Super 15 Rugby 2013 Round 20: Highlighting Top Teams to Watch
This promises to be a thrilling week of rugby.
Round 20 is the last chance teams will have before the playoffs begin on July 19. With the difference between the teams at the top being so small, there's plenty of chance for a lot of movement in the final week.
No teams are safe, so even the first-place Bulls will be heavily motivated in order to win and secure the top spot. They're just one of the many teams that deserve the spotlight this week.
Along with the Bulls, here are two other teams you should be highlighting in Round 20.
You can catch the full schedule on the Super 15 official website.
There hasn't been a team better than the Bulls, who are sitting atop the table with 63 points at the moment. They have what should be a very tough test against the Stormers, though, who are fighting to overtake the Cheetahs.
If the Bulls win, then they're guaranteed to finish first, so there's a lot of motivation for them going into this fixture.
Time and again the Bulls have gotten the job done. It hasn't always been pretty, but this team almost always seems to come out on the right side. That was never more apparent than in the 20-19 win over the Sharks. The Bulls were missing a few key players on international duty, yet still managed to emerge victorious.
For nine consecutive matches, the Bulls have come out on top. If they can make it 10 against the Stormers, that would be a nice accomplishment. They'll need a much better performance than they had in Round 19 though.
With some strong play and a little bit of luck, the Brumbies could end up topping the table. They're within shouting distance of the Bulls, and with a date against the Force looming, they should be able to put a lot of pressure on the Bulls and second-place Chiefs.
The Brumbies have been a very good team all year. They had some real disappointment in 2012 and have recovered very well in 2013.
Winning this match will be key for the qualifiers, as the Brumbies would likely much rather face the Cheetahs in Round 21 than the Reds.
No team has been better defensively than the Brumbies. When you throw that in with the Round 11 41-7 win over the Force, this should be a rout for them.
As things stand now, the Crusaders are going to be in the playoffs. It's just a matter of whom they'll play in the next round. It's possible that they could finish in the top two, but the chances of that happening seem pretty remote.
If anything, the Crusaders will want to finish in that top three. They've certainly looked like the third-best team all year, as they have the third-highest point total and third-best point differential.
The Crusaders will definitely be riding high after a 43-15 win over the Chiefs in Round 19. It might not be quite as high a margin of victory this week, but the Crusaders should have a rather easy time against the Hurricanes.
Since 1996, in the 24 times these teams have met, the Crusaders have won 15 times, with the Hurricanes getting six wins.
The Crusaders have a lot to play for, so they'll be very motivated. The Hurricanes will put up a fight, but the Crusaders will just be too much to overcome.
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