Super Rugby Round 10 Tips - Game-by-game guide to this week's games

James Wells 18 Apr 2019

The Super Rugby season moves into Round 10 this weekend and here is our game-by-game preview for all six matches across the Easter weekend.

Chiefs vs Lions

The Chiefs continued their turn in form last week, putting a stop to the Blues run with a 33-29 in Hamilton, their third successive victory. However, their latest victory came at a huge cost with their talisman Damian McKenzie gone for the year after suffering a knee injury during the contest. The Lions inconsistent season continued on the first leg of their southern hemisphere trip, stumbling against the Brumbies 31-20, their second loss on the trot. Last year's finalists are now at the bottom of the South African conference. The Chiefs disaster start to the season is still holding them back in the standings, but the Mooloo men haven't actually lost a game since round four. McKenzie is irreplaceable, it's going to be very difficult for the Chiefs to fill the void he leaves, but the Lions are poor travelers and aren't going to be the ones to exploit his absence.

Sunwolves vs Hurricanes

The Hurricanes will have been grateful for the week off last round and should come into this week well refreshed. They have been overshadowed by the Crusaders, but the Canes have only lost two games this year, only the Crusaders have lost fewer, and both of their losses came against the Crusaders. We all know how good the Crusaders are at this point, but the Hurricanes have a very strong case for the best team in Super Rugby that isn't based in Christchurch. The Sunwolves too come off a bye after a short trip to Australia where they pulled off the upset against the Waratahs but were then trounced by the Rebels the following week. The Sunwolves have been a difficult gauge this year, we're accustomed to them being a weak team, and they have still lost the most games in the competition, with the worst points differential, but they've put up much bigger fights than we expect. The Canes are resting Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea, but should still be too strong.

Sharks vs Reds

The Sharks should be seething after being butchered at home 51-17 last week. Currently sitting second in the South African conference, they too have been a very tough read this season, as evidenced by this result after they dispatched the 42-5 on the road just one week prior. Kicking off their tour of South Africa, the Reds started with a loss last week also, going down 32-17 to the Bulls for their fifth loss of the year. The Reds have not won in the Republic since 2015 and haven't won in Durban since 2004 so history is not on their side. The Sharks are historically strong home performers, but have given their local fans back to back losses so they will be eager to rectify that and have made some changes, notably the return of Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen to the front row in an attempt to get back on track.

Highlanders vs Blues

The lone Kiwi derby of the round sees the Highlanders attempt to climb off the bottom of the New Zealand ladder. They visited the Crusaders last weekend and with a weakened lineup were comprehensively dealt with 43-17. The Crusaders are capable of doing this to any team in the competition on their day, so there is little to read into there. However, the Highlanders haven't actually won a game since week two, so there is plenty of cause for concern in the south now. The Blues have a big question to answer, they went on a hot run, reeling off four victories, but tripped up on the road against the Chiefs last week 33-29. Now we get to see how they respond to adversity again. Led by Ma'a Nonu, this Blues side looks a much tough unit mentally than Blues teams of previous years and I expect to see some bounce back from them here. The Highlanders have Aaron Smith back in their side, but he will come off the bench negating his impact for much of the game. This could go either way, but form really is in the Blues favour.

Waratahs vs Rebels

If the Waratahs want to make a charge at the Australian conference crown, they'll need to step up against the current leaders in this Australian derby. The Rebels are currently seven points clear, with two more wins than the Tahs, but the NSW outfit do have a game in hand after a bye week last round. Heading into the bye, the Waratahs had picked up back to back losses, including a loss in Australia against the Sunwolves. Last time out, they also had Israel Folau on the paddock, who looked the best player on the pitch as he so often was for them, but they now must embark on a new era without him. The Rebels really slipped over last week, crushed 41-24 at home by the Stormers prompting many to question whether they can sustain the early season form that separated them from the rest of the Australian pack. Given some of the convincing performances they've served up this year, I'm not ready to jump off the bandwagon and expect the Rebels to come out firing after last the upset last week.

Stormers vs Brumbies

Rounding off Easter weekend, the Stormers will be on a high returning home to South Africa after trouncing the Australian conference leading Rebels 41-24. They may sit fourth on the South African conference ladder, but four teams all sharing the same record, it's still wide open for whoever may find some momentum. The Brumbies got back on track last week after having not won a game since round five. It came at the Lions expense, a 31-20 home victory. The Brumbies are yet to win a game on the road this year and now they face a much bigger journey travelling to South Africa for a hostile reception in Cape Town. The Stormers should have a lot of enthusiasm after last week and seize the moment on their home track.

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Super Rugby Round 10 Tips - Game-by-game guide to this week's games

The Super Rugby season moves into Round 10 this weekend and here is our game-by-game preview for all six matches across the Easter weekend.

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