Crusaders v Waratahs

The Tahs have been looking much batter since Foley’s return. I did think that players like Foley were going to need a break somewhere when the Australian flexible contracts were announced. Foley’s time in Japan clearly impacted the first part of the Tahs season and they are pushing on now. However this week they have to visit the table topping Saders. The Saders were downed by the reigning champions last weekend but before that were on an 8 game winning streak. I can only see the Saders winning this one comfortably, especially with Beale being out.
Crusaders by 10

  

Reds v Sunwolves

The Sunwolves surprised us all with their draw in Singapore against the Stormers last weekend. However they have been poor especially when visiting other sides. The Reds haven’t been getting the results but are much improved over the start of the season. They are still a limited side but should get an easy win to reward their home supporters.
Reds by 15
Chiefs v Rebels

The Rebels are one of the sides that I have a lot of time for and I think they are much improved. It looks as though there is more improvement needed to make the playoffs though with losses in the last two rounds really denting their hopes. Having to visit one of the pre-tournament favourites isn’t going to help their cause and it’s really a matter of how many the Chiefs will win by.
Chiefs by 7
Force v Blues

This should be one of the tighter battles in the round. The Force don’t offer much in attack and that has led to only 2 wins and 2 LBPs. But they can tackle. The Blues are comfortable with ball in hand but can play side to side and lack that penetration. I’m going with the visiting side who I think will dominate the possession and territory but not score that many points.
Blues by 3
Lions v Jaguares

The Jags managed to lose a game that looked like they had won last weekend. One of the things in sport is that losing becomes a habit. Now that they are on the road again with their training regimes and rest disrupted it only makes things harder. The Lions know that 5 points here is a must as they strive to hold on to their conference winning spot and try to get as high a seeding as possible.
Lions by 10
Sharks v Kings

This is another TBP for the home side. The Sharks aren’t a big scoring side but they will know that they need the TBP to keep the pressure on the Lions for the conference topping spot. They are a good call for a playoff spot anyway but the wildcard side will probably have to travel to New Zealand in the quarter finals.
Sharks by 20

Bulls v Stormers

My choice for the game of the round that will go a long way to deciding who wins this conference. Who ever losses could be chasing the Sharks for that wildcard spot. The Stormers will be looking to bounce back from that poor outing in Singapore. The Bulls will be happy to have their tour behind them. Back in front of their home crowd they know they have to win this or their season could be ending early. With that motivation I’m backing the home side in an arm wrestle.