Super Rugby league stage are almost done and dusted with a few teams still trying to get that last few spots for the playoffs.
This weekend sees three of the South African teams in action with the Bulls hosting the Jaguares and the Stormers welcoming the Sharks at Newlands.
For the Sharks and Jaguares it is still a case of getting that spot in the playoffs with the Stormers and Bulls just finishing there season.
It is the Stormers last game of the season with the Bulls still having to play the Lions next week in Johannesburg.
Here is the current log standings
Friday 6 July 2018
With the poor performance last week from the Highlanders we can be assured that it will be a massive clash with the Saders.
Both sides have two matches left in the season with the Crusaders leading the pack at the moment.
With all at stake the Crusaders will want to make sure to end the season on top for home playoff games.
The Crusaders had a bye last week and they are raring to go with their All Black captain Read back in action after a long injury lay-off.
Crusaders and All Black prop Crickett will also reach a milestone as he will run out in his 200 game.
The trend is that the matches between these two sides are close and trilling and we expect the same.
There are brilliant attackers like David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue and Richie Mo’unga in the Crusaders’ ranks and equally impressive strike runners like Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Rob Thompson lining up alongside potent playmakers in Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith, this should be another exciting hit out.
The Crusaders have had the edge against the Highlanders but did loose against them earlier in the season 25-17.
The Highlanders are a well balance team and they can surprise any team on the day.
What ever the end result this will be one not to miss.
Prediction: Still think Saders will have the edge by 10 points
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire/Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (cc), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Pari Pari Parkinson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Fletcher Smith
The Rebels have it all to play for and the Reds nothing to lose but respect.
Normally this is a bad thing for teams trying to get wins to make playoffs.
The Reds have been as good as they have been awful this season.
The Rebels are four points behind the Waratahs and eight on the overall log so their wild card spot is in danger with the Sharks and Jaguares both charging on for a spot.
With the Sharks only three points behind them a lost against the Reds will be putting pressure on them as we go into the last week next week.
The Reds discipline has been almost as bad as their game this year and something that has cost them throughout the season.
The Reds will come out with all they have to take some revenge from the 45-19 lost earlier the season.
While there is no chance of them making the play-offs, there is certainly a lot to play for still in terms of pride.
Prediction: For some reason I am going with Reds by 6, but the way predictions went last week maybe you must go against me
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Aidan Toua
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English (c), 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sefa Naivalu
Saturday 7 July
The Chiefs had one of the best opening forty minutes last week against the Highlanders which we have seen all season.
They are back at home and facing a much improved Brumbies side on Saturday.
This is starting to look like another cracker to look forward to as the Brumbies have been improving in the later part of the season.
The Chiefs made a couple of changes to his team to face the Brumbies.
Nathan Harris return to the number two jumper
In the backline, Anton Lienert-Brown is rested as part of his All Black commitments with Sean Wainui moving to his natural position of centre.
Shaun Stevenson also gets a chance to impress with a start on the wing.
Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie again linking up in the nine and ten jerseys and Solomon Alaimalo continues at full-back, after a highly impressive showing last weekend.
With the Chiefs at home the Brumbies will have to step up to get a win past the form New Zealand side.
David Pocock have been key o the Brumbies success and allot will be depended on him to lead the team in Hamilton.
Predictions: Although the Brumbies have been great, the Chiefs should take this by 11
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Shaun Stevenson, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Johnny Faauli
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andrew Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Nic Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli
The Hurricanes comes off a lost last week and will be facing the Blues side that will have a little bit of confidence from their win against the Reds.
The Hurricanes had to face the Brumbies last week with a few of their star players but that can not be an excuse for their poor form in the game.
Their play-maker Beauden Barrett is back in the ten jumper and will make a huge difference this week.
The Blues have no chance to make the playoffs with the Hurricanes having to fight it out with other teams and a lost will not serve them well at this stage in the competition.
They are a far better team than what they have shown in the last few game and we could see the Blues getting the backlash this weekend.
The Blues have been good at times but consistency against the top teams lacks in their game.
Prediction: Hurricanes will be making things right and win by 15 points
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Wes Goosen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Ben Lam
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane
With some breathing space between the Waratahs and the Rebels, we can expect the Waratahs not slipping up now against the Sunwolves at home.
The Sunwolves have been a much improved side this year although the results does not show that.
Away from home they have not been so good and it is expected that the Waratahs will have too much for the Japanese side.
The quality of the Tahs team should be too much but we have seen them struggle against the weaker teams in this competition.
Prediction: Tahs by 21 points
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (c), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome
Sunwolves: 15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Yutaka Nagare (c), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Wimpie Vanderwlat, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura
It is almost certain that the Bulls will not be able to make the playoffs with the lost last week against the Sunwolves.
That makes this a game of pride versus making the playoffs for the first time.
The Jaguares have been on a great run and have to travel to Pretoria to keep their hopes alive.
They are currently in the playoff position but a loss this weekend will make it even harder next week when they have to face the Sharks in Druban.
Loftus have never been an easy hunting ground for any visiting team and with the Bulls coach blowing flames this week one can expect a much improved Bulls side at home.
It is also their last game at home this year and will want to give the Loftus fateful something to cheer about for a last time this season.
The Bulls attack lacked any spark last week and their forwards did not dominate the rucks as expected, in fact they were humiliated by the Sunwolves in that department.
With such dominance at the set pieces the Bulls could not concert that on the scoreboard and they will want to get that right against the Jaguares who is a much stronger side in that department.
This is going to be a massive battle upfront and would surely be won by the team that dominate.
Prediction: Sound crazy but Bulls by 6
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard (c), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima/Matthys Basson, 17 Mornay Smit, 18 Thembelani Bholi, 19 Nick de Jager, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Manie Libbok, 22 Dries Swanepoel
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.
A season to forget for the Stormers as they have dished up the worst season in years.
Coach Fleck have been under pressure and the team will run out for the last time this season at home against the Sharks.
The Sharks surprised somewhat last week when they beat the Lions at home to keep their hopes for a playoff spot alive.
They had to come from behind to get a great win against the Lions. They are in a race with the Jaguares to see who will end the season with that wild card spot.
The Sharks can still end on top of the South African conference but have to get good wins in the last two weeks and hope the Bulls beat the Lions next week.
They sit in the same boat as the Jagaures that they can finish first but also could miss out all together.
The Sharks have been good this season but they have slipped a few times. They will not be able to slip up this weekend.
With the Stormers going out for the last time and maybe the last time at Newlands as well it will be a big day to end it all better than what they have shown this year.
They will also have to do it without their inspirational captain Kolisi.
Du Toit will lead the team this weekend with Van Dyk coming in for the ill Kolisi.
Viljoen and De Allende will fill the midfield spots with Leyds playing is 50th for the Stormers running out in the number fifteen jumper.
The Sharks again like last week have great attacking players at the back with Curwin Bosch at the back, Sbu Nkosi and Lwazi Mvovo at the wings. Am and Esteruizen fill again the midfield for the Sharks with Du Preez at number ten.
The Sharks will want to have a better start at the set pieces than what they had last week and dominate from the start.
The Stormers set pieces have been good all year and we expect a massive battle between the two sides in that department.
If the weather plays it part we should have a great game to look forward too.
Prediction: Newlands….mhhh…still going Sharks by 8
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk