In this new feature, James Hutchison (Hutch) from Superbru will go head to head with Juandre Joubert to see who will come out on top on Superbru during the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Round 1 fixtures:
The start of a long and painful yet fun journey.. It’s Super Rugby time at Superbru!
Here are the Round 1 fixtures for you to pick
— Superbru (@Superbru) January 28, 2020
Blues vs Chiefs
The Blues defeated Chiefs in their pre-season match recently, but I’m not sure how much influence that will have on the opening Super Rugby fixture. With Warren Gatland at the coaching helm, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Chiefs fare this year, perhaps adding some defensive rigour to their exciting attack, and they should be contenders for the title. More so than the Blues, anyway, even when Beauden Barrett features later in the season. Chiefs by 4
I am also going Chiefs for the opener of the season. Gatland will make a big difference for the men from Waikato and their bench is stacked with three All Blacks. My initial pick was 14, but I am reducing that to 8 after Damian McKenzie’s withdrawal. Chiefs by 8
Brumbies vs Reds
The Reds beat both the Rebels and Waratahs in pre-season, but the Brumbies are expected to be the top Australian team this season, and given that the home team usually wins this fixture, a pick for the Brumbies is the way to go in week 1. Brumbies by 7
I cannot see the Reds beating the Brumbies without Samu Kerevi, another home victory. Brumbies by 10
Sharks vs Vodacom Bulls
The Sharks’ record against the Bulls is absolutely dreadful, and you have to go back to 2014 for their most recent victory in Super Rugby. Instinct is telling me to pick the home team, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bulls take this one. Sharks by 2
As Hutch says, the Bulls do have a pretty good record against the Sharks lately. If the Bulls can stop the Sharks’ dangerous backline, that might continue. It will be a close one in Durban, and I think that Morne Steyn’s boot might prove to be the difference. Bulls by 6
Sunwolves vs Rebels
I feel a bit sorry for the Sunwolves, facing their last season before they are axed from Super Rugby. That makes it very difficult to retain or attract players. Only three members of last year’s squad feature this year, and I think they are going to face some heavy defeats. I’m not expecting much from the Rebels overall this season, but they’ll still win this one. Rebels by 23
The Rebels will run away with this one. Rebels by 19
Crusaders vs Waratahs
The Crusaders may have won three titles in a row, but this is going to be a very different side, particularly up front where Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua and Kieran Read are all absent. Such is the depth of talent in New Zealand, though, that I’m sure some young guns will come through to fill their boots and you’d expect them to dispatch the Waratahs in the opening round. Crusaders by 13
Time will tell how the Crusaders will go with so many players having left the team from Christchurch. But in saying that, they are the champions and it will be a big upset if they lose at home. Crusaders by 10
Stormers vs Hurricanes
The Hurricanes haven’t won at Newlands since 2006, and losing both pre-season games to the Crusaders and Blues won’t have helped their confidence too much. I might reserve the final judgement until I have seen the team lineups, but for now, I am leaning towards the Capetonians to get their season off to a strong start. Stormers by 4
This will be the match of the weekend. Both teams will be looking to play running rugby, but the match will be decided by the forwards. The Stormers pack looks very impressive and that is why I am going for a home win. Stormers by 13
Jaguares vs Lions
The Lions have sent a strong squad to Buenos Aires for their season opener, but this is a tough away trip for any side. The Lions lost twice to the Bulls in pre-season, whilst the Jaguares thrashed Georgia twice, but I’m not sure how much can be read into those results. I think the Jaguares will challenge at the top of the SA conference this season, and with that in mind, I’m backing them for a win at home to kick off their campaign. Jaguares by 7
You never know what you are going get from the Jaguares early in the season, but I think they will do enough to get a win in their season opener. Jaguares by 13.
It will come down to the match in Durban as Hutch and Juandre have gone mostly the same in round 1.
What are your picks?