The Bulls will host Super Rugby’s final against the Crusaders – and win it!
I am with the bookies on this weekend’s semi-finals, both to be played on Saturday.
The Crusaders have shown the best form in the last few weeks at a time when the Chiefs have looked secondary to their status as champions.
The big name players in the Crusaders are showing Test-like form and home ground advantage isn’t likely to be the significant advantage in Hamilton. The Chiefs will be passionate and tough but they won’t have the class to beat the Crusaders, whose pack has been performing better and whose backline has looked superb because of the direction from Dan Carter.
I have the Crusaders to win by 10-plus.
I also have the Bulls to win by 10-plus, despite the obvious vulnerability in a pack missing Juandre Kruger, Pierre Spies and Arno Botha.
The Brumbies have been sensational at times this season and appeared outgunned at others. They’re a good side, magnificently coached by Jake White and his assistants, and if the match was being played in Canberra I’d have them to shade it.
But the Brumbies looked exhausted in the win against the Cheetahs. Several of the players look emotionally drained after being involved in the Lions three-Test series.
White has spoken about starting well and getting early points to silence the Loftus crowd but the Brumbies, in their evolution currently are more a good than a great side, and they don’t have the class just yet to regularly do what they did to the Sharks in Durban.
The Bulls physically will also never fall away as the Sharks did. Then there is also the Loftus crowd which will be a far greater element that a half empty Kings Park was a few months ago.
Morne Steyn will be the influential player in the semi-final. His boot will be accurate and his tactical kicking game will be as effective.
The Bulls will win and it will be the Crusaders who have to travel to Pretoria for a play-off.
Fortunately we know how that movie plays out … and it isn’t with a New Zealand victory.
As it is the Kiwis have the World Cup, the Bledisloe Cup, the Rugby Championship, the Sevens World Cup, the Sevens World Series and the Women’s World Cup and Sevens World Cup. They also have the Super Rugby trophy, courtesy of the Chiefs, so they really can do with one less trophy.