2017-06-27 by Phantom
CREDIT to South Africa for their brilliant three match series win over France. They have clearly turned the corner but they could be a long way behind New Zealand who looked imperious in beating the British Lions last weekend. Super Rugby is back and two matches are part of this weekend's Rugby 5. Let's see what it's all about.
M1. Cheetahs v Stormers
Two contrasting tales of 2017 face off here. The Stormers were good before the international break and they are confirmed for a Quarter Final berth. Most of their good players were involved in what looked to be the least physical test series ever against France. The Cheetahs have been largely disappointing in 2017. Coach Franco Smith has been involved with the Boks over the last month and he may have learned a lot about the dangers the Stormers possess. That still might not be enough.
M2. Lions v Sunwolves
the Lions should easily win this. The Sunwolves have not done much over the last month and could be raw heading into this fixture. The likely absence of Lions captain Warren Whiteley may not have such a big impact on this result.
M3. USA v Canada
This match ended 28-all in Canada last weekend so there is nothing to choose between these huge rivals. USA can pick up the win. It is the last time coach John Mitchell masterminds their performance before he leaves for Pretoria to lead the Bulls.
M4. Tonga v Samoa
Ordinarily, Samoa would be expected to win because they are a better side. They lost 17-19 to Wales, albeit a depleted Wales, but that should still be good enough to carry them to a win regardless of the margin.
M5. New Zealand v British Lions
It was 30-15 to New Zealand in the first test and many believe that's the closest the Lions will get throughout the series. New Zealand found that extra gear in the last 20 minutes that took them away from away fired up Lions side. The pressure would be on the Lions for this match to turn things around. Their best XV isn't really known by anybody. The bottom line is, New Zealand are just too damn good.