Super Rugby Round 7 Tips and Preview

Gary Emmerson:
Super Rugby

The 2020 Super Rugby season continues with a busy Round 7 programme of games and previews all of the action.

Get our Super Rugby tips and match previews throughout the season as the Crusaders bid to defend their title.

Read our guide to Round 7:

Chiefs vs Hurricanes

A mouthwatering New Zealand derby kicks off the round. The Chiefs rebounded last week with a 51-14 thumping of the WaWaratahs on the road, elevating themselves to the top of the Kiwi conference. Their attack was electric, shredding the Tahs with 18 clean breaks. Their set piece was fantastic, and they looked after the ball well. The Canes suffered a shock loss to the Blues on their home pitch 24-15. A 47th minute red-card proving too difficult to overcome. Their defence suffered as a result, tackling at just 79%, and some questions will need to be answered at the lineout after losing four on their own throw. They’ve now slipped to fourth in the NZ conference and really need a win to keep the pace. But the Chiefs reinforced why they look like a championship contender. They suffered an embarrassing loss in their last home appearance and will be determined to set matters straight.

Blues vs Lions

The Blues followed up a win against the Stormers in South Africa with a win against the Hurricanes in Wellington. They’ve got 4 wins on the season and things look to, finally, be turning around in Auckland with Beauden Barrett’s debut looming. They reeled off 34 defenders beaten, but it must be noted that they played 33 minutes with an extra man on the field. The Lions were butchered by the Rebels 37-17 and remain on just one win so far this year. Turning the ball over 19 times, they afforded the Rebels many opportunities while also throwing away four of their own lineouts. As their slump continues, they now further their Australasian tour against a team that is returning back to their home paddock firing on all cylinders who look far too threatening for the Lions to withstand.

Sunwolves vs Crusaders

The Sunwolves were subjected to yet another thrashing in their last outing, going down to the Brumbies 47-14. They’ve now conceded 243 points, 76 more than any other team, and their points differential of -156 is more than double any other side. Unsurprisingly, they languish at the bottom of the overall table. The Crusaders picked up the win last week as usual, but a 24-20 scoreline against the Reds wasn’t as emphatic as many expected as they displayed some uncharacteristic defense frailties at times. This game will be played in Brisbane, so the Sunwolves lone positive of having the home advantage is gone. The Crusaders will use this opportunity to do some roster rotation, but it won’t matter, they’ll run riot.

Reds vs Bulls

The Reds may have fallen to a competition worst fifth loss on the year, but they managed to turn plenty of heads in the bonus point effort going down 24-20 on the road against the Crusaders. Playing a side loaded with All Blacks, the Reds committed just 10 turnovers, beat a whopping 41 defenders and conceded just eight penalties. They had some struggles at set piece, but their goal kicking was ultimately their biggest letdown. The Bulls finally got their first win of the season and in convincing fashion crushing the Highlanders 38-13. Their set piece was perfect, including 15 lineouts at 100%. But now they venture to the other hemisphere, and for most of the year they’ve failed to impress. Each of these sides have just one win, but the Reds have been much more impressive in their losses and have the home advantage.

Sharks vs Stormers

The Sharks made a big statement last week at home, dispatching the Jaguares 33-19 entrenching themselves at the top of the Super Rugby table. It was another well disciplined performance from the Sharks with a dominant scrum winning all seven of their own feeds and disrupting the Jaguares at the scrum multiple times as well. The Stormers are coming off the bye, having had their unbeaten run ended in an upset home loss against the Blues. The bye may have come at just the right time however, giving them a chance to rest and refocus to get their campaign back on track. The Stormers looked so strong in that early unbeaten run, and their 70 points conceded is 21 fewer than any other side, every other team in the competition has conceded over 100. This will be finals left footy with a winner very hard to pick, but the opportunity to rest last week may tip things in the Stormers favour.

Jaguares vs Highlanders

Returning home after a three game South Africa tour, most recently losing to the Sharks 33-19, the Jaguares will be desperate to improve their 3-3 record in a very competitive South African conference. They haven’t recreated the type of dominance they exhibited last season, but they are a different beast on their home patch and will receive a huge boost from the local crowd. New Zealand sides are typically so strong that there’s an instinct to want to get behind them, but the Highlanders really aren’t justifying that at this point. With just one win on the year, they need to be seen as one of the bottom of the ladder sides until proven otherwise. They were crushed last week 38-13 by the Bulls and while travelling to South Africa always has its challenges, the Bulls had not won a single game until that contest. They’ve scored the third fewest points in the competition while conceding the third most and there’s not much indication that things are going to get better anytime soon.

Brumbies vs Waratahs

Before the season started this would have looked like a battle of the Australian heavyweights on paper, but the Waratahs haven’t been able to play their part. Their latest loss, a 51-14 thumping at the hands of the Chiefs their fourth loss in five games. There were some positives for the Tahs, 13 lineouts at 100%, 27 defenders beaten, but ultimately they converted 60% of possession into just two tries while watching seven go the other way. The Brumbies smoked the Sunwolves 47-14. Not much to read into there, the Sunwolves have been getting stomped on by everyone, but the Brumbies did what was expected. More telling was the week prior when they upset the Chiefs in Hamilton. If they can replicate that type of performance, they can compete with anyone. Their points differential is second best in the competition. The Waratahs would need a big turnaround in performance to make this competitive.