Two inform sides Chiefs and Hurricanes square up in Hamilton on Friday morning
Chiefs v Hurricanes
This should be a cracker to kick off the round on Friday, and the first proper test for last year’s Champions. The Chiefs have been pretty good so far, but the Canes have been outstanding, albeit against weaker opposition. It’s likely to be a high-scoring affair, so I’m going for a slightly bigger margin. Hurricanes by 13.
Not quite as exciting as the Kiwi derby, and you’d expect the home side to chalk up their first win of 2017. Brumbies by 6.
Blues v Highlanders
With two home defeats to their name, the Highlanders now travel north to meet the high-scoring Blues. The Auckland side thrashed the Rebels in Melbourne, but fell to the Chiefs away, and they’ll fancy this one at home. Blues by 4.
Reds v Crusaders
A very late win over the Highlanders last weekend kept the Crusaders’ winning record intact, whilst the Reds lost to the Force. Crusaders by 18
Kings v Stormers
Stormers are on a high right now, they are 2 and O
The Kings won last weekend’s basement battle with the Sunwolves, but the Stormers will have too much for them. Stormers by 20
Last year’s score was 92-17 between these sides in Bloemfontein, I expect nothing less than 40 by the Cheetahs.
Sharks v Waratahs
The Sharks return to Durban with some confidence, after their late away win over the Brumbies last weekend. This is a difficult one to call, as the Sharks are travelling back from Down Under. Sharks by 5
Jaguares v Lions
This could be a good game to watch, and the Jaguares might fancy their chances after doing better than expected against the Stormers last weekend, but the Lions would want to avenge last year’s defeat to the Jaguares.
Lions to pipp the Jaguares by 2