RE: The Sharks will...
July 13, 2012, 05:13:41
I think both the Crusaders and the Bulls will wiin their respective matches with bonus points. That means they will be in positions 4 and 5 on the combined llog. That means that the fight will be on for position 6 only. My take on the games relating to the 6th position on the log is as follows:-
Chiefs vs Hurricanes
The outcome here could have an impact on the position of the Chiefs on the combined log. I the Chiefs loses this one - they will be second on the log and not first as at present. Even though they beat the Crusaders - I give the Hurricanes not more than a 20% chance of winiing this one. I think the Chiefs will win by 10 points - but not get a bonus point. That effectively would be that the Hurricanes would end up at number 8 on the combined log.
Reds vs Waratahs
The Reds started off the competition poorly - maybe due to injuries - but their performnances have improved recently. The Waratahs this year has blown hot and cold. I doubt very much if the Waratahs can beat the Reds - would not give them a more than 10% chance of winning this one. The Reds need a win and a bonus point as well even to be in contention - win with only 4 points would put them in contention for position 6 - a five -pointer for them is essential.. I think the Reds will win - but not get a 5-pointer - the Reds by 7 points.
Sharks vs Cheetahs
The Sharks will have an added advantage. By the time this game will start - the Sharks will kinow exactly what will be required to be at number 6 on the log. Even if the Hurricanes and the Reds win and get a 4 pointer in the process - the Sharks knows what would be required from them. if the merely need a win - they would play for that only - since they would have to travel to Canberra to play the Waratahs in the play-offs. They would also know whether they require a bonus point win to stay in contention. The Cheetahs lost by a huge margin against the Bulls and then played well against the Stormers in a game where weather and playing conditions were the great equaliser. They would not have that benefit against the Sharks - who beat the Bulls comprehensively last week. The Sharks also have the benefit of the return of Lambie and Alberts from injury and as a precaution they put Bismarck on the bench as well. They could save him for the play-offs, but will bring him from the bench if needed. They are also hoping that Du Toit and Jordaan will be able to play from the bench. I think that the Sharks will win and that a 5-pointer is on the cards. Te Sharks by 12 points with a bonus point being forecasted.
Based on my predictions - the overall log positions are likely to be as follows:-
1 The Chiefs
2 The Stormers - if the Chiefs win without a bonus point and the Stormers manage to get one - positions 1 and 2 will change.
3 The Brumbies
4, The Crusaders
5 The Bulls
6 The Sharks
That would result in an interesting play-off situation. I give the Bulls no chance to win in Christchurch against the Crusaders - but I give the Sharks at full strength (despite the top coach of the Brumbies) an 80% chance of beating the Brumbies in Canberra.