Super Rugby Semifinals: Who Will Go Through?

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Super Rugby Semifinals: Who Will Go Through?
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After more then four months of intense rugby which has involved brutal derbies, travelling across time zones and player fatigue, the end is in sight.

It has been the longest ever installment of Super Rugby, and four teams remain. Each team will have the mindset that all they need to do is win two more matches, and this is indeed the case. It is as simple as that.

We have two mouth-watering clashes on Saturday, starting off with the Reds entertaining the unpredictable Blues. Later on in the day, the Stormers will play host to the Crusaders in front of what is sure to be a vociferous crowd.

What makes this weekend's semifinals so exciting is that we have two very even encounters in which anything can happen. To my recollection, I think this year's Super Rugby semifinals will be harder to predict then any of recent history in that there truly is no clear favorite.

The Reds, although topping the log, have gone off form in recent weeks with a loss to the Brumbies and an unconvincing win against the Force. However, the away win against the Chiefs will have galvanized them for the playoffs.

The Stormers will have self-doubts about their ability to overcome the "big games," having already lost three times at Newlands this season (to the Reds, Bulls and under-strength Crusaders). Their team selection already indicates the conservative/defensive game-plan they intend to adopt.

The Crusaders have spent more miles in the air than on the land in this competition, and their ability to have overcome mitigating circumstances (such as travel, playing away from home, events in their home town) is certainly commendable. Will they be able to translate this self-belief into belief on the field?

The Blues have been erratic this season, especially in recent weeks having lost to the Reds, Stormers, Chiefs and Crusaders. They were able to overcome the Highlanders and Waratahs to qualify, but they will have to dig deep if they are to win against the Reds. 

Many questions will be asked, and they will all be answered this weekend. Take a look at the slideshow to see my PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS for these games.

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