Super Rugby Round 10 Forecast


Last week there were assumptions taken. As normal, rugby predictions were made on form, ranking and history. That was until the Southern Kings turned that theory on it’s head! Their victory is a ‘heads up’ for all teams, as they lead into Super Rugby Round 10 this weekend.

The Waratahs assumed too much, and it has been a failing of several teams in 2017 so far. The Bulls too thought so over the Sunwolves, so in this round when a coach reiterates “any team is a threat” you know that the message is being rammed home. Don’t sit back on what you believe you know–play who is in front of you.

And the forecasted change in thinking should bring positives to the upcoming Super Rugby matches. And every side will need to watch for any of those banana skins laying around; the Chiefs will have been uneasy on their return, after the Force pushed them hard in Perth.

Halfway Point Passed as Tipping Point in Season

The forecast must commend the Kings for their result, but as much for their attitude. After hearing that their conference system would be culled by two sides, they have shown in the last three matches just how much heart they hold. The opposing Waratahs were to blame for their own mistakes, not taking advantage of possession and yellow cards.

That attitude was missing in Durban. It was messy, it was quite dirty as well–with a terribly executed tackle by Andre Esterhuizen costing him a six week suspension. Kicks were the only reward, and Reece Hodge saved his team….if a draw has any positives to it.

With three harsh results, even a Lions win was too close for their liking. The only teams who still executed their game plans were the three Kiwi sides who played at home. Each accomplished at least a 40 point result; the Crusaders hitting top gear, which must be a worry for the opposition. Not a worry for Kieran Read, as his mates went about ‘bashing’ the Stormers at home.

Kieran Read of the Canterbury Crusaders runs in to score a try during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand’s Canterbury Crusaders and South Africa’s Western Stormers (Photo credit MARTIN HUNTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Impressive Stats: Defenders Beaten

The name Ngani Laumape will be a leading figure in 2017. Top in this stat, followed by Vince Aso [top try scorer], Damian McKenzie and a slew of other Kiwi names–only three non-NZ players out of ten, which about sums up the power of the NZ conference.

Offloads: Jamie-Jerry Taulagi of the Sunwolves is making his name known, with 17 offloads (equal to SP Marais). Worthy mention of Jordie Barrett and Tevita Li. The ex-Blues man is still to find his form, but his exchanges are a quality worth noting.

Points: While men like Curwin Bosch and Elton Jantjies are heading past 80 points, the kudos last week was earned by Marty Banks. He ended his streak of 24 successful kicks, but it assisted his side in regaining the confidence after the heavy workload of Kiwi derby matches.

While stats are always tough to filter, the top tackler in Super Rugby Chris Alcock always lays his body on the line. Nearly 12 per game is a massive workload. Meanwhile, Damian McKenzie is chewing up the meters, with over 100 more than his nearest challenger. Both men are leading the way, after eight games of the 2017 season.


Now, to look forward to Round 10. The official match packs from SANZAAR shows that eight games will be enjoyed across all conferences (BYE: Bulls, Hurricanes). Past halfway, it is now critical that points are taken–especially bonus points.

Super Rugby Round 10 Forecast

Friday April 28

Last week’s loss must have hurt the Stormers. Our forecast was well off the mark, so any prediction is irrelevant. It may come down to determination–if that is the case, then the home side demonstrate that quality. Although, missing some firepower in the forwards will hurt. Elliot Dixon and George Whitelock are barnstorming flankers, so hope is that the new trio will hold off the fired-up Stormers.

Malakai Fekitoa of the Highlanders passes during the round nine Super Rugby match (Photo by Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)

The battle in the backline should be exciting, as the visitors hope to show they do have a range. Facing a packed outside back three, their defence might be a more important factor, with Malakai Fekitoa (above) needing to impress selectors; approaching the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.

Saturday April 29

The Sunwolves continue their adventure in New Zealand, when they head to Hamilton. Just as difficult as the first two fixtures, Filo Tiata must build his men up, as the Chiefs fans will be expecting a big score. With issues at halfback (after Finlay Christie was cited) so  Jonathan Taumateine gets a start, with Aaron Cruden possibly as injury cover [was that a hint from the All Black selectors?].

A more satisfying match-up will be held in Brisbane. With so much more than just the inter-state clash at hand, the winner here will have bragging rights and make claims for the conference lead (yes, the standings are that close). The traditional afternoon schedule should have been retained, as the viewing figures in Australia could be poor reading for the ARU Monday morning.

Full Plate of Matches on Super Saturday

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson (C) leads his team out to start the Super Rugby match (Photo credit GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

Over in Perth, the Western Force (above) have another chance to impress. For mine, the Lions will not be in a mood to ‘play around’ so unlike the Chiefs, they should not be troubled–if they bring a positive attitude. The same can be said of the traveling Crusaders. The first match on the road, not many will expect the Cheetahs to upset them….but, let’s still respect the opposition. Scott Robertson will be sure his men start well, and end the match well.

The Kings return home, and their match with the Rebels might not attract many viewers but it will be a crucial match. Again, the psychology of rugby is pertinent in this match, so the winner still can feel like they are achieving improvements.

Our final match will be played in Buenos Aires. A rugby match played on a Saturday night here means ‘party central’ so the fireworks and music will entertain the spectators. Importantly, the hosts need to keep their ‘party shoes’ in the box until the whistle is blown. A Jaguares v Sharks clash could go either way in reality, but the eventual ‘third wildcard’ place is possibly up for grabs in the African group.

‘Match of the Round’

GIO Stadium on an Sunday afternoon has not always been a successful outing for visiting Kiwi teams. More illustrious sides have failed, so Tana Umaga will need his players to be ‘up for this one’. And while professional rugby players should be aware of it, the consequences are pivotal in this match. Whoever drops the four points here, is falling into the grasp of a chasing bunch.

And it’s not like the home side cannot score tries. As was seen by this reporter Friday night, and voted Try of the Week–click on link above. Good, but only competing in segments of a game will not bring success. Even three tries in seven minutes is not enough to win a game in Super Rugby Round 10, so head coach Stephen Larkham needs to get the message to them; the conference lead is theirs for the taking. The Blues might have a say in how that message pans out Sunday.

For the Australian conference health, a Brumbies will is vital. Anymore losses to New Zealand sides will drive the nail even further into the region–all of the national unions efforts should be directed toward the Brumbies, ‘Tahs and Reds now, before the quicksand is too difficult to dig themselves out of.

The forecast is that teams have been given a ‘hurry up’ thanks to the Kings. It is not in the bag, and as the Sharks saw, any team can negate your powers. It should see some improved matches in Super Rugby Round 10. We are all looking forward to it.


This Week In Rugby History

A New Zealand Army XV beat Wales 6-3 in an Easter Monday match at Swansea. The WRU awarded caps to a team that is the first Welsh XV to lose against a New Zealand representative side.

Rugby continued its crawl towards professionalism with the IRB ruling that players could be paid for writing books and remain in the game as administrators and coaches. But there was no retrospective lifting of bans meaning the likes of Bill Beaumont, Fran Cotton and Mike Burton remained frozen out.

Sky Television unveiled plans for a multi-million pound professional southern hemisphere Super 12 rugby competition. A breakaway tournament, much as Kerry Packer’s World Series cricket had been, reports emerged vast sums had been offered to players as part of a bitter battle between Rupert Murdoch’s Sky, and Packer’s Nine Network.

England’s women won the World Cup, defeating USA Eagles 38-23 at the Edinburgh Academicals ground at Raeburn Place (where the first international match was played between Scotland and England in 1871).

The ‘Week in Rugby History’ is sourced from the ESPN UK ‘on this day’ webpage.

“Main photo credit”