This weekend's predictions!

Date published: July 12 2014

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions from the southern hemisphere.

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions from the southern hemisphere.

So we come to the final round. Calculators have been used, teams checked and form studied as the battle for the play-off spots reaches fever pitch.

It will be a nervy wait for the fifth-place Hurricanes, who watch from their bye week as seven games play out which will make or break their season.

Key games are in Canberra where the Brumbies host the Force while the Blues vs Chiefs and Crusaders against Highlanders also excite.

Everything is on the line, it's win or bust – that makes it a brilliant weekend to put your money where your mouth is and get involved with some rugby betting!

Let's get started.

Super Rugby

Blues v Chiefs

The Blues have lost once on home soil this season while the Chiefs have claimed one win on the road in 2014, which came in February in Christchurch. Because of this there would be a tendency to side with the Aucklanders at their fortress but because of the nature of the game, the cards possibly fall into the Chiefs' favour as this is knockout rugby, something the back-to-back Super Rugby champions have become masters at over recent seasons.

Unlike their hosts, Dave Rennie's men also have the cushion of knowing they do not require any miracles elsewhere. For them it is win and they're in.

Consequently we fancy them to win by 1-12 points at 13/8 and with the Blues having to chance their arm – they need to win by 38 points – it could be an open game so why not add in Chiefs wing James Lowe to score two or more tries at 11/2. Free-scoring centre Bundee Aki is 10/1 for the same feat.

Brumbies v Force

The game of the week in terms of its importance, one of the Brumbies and Force will progress into the knockouts with victory in Friday's second game.

We're not expecting a high-scoring try-filled contest in Canberra and thus would advise going for the 1-10 margin. For whom? Value wise and also due to the Brumbies being made to think over that loss at the 'Tahs in their bye, we think the Force have the momentum so the 7/2 price on that intrigues.

Crusaders v Highlanders

Last time these two met it was a pulsating spectacle from start to finish, with a disallowed Patrick Osborne try at the death ultimately seeing the Crusaders hold off the Highlanders. Had that try been awarded, it would likely be the men from Dunedin sitting on top of the New Zealand conference.

But as it is the Crusaders have come good at the right time – it is the business end of Super Rugby after all – and they know that a victory would guarantee a home semi-final in a fortnight's time. Even a losing bonus-point or the Highlanders failing to claim a maximum could prove to be enough.

One player who has been critical to their resurgence is wing Nemani Nadolo and Paddy Power have made him 6/1 favourite for the first try of the game. However, we like the look of some outsiders for an anytime score as last time the Highlanders' fringe defence looked flaky to say the least, with Tim Perry and Nepo Laulala crossing along with Jordan Taufua. The prop duo don't start this weekend so Wyatt Crockett at 11/1 is our choice to power over.

Stormers v Sharks

The regular-season curtain comes down in Cape Town where the Stormers look to continue their solid late form against the Sharks, who will know what's required to secure a home semi-final before kick-off. If the Crusaders pick up a bonus-point win, the Durbanites must chance their arm this Saturday.

We can't see the Sharks scoring four tries though against a strong defence which nilled the Bulls last weekend so expect a tight affair at Newlands, with the exact winning margin definitely worth a go. We like the look of the Stormers by 2 or 3 points at 22/1 and 20/1 respectively with Paddy Power.

Superbru Super Rugby predictions:

Blues v Chiefs: Chiefs by 3
Brumbies v Force: Force by 1
Bulls v Rebels: Bulls by 20
Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders by 15
Reds v Waratahs: Waratahs by 3
Lions v Cheetahs: Lions by 5
Stormers v Sharks: Stormers by 2