Super Rugby Round 12 Preview

Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors
Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors previews Round 12 of Super Rugby.

TattsBet Super Rugby Round 12 Preview

Blues v Reds
Friday 2/5/14 @ 17:35

The Blues pulled off an upset last week against the Waratahs and will be brimming with confidence after a very poor start to the year. The Reds lurched to yet another loss and their form looks to have gone downhill with errors and defensive lapses aplenty. I do like the changes to the side though with Anthony Faiinga in at 12, Davies to the wing and Harris to full-back – and Quade playing his 100th match to lift the side. Unless the Reds can reverse that form slide immediately then form and home ground advantage should favour the Blues.

Pick: Blues should be favourites

Rebels v Sharks
Friday 2/5/14 @ 19:40

The Rebels are already talking about avenging their 60 point drubbing by the Sharks in Durban last year. They come off a bye and face the Sharks who were riding high until their upset loss to the Highlanders at home last week. The Sharks will be looking to bounce back but will be tested after a tough month and facing their first away game of a long tour.

Pick: Rebels to win but this will be close.

Crusaders v Brumbies
Saturday 3/5/14 @ 14:35

They both played and beat the Champion Chiefs over the last fortnight but the Crusaders have enjoyed a bye week and get the home ground advantage. With their side getting back to full strength (McCaw back?), Im leaning to the home side despite the impressive form of the Brumbies. This will be the match of the round.

Pick: Crusaders to win but again will be tight.

Chiefs v Lions
Saturday 3/5/14 @ 17:35

After an uncharacteristically poor effort against the Brumbies last week the Chiefs need to really snap back into top form and what better way than back at home against a touring Lions team. The Lions will bring physicality to the game but the Chiefs are better across the board and will be have too much class and hunger.

Pick: Chiefs to win.

Waratahs v Hurricanes
Saturday 3/5/14 @ 19:40

The Tahs were clueless in attack last week and really struggled to dent the Blues defensive line at all. Beale was smashed every time he touched the ball. With Palu back at 8 and a few other changes, the Tahs forward pack will be urged to muscle up against a Hurricanes side quickly building in confidence. Back on home soil, I expect a better effort from the Waratahs and some more time and space for their backs.

If Matthewson, Whykes and Morahan remain on the injured list this week I expect the Force will face a tough task covering for them again. While they played above themselves last week against the Rebels and will be better in front of their home crowd, I suspect the Bulls will up for this game after showing signs of improvement. The Bulls will be desperate to salvage some much needed points from this long tour and I feel they might sneak an away win here.

Pick: Tahs to win.

Stormers v Highlanders
Saturday 3/5/14 @ 23:00

The Stormers come off a disappointing loss following some bad luck and a few bad Refereeing calls last start. The Highlanders will be fired up though with a (best effort of the year) win over the table topping Sharks providing a huge boost to their campaign. While form leans the Highlanders way, there was a lot to like from the Stormers efforts over recent weeks and they will be a tougher proposition on home soil.

My pick: Stormers to win but it won't be easy.

Bulls v Cheetahs
Sunday 4/5/14 @ 1:05

Lets hope the Bulls have had an easy week recovering after an arduous and frustrating tour which reaped little reward in the way of competition points. They will be glad to be back at home and face a renewed Cheetahs side who have shown signs or recapturing their 2013 form in recent games. Willie Le Roux excelled last week for the Cheetahs and the Bulls will need to stop him and the Cheetahs short kicking game which is starting to click.

My pick: Bulls with more consistency.

Mark Connors, former Reds and Wallabies forward

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