80-minute performance to get some continuity going for finals footy.

Prediction: Crusaders 13+

Waratahs v Hurricanes – 7.40pm (AEST), Saturday, July 9 @ Allianz Stadium

This will be the game of the round. Both teams need to win to make sure that they are in the finals series. I have no idea who is going to win. New Zealand teams have the upper hand over Australian teams, but the Waratahs seem to find some form at the end of the season, and their 20-point hiding of the Chiefs in Sydney is still fresh in the memory. I’m going to have to sit on the fence here.

Prediction: Draw

Force v Stormers – 9.45pm (AEST), Saturday, July 9 @ nib Stadium

The Force are always strong at home but with the finals looming, you would think that the Stormers will win this one. If all predictions are right, the Stormers will face the Hurricanes or Highlanders at home in the quarter-finals.

Prediction: Stormers 12 and under

Bulls v Sunwolves – 1.05am (AEST), Sunday, July 10 @ Loftus Versfeld

It’s a two-way battle between the Bulls and the Sharks for the eighth position on the ladder and the last spot in the finals. The Bulls missed an opportunity to make points last week with a loss to the Jaguares, but so did the Sharks via a convincing defeat at the hands of the Lions. The Bulls should beat the Sunwolves, but will need some luck as their form of late has been pretty poor. Can see them being a handful in the finals if they make it.

Prediction: Bulls 13+

Sharks v Cheetahs – 3.10am (AEST), Sunday, July 10 @ Kings Park

As above, the Sharks need to win this game to stay ahead of the Bulls and in eighth place. You would think with their experience they should take this game…but you never know – pressure does funny things to some teams.

Prediction – Sharks 13 plus

Jaguares v Highlanders – 7.40am (AEST), Sunday, July @ Jose Amalfitani Stadium

A really tough game for the Highlanders here. They travelled from South Africa this week to take on the unpredictable Argentine outfit. The Jags have had a mixed debut season. They like to defend strongly at home but when they are away from home they miss pretty much all their tackles. The Highlanders will have all their All Blacks returning for this game and should hopefully (says this Highlanders supporter) win this one and stay on track for the finals.

Prediction Highlanders 12 and under

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About the author

Ryan Frisby

Sunshine Coast-based Ryan is proud product of Southland, NZ, and was unsurprisingly brought up on a steady diet of ruby union - which has led him to provide CBS with his forthright views on the 15-a-side code.

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