The weekend is here, and with it comes some epic clashes with both the round and oval ball. With so much going on, we’ve picked the 5 games you need to watch this weekend:
Hurricanes v Chiefs, Wellington
Saturday gets off with a bang with a massive New Zealand derby. These are arguably the two form teams in the competition (neither side has lost since round two), but also two of the most free-scoring (of their run of five wins in a row each, both have notched four try bonus points). While it will be a tight encounter, there’s no doubt that both teams will give the ball some air and use their running strengths against one another. T Canes will have homeground advantage, but the Chiefs have a much better record against the top teams and are building some superb momentum.
Prediction: Chiefs by 5
Stormers v Reds, Cape Town
The Stormers will have to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to the Lions, but they face an incredibly unpredictable Reds side on Saturday. The Queenslanders have been incredibly underwhelming overall, but have shown signs of promise, particularly against the Highlanders a fortnight ago. With that said, the Stormers at home should be far too strong for the Australian side.
Prediction: Stormers by 15
Brumbies v Crusaders
Two cracking sides go head-to-head again on Sunday, with the Brumbies hosting the seven-time champions, the Crusaders. The men from Canberra looked like the team to beat in the opening few rounds, but have stumbled somewhat in recent weeks, most notably in a big loss at home to the Chiefs. The Crusaders have begun their usual mid-season resurgence with some powerful performances, but are still a little unpolished in the all-round game. This should be a tight clash with penalties deciding the difference.
Prediction: Brumbies by 3
Manchester City v Stoke
There has not been much between the two sides in their previous five meetings, and City have shown that they can be stopped after Newcastle held them to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night. Pellegrini’s side may have one eye on their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, but they are back at the Etihad and have enough quality within the side to gain all three points over the Potters, who have not won any of their last three league games.
Prediction: 2-0 to Manchester City
Leicester City v Swansea
Leicester City was momentarily tripped in their current championship campaign with a 2-2 draw versus contending squad West Ham United last Sunday, but that should be the only bump in the road left. We think that Leicester will bounce back from last week with a victory in this one, they know they are so close to the league title and will not want to pass up that opportunity. Despite being without Vardy they should have enough with Riyad Mahrez pulling the strings and Ulloa coming in up front, we think backing them to win to nil is a good bet given they have kept six clean sheets in their last eight Premier League outings.
Prediction: 1-0 to Leicester City
What match are you most excited for this weekend? Let us know in the comments below and tweet us at @MenStuffZA.