Super Rugby Round 4 Preview

Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors
Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors previews Round 4 of Super Rugby.

TattsBet Super Rugby Round 4 Preview 

Hurricanes v Brumbies
Friday 7/3/14 @ 16:35

The Canes were unlucky not to bag an away win against the Stormers last week, while the Brumbies bounced back with a solid win against a lacklustre Force side. With a few injury worries, the Brumbies will miss Pocock most of all and I question their cover at 7. The Hurricanes can be erratic and I expect a mixed effort from them this week after the long trip back from South Africa. The Brumbies can win in NZ and with an expected dominant forward pack (without Pocock) and discipline, I expect them to win this game.

My pick: Brumbies by 3 in a tight contest 


Reds v Cheetahs
Friday 7/3/14 @ 18:40

The Reds were poor on all fronts last week – they lacked aggression, had poor defensive lapses and were outplayed across the park in all facets, except in the lineouts. After a similar loss to the Tahs in 2011, they bounced back quickly and I’m expecting a repeat this year with a much improved effort this week. I like the team changes with Davies, Harris, F-Sautia, Hansen and Daley all set to inject some much needed urgency into their efforts.

The Cheetahs won't make it easy though and will test the Reds up front and in the backs with their speed and skill. The Reds need to close down the Cheetahs high risk/high rewards plays (ie chip kicks & run away tries from their own half!).

My pick: Reds to win by 8-10


Crusaders v Stormers
Saturday 8/3/14 @ 16:35

The notoriously poor starters (the Crusaders) have done it again with 2 losses on the trot and it would be easy to write them off as contenders this year. Dan Carter on sabbatical, McCaw injured, Kieren Read looking off the pace a little, basic errors and poor defence do not provide good early signs. The Stormers will provide some resistance with their solid defence, but they lack try scoring prowess and they will need it this week at the home of the Crusaders. I'm going to tip the home side, despite their early form wobbles.

My pick: Crusaders to win by 8+


Western Force v Melbourne Rebels
Saturday 1/3/14 @ 18:40

At least over the last few years the Force seemed to give you some hope they could spring an upset. Well, that’s not the case so far this year after a poor start and nothing looking any different. The loss of Pocock to the Brumbies was a huge blow and is still being felt by the Force. They will lift for Matt Hodgson’s 100th SR game though.

The Rebels led by Higginbotham have continued their rise with impressive trial form, followed-up by a complete display against the Cheetahs last week. They will only get better, and while a little harder in Perth, the Force won’t be consistent enough to grind out a win.

My pick: Rebels to win 


Bulls v Blues 
Sunday 9/3/14 @ 1:05

The Bulls got back into winning form last week and will be desperate to win at home against the Blues who shocked all with their surprise win against the Crusaders. I'm going to tip an upset here and suggest the boost in confidence from last week will be enough to lift the Blues for an away win against the Bulls. They will need clear skies and a dry track though.

My pick: Blues to win (if it's dry)


Sharks v Lions
Sunday 9/3/14 @ 3:10

Coming off a bye, the Sharks will be fresh and eager to make it 3 from 3 at home. On paper, they are clear favourites and with Jake White coaching them, and the home ground advantage, they will be too good for the solid Lions outfit. Discipline and a low error rate will be the keys for them to dominate.

My pick: Sharks to win 

Mark Connors, former Reds and Wallabies forward

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