Predictions: Super Rugby, Premiership and more…

Date published: March 3 2017

The Six Nations might have a weekend off but it is full steam ahead everywhere else this weekend with Super Rugby topping the bill.

A vital relegation battle in the Premiership and tough trip to Toulouse for Top 14 leaders La Rochelle will also be worth tuning in for.

Let's see who will come out on top this weekend.

SUPER RUGBY

Hurricanes v Rebels

Preview: It’s fair to say all the signs point to a home victory, not least because the Hurricanes have won each of their last six fixtures at home, and have conceded just 12 points across their last three home games.

Prediction: A fifth successive win over the Rebels looks on the cards for the champions in Wellington on Saturday. Hurricanes by 25 points.

Highlanders v Crusaders

Preview: The 2015 champions were far off their usually excellent pace in that home defeat to the Chiefs last weekend, putting them on the back foot right at the start of what is expected to be another tightly contested New Zealand Conference.

Prediction: Even without Ben Smith, the Highlanders should rediscover their clinical edge and come out with the win in Dunedin. Highlanders by five.

Brumbies v Sharks

Preview: History favours the Canberra side in this fixture as they have won six of their last nine games against the Sharks, including each of their last two in 2013 and 2014.

Prediction: A first win of the season is up for grabs after losses in the opening round, and while the Sharks are tough customers, homeground advantage should see the Brumbies through. Brumbies by seven.

Sunwolves v Kings

Preview: This is an important fixture for both sides, as both strugglers from last year's season will be desperate for the four points available.

Prediction: It should be a tight match between these two inexperienced sides and although the Sunwolves are playing at home, the Kings should have a little more skill and that will just tip the scales in their favour. Kings by six.

Lions v Waratahs

Preview: While the Waratahs are looking to avoid back-to-back away losses for the first time since Round 16 of 2015, the Lions should be comforted by the fact they picked up a five-point win against the Waratahs when these teams last met.

Prediction: After the arm-wrestle that was the 'Tahs v Force, one fears how the former will cope with the pace of this game. Lions by 12.

Stormers v Jaguares

Preview: The Stormers have lost only one of their last 12 regular season games against opposition from outside South Africa, including wins in their last two such fixtures (W10, D1).

Prediction: The Stormers won't get as easy a first half as last week against the Bulls, but their good start to the season should continue. Stormers by six.

Cheetahs v Bulls

Preview: After losing their opening fixtures last weekend, the Cheetahs and Bulls will both be desperate for victory when they clash in Bloemfontein.

Prediction: This should be a closely contested affair but homeground advantage will be crucial. Cheetahs to win by three points.


PREMIERSHIP

Worcester Warriors v Bristol

The battle to avoid relegation from the Premiership is one of the tightest in years following Bristol's win over Bath last weekend, cutting the gap between 11th and 12th place to just two points.

Considering the way Bristol started the season they have produced quite the turnaround since Andy Robinson's departure thanks to a number of individual performances, previously Jason Woodward and last weekend from Gavin Henson.

Worcester's addition of Gary Gold to the coaching staff and the return to fitness of Francois Hougaard however have also brought a marked improvement in their performances, and home advantage on Sunday feels vital. It will be tense, and it will certainly be tight.

The fact that the game is at Sixways feels like a decisive factor. Worcester by three.

Other Premiership predictions:

Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs: Leicester by 6
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints: Sale by 5
Bath v Wasps: Wasps by 9
Gloucester v Harlequins: Gloucester by 5
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens: Saracens by 3


TOP 14

Toulouse v La Rochelle

Eighth faces second on Sunday and if Toulouse want to be a force come the end of the season in the play-offs then they have to reel in surprise package La Rochelle, given that one of France's most successful sides currently find themselves outside the play-off places after 18 matches.

La Rochelle on the other hand are in the middle of a fairytale season, kept off top spot in the table only by their head-to-head with Clermont having picked up notable scalps away from home – such as a recent 23-20 win over Toulon – and playing with an attitude on the road that most French clubs normally lack.

Toulouse lost last time out against Pau on home soil, a defeat which led to plenty of stern words, but La Rochelle are deservedly favourites and this would mark another big feather in their cap. La Rochelle by six.

Other Top 14 predictions:

Castres v Clermont Auvergne: Castres by 5
Bayonne v Pau: Pau by 7
Grenoble v Racing 92: Grenoble by 3
Brive v Toulon: Toulon by 5
Lyon v Montpellier: Lyon by 3 
Stade Français v Bordeaux-Bègles: UBB by 6


PRO12

Edinburgh v Ospreys: Ospreys by 8
Ulster v Treviso: Ulster by 30
Connacht v Zebre: Connacht by 25
Glasgow Warriors v Newport Gwent Dragons: Glasgow by 18
Cardiff Blues v Munster: Munster by 6
Leinster v Scarlets: Leinster by 5

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