The focus this week for most teams is to bag the last few wins before the June Internationals starts in two weeks time. Super Rugby will take break in June and will finish up with the three rounds in July.
Last week we saw the Lions showing everyone that they are the best chance South Africa had to win the title when they just swept the Bulls aside. They have been as last year the only side in South Africa that are up their with the top New Zealand teams.
The Stormers came back after a terrible tour to New Zealand to win against the Blues but allot of controversy in the match came from how the officials handed the match and dished out cards which did influence the outcome of the match.
The gap between the top teams and the rest just became even wider as we close down on the play-offs of the competitions.
Here is the current standings in the different conferences
This is what we have coming up this weekend in Week 14…..
Friday 26 May 2017
09:36 Blues vs Chiefs Follow the match live here
11:45 Reds vs Force Follow the match live here
Saturday 27 May 2017
07:00 Sunwolves vs Cheetahs Follow the match live here
09:35 Highlanders vs Waratahs Follow the match live here
11:45 Rebels vs Crusaders Follow the match live here
15:05 Bulls vs Hurricanes Follow the match live here
17:00 Sharks vs Stormers Follow the match live here
23:40 Jaguares vs Brumbies
Sunday 28 May 2017
14:30 Lions v Kings
Blues vs Chiefs
The Blues are back in New Zealand and will be hosting the Chiefs on Friday morning to kick of the weekend’s matches for this weekend. The Blues lies on the bottom of the New Zealand conference but have been on the wrong end of some close games.
It will not get any easier against the Chiefs this weekend who are back to winning ways and will want to keep the pressure on for those play-off spots. The Blues hopes are in this game to stay in touch with the leaders in their group and still have a chance to make the play-offs.
The Top spot all looks set to be going to the Crusaders and it will leave the rest of the wild cards spot open to fight for and we can be sure that they will go fully for that.
This will be a game not to be missed and one that should be one of the games of the weekend.
Prediction: Chiefs should have enough by 15 points
Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 TJ Faiane
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Solomon Alaimalo, 23 Shaun Stevenson
Reds vs Force
It has been one of the worst seasons for the Australian teams in Super Rugby and matches have been describe as dull and boring which is not a good sign for the Aussie rugby or their national team.
Reds have been earmarked this year as one of he teams to watch but has been very disappointing. There star players as with all other Aussie teams have been poor and did not do the step up this year.
The Force have been one of those teams that sometimes showed to have improved but just as you thought they will step up the next weekend they just go three steps back.
This game is not high on my to do list this weekend and almost feel that highlights will do it rather than to sit through 80 minutes of another boring Aussie match-up.
Both teams will have to make a major improvement to make this a spectacle but it is possible as both teams have some quality players but just have not perform.
Prediction: Reds should take this by 10 just because they play at home
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi (c), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sef Fa’agase
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Lachlan Maranta
Force: 15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isireli Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Luke Morahan
Saturday 27 May 2017
Sunwolves vs Cheetahs
Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
It has been a horror time for the Cheetahs on tour in New Zealand as it was for the Stormers as they also came back with no wins. The difference for them is they did not came home straight away they first stop over in Japan to play the Sunwolves.
As with the Southern Kings the Sunwolves have been a much improved side from last year although they do not have as many wins as the Eastern Cape team. Teams coming to play in Japan or Singapore also found it much harder as before to grind out wins.
The Cheetahs have plenty of injuries and a rel lack in form this year and this game can be the Sunwolves second South African win after the already beaten the Bulls a few weeks back.
In right respect the Cheetahs should be able to beat the Sunwolves but we have seen this year already there is not much difference between the middle and lower ranked teams.
Prediction: Can see the Sunwolves to take this win by 8 point
Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Shota Emi, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Yasuo Yamaji, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 William Tupou
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga
Highlanders vs Waratahs
Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders will be hosting the Waratahs on Saturday with both teams coming of good wins last week and pushing for that wild card spot.
The Waratahs had a great game against the Rebels last Sunday after being behind in the first half but then again it was against the Rebels so only after this weekend we will see if they have really turned a corner.
They must be the most disappointing off all the Aussie teams this year and needs to start winning to take the Aussie conference and stand a chance to make the play-offs as it does not look like any Aussie side will yet again qualify as a wild card team.
There test players have been poor to say the least and we say it every week but they have to take some responsibility for the poor results this year.
The Highlanders are chasing that wild card sport and need wins as the only option and at home can not afford to lose this game. They have been good at times, brilliant some times and need to fire on Saturday as the Waratahs will come with all they have as all teams are running out of games.
This is my second match of the weekend which I believe is a game to watch.
Prediction: Highlanders to win by 9 points
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (cc), 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Taavao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Irae Simone
Rebels vs Crusaders
We have here the best team at the moment in Super Rugby and on the other side of the field we will have one of the worst teams this year.
There will always be some hope of an upset when the great teams face the not so great teams, but I can tell you now it will never happen when the Rebels host the Saders on Saturday.
The Rebels have been fighting for survival on the field and off the field and have not shown anything to suggest that they can upset the Crusaders. The Crusaders on the other hand have not lost a game all season and have been improving with each round.
They look like the complete team and injuries have also not phased them at all with the players coming in doing the job.
The Rebels seems far away from the competitive team they where last year and have struggled all season to play a full 80 minutes and have lost games and their way.
This should all be one way traffic with another huge win for the Crusaders and another heartbreak for the Rebels and their fans, No way we can expect anything else.
Prediction: Saders to win with 45 points
Rebels: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (c), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Mitch Inman, 23 Jonah Placid
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Pete Samu, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge
Bulls vs Hurricanes
The Bulls hosting the Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon will start the South African home matches for the weekend and after last weeks heavy defeat at the hands of the Lions. This has been a terrible year for the Bulls and it does not get any easier when the Hurricanes coming to town to make sure they make the play-offs.
The Hurricanes have had their bad games but are one of the most exciting teams around and have some special player in the team who can turn games around in a matter of seconds.
The Hurricanes, have also one of the best defensive systems in the competition and their kicking game have won them matches all year. After the Crusaders they are one of the best all round teams around and will be a major threat for a struggling Bulls side.
One of the biggest concerns for the Bulls this weekend will be defence again as it has been a major problem for them all season. The Hurricanes can be devastated on attack and even more so on counter-attacking.
The Bulls have the players to play a decent game but seems that they are just badly coach and no improvement have been visible throughout the season. One thing is for sure, if the Bulls wants to win they will have to play the game of their season on Saturday.
Predictions: Sorry to say but only one winner here Hurricanes by 40 points
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jesse Kriel, 10 Tiaan Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Coenraad van Vuuren, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Ulrich Beyers
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Ben Lam
Sharks vs Stormers
Definitely one of my matches for the weekend as the Sharks host the Stormers in Durban on Saturday. This will be one of those typical South African derbies and one that battles that will be worth while watching.
The Sharks and the Stormers have gone through a real roller-coaster ride this year with some brilliant matches and other not so much. The Stormers had teh New Zealanders to content with this year and have won two of those matches but both where at home and both could have gone either way.
They have lost badly against the top teams in the competition and that includes a home defeat against the Lions. The Stormers defence have been suspect this whole year and a real up and down season for their fans.
The Sharks have actually disappointing to say the least this year. They had to face the Aussie sides who has been poor and one of the worst teams in the competition got a draw against the Sharks in Durban.
This will give the Stormers confidence that they can be beaten at home and will go hard at them on Saturday. This will be a great match-up between two huge forward packs and some players playing for the same Springbok spots which makes this a great match to look forward too.
We can expect no mercy when they face each other and a major one to win for more than one reason.
The Sharks have gone through some bad injuries this season and that have impacted them allot. They came of a good win last week fighting all the way against the Sunwolves. This will have give them great motivation after the shocked lost against the Kings the week before.
Prediction: Difficult one this game and think Stormers may just have too much for the Sharks, Stormers by 13 points.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (c), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Odwa Ndungane
Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Seabelo Senatla
Jaguares vs Brumbies
More to follow
Sunday 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings
More to follow