It’s not what you think – it’s more like that stupid reality programme ‘Hardcore Pawn’ – nowhere near as exciting as it sounds!
The four play refers to the semi-finals of Super Rugby – the misleading heading (ha ha) was merely to try and get more people to read it and was, predictably unsuccessful.
Although, to be fair you’re still here aren’t you?
Whilst the numbers are biased in favour of the 3 NZ franchises, the one remaining team from SA are at home and will remain in Johannesburg for the final should they triumph tomorrow.
The first game is an all NZ affair (obviously) with the Crusaders hosting the Chiefs.
The Crusaders have won the title 7 times and have an impressive run of 11 semi-final victories. This is the most of any Super franchise and 9 have been at home.
To comfort the Chiefs – they beat the Christchurch side in the semis’ of 2012 and 13 (in Hamilton). However they have never won an away semi-final and I expect them to keep that unfortunate record on Saturday.
Crusaders by 9
Similarly the Hurricanes have never progressed to the final from an away semi-final.
This will be the first match this season in which the Lions face a New Zealand team and that will encourage the Hurricanes. Last week the Sharks almost pulled off a shock against the Lions – they could and probably should now be in NZ for their own tilt at getting to the final.
The Lions aren’t invincible at home – but they are very hard to beat.
History is against both the Chiefs and the Hurricanes – of the 42 semi games that have been played since 1996 only 8 have been won by the visiting side. And only once (1999) have both away teams triumphed.
I’m going to ignore the stats and go for a Hurricanes win on the road.
Canes by 5