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Super Rugby Round 14 preview panel

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/05/2016

Preview of Super Rugby Round 14 matches (all times NZT):

FRIDAY, May 27

Hurricanes v Highlanders at Westpac Stadium, Wellington 7.35pm

Head to Head: Played 27 Hurricanes 14 Highlanders 13

In Wellington: Played 13 Hurricanes 7 Highlanders 6

Last clash: Round 2 2016 - Highlanders 17 bt Hurricanes 16 at Forsyth Barr Stadium

Just a point separates these teams in the ferociously competitive New Zealand conference. The Hurricanes will have a fully fit squad to choose from and home advantage, but the Highlanders are Super Rugby's ultimate scrappers. Expect another close contest.

Tip: Hurricanes by 4 points

NSW Waratahs v Chiefs at Allianz Stadium, Sydney 9.45pm

Head to Head: Played 19 Waratahs 12 Chiefs 7

In Sydney: Played 9 Waratahs 7 Chiefs 2

Last clash: Round 16 2014 - Waratahs 33 bt Chiefs 17 at Yarrow Stadium

The Australian and New Zealand conference leaders meet but the Chiefs are 12 points ahead on the overall ladder. The Tahs have reshuffled their back line but will need to gain ascendancy up front to threaten the Chiefs. A loss could do plenty of damage to the Waratahs' finals aspirations.

Tip: Chiefs by 6 points


Kings v Jaguares at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth 5.00am

Head to Head: Played 1 Kings 0 JAG 1

In Port Elizabeth: N/A

Last clash: Round 10 2016 - JAG 73 bt Kings 27 at Estadio Jose Amalfitani

Two of the stragglers in the South African conference hope to boost their meagre points tallies and defend better after each leaked more than 50 points last week. The Kings have lost hooker Martin Ferreira, winger Luzuko Vulindlu and five-eighth Elgar Watts to injuries, but will look to avenge the dreadful hammering they received in Argentina.

Tip: Jaguares by 11 points

Blues v Crusaders at Eden Park, Auckland 7.35pm

Head to Head: Played 28 Blues 11 Crusaders 17

In Auckland: Played 14 Blues 8 Crusaders 6

Last clash: Round 2 2016 - Crusaders 28 bt Blues 13 at Christchurch Stadium

The Crusaders have won nine of their past 10 and are coming of a good win over the Waratahs. The Blues have to win to stay in contention for an Australasian group wildcard. The visitors won't do them any favours because they need a victory to improve their chances of a conference title.

Tip: Crusaders by 8 points

Brumbies v Sunwolves at GIO Stadium, Canberra 9.45pm

Head to Head: Played 0 Brumbies 0 SUN 0

In Canberra: N/A

Last clash: N/A

It's hard to see any result other than a comprehensive win for the home team, whose hopes of winning the Australian conference got a boost during their bye week with the Waratahs failing to pick up any points. The Sunwolves have been far more competitive in their past four games since leaking 92 points against the Cheetahs, but still look likely to suffer a fourth defeat in as many matches to an Australian franchise.

Tip: Brumbies by 19 points

SUNDAY, May 29

Stormers v Cheetahs at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town 01.00am

Head to Head: Played 16 Stormers 11 Cheetahs 5

In Cape Town: Played 8 Stormers 7 Cheetahs 1

Last clash: Round 2 2016 - Stormers 20 bt Cheetahs 10 at Toyota Stadium

The Stormers need to reverse a form slump that has resulted in just one win from their past five matches and pushed them off the top of their conference and out of the wildcard spot. Veteran loose forward Schalk Burger is battling to overcome an ankle injury, but they should still start favourites against the Cheetahs, who have had a disappointing season.

Tip: Stormers by 11 points

Bulls v Lions at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 3.10am

Head to Head: Played 14 Bulls 11 Lions 2 drawn 1

In Pretoria: Played 7 Bulls 7 Lions 0

Last clash: Round 12 2015 - Bulls 35 bt Lions 33 at Loftus Versfeld

The South African conference leaders meet at a venue where the Lions have never tasted victory in seven Super Rugby games. The Bulls rebounded from away losses to the Brumbies and Waratahs with a home win over the Stormers. The Lions ran up plenty of points in big home wins in their past two games, but will find the going much tougher in the Loftus Versfeld cauldron.

Tip: Bulls by 4 points

Rebels v Force at AAMI Park, Melbourne 6.05pm

Head to Head: Played 11 Rebels 8 Force 3

In Melbourne: Played 5 Rebels 3 Force 2

Last clash: Round 1 2016 - Rebels 25 bt Force 19 at nib Stadium

Both teams need a win to boost sagging fortunes heading into the June break. Three successive losses have knocked the Rebels down from first to third in the Australian conference and pretty much wiped out their finals prospects. The Force have lost eight of their past nine games and a win would improve their prospects of avoiding successive wooden spoons.

Tip: Rebels by 8 points

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