Good news for the Warriors and their fans: they won’t be losing this weekend. Along with seven other teams, they have the bye. Last night the Panthers continued their recent reversal of form when they beat the Sea Eagles 15-12.
Tonight the first placed Rabbitohs play the Eels, it’s been a big week for the South Sydney side as they welcome in James Roberts on a mid-season transfer. Tomorrow night the Bulldogs play the Raiders, then on Sunday the Titans face the Cowboys. Of course, all eyes are on Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday for the start of the State of Origin series.
Blues v Bulls, 7:35 tonight, Eden Park
Key storyline: Even though they have the slimmest mathematical chance of making the playoffs, the main reason for taking the field now for a lot of the Blues is to cement their spots in the upcoming All Black season. It’s getting down to crunch time for Ma’a Nonu to make an unlikely comeback to the test side, but also for the likes of Tom Robinson and Akira Ioane to force their way into contention.
Will it be sweet or stink? This is a pretty important game for the Blues, a loss here may well send them back to where they were this time last year. Even though they’re most likely going to finish last in the NZ Conference, it hasn’t been quite as bad as 2018…so far. Prediction: Blues by 10
Chiefs v Crusaders, 7:35pm Saturday, ANZ National Stadium Suva
Key storyline: This may well be a bit of a speed bump for the Crusaders, who haven’t exactly been the unstoppable force everyone thought they’d be heading into the playoffs. The Chiefs certainly showed last week that they aren’t afraid of tackling, either.
Will it be sweet of stink? Super Rugby games up in Fiji have been pretty entertaining in the past, and these two teams certainly are capable of matching that sort of excitement. Prediction: Crusaders by 12
Sharks v Hurricanes. 1:05am, Kings Park
Key storyline: The pressure is now firmly on the Hurricanes to maintain their second spot in the NZ Conference on a tricky trip to South Africa. While the Sharks have been exceptionally hot and cold this season, expect them to be a tough challenge at home.
Will it be sweet or stink? It’s probably going to be a low scoring game, the Sharks will try and tackle their way to victory, so maybe put this one on record then fast forward your way through in the morning. Prediction: Canes by 5
The Highlanders have the weekend off, in other games the Rebels play the Waratahs tonight, the Sunwolves face the Brumbies on Saturday afternoon, the Reds have Los Jaguares, and the last game of the round is the Lions against the Stormers.
After last night’s shock elimination final result that saw the Stars upset the Steel, we can now look forward the Auckland side facing the Central Pulse in the grand final on Monday afternoon. The Pulse were probably training up to face the Steel for the last couple of weeks, but now have to deal with the upstart Stars.
Game One of the NBA Finals Series starts today at 1pm, with the Toronto Raptors hosting the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors are playing in their first ever finals series, and the appearance is a huge payoff after some big moves in the off-season, that saw them cut veteran DeMar Rozan for Kawhi Leonard. Meanwhile the Warriors are after their fourth title in five years, with this series being the first in their dynasty to not be against the Cleveland Cavaliers.