Super Rugby 2012: 4 Teams Guaranteed to Lose in Round 5
Last week, my Hurricanes got brought back down by the Highlanders, who managed to keep up their winning ways. The Stormers continued to look good, and the Waratahs were stunned by the Force, who picked up after being trounced the week before.
The Reds also showed that they have work to do if they want to compete with overseas teams and go back-to-back this season.
I went 3-for-4 in my picks, bringing my figures to 11-for-16. With my crystal ball looking sharper, what does it have predicted for this week?
After last week's loss to the Force, I expect the Waratahs to rebound.
But I'm not convinced they'll rebound this week against a Sharks outfit that plays a similar kind of game—and does it better.
While Wycliff Palu should return, several players are still unconfirmed because of injury, including Lopeti Tomani, which add to the physio's bench that already includes Rocky Elsom, Drew Mitchell, Pat McCutcheon and Chris Alcock.
With the amount of injuries they have, the Waratahs will struggle against a Sharks side buoyed by their comeback win against the Reds.
They got their late winner against the Rebels, but the trip to Christchurch is going to be a different beast for the Cheetahs.
Dan Carter's return will give the Crusaders a lot more direction, and Matt Todd will compete with Heinrich Brussow at the breakdown, but most important is what will be going on inside the Crusaders' locker room.
This is the first Super Rugby game to be played in Christchurch in a a mighty long time. When they need a win to get their season back on track, watch for the Crusaders to really lift for this one.
In their loss to the Sharks last week, the Reds went down to their third-tier fly half.
Digby Ioane's suspension does an already depleted attack no favours against a Bulls team that has looked good so far this season.
The home team coming off a bye week should win this fairly comfortably.
You can't really go past the Stormers here.
The Lions have been as underwhelming as one might expect this season, and I see no reason for their game to work any better against the Stormers this weekend.