Super Rugby Preview
EWN Sport’s Marc Lewis takes a look at this weekend’s Super Rugby action.
Time for us to turn our attention to Super Rugby as the competition starts to draw to a close.
All five South African franchises are in action this weekend, with eyes most notably on the performances of the Bulls and Stormers who are fighting it out for second place on the log.
First game on Friday morning was a cracker after Crusaders beat the Chiefs.
It was a great result for the visitor, that’s for sure.
After their unexpected defeat to the Canes last weekend, they really lifted their game this morning.
They lead the Chiefs 20-16 at half time.
A second half try from Sonny Bill Williams set up an interesting finish, making it a seven point game in the last quarter of the match, but in the end, Todd Blackadder’s men held on to a 28-21 victory in what was a surprising loss for the Chiefs.
It does also provide the Stormers with a great opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table with just 5 points between themselves and the Chiefs.
Next up, the Reds hosted the Highlanders in Brisbane
After a very slow first half, the Reds headed into the break 6-3 up.
The match began to open up in the second period with tight head prop James Sliper crossing the line for the opening try.
Eventually the Reds managed to hold on and take the match 19-13 in front of their home crowd.
This evening, we have the first of two local derbies as the Sharks welcome the Bulls to Kings Park in Durban. It’s actually a must win for both teams…
Well, what makes this such an exciting clash, is the Bulls are trying to a secure second place on the log and a bonus point win will do so.
For the Sharks, they’re fighting just as hard to secure a play off place.
A five pointer for them will see them jump back into the top six.
Sharks coach John Plumtree has been quoted saying they’ll “need to stop the Bulls pack if they are to stand any chance of winning this game”.
Frans Ludeke named an unchanged side that will see Chiliboy Ralapelle and Wilhelm Steenkamp most likely both earn their 50th Super Rugby caps.
I’m going with the Bulls here by five.
Tomorrow morning, the Blues get the day underway when they take on the Force in Auckland. With both of these sides struggling throughout the tournament, it’s a difficult one to call?
Collectively these two sides have managed to muster just five wins in twenty eight matches, so don’t expect fireworks tomorrow morning.
Auckland used to be a very difficult to win matches, but not anymore I’m afraid.
With very little between them, I’m guessing the Blues might just sneak through here.
Next up the Waratahs host the Brumbies, but let’s jump ahead to the Cheetahs/Stormers game in Bloemfontein, it’s a possible banana peel game for the Stormers.
It could definitely be, the Cheetahs have nothing to lose here lying in 10th place, so they really are just playing for pride here essentially.
Whereas for the Stormers, who overcame the Lions last week, they’re still in a fight for a home final so a win is absolutely a must for their cause.
Then finally, the Rebels are up in Johannesburg, they travel to Coca Cola Park tomorrow night to face the Lions, who are just in all kinds of trouble both on and off the field.
They really are. We received news earlier that the SARU meeting set for July 13th has now been postponed so we still don’t know what will happen to the Lions next season.
Along with amalgamations and play off relegation promotion battles, a lot of options still seem to be on the table.
Interim coach Johan Ackermann on Tuesday admitted they’re already starting to keep an eye on the upcoming Currie Cup, knowing that their Super Rugby campaign is over.
A lot for the Rebels to play for as well, they’ve never won a match on South African soil.
With all the off the field drama and four injury forced changes by Ackermann, tomorrow might just be the day where they get the monkey off their back.