Super Saturday: Five matches to enjoy, across Four Continents

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Alex Newsome of the Waratahs runs with the ball during the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Rebels and the Waratahs at AAMI Park on June 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Opening the day to read the upcoming fixtures of Super Rugby, any fan can feel engaged. With five matches to enjoy, across four Continents, it has ‘something for everyone’ on this Super Saturday.

Games in Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Singapore and in Fiji demonstrate the wide reach of the 2018 competition. Even though some have said it is ‘far too spread across the globe’ but, that can also be a benefit. This means five matches are spread over a ten hour broadcast window…..that could be seen as perfect timing.

And while fans rebound from the June International fixtures, it is time now for fans to get back on the Bandwagon of Super Rugby. To change colours and show their franchise/provincial pride.

Super Saturday: Five matches to enjoy, across Four Continents

A game-by-game review might take all morning to read, so a brief overview of the matches and – how critical some may be, in the overall standings.

HIGHLANDERS v CHIEFS

Coming to us from the warm climate of Suva, Fiji, this clash will either help the Highlanders cement their third place in the combative New Zealand Conference. Or, the Chiefs could rise higher and look for a better finals series finish.

The conditions should be favourable, and while the ‘Landers have yielded their home advantage under the roof in Dunedin, they might well enjoy fan support. The Fijians love having a Super Rugby match, so the atmosphere will be epic!

ACT BRUMBIES v HURRICANES

The one fixture that has less to do with standings, then it might have to do with outcome. How much can the Hurricanes win by? If that is unfair to the Australian side, then they are victim’s of their own position.

Head coach Chris Boyd still respects the opposition,  is still wary of the conditions; expect near freezing weather. But if the Hurricanes wingers can stay warm (gloves & a vest recommended) then they should ‘run rings around them’. A cricket score might be on the cards, in Canberra.

SUNWOLVES v BULLS

Up in Singapore, the ever appreciative Asian rugby fan base enjoys more rugby at the wonderful National Stadium. In the mild, dry conditions, either the Sunwolves high energy footy will surprise and steal another win for the home side. Otherwise, expect the Bulls to ‘blow through the opposition’ like a stampede. The Africans must collect points, if they hold any chance of securing an Wildcard place in the Super Rugby playoffs.

The Sunwolves can perform. They have beaten the Bulls and with Tony Brown deputized for Jamie Joseph, might spring a surprise on their former-African conference rivals.

SHARKS v LIONS

If not critical for the Lions, then it might be the proof that fans in Johannesburg need, after so many years of ‘close, but no cigar’ results. Are they the real deal? With the same being asked of the Sharks.

This could be as gripping as any fixture this week. Having strong local support might prove an advantage – and at this stage of the season, every good team must maximize every single advantage.

JAGUARES v STORMERS (Match of the Day)

Maybe the 2018 success had got to the players. Maybe the winning run from the Jaguares was too good to be true. But recent Pumas results could affect the home team’s subconscious motivation. Mario Ledesma must get his men to switch back into the mode they displayed during the mid-stages of the competition.

Opposing them are a team which could, or could not, turn up. The Stormers fail to fire and don’t show the killer instinct. Do that, slip-up now, and that team could kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

The mental game will be just as important in Buenos Aires in the last game of our Super Saturday. For mine, it should put the ‘cherry on the top’ of ten hours of mouthwatering rugby union. Rugby from all four corners, and rugby for everyone to enjoy.

Super Rugby Week 17 – completed match results

Two matches were played on Friday night.

Auckland Blues 39 Queensland Reds 16

In a poorly attended match, the two cellar-dwellars from New Zealand and Australia failed to improve their standings – even as the Blues won their first home game of 2018. Yellow cards galore, the stop-start nature and error ridden game showed how the sides can ‘only get better’ in 2019. Roll on the final few games.

Jerome Kaino of the Blues is farewelled by the team following the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Reds at Eden Park on June 29, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

In a sentimental note, Blues stalwart Jerome Kaino ran out for his final appearance at Eden Park. Known for his bone-shattering tackles, the former All Black leaves for French Rugby. He may miss the team, but he must surely leave hoping that his side improve in 2019 – for the franchise, and his friend Tana Umaga’s sake.

Melbourne Rebels 26 NSW Waratahs 31

One of the more interesting fixtures, it might have seen the Rebels take a huge bite out of the Waratahs Australian Conference hopes, if they could have shown some fight. But unfortunately for Victorian fans, the New South Wales dominance continued – even without Israel Folau and Michael Hooper.

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For a more in-depth breakdown, SuperXV.com have a extensive Week 17 preview here.

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