The Bones have been rolled and it is not good news for the Bully Boys. But those in Cape Town can smile. Perth will be kinder to the Stormers than Newlands has been this year.
With the bones having worked their way to 71 percent after a shocking start to the season, this weekend presents some of the trickier match-ups in the Vodacom Super 14 where form won’t necessarily be the only factor in determining results.
There are such things in sport as bogey teams and there are some results that can’t be explained. How the hell do you explain AJ Venter never having been on the winning side of a Sharks versus rubble Reds showdown? That’s just one example.
The Bully Boys, if form is the yardstick, should smash the Bumbling Blues. But it isn’t going to happen. Form will go out of the window and sheer desperation on the hosts’ part will see them upstage the Bulls’ charge for a play-off.
The Bulls were hardly rampant against the Farce in Perth and while the team spoke up the fact that they won a game overseas, the fact that the Bulls looked so vulnerable in the last quarter will have given the Blues some hope.
The Blues have been shocking this year, but they’re at home and they have shown themselves capable of stepping it up a gear, if only rarely this season.
The bones are backing the Blues to win by 1-12.
In Sydney the Waratahs will confirm their class and the Cheetahs will showcase their vulnerability. Victory to the Tahs by 12 plus.
And so we go to Perth where the Stormers won’t make history and give the Force their first win in the competition’s history. It won’t be convincing from the men in black and I fancy them to only win by five, meaning there will be a first ever bonus point for the Farce.
The Stormers certainly don’t have the championship flavour to their squad that they had eight weeks ago, but a team with Schalk Burger and the like in it should never be losing to the Farce hopefuls and pensioners. 1-12
In other action, expect the Sharks to triumph by 15 in Durban and the Crusaders to sneak a titanic battle against the Hurricanes, a team that traditionally has made them struggle in the competition. Saders by 1-12.
The other match will see the Hicks from Hamilton have too much in boring old Hickville for those southern suckers, the Highlanders. Hicks by 1-12.
31 March Blues v Bulls Auckland
March Waratahs v Cheetahs Sydney
Tahs 12 plus
March Western Force v Stormers Perth
1 April Hurricanes v Crusaders
Saders by 1-12
Chiefs v Highlanders
Hicks by 1-12
Sharks v Reds
Sharks by 12 plus