The Hurricanes have looked the more convincing, albeit against weaker opposition, while the Chiefs have seen off some tricky opposition. The Chiefs are at home over the last 12 months, however the Hurricanes are on the road and as the road underdog.
The Brumbies will still be sore over the way they lost to the Sharks last week. Late in the game their line outs went astray and in the 80th minute, with the scores locked at , the Brumbies pushed for the winner only to concede an 81st minute try down the other end.
The result leaves them without a win and with some tricky fixtures coming up the Brumbies will be desperate to return to winning ways to avoid a potential lengthy losing streak. Ben Hyne has recovered from injury and get his first start of the season. They trailed at the minute mark but took full advantage of a yellow card infringement by the Reds to score 11 unanswered points to win the game. The Force should get some reinforcements back in the coming weeks, but have added another player to the injury list, with lock Adam Coleman ruled out for five weeks with a calf injury.
After thrashing the Rebels in Round 1 the Blues were brought back to earth with a defeat to the Chiefs. I had talked up their improvement in defence but the Blues missed 25 tackles last week. Coach Tana Umaga was perhaps guilty of placing too much faith in his young players by giving them the start following their good result in Melbourne.
By the time the Blues brought their six All Blacks on from the bench they were down Nevertheless the Blues can take positives from the fact that they won the final 20 minutes despite being down a player.
The Blues will hope they can turn around their fortunes against their fellow compatriots. Since last season they have gone against foreign opponents but against Kiwi sides. They will be without the services of Steven Luatua after he picked up a four-week suspension.
The Blues are starting with their All Blacks this week. The Highlanders are the only Kiwi franchise yet to win this season after they blew a lead against the Crusaders before losing To lose in that fashion to their biggest rivals will hurt badly, but they need to refocus quickly as they take on the Blues who beat them at this venue last season. Injuries continue to be a problem for the Highlanders this year.
Centre Jason Emery has been ruled out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Reds succumbed to their 9th consecutive away defeat last week, losing to the Force. Of concern for the Reds will be how their line-outs and scrum went awry in the second half. The Crusaders came back from down to defeat the Highlanders last week to remain undefeated for the season. Former Chiefs back Seta Tamanivalu and Waikato recruit Whetu Douglas have proven to be strong acquisitions in the off-season, with both players scoring tries in each of their opening fixtures.
I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1. The Kings took a major step towards avoiding the competition wooden spoon by defeating the Sunwolves in Singapore. They went against South African sides last year in their return to Super Rugby, so claiming a domestic scalp will certainly be a goal this season. It remains to be seen whether they have the quality to do so, however. The Stormers moved to after seeing off the dangerous Jaguares in Cape Town. Young fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis has paired up well with veteran halfback Jano Vermaak this season, which has contributed to their strong start.
The Cheetahs jumped out to a lead over the Bulls last week and managed to hold on for a win. This follows a competitive showing against the Lions so the Cheetahs have started this season much better than most had expected. Fred Zeilinga is 13 from 15 so far from the boot this season. The Cheetahs have averaged five converted penalties per game this season so you might want to consider him for your fantasy team.
The Sunwolves look destined for the competition wooden spoon after they fell to the Kings in Singapore last week. That was quite possibly their only winning fixture this season. All odds are with Sportsbet — our No. The Chiefs were leading with around 15 minutes to go and one penalty try and two intercept tries in quick succession put the Chiefs to bed.
Neither the Reds nor the Brumbies looked overly impressive in the opening week, but the Reds were woeful against the Rebels. The Brumbies battled tough to win by seven points over the Japanese franchise, but the win was supposed to be much easier than that.
The Sunwolves might not have come away with the win last week against the Brumbies but they will be confident about the performance. Losing by seven points was a much better result than expected and they have a good chance to notch their first win of the season against the inconsistent Rebels.
Bookmakers have the Rebels as the firm favourites at —7. The Crusaders kicked off their title defence with a win over the Chiefs and although they were behind with 15 minutes to go, the win will instill some confidence.
They come up against the Stormers, which won in Round 1 over the Jaguares before losing to the Waratahs in Sydney last week and the Crusaders have an amazing record over their South African rivals. In eight games played between these two sides, the Stormers have won only one. That came in and the Crusaders have since rattled off six consecutive wins. Redemption could be on the cards this week against the Waratahs, which have struggled to win in Durban since winning in Since that time the Sharks have won all three home games over the Waratahs and the last two wins came by a combined margin of 55 points.
The Waratahs will be confident having beaten the Stormers by seven points last week in Sydney, but this is a different test and making the long trip to South Africa typically takes its toll.
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