Super 15 preview: Round 18

YOUR complete guide to round 18 of the Super 15.

BLUES v HIGHLANDERS

Auckland, tonight
Referee: Bryce Lawrence

TIPS

Mike Greenaway (Natal Mercury) - 76/113 67%: Blues
Andrew Slack (Wallaby legend) - 75/113 66%: Blues
Dylan Cleaver (NZ Herald) - 73/113 65%: Blues
Rachel Glucina (Herald on Sunday) - 72/113 64%: Blues
Wynne Gray (NZ Herald) - 72/113 64%: Blues

THE MATCH

The week kicks off with a match between a team that has posted a recent run of LLLL against another with LLL. The Blues have not won since May 6. That's bad, but the Highlanders' curse is plain spooky. They haven't won since Friday the 13th... and they have a hooker named Jason!

WHAT TO WATCH

This is meaningful for one team only, with the Highlanders cooking their goose with back-to-back home losses to Super 15 krill - the Lions and Force. The Blues were good last weekend in the 'Ru, suggesting they aren't sitting like lame ducks ready to be shot at in the first week of the playoffs.

REBELS v FORCE

Melbourne, tonight
Referee: Garratt Williamson

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

The only utterly meaning-less match of the final round.

WHAT TO WATCH

Eighty minutes of ordinary, utterly meaningless rugby.

CHIEFS v REDS

Hamilton, tomorrow
Referee: Keith Brown

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

The Reds might be a little uptight, being as it is a chance to lock in home ground for the playoffs. The Chiefs are under no such pressure, though they would like to send Ian Foster out a winner after eight years long service.

WHAT TO WATCH

Stephen Donald to convert his own try from the sidelinewith the clock reading 79m 58s, giving the Chiefs a one-point win. That will be followed by three cheers, a spirited rendition of For He's a Jolly Good Fellow and a happy hour on pre-mixed bourbon-and-colas at the Wolf and Beaver in uptown Waiuku.

CRUSADERS v HURRICANES

Wellington, tomorrow
Referee: Chris Pollock

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

A home match for the visitors, a last chance for redemption for the wantaway Hurricanes. It means very little to the Hurricanes, but a great deal to Mark Hammett. Confused? That's the state in which the beleaguered coach has spent the majority of the season. The Crusaders need this victory. When they need something, they very nearly always get it. In that way, they are the anti-Hurricanes.

WHAT TO WATCH

In a game of juicy match-ups, none held as much appeal as the midfield clash between Sonny Bill Williams and Robbie Fruean and the All Black veterans Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith. Until SBW got a bruise.

WARATAHS v BRUMBIES

Sydney, tomorrow
Referee: Bryce Lawrence

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

The crucial fixture that means everything to 44 players watching it in South Africa, Saturday morning local time. If the Brumbies were to continue their good run of recent form and tip over their disliked opponents, there will be a lot less riding on the Bulls-Sharks clash at Loftus. The Waratahs should be too strong though. They made easy work of the Highlanders and don't lose many at the SFS.

WHAT TO WATCH

Matt Giteau's last Super match. For old time's sake, it would be nice to see him drive a dagger into Waratah hearts with a last-minute penalty - if Stephen Moore lets him.

BULLS v SHARKS

Pretoria, Sunday
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

There's a belief in this part of the world that other derbies are interpretive dance by comparison with ours. That theory should pirouette out the door here. Assuming the Waratahs win, this shapes as a winner-takes-all push for the playoffs. You don't want to be the losing coach under that scenario.

WHAT TO WATCH

The old master versus the young pretender. As usual, the Bulls' success has come from the unerring boot of Morne Steyn. The Sharks' Patrick Lambie has 182 points, putting him 21 behind Steyn this season, though his 80 per cent success rate is better. He looks a bit more likely with the ball in hand, too.

CHEETAHS v STORMERS

Bloemfontein, Sunday
Referee: Marius Jonker

TIPS

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

THE MATCH

The Cheetahs cannot play any role except spoiler here, something they can do well. You suspect the Stormers'suffocating style might be too much for the free spirits from the Free State. A Stormers loss combined with a Crusaders win would give the Cantabs a nice little week off to start the expanded playoffs.

WHAT TO WATCH

Sarel Pretorius. This is his last chance to go outright leader in the Super 15 try-scoring stakes - he and the Bulls' Bjorn Basson have nine - and to impress the impressionable Peter de
Villiers before the Tri-Nations. He seems to have most things going for him except size, which we're told isn't everything.


When should you take supplements?

When should you take supplements?

Supplement only when you need to.

Events promote CH

Events promote CH

Tips to ensure your event attracts a large amount of traffic.

Paramedic speaks on the impact of mental health

Paramedic speaks on the impact of mental health

Paul Spinks spoke to over300 Glencore workers in Clermont Wednesday.

Local Partners