Super Rugby 2012: 4 Teams Guaranteed to Lose in Round 18

Stephen GillamContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

Super Rugby 2012: 4 Teams Guaranteed to Lose in Round 18

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    Another one bites the dust.

    The Highlanders' season is over after they finished with a loss to the Reds last week.

    Conspiracy theories abound after the Sharks picked up a convincing win over the Bulls (although those theorists were suspiciously quiet after the Sharks-Lions match), while the Crusaders solidified their position with a win over the Chiefs.

    It's the final week of the round robin, and teams are jostling for positions at both ends.

    After two from four last week, I've called 51 from 68  this season. With some superb games coming up this weekend, what teams will finish on a high?

Blues

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    It's been a season to forget for the Blues.

    After being tipped by many to finish second in the New Zealand conference, the star-studded team struggled to get just three wins this year.

    Their campaign comes to a close against the Brumbies in Canberra.

    The Brumbies have it all to play for, knowing that a win will guarantee them third place on the table. Watch for them to stifle out the New Zealanders' attack, gain the ascendancy and keep it that way.

Force

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    There's talk of an upset brewing as Nathan Sharpe finishes his Super Rugby career in Christchurch.

    The Crusaders know how to lose stupid games and indeed lost the corresponding fixture a couple of years ago, but that won't happen this week.

    If they lose, the Crusaders stand a chance of missing out on the post-season. They know this, and will close the season out strongly to pick up momentum and a home game for the playoffs.

    Add David Pocock's absence to the mix and there's no way the Force give Sharpe the perfect farewell.

Rebels

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    The Rebels play the Stormers in South Africa and there's no way they're taking win number five.

    They're ninth in points scored this season, have yet to win outside Australia in franchise history and the Stormers aren't the team to get started against.

    These guys are good. The only team to have conceded less than 300 points this season (having leaked 233), they'll win in a similar fashion to the Brumbies, but be better at it.

Reds

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    Final call of the season, and it's an upset.

    Emotions will be running high after some of the Reds are reportedly unhappy with missing out on a Wallabies jersey, while Quade Cooper has expressed his desire to heap more misery on the New South Welshmen after their season and the State of Origin.

    Throw in the usual intensity of these games, and neither side will be lacking the motivation to win this one.

    However, I can see the Waratahs getting up one last time with ruination of the Reds' season in mind. Whatever happens on Saturday night, the game will be close but it's the Waratahs who will get over the line.