The bones, battered with a return of just three wins in seven starts a week ago, have entrusted the bully boys with restoring order to the percentages.
The Crusaders, having taken a defensive pounding against the Canes and Tahs, have been made to look punch drunk in their last two bouts and in the Bulls they face the toughest physical opponent in the competition.
If this match was in Christchurch it would be a no brainer. In Pretoria, it’s a different animal that emerges from the tunnel and the big game on Friday will go to the Bully Boys.
It simply has to if South Africa is to retain an interest in the competition.
In the early game the Canes will whip the Reds and confirm their semi-final, while the Tahs will have too much ammo for the depleted Chiefs.
The Cheetahs will also be too strong for the Force, the Brumbies will have too many tricks at home against the Highlanders and the bumbling Blues should still overcome the Calamity Cats.
The other big SA derby takes place in Durban and this is the year when the Sharks turn the tables on Keo’s loved Stormers.
As it pained Mark Andrews to predict a Stormers win when the two teams met a year ago, it pains me to call against the Stormers. Victory to the Sharks because they’re currently a better team, a better coached outfit and they’re playing far better rugger.
Friday 5 May Hurricanes v Reds
Canes by 12 plus
Bulls v Crusaders
Bulls by 12 plus
Chiefs v Waratahs
Waratahs by 12 plus
Brumbies v Highlanders
Brumbies by 12-plus
Cheetahs v Western Force Bloemfontein
Cheetahs by 12-plus
Sharks v Stormers
Sharks by 1-12
Cats v Blues
Blues by 1-12