For the Super 14 teams that reach the final of the Super 14 Round 8 will be the half way mark. For teams like the Cheetahs that don't reach the Super14 final last weekend (Round 7) was the half way mark.

Here we take a quick look at the first three of this weekend's Super 14 matches coming up. Friday has two matches and Saturday has four.

With all of the upsets we have been having over the past few weeks picking a winner has not been an easy task.

A couple of teams have thrown the form book out the window and it's gone a long way to making the Super 14 Super again.
We start with the Crusaders vs the Bulls.

Crusaders vs Bulls.
Encouragingly for the Bulls they were the last South African Super Rugby team to beat the Crusaders in Christchurch. Unfortunately that victory came 13 years ago when the Bulls were known as the Northern Transvaal Blue Bulls and the AMI Stadium was known as Lancaster Park.
Interestingly that was the first night match ever played at the stadium. The Bulls won 34-18.
Last week the Bulls lacked any fire and were very disappointing. They were completely outplayed at the breakdown by the Highlanders. The Crusaders will surely have watched the Bulls last week with great interest looking for weaknesses.
Brad Thorn versus Bakkies Botha should be an entertaining match up to watch out for.
Quite often the third match is the touring team's worst on tour. We don't think the Bulls can be much worse than last week. They will also have Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana back from injury so they have to be better than last week. Surely?
The Crusaders have named pretty much the same team as last week but Jared Payne is hoping to start and Kahn Fotuali’i has replaced Andy Ellis. Last week the Crusaders showed that they have got the wheels back on their chariot and the Crusade is gathering pace. Overall the Crusaders have a 10-3 advantage over the Bulls in wins between the teams.
The Bookie have given the Crusaders a 3.5 point start. We think it will be marginally more in favour of the Crusaders. Crusaders should win by 5.
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: Friday 3rd April, 7.35pm (local),
Last year: Crusaders 54, Bulls 19 at Pretoria
Head to Head: Played 13 - Crusaders 10, Bulls 3
Last five results
2008 Crusaders won 54-19 in Pretoria
2007 Semi Bulls won 12-27 in Pretoria
2007 Crusaders won 32-10 in Christchurch
2006 Semi Crusaders won 35-15 in Christchurch
2006 Crusaders won 35-17 in Pretoria
Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)
Ref. Ass.: Vinny Munro (NZ), Jaco Peyper (SA)
TMO: James McPhail (NZ)
Crusaders : 1. Wyatt Crockett,2. Jason Macdonald ,3. Owen Franks ,4. Brad Thorn,5. Isaac Ross ,6. Kieran Read (Capt),7. George Whitelock ,8. Thomas Waldrom,9. Kahn Fotuali’i ,10. Stephen Brett ,11. Colin Slade,12. Tim Bateman , 13. Casey Laulala , 14. Jared Payne , 15. Leon MacDonald
Reserves: 16. Daniel Perrin . 17. Peter Borlase , 18. Michael Paterson , 19. Nasi Manu , 20. Tyson Keats , 21. Ryan Crotty . 22. Adam Whitelock.
Bulls : Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez (capt); Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw, Dewald Potgieter, Victor Matfield (capt.), Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Rayno Gerber, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Substitutes: Jaco Engels, Werner Kruger, Pedrie Wannenburg, Derick Kuün, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, JP Nel.

Western Force v Reds
Local derbies are always tough and with these teams being in the bottom half of the table but right next to each other this will be no different. It looks like this match could go a fair way to deciding who is the bottom placed Australian team even though it is still early days.
The Force have bundles of talent. They have Australia's and possibly the world's best number 10 but being stuck just above the Lions is not where they should be. On paper they should be above the half way mark.
Old habits seem to die hard for the Reds. Yes they scored 26 points and a bonus point at Suncorp last week but they also let 50 points in against the Chiefs. Their attack is working better but defence is still a problem.
The Reds have been given a 6.5 point start by the Bookies which is pretty big considering both teams are on 12 points on the Super 14 table and it is the Reds who are highest in 11th place.
The Force sadly never live up to expectations at home. Still, we think the Force will be able to hold off the Reds. The Force should win it (late) by 4.
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Kick-off: Friday 3rd April, 7.05pm (local),
Last year: Reds 29, Western Force 12 at Brisbane
Head to Head: Played 3 - Reds 2, Force 1
Last three results
2008 Reds won 12-29 in Brisbane
2007 Force won 38-3 in Perth
2006 Reds won 18-29 in Brisbane
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Aus)
Ref. Ass.: James Leckie (Aus), Julian Pritchard (Aus)
TMO: Geoff Acton (Aus)
Force :1. Pek Cowan,2. Tai McIsaac,3. Ben Castle,4. Tom Hockings,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),6. Matt Hodgson,7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown,9. Josh Valentine,10. Matt Giteau ,11. Nick Cummins,12. James O’Connor,13. Ryan Cross,14. Scott Staniforth,15. Drew Mitchell
Reserves:16. Luke Holmes,17. AJ Whalley,18. Sam Wykes,19. Tamaiti Horua,20. Chris O’Young,21. Junior Pelesasa,22. Haig Sare
Reds : Mark McLinden, Blair Connor, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Rod Davies, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill (c), Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley.
Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Jack Kennedy, Scott Higginbotham, Ezra Taylor, Brendan McKibbin, Anthony Faingaa, Charlie Fetoai.

Chiefs v Lions
They used to send the Christians in with the Lions to slaughter. These days we send the Lions in to be slaughtered by the Chiefs.
Sorry if you are a Lions fan but it's inconceivable that the Lions will be able to recover from arriving mid week in New Zealand from South Africa and be able to pick themselves up enough to stop the Super14's hottest team right now. It was probably this match that Ashwin Willemse saw on the fixture list and realised that now might be a good time to hang up his boots so he did just that.
The Chiefs have scored 113 points in their last two matches. They might have lost Sitiveni Sivivatu but Dwayne Sweeney comes on this week and within minutes of coming on last week he was on the scorecard.
In the match there are a couple of exciting personal clashes. Stephen Donald v Andre Pretorius and Richard Kahui v Jaque Fourie are a couple of clashes to watch out for.
The Lions did well to hold off the Hurricanes last week but they will need to take a big step up to even slow let alone get the better of the Chiefs who are scoring an average of over 56 points a match at the moment. It could be a very long night for the Lions.
The Bookies have given the Lions a 23.5 point start. If the Chiefs take their foot off the gas - and why should they - it might be a score line like the bookies predict. We think the Chiefs will slaughter the Lions. The Chiefs should win by more than 30 points.
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: Saturday 4th April, 7.35pm (local), 5.35pm (AEDT)
Last year: Lions 33, Chiefs 27 at Johannesburg
Head to Head: Played 11 - Chiefs 7, Lions 4

Last five results
2008 Lions won 27-33 in Johannesburg
2007 Chiefs won 34-7 in Hamilton
2006 Lions won 16-21 in Johannesburg
2005 Chiefs won 45-14 in Hamilton
2004 Lions won 21-23 in Johannesburg
Referee: Paul Marks (Aus)
Ref. Ass.: Chris Pollock (NZ), Glenn Newman (NZ)
TMO: Jonathon White (NZ)
Chiefs : 1. Sona Taumalolo,2. Aled de Malmanche,3. Ben May,4. Craig Clarke,5. Kevin O’Neill,6. Liam Messam,7. Tanerau Latimer,8. Sione Lauaki,9. Brendon Leonard,10.Stephen Donald,11.Dwayne Sweeney,12.Callum Bruce,13.Richard Kahui,14.Lelia Masaga,15.Mils Muliaina (captain)
Reserves:16. Hika Elliot,17. James McGougan,18. Toby Lynn,19. Serge Lilo,20. Toby Morland,21. Mike Delany,22. Jackson Willison.
Lions:15 Louis Ludik, 14 Shandre Frolick, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Doppies le Grange, 11 Henno Mentz, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Todd Clever, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (C), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Jannes Labuschagne, 3 Lawrence Sephaka, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe
Reserves:16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Willem Alberts , 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Deon van Rensburg

Waratahs v Stormers

Last week the Stormers lost to the Crusaders but it wasn't heavy defeat. In fact they only lost the match 11-7 which is not bad at all for a South African team in Christchurch.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has said that when the team is on the road they get to spend the whole week together and this is what is behind their away form that they have enjoyed over the past year or so. That said you cannot afford to miss 24 tackles and expect to win.
Unfortunately for the Stormers the Waratahs got their first ever win in Auckland last weekend and looked surprisingly settled under the guidance of Daniel Halangahu. Kurtley Beale will again warm the bench and after last week's Halangahu performance it looks like he will keep doing so.
This match has a number of personal clashes like Phil Waugh vs Schalk Burger. The lovable Luke Watson vs Wycliff Palu could also create some excitement.
The Stormers have surprisingly won two out of three of their last visits to Sydney so it's not a dreaded place to visit for the Stormers but the Waratahs have won their last 10 matches at the SFS going back to 2007.
The Bookies have given the Stormers a 6.5 point start and they will probably need it. Waratahs should win by 7.
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Kick-off: Saturday 4th April,
Last year: Stormers 13, NSW Waratahs 13 at Cape Town
Head to Head: Played 11 - Stormers 6, Waratahs 4, Drawn 1
Last five results
2008 Waratahs drew with Stormers 13-13 in Cape Town
2007 Stormers won 10-16 in Sydney
2006 Waratahs won 32-26 in Cape Town
2005 Waratahs won 25-10 in Sydney
2004 Stormers won 23-27 in Cape Town
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZ)
Ref. Ass.: Ian Smith (Aus), Garrett Williamson (NZ)
TMO: George Ayoub (Aus)
Waratahs : 1. Benn Robinson , 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Dan Palmer , 4. Dean Mumm , 5. Will Caldwell , 6. Ben Mowen , 7. Phil Waugh [c] 8. Wycliff Palu, 9. Luke Burgess , 10. Daniel Halangahu, 11. Lote Tuqiri , 12. Tom Carter , 13. Rob Horne , 14. Lachie Turner 15. Sam Norton-Knight
16. Damien Fitzpatrick, 17. Sekope Kepu, 18. Chris Thomson , 19. Luke Doherty^, 20. Brett Sheehan , 21. Kurtley Beale , 22. Timana Tahu
Stormers: Conrad Jantjes; Wylie Human, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers (captain), Sireli Naqelevuki; Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie; Luke Watson, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger, AJ Venter, Adriaan Fondse, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits and Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, JD Moller, Hilton Lobberts, Francois Louw, Dewaldt Duvenage, Willem De Waal and Dylan des Fountain.

Cheetahs v Brumbies
Eight weeks into the tournament and the Cheetahs finally get a home game. It seems unbelievable but it is surely unfair.
The last placed Cheetahs have not won a match since this week a year ago. On April the 5th last year they beat the Reds in Bloemfontein in Round 8. That's an 11 match losing streak.
Before that victory their last win was when they beat the Lions in the final round of 2007. What this means is that the Cheetahs have won 1 match out of their last 19. Who would put money on them beating the Brumbies this weekend? Why do South Africa want another Super Rugby team when this one clearly can't cut the mustard ?
This weekend the Cheetahs do have their captain and World cup winner in Juan Smith back so they should perform fairly well at home.
The Cheetahs have however only been given a 4.5 point start against the Brumbies who have been boosted by the return of their star back Stirling Mortlock. The last time the Cheetahs went to Bloemfontein they lost - that was back in 2007.
If the Brumbies lose this match they will more than likely drop out of contention for the play offs. Due to this we think the Brumbies should win by 7.
Venue: Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: Saturday 4th April, 3pm (local), 12am (Sun, AEDT)
Last year: Brumbies 29, Cheetahs 23 at Canberra
Head to Head: Played 3 - Brumbies 2, Cheetahs 1
Last three results
2008 Brumbies won 23-29 in Canberra
2007 Cheetahs won 38-20 in Bloemfontein
2006 Brumbies won 20-53 in Canberra
Referee: Matt Goddard (Aus)
Ref. Ass.: Phillip Bosch (SA), Stephen Hill (Aus)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SA)
Cheetahs : Hennie Daniller; Danwel Demas, Corne Uys, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe; Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Tewis de Bruyn; Hendro Scholtz, Juan Smith (capt.), Heinrich Brüssow, David de Villiers, Wayne van Heerden, Bees Roux, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Kobus Calldo, Nico Breedt, Kabamba Floors, Sarel Pretorius, Piet van Zyl, Fabian Juries.
Brumbies : 1. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore,3. Guy Shepherdson, 4. Ben Hand, 5. Mark Chisholm, 6. Mitchell Chapman, 7. George Smith (c), 8. Julian Salvi,9. Joshua Holmes, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 12. Tyrone Smith, 13. Stirling Mortlock, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15. Mark Gerrard
Reserves:16. Huia Edmonds, 17. Salesi Ma'afu, 18. Sitaleki Timani, 19. Peter Kimlin, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Gene Fairbanks, 22. Alfi Mafi, 23. Francis Fainifo
** one to be omitted

Sharks vs the Hurricanes
This is probably our match of the weekend. The Sharks are on a roll and the Hurricanes will have gotten over their jetlag.
The Hurricanes will be itching to get one back over the Sharks this year. The reverse of this match last year was that one where the Sharks got a 13 all draw in Wellington when the referee had blinkers on.
The Sharks were awarded a penalty try in the match and the Hurricanes were on their way to scoring in the corner but were robbed of a certain try by some dubious Sharks play. You can bet they will be looking to upset the Sharks this weekend.
The Hurricanes have been given a 6.5 point start by the bookies. On the field that's a converted try away. A lot depends on the Sharks top try scorer this season JP Pietersen who is bracketed on the team sheet. With Rory Kockott's kicking, home advantage and JP Pietersen fit the Sharks should be able to beat the Hurricanes.
Without JP Pietersen it should be a lot closer. We are going to take it that he will be fit and say the Sharks to win by 8.
Venue: The ABSA Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: Saturday 4th April, 5:05pm (local),
Last year:Hurricanes 13, Sharks 13 at Wellington
Head to Head: Played 11 - Hurricanes 6, Sharks 4, Drawn 1
Last five results
2008 Sharks drew with Hurricanes 13-13 in Wellington
2007 Sharks won 27-14 in Durban
2006 Hurricanes won 17-23 in Wellington
2005 Hurricanes won 23-29 in Durban
2004 Sharks won 21-20 in New Plymouth
Referee: Marius Jonker (SA)
Ref. Ass.: Joey Salmans (SA), Cobus Wessels (SA)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (SA)
Sharks : 15. Stefan Terblanche 14. Odwa Ndungane 13. Adrian Jacobs 12. Riaan Swanepoel 11. JP Pietersen / Luzuko Vulindlu 10. Francois Steyn 9. Rory Kockott 8. Ryan Kankowski 7. Keegan Daniel 6. Jacques Botes 5. Johann Muller (Captain) 4. Steven Sykes 3. John Smit 2. Bismarck du Plessis 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Jannie du Plessis 17. Deon Carstens 18. Albert van den Berg 19. Skholiwe Ndlovu 20. Charl McLeod 21. Monty Dumond 22. Luzuko Vulindlu / Chris Jordaan
Hurricanes: To follow.