The Chiefs will be without Damian Mckenzie when they host the Lions, the Sunwolves face a stern test against the Hurricanes and the Sharks host the Reds on Friday the 19th of April 2019. Shaun Goosen takes an in depth look at Friday’s Super Rugby Round 10 matches
Chiefs v Lions
Chiefs (-7.5) 9/10
Lions (+7.5) 9/10
The Lions may continue to struggle on tour as they gear up for Friday’s encounter with the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Johannesburg-based outfit have been far off the pace in 2019, currently occupying the bottom of the South Africa conference after picking up just four wins from their eight matches so far. The past fortnight has been particularly tough, with the Sharks hammering them 42-5 at Emirates Airline Park before going down 31-20 to the Brumbies in Canberra.
Considering the notoriously bad away record that sides from the Republic have accumulated over the past several seasons, it’s difficult to see Swys de Bruin’s men being in any position to challenge for a playoff berth when their tour concludes in Canterbury next week.
While Elton Jantjies and Malcolm Marx will start Friday’s encounter on the bench, the return to the run-on XV of Warren Whiteley and Kwagga Smith will serve as a boost.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs seem to be hitting their straps following their abysmal start to the campaign after picking up wins in their last three games. Despite the season-ending injury to the electric Damian McKenzie, they should have enough in the tank to claim a solid victory on Friday.
Verdict: Chiefs by 10-or more.
Sunwolves v Hurricanes
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium
Sunwolves (+16.5) 9/10
Hurricanes (-16.5) 9/10
The Hurricanes should prove too strong to become the Sunwolves’ third scalp of the season in Tokyo on Friday.
Although the Chiefs and Waratahs slumped to shock defeats to the Japanese side in recent rounds, the ever-wily John Plumtree will know what to expect come Friday’s kick-off. He would have prepped his men for what could prove a tricky test at the Chichibunomiya.
The Wellingtonians are second in the New Zealand conference and while they are unlikely to usurp the Crusaders at its summit, should continue to maintain the pressure for a qualifying spot with a win on Friday.
Despite the visitors missing the Barrett brothers as well as the red-hot Ardie Savea, the Sunwolves will find the going tough. Hadleigh Parkes will, as ever, be tasked with keeping his side close via the kicking tee, but it remains to be seen whether his forwards can physically match the Canes’ pack.
Verdict: Hurricanes by 14-points or more
Sharks v Reds
Jonsson Kings Park
Sharks (-13.5) 9/10
Reds (+13.5) 9/10
The Sharks have another opportunity to put some consistency into their game when they host the Reds at Jonsson Kings Park on Friday.
The Durbanites have once again baffled this season with a 2019 record that reads as follows: W, W, L, L, W, L, W, L. Certainly, Robert du Preez’s side’s inexplicable form means that predicting how exactly they will fare each weekend has become somewhat problematic for sports punters; especially considering their fluctuating performances are nothing new (they won seven, lost eight and drew one of their matches in 2018.)
They face a Reds team that has picked up seven-less points than them this season, and which has also struggled to apply their own brand of footy to matchdays. Brad Thorn has recalled Australia international winger Sefa Naivalu to a relatively settled run-on side. The Sharks, meanwhile, welcome back Beast Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen to the fold.
If the hosts put in a similarly poor defensive effort as they did last week, the likes of Samu Kerevi and Naivalu will be hard to stop. A more assured display without ball in hand should see them take the win at home.
Verdict: Sharks by seven-points or more.