The Vodacom Bulls have a well deserved week off which gives us an opportunity to look back on their recent run as well as to look ahead at the rest of the season.
During the last bye week we suggested that the Bulls needed 18-19 points from their next four matches in order to get comfortably into playoff contention. They delivered on that expectation and now with six games left are perfectly placed at the top of the South African Conference.
While they don’t play this weekend their three closest rivals are in action and we take a look at those matches.
Reds v Sharks
The Sharks were firm favourites for the Conference at one point but things have gone horribly wrong and a defeat to the Reds would make it three successive losses on tour, something they would struggle to come back from. From a Bulls perspective the Sharks falling out of contention would be good news as the sides still need to meet twice before the end of the tournament. The Sharks have a good recent record in Brisbane winning two of the last three but a crippling injury list means we are going for a home win this weekend.
Prediction: The bookies are giving the Sharks a 6 points start but we think the Reds by 8 points or more
Cheetahs v Hurricanes
The Bulls gave the Hurricanes a hiding last week but will now be hoping that their opponents can rise up and beat the Cheetahs who are shaping up as possibly their biggest dangers for the local Conference. The Cheetahs have had a week off and the Hurricanes have lost the services of Captain Conrad Smith and the home team deservedly go into this as seven point favourites. The Hurricanes have won 50% of their games in Bloemfontein and with their playoff hopes all but gone we expect a big effort from the visitors.
Prediction: This may well be an entertaining high scoring game but we think the Cheetahs will do enough to grab a win probably by no more than 7 points.
Waratahs v Stormers
The Stormers threw victory away against the Blues last week and the result is that they are under serious pressure. They play a Waratahs team growing in confidence but that have had to travel back from South Africa and all indications are this one will go down to the wire. From a Bulls perspective the hope is that the Waratahs can justify three point favouritism but the Stormers did win in Sydney two outings back and with injured players coming to hand I think they will be able to strangle their hosts and claim a narrow win that will keep them in the Conference hunt. The Stormers of course play the Bulls at Newlands on the last week of the regular season.
Prediction: Stormers by less than 7 points
The Bulls have six matches to play and the three home games against the Highlanders, Kings and Sharks are must wins with the first two hopefully coming with a bonus point. They also face the Sharks, Cheetahs and Stormers away and these will be very tough fixtures meaning any help they can get from overseas opponents this weekend will be much appreciated.
Never miss a try in the Super Rugby with Voltbet. Visit the Voltbet Sports Desk and follow Voltbet on Twitter and Facebook for up to date Bulls match previews, statistics and predictions.
If you would like to find out more about Voltbet and sports betting contact Mpumelelo Lembede or Justin Button from the Sales team on 087 940 6079.
Stand by the Bulls with Voltbet