JUANDRE JOUBERT explains his Superbru picks for round four of Vodacom Super Rugby.
After picking 5/7 in round three (the community average was 3.23), I am still looking for that elusive Grand Slam point.
This weekend looks straightforward but, as you know, there is always an upset waiting to happen.
Here are my predictions:
Hurricanes vs Highlanders
The Hurricanes bounced back from their defeat to the Crusaders in emphatic style to run the Brumbies ragged, thanks to three tries from Ngani Laumape, while the Highlanders suffered their first loss of the season after going down to the Rebels in Melbourne. Both teams welcome back some big names, with Jordie Barrett picked on the wing for the hosts and the visitors welcoming back Ben and Aaron Smith. The home side has won the last five games between these teams and it won’t be any different this time out.
Hurricanes by 9
Rebels vs Brumbies
The Rebels are one of two teams yet to taste defeat this season. They maintained their 100% record with a good victory over the Highlanders in round three. The Brumbies suffered a heavy loss against the Hurricanes and have made a host of changes for the clash in Melbourne. Will Genia and Quade Cooper have combined with great success in their first two games, and I am expecting that to continue.
Rebels by 10
Crusaders vs Chiefs
While the Crusaders are yet to shift into second gear, they remain unbeaten in 2019. The champions claimed a 22-12 victory over the Reds in Brisbane, while the winless Chiefs suffered an embarrassing 30-15 loss at home to the Sunwolves. I cannot see the Chiefs fixing their problems this week and expect the Crusaders to ease to their fourth victory in a row.
Crusaders by 19
Blues vs Sunwolves
The Blues are still searching for their first win of 2019, while the Sunwolves are coming off the back of a historic victory against the Chiefs in Hamilton. The Blues are desperate to win, and I expect them to bring the Sunwolves back to earth.
Blues by 13
Waratahs vs Reds
The Waratahs started their season with a one-point loss to the Hurricanes followed by a one-point victory over the Sunwolves, whereas the Reds lost their opening two games to the Highlanders and Crusaders. This is a tough one to call, as the Reds surprised me with the fight that they showed against the Kiwi sides, while the Waratahs did not impress much against the Sunwolves. I will give this one to the Tahs purely because they are playing at home.
Waratahs by 7
Lions vs Jaguares
For the second time in four weeks, these two teams will face each other. In week one the Lions physically dominated the Jaguares to claim a 25-16 victory in Buenos Aires, but have since lost two on the trot. It has been the exact opposite for the Jaguares, who have won two on the bounce after that round one defeat. The Lions have made a host of changes to the team that lost against the Vodacom Bulls last weekend, but the Jaguares have never beaten the Lions at Ellis Park, and I expect that trend to continue.
Lions by 13
Vodacom Bulls vs Sharks
The Bulls completely outplayed the Lions at Ellis Park last weekend while the Sharks were woeful in their first defeat of the season against the Stormers. The Bulls have suffered a couple of injuries and the Sharks have rotated some of their players for the trip to Loftus. I cannot see the Sharks beating the Bulls in front of the Loftus faithful.
Bulls by 12
– Joubert is Highbury Media’s digital media manager, who has won the company’s Super Rugby Superbru pool for two years running.
Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix