Thursday, May 9, 2019

Super Rugby Round 13 - Preview

Super Rugby Round 13: Preview 5.10-5.12

Crusaders the news yet, way out in front of the other conference leaders: ahead of the Bulls, SAC’s leader and their opposition on the High Veld in Pretoria this weekend, by 14 and better than three bonus-point wins past Rebels, OZ’s best performers; nearest to the Cantabrians overall are Hurricanes, upon whom the Crusaders have levied the double already this season.

Four of five Australian Conference clubs out of the playoff frame just now with only bracket leaders, Rebels, in the extra time octet; that may change should those out of contention now experience a happy ending on the weekend.

Four of five South African sides in the great eight and two of them: Jaguares (@ Highlanders) and Sharks (@ Chiefs) could overtake SAC leader, Bulls, should Los Toros stumble on the weekend and either Jags or Big Fish win large. Lions, who’re out of the picture just now, could pop into the top eight with joy on RugbyDay.

Friday, 5.10:
               Blues (21) v (36) Hurricanes at Eden Park, Auckland - 1:35am MST: guests on a streak of four wins while hosts suffering the runs with three losses; homeside definitely could use a happy here, while travelers need the win to at best close with Crusaders or at worst, keep pace those frontrunners; rain earlier in the day will make for a slick surface on both pitch and pill, but mid-60s, clear and minimal wind for the match;

               Rebels (24) v (22) Reds at AAMI Park, Melbourne - 3:45am MST: homeboys to remain in first in the bracket or will travelers surprise and unseat? Match-of-Weekend; good bit of wind from the southern side, cloudy after morning showers and temps in the low 50s;

               Bulls (28) v (42) Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 11am MST: a clash of titans as the conference leaders go at it in the South African high country; homeboys desperate to stay atop their division, while Crusaders on the first of a pair of road fixtures in southern Africa; mid-60s, clear with hardly a breeze = ideal;

               Highlanders (25) v (27) Jaguares at Forsyth Barr, Dunedin - 11:15pm MST: both clubs clinging to playoff spots now, though only just;  top 10 try-scorer, Shannon Frizell, is serving an All Blacks rest weekend so he’s out-rostered while Liam Squires will come off the bench, having recently returned from injury; for their part, Jags’ll look to work their prodigious pack and let high try-scoring first five eighths, Matias Orlando, loose his to pounding away in the midfield; visitors must keep the Sir's cards in-pocket as they are manifesting a 5:1 ratio in compraison their opponents today; overcast, little breeze and 60⁰ for first boot on the North Island;
Saturday, 5.11:
               Chiefs (19) v (28) Sharks at FMG Stadium, Waikato - 1:45am MST: visitors experiencing one of their best Super Rugby tours, having drawn with Crusaders last weekend and beaten the ‘Tahs prior to that; Los Jefes with the surprise result on the road in cool, southern NZ last time out and they’ll need to be building on that at home; high 50s, no rain, not even a breeze;

               Lions (22) v (21) Waratahs at Ellis Park, Johannesburg - 7am MST: home team should be well-rested after their bye, which followed a three-match tour to the far eastern reaches of the Super Rugby realm; travelers in danger of extending their two-game losing streak into a skid; sunny in the upper 60s, no rain, no wind; other M-o-W;

Sunday, 5.12:
               Brumbies (24) v (12) SunWolves at GIO Stadium, Canberra ACT - 12pm MST: home team just off the playoff pace now, while their Northern Hemisphere adversaries languish far below, though it would be foolish to discount their potential;  clear, 50, wee wind;

Stormers on the bye

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