6 Bold Predictions for Super Rugby Matchday 3
Week 3 sees four all-domestic clashes fill the Saturday schedule with the Highlanders visiting the Chiefs, the Reds hosting the Waratahs, Canberra's Brumbies heading west to face the Force, and the Bulls looking for their first win of the season over the Lions.
With the fast-starting Sharks having a week off, it's time for one of the other favourites to take centre stage.
Here's what will happen.
1. Highlanders to Topple the Champs
After stunning the Blues with 24 points in the first half last week, the Highlanders have an altogether tougher assignment in Round 3.
They visit the champion Chiefs in Waikato and are underpowered with the loss of veteran Brad Thorn from the second row.
Despite that, they will carry confidence from their opening win and can catch the Chiefs cold. Their All Black duo Ben Smith and Aaron Smith will get the better of the home side, which could have as many as six players making their home debuts in the competition.
2. Folau to Score Another Hat-Trick
The highly fancied Waratahs travel to Brisbane to tackle a fellow Aussie franchise in the Reds, and they have the most dangerous man in the competition in their ranks.
Israel Folau plundered a hat-trick last week against the Western Force, and Saturday sees him return to the scene of his Wallaby debut in which he scored twice against the British and Irish Lions in the first Test.
It will be a happy hunting ground for him again as he piles in with another triple.
3. The Badger Will Bag a Bit of Meat
The Western Force entertain the Brumbies in Perth with Nick Cummins on the left wing.
Cummins is comfortably the most entertaining man off the field in the entire competition with his flair for the one-liner and bonhomie.
On the field, the man they call The Honey Badger is no joke, though, and will open his Super Rugby account this weekend with a try or, as he likes to call it, a bit of meat.
4. Brumbies to Win in Perth
Despite Nick Cummins getting on the scoresheet, the Brumbies, who made the final last year, will win in Western Australia.
Brumbies wing Henry Speight has also declared the men from Canberra are out for revenge after losing on the Force’s patch last season.
Laurie Fisher’s men lost their opener to the Reds last weekend, but they will get off the mark against Cummins and Co.
5. Bulls to Bounce Back
The Blue Bulls have endured a torrid start to this campaign with back-to-back defeats to the Cheetahs and the Sharks.
On Saturday they face the Lions, who have had Marnitz Boshoff to thank for his goal-kicking that has won their first two contests.
It’s time for the men from Loftus to pull their socks up and post a "W" on the board, which they will do in front of their home crowd this weekend.
6. Loftus Will See the Most Points
According to the Super XV site, the average score when the Bulls play the Lions at Loftus Versfeld is 38-27 to the home side, so we can expect plenty of points on the board between these two.
With the home side eager to put a smile on the faces of their fans after such a poor start and the Lions having points machine Marnitz Boshoff operating at fly-half, there is no reason this match should not live up to its predecessors.