SuperBru fans, the DHL Stormers run is… sadly over.
The team’s first defeat of the season last weekend away against the Crusaders means that not only did they pick up a first loss, but also dropped down to 2nd in the Super Rugby table, leapfrogged by the Chiefs following their win in Bloemfontein.
With just two points separating the top two teams this weekend though, key results could see the Stormers move back up to the summit.
To give themselves a fighting chance they will have to defeat champions the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, a task that last year seemed impossible but this year’s given the home side’s horrendous luck with injuries and poor run of results is a far easier proposition.
Unfortunately for Alastair Coetzee’s team, they will have to do it without Jean de Villiers and Andries Bekker, two pillars of the team whose injuries will have given the Reds some hope. That being said, despite defeat last weekend in Christchurch the Stormers’ performances have been strong over the last few weeks, so expect an away win. DHL Stormers by 5.
Looking elsewhere, the Chiefs are on the road to face the Sharks in Durban. They were rampant last week against the Cheetahs, Sona Taumalolo particularly catching the eye with his brace of tries. Expect the league leaders to keep their run going. Chiefs by 6.
The other game in South Africa sees the Bulls host the impressive Brumbies. Jake White’s young Australia side have enjoyed a strong start to the season at home, but facing the ferocious Bulls pack at Loftus will really test their mettle. Bulls by 9.
Back in Australia, the Waratahs will host the Rebels in what based on the visitors’ poor performance last weekend should be a simple home win. Waratahs by 12.
Then across the Tasman, we have two New Zealand derbies, starting first on Friday with the Highlanders hosting the Blues in Dunedin. Pat Lam’s team are in a real rut at the moment and with rumours this week of Piri Weepu’s unhappiness at his new club not helping matters, an away victory seems certain. Highlanders by 8.
Last but not least, the Hurricanes host the Crusaders in Wellington. The away side gave a vintage performance last weekend when they defeated the Stormers, fly-half Tom Taylor seriously impressing with his 31 points. For that reason, the seven-time champions should pick up another win. Crusaders by 7.
Best of luck with your SuperBru picks for this week, let’s hope the Stormers get back to winning ways!