The Super Rugby Pacific finals are just around the corner, and several more potentially vital matches will be contested in Round 12!
The match of the round looks like materialising in New Zealand on Saturday evening, when the Chiefs host the Brumbies in Waikato.
Check out my complete Super Rugby Pacific Round 12 Tips below.
The round begins across the ditch on Friday afternoon, and betting suggests this could be the most one-sided match of the week.
The Blues have been nothing short of outstanding this season. They step out in Week 12 on top of the ladder, and following a tough win over the Force in Perth.
The Rebels, meanwhile, have been awful, but last week’s performance and win over Moana Pasifika was gutsy, and probably their best of the entire campaign.
I think that the bookies have just about got this one correct, and the Blues can record another easy win.
The Reds will start favourites when they welcome the Highlanders to Brisbane on Friday night.
They are yet to account for the Kiwi sides, and the Reds suffered another tight and disappointing loss in Week 11, this time to the Chiefs. The result was soured further by an injury sustained by star prop Taniela Tupou, who will subsequently miss this clash.
The Highlanders have quite clearly been the worst of the Kiwi franchises this season, but they did do enough to sneak past the Fijian Drua in Round 11.
Even without Tupou, I think the Reds will just be too good.
The Waratahs look well placed to record another win over Moana Pasifika in Round 12 of Super Rugby Pacific.
It was the certainly the upset, but perhaps also just the standout performance of the entire Super Rugby Pacific season. The Waratahs, given virtually no chance by the bookies and pundits alike, ground out an impressive and tough win over world rugby giants, the Crusaders. They’ve been a vastly improved side in 2022, and a win like that one would catapult them into serious title calculations.
Moana Pasifika have continued to improve as the season has progressed, and while they did lose again in Round 11, they pushed the Rebels the entire way.
I’m looking forward to these two forward packs going head-to-head, but the Waratahs are the better side.
The match of the round looks like coming up between the Chiefs and the Brumbies on Saturday evening. These are two of the competition’s better teams, and both enter Round 12 in the top four.
The Chiefs were ultimately lucky to beat the Reds in Round 11, but a win is a win, and they take plenty of momentum back to New Zealand.
The Brumbies, meanwhile, cruised past the Hurricanes in the nation’s capital, and that was undoubtedly one of their better performances of the year.
I don’t have nearly as much between these two sides as the bookies do, and I think that the value lies in backing the Brumbies to cover the line as outsiders.
The Force face another stern task when the Crusaders visit Perth on Saturday night.
In my opinion, the Force have exceeded expectations in 2022, and they were unlucky not to win in Round 11 after pushing the ladder-leading Blues all the way. They face a very good side (obviously) in the Crusaders, but I actually think that they aren’t as good as everything thinks, this season.
That was underlined by last week’s shock loss to the Waratahs, and taking nothing away from that opponent’s performance, it was a game they really should have won.
I’d hate to come up against a team like the Crusaders a week after a loss like that one, but I think that the Force can finish within 17.5 points.
The Hurricanes return home with their tails between their legs, but this looks an ideal opportunity for them to bounce back.
Things looked good for an unbeaten run against the Aussie sides when they ‘Canes delivered the Reds defeat in Round 10, but they came crashing back down to earth via a pretty comfortable loss to the Brumbies last week.
The Drua, meanwhile, played their first-ever home game in Suva, and they were unlucky not to pip the Highlanders, going down 27-24.
I think that the Hurricanes will bounce back in a big way.