It’s time for round eight of Super Rugby Aotearoa, as this weekend sees the rebooted New Zealand competition head towards the home straight.
The Kiwi tournament does so off the back of a second successive week of close encounters.
It’s top versus bottom on Saturday when the Crusaders travel to play the Chiefs in Hamilton (kick off 9.05 SAST).
The clash pits a near-perfect record against a decidedly imperfect one, with the Chiefs having slipped to a 17-21 defeat away to the Blues last time out to make it a miserable six on the bounce without victory.
A rarest of rare home defeats also befel the Crusaders, who were pipped 34-32 by the impressive Hurricanes in Christchurch.
It left the gap at the top of the New Zealand log at two points as the finish line approaches in a few weeks’ time.
The Blues are in pole position to overtake the serial champions, with a visit to the Highlanders their next task on Sunday (kick off 5.35 SAST).
Their Eden Park success last weekend was a fourth win from six, taking them to 17 points.
The Highlanders re-enter the fray following their bye week, with a losing record of two wins from five in need of improvement.
Last weekend’s heroes, the Hurricanes, take a bye this weekend.
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 8
Times are SAST.
Saturday, 1 August: Chiefs vs Crusaders – 9:05
Sunday, 2 August: Highlanders vs Blues – 5:35