Expect the boot of Morne Steyn to inflict some damage against the Waratahs.
Expect the boot of Morne Steyn to inflict some damage against the Waratahs. SMP Images - Warren Keir

Super 15 preview: Round 16

YOUR complete guide to the latest round of the Super 15.

HIGHLANDERS v FORCE

Dunedin, tonight
Referee: Jonathon White

TIPS

Andrew Slack (Wallaby legend) - 67/99 68%: Highlanders
Mike Greenaway (Natal Mercury) - 67/99 68%: Highlanders
Dylan Cleaver (NZ Herald) - 66/99 68%: Highlanders
Wynne Gray (NZ Herald) - 65/99 66%: Highlanders
Rachel Glucina (Herald on Sunday) - 64/99 66%: Highlanders

THE MATCH

Another lock-it-in win for the Highlanders after their easy victory last weekend against the Li ... what the, hang on a minute. Not to put too fine a point on it, last week's dreadful loss has probably cost the Highlanders any chance of appearing in the playoffs, but a win here would at least keep them interested. The Force outplayed the Hurricanes for 65 minutes last week, so have some chance.

WHAT TO WATCH

The jersey. Has there ever been more to do about nothing? The Highlanders have been in existence for precisely 16 years and have spent the majority of time losing while wearing blue and gold, so they're hardly trampling on a proud tradition.

REBELS v STORMERS

Melbourne, tonight
Referee: Chris Pollock

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Stormers
Mike Greenaway: Stormers
Dylan Cleaver: Stormers
Wynne Gray: Stormers
Rachel Glucina: Stormers

THE MATCH

If the Stormers leave Melbourne with at least four points, as the bookmakers expect them to do, then it will complete a very good Australasian tour after a shaky start in the Tron. They got out of jail in Auckland and smothered the woeful Brumbies, so you'd expect the capitulating Rebels to be a mere speedbump en route back to the Republic. Troubled playmaker Danny Cipriani has again been ignored as his Super rugby experiment looks to be coming to a sad and undignified end.

WHAT TO WATCH

Tackling, from the team in white at least. The Stormers have conceded just 13 tries in 13 matches. A bit of mental arithmetic puts that at approximately one try conceded per game. The stingiest New Zealand team, the Highlanders, have conceded 24.

BULLS v WARATAHS

Pretoria, tomorrow
Referee: Craig Joubert

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Bulls
Mike Greenaway: Bulls
Dylan Cleaver: Bulls
Wynne Gray: Bulls
Rachel Glucina: Bulls

THE MATCH

Seems a bit sacrilegious to suggest this when there are no New Zealand teams involved, but this is a no-brainer for match of the round. There will probably be more entertainment and more free-flowing rugby at other venues, but none have close to as much at stake as this match at Loftus. Occupying sixth and seventh on the overall table, the Bulls will leapfrog the Tahs if they win. That scenario, coupled with a Highlanders' win the previous night, would see the Sydneysiders drop to eighth and face a huge match at home the following week against ... the Highlanders.

WHAT TO WATCH

Goalkicking. The Bulls, or more particularly Morne Steyn, kick with an 80 percent success rate. That is second only to the Stormers (80.72%). The Waratahs are second-last in those same stats, at just 62.34 percent.

HURRICANES v LIONS

Wellington, tomorrow
Referee: Keith Brown

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Hurricanes
Mike Greenaway: Hurricanes
Dylan Cleaver: Hurricanes
Wynne Gray: Hurricanes
Rachel Glucina: Hurricanes

THE MATCH

Not one to get the pulse racing, but then again, neither was the Hurricanes-Force and that turned out to be an entertaining 80-minute diversion. It's been an interesting week in the nation's capital, with the apex of nonsense being the forced Andrew Hore-Mark Hammett love-in for the television networks on Monday. The obscure reference to some obscure "drink and violence" issues was what is known in the journalistic world as a man-denies-beating-wife story. Meanwhile, the Lions went to Dunedin and were well beaten by the Hi ... what the, hang on a minute.

WHAT TO WATCH

Hammett and Hore having a cuddle and sharing a strawberry daiquiri at Hummingbird later in the evening.

BLUES v CHIEFS

Auckland, tomorrow
Referee: Bryce Lawrence

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Blues
Mike Greenaway: Blues
Dylan Cleaver: Blues
Wynne Gray: Chiefs
Rachel Glucina: Blues

THE MATCH

If things were different then this might have been a classic derby - but then again, if things were different, I might be typing this from a superyacht moored off the Amalfi Coast. The key is to channel life's disappointments in the right direction, so the under-achieving Chiefs will be trying to play pesky neighbour to the NZ Conference-topping Blues and the author will be taking night classes in alchemy.

WHAT TO WATCH

The Blues would have sat back last week and taken a measure of pleasure in the Crusaders' woes in Brisbane. That pleasure will dissipate quickly if they fall prey to the similarly rested Chiefs (who, in years past, have won matches on Eden Park when not expected to). So expect two bye-rested teams going full noise to impress the All Black selectors.

REDS v BRUMBIES

Brisbane, tomorrow
Referee: Garratt Williamson

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Reds
Mike Greenaway: Reds
Dylan Cleaver: Reds
Wynne Gray: Reds
Rachel Glucina: Reds

THE MATCH

It should be a walk in the park for the Reds. Cock-a-hoop after sneaking past the Crusaders, they're already thinking title in Queensland. You can forgive them their optimism. As for the Brumbies, about the only thing they're thinking about is 2012 when former Springbok supremo Jake White takes the helm.

WHAT TO WATCH

A one-sided rout. Or so you would think. The Brumbies have found point-scoring tough this campaign, their 253 grand total bettering only the Rebels. The Reds 372 is bettered only by the Crusaders. Stranger things have happened, but really only a fool would back the Brumbies.

CHEETAHS v SHARKS

Bloemfontein, Sunday, 3.05am
Referee: Mark Lawrence

TIPS

Andrew Slack: Sharks
Mike Greenaway: Sharks
Dylan Cleaver: Sharks
Wynne Gray: Cheetahs
Rachel Glucina: Sharks

THE MATCH

This is an intriguing way for the curtain to drop on the rugby weekend. The Sharks need this badly but face a team that is playing with a freedom and joie de vivre rarely seen on the highveld. In fact, the Cheetahs must be looking at games against the Bulls, Lions and Hurricanes that they let slip through their fingers and wondering what-if? The Sharks have beaten up the minnows efficiently, but have looked a little short of class when facing
the big boys.

WHAT TO WATCH

The referee. Watch the way Mark Lawrence controls the game and ask yourself how he didn't manage to get a World Cup gig ahead of others, including his compatriot Jonathan Kaplan.

BYE

Crusaders


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