2017-05-16 by Liam Del Carme
BULLS v HURRICANES
The Bulls' slide continues. They are down in 14th place with just three wins from 11 starts. The Hurricanes bounced back from their defeat to the Crusaders by putting the Cheetahs to the sword last weekend. The Hurricanes have a good record in Pretoria. They have won on five occasions including on their last visit in 2015. Despite their defeat to the Lions the Bulls showed some encouraging signs in the scrums last weekend and they would do well to gain a foothold in this match that way. Even if they steal the march on the 'Canes in that department it won't be enough to deny the defending champions another win. If the Bulls aren't careful they might cop another big one.
SHARKS v STORMERS
The Sharks left it late to assert their dominance against the Sunwolves last week. It was far from the convincing performance coach Robert du Preez was looking for and the scoreline probable flattered them in the end. Still, they have a lot to fight for in this competition. They trail the Lions by a country mile in their section but a victory against a team like the Stormers will serve as a reminder they won't be pushovers in the knock-out phases. The same probably applies to the Cape side who scored a come from behind win over the Blues last week to put the brakes on their four-match losing streak. The Sharks have won their last two encounters against the Stormers. Home ground advantage doesn't count much in this match-up with the Stormers winning five matches in Durban. It is likely to be a tight contest. Just two of the last 10 matches between these two sides have produced a winner by 12 points or more. The Sharks are slight favourites.
JAGUARES v BRUMBIES
This is the first time the Jaguares and the Brumbies will clash in Super Rugby. The Jaguares have underwhelmed after a promising start to the competition, while the Brumbies may feel a little emboldened after their away win over the Southern Kings last week. The big question they face is whether they will overcome the jet lag from their travels over the last fortnight. They have flown from Canberra to Sydney, to Johannesburg, to Port Elizabeth back to Johannesburg, to Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires. The Brumbies are a resilient side but they may well be afflicted by what has dragged the Jaguares down for the second straight season.
LIONS v KINGS
The Lions were irrepressible in the first half against the Bulls last week. A repeat performance could have the Kings in real trouble. The Lions are unlikely to take their foot off the pedal as they fully grasp the significance of bonus point wins from here on in. The Kings'
bubble burst last week when they went down to the Brumbies. Although they've done well to silence their detractors they look unlikely to do so again this weekend in a match that is likely to be their most taxing this season. The Lions average 48 points against the Kings in Super Rugby and they may well top that this weekend.
BOLAND CAVALIERS v BORDER BULLDOGS
In their clash earlier in the campaign the Bulldogs scored a 28-25 home win over Boland. The Bulldogs have since gone on to lose to Western Province, beat the SWD Eagles and Eastern Province. Boland also lost to Western Province and they too have down the SWD Eagles before coming unstuck against Eastern Province last weekend. The Bulldogs bring better form into this clash but Boland at home will be tough to beat.