The Offload's Super Rugby Quarter-Final Predictions
July 18, 2017
Eighteen officially became eight in Super Rugby last weekend, which means we’re now down to the ‘do or die’ stage of the season.
We’re all set for a cracking three weeks of action, but who will have the edge in this weekend’s quarter-finals? We’ve had a look at the games in order to give our thoughts as to how we see the four clashes playing out…
Brumbies vs Hurricanes (Canberra)
Despite finishing 9th in the overall standings and only winning 6 of their 15 games in the regular season, the Brumbies will host a semi-final! The conference system is flawed and if ever there was an example of it, then this is it. That aside, the Brumbies are one of the most successful teams in Super Rugby history and cannot be underestimated, especially with home advantage. Having said that, Australian teams are winless against Kiwi opposition in 2017, and we don’t expect things to change now. With the quality that the Hurricanes possess, particularly in the backs, we’ve got to go with a Canes win.
Prediction: Canes by 10+
Crusaders vs Highlanders (Christchurch)
It took until the last round for the Crusaders to taste defeat and they’ll be looking to put things right this weekend when the Highlanders are in town. As we’ve seen in previous years, form counts for nothing when it comes to the knockout stages so this all-New Zealand clash could go either way. The Highlanders have been inconsistent throughout the season but with Ben Smith expected to be back in the mix and Aaron Smith steering the ship at scrumhalf, we could possibly see an upset. We’re not as confident on this one, but we’re going to back the Crusaders at home by the smallest of margins.
Prediction: Crusaders by 3-7
Lions vs Sharks (Johannesburg)
Are the Lions the real deal? Have they been really tested in 2017? A lot of questions have been asked of the Johannesburg-based side after finishing top of the pile in a season that saw them not face a single New Zealand team, and we think we’ll get all the answers in the coming weeks. Along with the Crusaders, the Lions have been the form team this year, winning 14 of their 15 fixtures and will be heavy favourites for this one – especially if it’s dry. The Sharks will stay within touching distance for the first 40, but we predict a flare-inspired Lions to run away with it in the second half.
Prediction: Lions to win big
Stormers vs Chiefs (Cape Town)
When these two met earlier in the campaign, the Stormers had the edge in a feisty affair in Cape Town. Will we see a repeat of this or will the Chiefs get revenge in front of the Newlands faithful? This is another one that could go either way and if you were only going to watch one of the quarter finals, then this is the one. The Stormers have adopted a running game, with the likes of Dillyn Leyds and Cheslin Kolbe running everything from deep with good success. This combined with a monster back five helps us sway towards Siya Kolisi’s men. We think the Stormers will come out on top, once again, by the closest of margins.
Prediction: Stormers by 5