Just three weeks remain in the Super Rugby Aotearoa regular season and much like the cross-Tasman equivalent, the races to sneak into the finals is red-hot.
I’ve previewed both games scheduled for this weekend, and you can find my Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 8 tips below.
The Highlanders can keep alive their finals prospects in Round 8 of Super Rugby Aotearoa, but they’ll need to beat the second placed Blues.
The Highlanders delivered the Crusaders their first loss off the season two weeks back, but squandered an opportunity to consolidate third position when they lost to the Chiefs.
With that opponent now in the box seat, every result is crucial for the Dunedin-based franchise, and they’ll need to draw on all of their strengths to win this.
The Blues have been a clear second in Super Rugby Aotearoa all season, and enter this match fresh off the bye week.
At home, the Highlanders can muster seriously special performances, and I am banking on it this week.
The Chiefs will attempt to pull off the seemingly impossible when they host the ladder-leading Crusaders on Friday afternoon.
They were very slow from the blocks, but the Chiefs have slowly continued to gain momentum, and they now sit third in overall standings after sneaking past the Highlanders in Round 7.
That performance was probably their best of the campaign so far, but there’s no doubt that they’ll need to go to another level to even compete with this opponent for the full eighty.
The Crusaders weathered a spirited fight from the Hurricanes last weekend, and while it was far from their best performance, they still did enough to win, and that’s all you can do.
It would take a braver man than me to tip against them.