Super Rugby Round 19 is the penultimate round leaving teams with must win matches if they are wanting to improve their positions heading into the finals. Much like some of the teams involved, if you are a SuperBru or www.testrugby.com manager, you may have to take some risks by backing an underdog this week. Depending on your conference, you may be able to make up placings by picking extreme margins (big or small). Remember last week there were heaps of bigger margins than expected. The Stormers should have the biggest win of the weekend over the Kings, while the Crusaders vs Chiefs will probably be the closest game.
The Crusaders vs Chiefs on Friday night is going to be an epic match. The Chiefs will win the New Zealand conference, but they will want to finish with the highest points, so that they can potentially host a final, rather than playing a final in Australia or South Africa. The Crusaders will also want to finish 4th and get an easier run in the Top Six playoffs. The Crusaders vs Chiefs is almost a case of the team of stars vs the star team. Both teams won well last week and will bring some form into this game and hopefully into the finals from a New Zealand perspective. The Cruden vs Carter clash is worth watching for alone. If the Chiefs tight five can contain their Crusaders opponents then they have enough X Factor out wide to win. Otherwise, watch for Dan Carter to kick the Crusaders to a close win.
The Hurricanes host the Highlanders in a match between the bottom two New Zealand teams playing for nothing but pride and reputation. Both of these teams lost last week and will be disappointed to be out of the running. This match will be a case of mate on mate as there are several Highlanders from the Hurricanes franchise region.
The Cheetahs host the Blues in a do or die match. The home team were thrashed by the Stormers last week and will be looking to bounce back in this match. The wheels seem to be falling off the applecart for the Cheetahs after such a promising first half of the competition. The Blues will be missing the experienced Piri Weepu and Chris Noakes, but will have enough X Factor to really challenge the Cheetahs. If the Cheetahs lose this game it will open the door for some other teams.
The Stormers are making a late charge for the finals after a disappointing season. They should be too strong for the Kings. I am picking an easy win for the Stormers after a good start by the home team.
The Bulls vs Sharks has the potential to be an upset. Are the Bulls getting too complacent? It seems like the Stormers and Sharks are finishing strong now and given this match is a local derby then it will be an intensely close match. Can the Bulls cope without Pierre Spies?
Who are you picking to win Super 15 Rugby 2013 Round 19?
For the Super 15 Rugby Round 19 starting team lists go here
My picks for Super Rugby Round 19 2013:
Game Date and time Your pick Crusaders v Chiefs 5 Jul 19:35 (local)
5 Jul 19:35 (your time*) Crusaders by 2 Hurricanes v Highlanders 6 Jul 19:35 (local)
6 Jul 19:35 (your time*) Hurricanes by 7 Cheetahs v Blues 6 Jul 15:00 (local)
7 Jul 01:00 (your time*) Blues by 1 Southern Kings v Stormers 6 Jul 17:05 (local)
7 Jul 03:05 (your time*) Stormers by 21 Bulls v Sharks 6 Jul 19:10 (local)
7 Jul 05:10 (your time*) Bulls by 6