Well one good thing about round 16 is that no SA side will loose this weekend nor do we have to complain about their play as only the Aussies and New Zealanders will face each other this weekend.
Here is the current log standing:
Lets have a look at the matches coming up this week.
First up this week the Highlanders will be hosting the Hurricanes who has come of a lost last week against the Crusaders.
The Highlanders on the other hand will be keen to narrow the gap and keep that winning feeling from last week.
The Highlanders have lost their last three matches against the Hurricanes.
With a good home record for the Highlanders they will be determined to keep that record in tack for 2018.
The difference between these two side is normally not much so we can expect another highly entertaining match under the roof.
Highlanders caretaker coach Mark Hammett, who stands in for Aaron Mauger this weekend after the passing of Mauger’s mother, is glad to be back in Dunedin.
“We have had four of our last five weeks on the road so the guys are excited about playing at home,” he said.
“We want to give a huge push towards making the play-offs this week before we hit the June break. The players are really looking forward to being back under the roof in front of a vocal home crowd.”
Prediction: An upset are on the cards but one have to go with Canes with 6 points on this one
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi 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 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Ash Dixon (cc), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita/Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen
The second game of the weekend between Blues and the Rebels are on Saturday.
Both sides have not had the best of seasons although the Rebels are still in the running for a play-off spot.
They had a hard time in the middle part of the competition but have come back with a win last weekend.
The Blues have been struggling all season and they have just not been good enough again this season.
Dave Wessels’ men have been impressive at times, producing excellent results against the Sharks, Brumbies and Reds but, against those from across the Tasman Sea, it has been a different story.
This time, the Australian franchise will have to play away from home, heading to Auckland knowing that they have been outplayed by the Blues’ countrymen in 2018.
The Blues have suffered a few injuries but it is no excuse for a team that contains the talent of the Ioane brothers, Jerome Kaino and Sonny Bill Williams.
On paper, they should have too much for the Rebels, even without the rested Rieko Ioane, but, with little to play for, the visitors will fancy their chances of overcoming Umaga’s charges.
Prediction: It is a difficult one this one and I am going with my gut….Blues by 10
Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams/Terrence Hepetema, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane/Terrence Hepetema
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Tayler Adams, 23 Lopeti Timani
In the second New Zealand derby the Chiefs host the Crusaders who seemed to have found their groove again.
The defending champions looks unstoppable again and on their way to home play-off spot.
This weekend win will help them achieving that to put the pressure on the rest of the sides.
The Chiefs have blown hot and cold this year but they are still in the mix and as a bonus they are playing this crucial game at home against the defending champions.
The Crusaders will be looking for a 10th straight win in Super Rugby this season.
Currently sitting atop the overall standings and after beating the Hurricanes last week, Scott Robertson’s side appear the real deal again.
Despite the two teams’ contrasting situations, it is the Chiefs who have held the upper hand over the Crusaders in recent seasons at this Waikato venue, winning four of their last five games at FMG Stadium, including a 24-point win when they last faced off there in 2015.
The Chiefs, buoyed by flanker Sam Cane’s return to the XV, will be determined to do on Saturday.
But head coach Colin Cooper knows overcoming the in-form Crusaders won’t be an easy task, saying: “They’re really strong in the set-piece so it’ll be a big contest at the scrums and line-outs. Discipline is the key going into this game, but we’re excited to be on our home ground, which is an advantage.”
Prediction: Saders on a roll and it gonna be hard to stop the Saders from here on end.
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Jone Macilai
The Reds and the Blues are in the same boat this year, one week they look like world beaters the next like a second division side.
This weekend see them hosting the Waratahs which is always and interesting derby in Australia.
It has gone down over the years but these two teams do not like each other and they normally lift their game when they face off.
The Waratahs has been the best Aussie side this year and they will want to make sure they end on top of the Aussies conference.
The Waratahs have won their last eight games on the bounce against the Reds by an average margin of 19 points per match; however, they had lost their five meetings prior to that run.
Meanwhile, a home loss would all but extinguish the Reds’ hopes of sneaking into the play-offs through the back door.
In terms of per-game stats, the Waratahs are ranked second for metres made (486.4) and clean breaks (14), and one would expect them to have too much attacking strength for an inconsistent Reds side.
Prediction: Waratahs by 13
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Liam Wright, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Jayden Ngamanu
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty
The Brumbies will host the Sunwolves in the last game of the weekend on Sunday morning.
Unfortunately both sides have not been good enough this year although the Brumbies had a good tour of the Republic with a win against the Bulls.
Not that it would change their season bit it was a good win which they had to fight back with only fourteen men in the last twenty minutes.
The Sunwolves have two win so far this season and they seemed to have done as good as they could.
This will be a hard game for them to win as they have been struggling when on tour and the Brumbies will have their tails up.
Predictions: Brumbies by 18