Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors previews Round 14 of Super Rugby.
TattsBet Super Rugby Round 14 Preview
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Friday 16/5/14 @ 17:35
These teams are both in form and will be up for this local derby, which should be a close contest. I am expecting a running game, with both sides known for tossing the ball around, and while the Highlanders play with a little more structure, I am leaning towards the home side though because it looks to have more firepower. The Highlanders fell asleep badly in the second half last week and will need to improve to be a chance.
Pick: Hurricanes to win.
Crusaders v Sharks
Saturday 17/5/14 @ 17:35
The rise and rise of the Crusaders continues, and being back at home and in top form, should see them claim the points here. Jake White’s Sharks will have to be more adventurous to even be in the contest, but the Crusaders should have their measure based on recent efforts. The Sharks are also missing a few top line players.
Pick: Crusaders to win.
Reds v Rebels
Saturday 17/5/14 @ 19:40
After last week, you might be forgiven for not tipping the Reds again. Their second half against the Crusaders was shocking, and if we see a repeat, they will face another heavy defeat. I do though expect them to make amends and rectify that poor effort, but the Higginbotham inspired Rebels will also be up for this local clash. Liam Gill’s return should help the home side retain its 100% win rate against the Rebels.
Pick: Reds to sneak a much awaited win.
Stormers v Force
Sunday 18/5/14 @ 1:05
The Stormers were out-muscled last start and face a Force side riding high and looking to take maximum points from their African tour. The Force are chasing a club record of 8 wins in a season, and with a re-built culture and growing confidence, they may just well see it broken this weekend. The Stormers will be tougher at home, though they are missing captain De Villiers and a host of other experienced players through injury.
Pick: Force to claim their 8th win, though it will be close.
Cheetahs v Brumbies
Sunday 18/5/14 @ 3:10
The Cheetahs are trying very hard, but just cant seem to claim the points. The Brumbies will need to be vigilant though, as it wont be easy, and if they are not at their best, the home side will score plenty of points. Coming into the later rounds, we should see the Brumbies in top form and looking to cement a place in the finals with a disciplined approach.
Pick: Cheetahs to win.
Waratahs v Lions
Sunday 18/5/14 @ 16:05
While the Lions were courageous last start against the Highlanders, they are too inconsistent and will face a Waratahs side desperate to move up the ladder by securing a must-win home game. The Tahs will be fresh after a week off and will hit the ground running, with Folau leading the charge. They should have the attacking power up front and out wide to win this clash, but they better not be complacent.
My pick: Tahs in a canter.
Mark Connors, former Reds and Wallabies forward