You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Super Rugby round 15 preview

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/06/2016

Preview of Super Rugby round 15 matches (all times NZT):

FRIDAY, July 1

Chiefs v Crusaders at Suva National Stadium, Suva 7.35pm

Head to Head: Played 28 Chiefs 12 Crusaders 16

In Suva: N/A

Last clash: Round 1 2016 - Chiefs 27 bt Crusaders 21 at Christchurch Stadium

This match could well determine who will finish on top of the New Zealand conference, with the Crusaders just one win ahead of the Chiefs with three games remaining. The Crusaders have lost just twice this season - one of them to the Chiefs, who have been beaten in two of their past three. Both sides will have most of their All Blacks on board, with the Chiefs naming fly-half Aaron Cruden on the bench after he hurt his neck during the second Test against Wales.

Tip: Crusaders by 7 points

Brumbies v Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium, Canberra 9.45pm

Head to Head: Played 26 Brumbies 20 Reds 5 drawn 1

In Canberra: Played 14 Brumbies 11 Reds 3

Last clash: Round 5 2015 - Brumbies 29 bt Reds 0 at Suncorp Stadium

The Brumbies have the chance to consolidate their place on top of the Australian conference with a bonus-point win, as they try to break away from the NSW Waratahs who are on equal points. Matt Toomua returns from a knee injury, while development player Ben Hyne has been handed his Super Rugby debut at No.8 in the absence of David Pocock (eye socket) and Jordan Smiler (knee). They have won their past three games against the Reds, who have named recent signing Leroy Houston, prop Taniela Tupou (Tongan Thor) and Wallabies lock Kane Douglas on the bench.

Tip: Brumbies by 15 points


Sunwolves v NSW Waratahs at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo 5.15pm

Head to Head: Played 0 Sunwolves 0 Waratahs 0

In Tokyo: N/A

Last clash: N/A

The Waratahs will fancy their chances of securing a fourth bonus-point win this season against the Sunwolves, who have conceded a combined 101 points in their past two matches against Australian teams. NSW have won three of their past four away games, although two of them were by a measly two points. Matt Lucas has been given a rare start, with Test halfback Nick Phipps named on the bench, and club captain at No.8 in Jed Holloway's absence.

Tip: Waratahs by 18 points

Hurricanes v Blues at Westpac Stadium, Wellington 7.35pm

Head to Head: Played 26 Hurricanes 11 Blues 14 drawn 1

In Wellington: Played 12 Hurricanes 5 Blues 6 drawn 1

Last clash: Round 3 2016 - Hurricanes 23 bt Blues 19 at Eden Park

The Hurricanes have won their past three games against the Blues and this should make it a new record in four straight. While both teams have a number of players returning and riding high after helping the All Blacks to a whitewash against Wales, the Hurricanes are playing for a finals berth which is all the incentive they need.

Tip: Hurricanes by 15 points

Rebels v Stormers at AAMI Park, Melbourne 9.45pm

Head to Head: Played 4 Rebels 1 Stormers 3

In Melbourne: Played 2 Rebels 1 Stormers 1

Last clash: Round 15 2015 - Stormers 31 bt Rebels 15 at Newlands Rugby Stadium

The Stormers have second spot in the South African conference to play for but the Rebels won't roll over easily. The home side are counting on the Stormers' large presence in the Springboks' Test series against Ireland as well as the trip from South Africa taking its toll. Some favourite sons such as Luke Jones are playing their last home game with the Rebels, hoping to upset their more-fancied opponents.

Tip: Rebels by 5 points

SUNDAY, July 3

Cheetahs v Force at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein 1.00am

Head to Head: Played 9 Cheetahs 4 Force 5

In Bloemfontein: Played 5 Cheetahs 2 Force 3

Last clash: Round 9 2015 - Cheetahs 24 bt Force 15 at nib Stadium

While the Force have had a season to forget, banking just two wins, they have a good record in Bloemfontein. They also have a new coach in interim leader David Wessels following the axing of Michael Foley so both he and the players will be out to make an impression. Expect a high-scoring affair but a tight result with the Cheetahs just getting home.

Tip: Cheetahs by 7 points

Lions v Sharks at Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg 3.10am

Head to Head: Played 23 Lions 5 Sharks 16 drawn 2

In Johannesburg: Played 11 Lions 3 Sharks 6 drawn 2

Last clash: Round 7 2016 - Lions 24 bt Sharks 9 at Kings Park Stadium

The Lions have won their past three games by 28 points or more and are South Africa's standout side this season, but this will be a tough one. The Sharks aren't far behind and can't afford a slip-up if they are to be any chance of taking the conference lead. The record between these two sides over their past six meetings is split neatly down the middle, with three wins apiece - but only one of those came via a single-digit margin. Who clicks the quickest after the month-long break for the June Test window might just be decisive.

Tip: Lions by 8 points

Kings v Highlanders at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth 5.20am

Head to Head: Played 1 Kings 1 Highlanders 0

In Port Elizabeth: Kings 1 Highlanders 0

Last clash: Round 13 2013 - Kings 34 bt Highlanders 27 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The Kings landed just their second win of the year by beating the Jaguares in their last match before the Test recess, giving them a crack at back-to-back Super Rugby wins for the first time in franchise history. But normal service should resume for them following the visit of the reigning champion Highlanders. They've met the Kings only once before, losing three years ago in Port Elizabeth, but have improved much since then and will be supremely confident of gaining revenge despite their own somewhat shaky form. If they do, they'll make their own history in booking back-to-back wins in South Africa for the first time in more than a decade.

Tip: Highlanders by 21 points

Jaguares v Bulls at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires 9.40am

Head to Head: Played 0 Jaguares 0 Bulls 0

In Buenos Aires: N/A

Last clash: N/A

The Jaguares have been arguably the biggest disappointment of the three expansion sides, in that they were the only one expected to be anything close to regularly competitive. But their defeat to the Kings a month ago should have served as a stern wake-up call, rendering this clash with the Bulls as an opportunity to restore some pride. The Bulls have won only two of their past 15 games outside South Africa and are the only team from that continent that the Jaguares are yet to face. Much will depend on how their Argentine Test players pull up from their clashes with Italy and France.

Tip: Jaguares by 8 points

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon