Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors previews Round 16 of Super Rugby.
TattsBet Super Rugby Round 16 Preview
Crusaders v Western Force
Friday 30/5/14 @ 17:35
The Crusaders used up all their luck last week, so will need to improve against a dogged Force side looking to conquer personal milestones each week. Im leaning to the home side though, as they need to arrest a late dip in form to stay in finals contention, and the Force have a tough challenge in playing their 3rd game in 3 countries in 14 days.
Pick: Crusaders at home.
Reds v Highlanders
Friday 30/5/14 @ 19:40
The Reds come off a bye and some soul searching, but face this task without Cooper and a host of others still out. The Highlanders were desperately unlucky last week after being denied a victory by the TMO, so will be eying a win here against an out of form Reds side. The Reds will lift for Genia’s 100th match, but form and injuries suggest it will be an uphill battle.
Pick: Highlanders on recent form, but it will be closer than some expect.
Chiefs v Waratahs
Saturday 31/5/14 @ 14:35
The Chiefs were a little off the pace last week and copped a hiding from the Hurricanes with simple errors and poor set-piece play gifting the Canes a bevy of points. After looking untouchable earlier in the year, they need a win, or could risk missing out on a finals place altogether, given the log-jam at the top of the NZ conference. They will need to improve dramatically though against a confident Tahs side looking to show they are real contenders.
Pick: Chiefs to lift, but this could go either way.
Blues v Hurricanes
Saturday 31/5/14 @ 17:35
The Blues erratic form continues and it seems however hard they try, they cannot put together a consistent and polished effort over 80 minutes. The Hurricanes rise on the other hand is gaining momentum, and while they will badly miss Andre Taylor (injured), their recent form is too good to look past.
Pick: Hurricanes, but the erratic Blues will make them work for it.
Brumbies v Rebels
Saturday 31/5/14 @ 19:40
The Brumbies have been woeful of late, so will be glad to be back home against perhaps what they would see as an easier opponent. They will need to lift markedly though with errors, soft defence, poor kicking and lack of a game plan hindering them of late.
Pick: Brumbies to snap back into form with too much class.
Lions v Bulls
Sunday 1/6/14 @ 1:05
While these local derbies are great levellers, the Bulls have hit top gear of late and are looking dangerous. The Lions wont roll over though, and will compete for 80 mins, but their occasional lapses are costing them dearly. The Bulls are playing with great purpose and should win comfortably, with too much power up front.
My pick: Bulls to win away.
Sharks v Stormers
Sunday 1/6/14 @ 3:10
The Sharks have looked like real contenders of late and would be glad to be back home after a successful tour. They will though face an improving Stormers side intent on gaining some respect. This will be an intense physical and defence orientated contest, and Im expecting it to be very close, especially with the home side probably suffering jet-lag.
My pick: Sharks at home, but Stormers are a chance of causing an upset.
Mark Connors, former Reds and Wallabies forward