Super Rugby Predictions - Round 13

Super Rugby Predictions - Round 13

The Southern Kings stumped most pundits again last weekend with a massive winning effort against the Sharks in Port Elizabeth. Rugby scribe Brenden Nel was no exception. Here are his Round 13 predictions.

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While Brenden may have been no exception, he could be excused for going with his head rather than his heart when calling a Sharks victory.

But it didn't end there -- Brenden was convinced that the Hurricanes had what it takes to put the breaks on an incredible nine-match Crusaders unbeaten streak and he was also stumped badly by the Force, who ventured into Jaguares territory and came home with a 16-6 victory.

So Brenden erred on the side of caution and left his gambling instinct on the shelf, settling for a 4/7 return.

With one week to go before Super Rugby goes into recess for the June International window, all the South African franchises are in action this week.

But the weekend action kicks off in Suva, Fiji on Friday with an appetising New Zealand derby between the Chiefs and the Crusaders (09h35 SA time).

Other than the relatively unknown venue being alien to both teams, it seems very unlikely that the Chiefs will stop the rampant Crusaders in another massive Kiwi derby, so the sensible money has to be on the Crusaders.

The steadily improving Blues then visit Newlands on Friday evening where they are up against the shell-shocked Stormers, who had a bye week following their New Zealand implosion.

Stormers fans are adamant their team can get back to winning ways at Newlands and Brenden seems to agree. Based on form though, the Blues must surely start as marginal favourites, but the Capetonians will be out to prove they are not as bad as their current form suggests.

One can't help feeling that the Cheetahs are bound to feel the Hurricanes backlash after the defending champions stumbled against the Crusaders last week. The two sides clash in Wellington on Saturday morning (09h35 SA time).

With a woeful defensive record, please forgive us for predicting a runaway victory to the 'Canes. 

The Sharks make a slight travel detour this week when they meet the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday (Kick-off is at 13h55 SA time).

The Sharks will be trying to swim back into stable waters after the Kings setback last week and should hold off the determined Sunwolves outfit, but don't expect a classic.

The hype that usually characterises a cross-Jukskei derby between the Lions and the Bulls has been sadly lacking during the build-up weeek.

And understandably so, particularly if you are a Bulls fan.

The two old rivals go head to head at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon (Kick-off at 17h15).

With top spot overall within their sights and a potential home final if they go all the way, the Lions are unlikely to buckle and should retain their unbeaten home record.

Then there is everyone's new favourite team, the Kings, looking to make it four in a row against the visiting Brumbies at the NMB Stadium on Saturday evening (KIck-off 19h30).

The Eastern Cape side, still in danger of losing their Super Rugby status, have endeared themselves not only to their fans, who have turned up in numbers to watch them, but to the South African rugby public as a whole.

Such is their self-belief and exuberance right now, that it isn't over-ambitious to actually back them to down the Brumbies.

Other Games:

The Force are in high spirits after their productive visit to Argentina last week, but away to the Highlanders, they face an entirely different beast. 

The Highlanders have been on a massive upward curve since their patchy start to the season and boast seven wins on the bounce heading into this one. Kick-off is at 11h45 SA time on Saturday.

An early start on Sunday morning (08h05 SA time) and you will catch the Waratahs up against the Rebels in Sydney.

Bearing in mind the current state of Australian rugby, as a non-Aussie, one could be forgiven for simply saying 'Who cares?"

For what it's worth -- Waratahs to shade it at home

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