Super Rugby Aotearoa reaches the penultimate weekend with round nine of the post-lockdown New Zealand competition.
It also brings an opportunity for the Crusaders to seal the title with a week to spare, as they kick off two points clear of the Blues at the top of the log.
Their rivals have one game to play and take a bye this time around.
The Crusaders go for glory on home turf on Sunday when they tackle the Highlanders at the Orangetheory Stadium (kick off 5.35 SAST).
And they do so having put in a typically strong second half shift last weekend to muscle past the Chiefs 32-19 in Hamilton.
Their opponents suffered a home reverse at the hands of the Blues last time out, losing 21-32 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Saturday’s action pits the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in Wellington (kick off 9.05 SAST).
The Sky Stadium clash sees a return to action for the hosts following their final bye week, with their sights set on pipping the Blues to second place in the table.
For the Chiefs it’s one last attempt at winning a Super Rugby contest before they sit out the final round of fixtures.
The margin of defeat to the Crusaders restored some semblance of dignity, but seven defeats from seven and just five points on the board tells a different story.
Prediction methodology explained
The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.
The predicted points margin draws on calculations from by a New Zealand statistician.
Super Rugby Aotearoa: Fixtures and kick off times – Round 9
Times are SAST.
Saturday, 8 August: Hurricanes vs Chiefs – 9:05
Sunday, 9 August: Crusaders vs Highlanders – 5:35
Super Rugby NZ Predictions: Round 9
Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Crusaders vs Highlanders
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.