Last week we saw the South African Conference open a mild round one of the 2018 Super Rugby Competition. There’s plenty to cover in this weeks’ Super Rugby round two preview as all the teams get to play barring the Sharks.

Highlanders vs Blues – Friday 08:35am

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The Highlanders are favourites to win after beating the Crusaders 42 – 26 in a warm up match on the 15th of February. Auckland Blues lost to the Hurricanes 14 – 26 in their warm up match. Yes, we cant focus too much on “warm-up” games but they do give you an idea on where you are in your preparation.

Highlanders by 6

Teams:

Blues: 1.Alex Hodgman, 2. James Parsons, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5. Scott Scrafton, 6. Glenn Preston, 7. Murphy Taramai, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Augustine Pulu, 10. Bryn Gatland, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. George Moala, 14. Matt Duffie,15. Michael Collins.

Reserves: 16. Leni Apisai, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Michael Tamoaieta, 19. Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sione Havili/Antonio Kiri Kiri, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 23. Melani Nanai.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Dan Pryor, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

Rebels vs Reds – Friday 10:45am

Rebels have been a handful for the Reds since their insertion in Super Rugby.

Rebels by 2

Teams

Rebels: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Tom English, Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni, Will Genia, Amanaki Mafi, Angus Cottrell, Lopeti Timani, Adam Coleman (captain), Matt Philip, Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Uelese, Tetera Faulkner

Substitutes: Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Sam Talakai, Sam Jeffries, Ross Haylett-Petty, Michael Ruru, Semisi Tupou, Billy Meakes

Reds: Aidan Toua, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Jono Lance, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham (captain), Adam Korczyk, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper

Substitutes: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Sef Fa’agase, Kane Douglas, Liam Wright, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu

Sunwolves vs Brumbies – Saturday 06:15am

Moondogs will be happy to have survived last years culling. This will also help with the build up to 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Other than that, this should be an easy win for ACT Brumbies.

Brumbies by 12

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Yutaka Nagare (captain), 8 Willem Britz, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Ho Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki

Substitutes: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Sione Teaupa

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander

Substitutes: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli

Crusaders vs Chiefs – Saturday 08:35am

I believe this is the headline match for this weekend. Chiefs put the Brumbies away in a warm-up match 38 – 26, they have named a strong outfit to take on the defending Champs. We all know the Crusaders are slow starters in this competition but they beat the Chiefs twice last season. Watch out for Ngatai at 15 for this fixture ? . I’ll pick Crusaders to win by 4.

Teams:

Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Peter Samu, Sam Whitelock (captain), Luke Romano, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett.

Reserves: Ben Funnell, Chris King, Oliver Jager, Scott Barrett, Billy Harmon, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele.

Chiefs: Charlie Ngatai (cc), Shaun Stevenson, Anton Lienert-Brown, Johnny Fa’auli, Solomon Alaimalo, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Taleni Seu, Sam Cane (cc), Mitchell Brown, Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Aidan Ross.

Reserves: Liam Polwart, Atu Moli, Angus Ta’avo, Liam Messam, Lachlan Boshier, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty McKenzie, Sean Wainui.

Waratahs vs Stormers – Saturday 10:45am

Waratahs have nine debutants for this game. Stormers are one up when it comes to the forward pack but i think the Waratahs boast a very experienced backline. Tough game to call but Waratahs at home will be tough to beat. Waratahs by 8

Teams:

Waratahs: Tom Robertson, Damien Fitzpatrick, Paddy Ryan, TomStaniforth, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Michael Wells, Jake Gordon, Bernard Foley, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Lalakai Foketi, Andrew Kellaway, Israel Folau.

Substitutes: Hugh Roach, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Shambeckler Vui, Nick Palmer, Jed Holloway, Mitch Short, Bryce Hegarty, Alex Newsome.

Stormers: Steven Kitshoff, Ramone Samules, Wilco Louw, J D Schikerling, P S du Toit, Siya Kolisi C, Kobus van Dyk, Nizaam Carr. Dewaldt Duvenage, Damian Willemse, Raymond Rhule, Damian de Allende, J J Engelbrecht, Dill Leyds, S P Marais.

Substitutes: Dean Muir, JCV Rensberg, Chris van Zyl, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, George Whitehead, EW Viljoen

Lions vs Jaguares – Saturday 15:05pm

Lions by 15

Team:

Lions: Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Dreyer, Andries Ferreira, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink, Warren Whiteley. Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Sylvian Mahuza, Andries Coetzee

Substitutes: Robbie Coetzee, Dylan Smith, Jacobie Adriaanse, Lourens Erasmus, Hacjivah Dayimani, Marco Jansen van Vuuren, Horward Mnisi.

Jaguares: TBA

Blue Bulls vs Hurricanes: Saturday 17:10pm

Theres a lot of talk about the resurgence of Bulls rugby in Pretoria since John Mitchells appointment. This Saturday they come up against 2016 Super Rugby Champions. Hurricanes will start with Ihaia West at first five ahead of Beauden Barrett.

Hurricanes by 10

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Divan Rossouw

Hurricanes: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ihaia West, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Ricctelli, 1 Toby Smith

Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ben Lam

(All matches fixtures are CAT)