Tahs and Crusaders both out for blood in round 16
CRUSADERS (6th) V WARATAHS (8th)
- At AMI Stadium, Christchurch 5.35pm
- Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
- Head-to-head: Played 19, Crusaders 15, Waratahs 4
- In Christchurch: Played 10, Crusaders 9, Waratahs 1
- Last time: R10 2012: Crusaders 37 beat Waratahs 33 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The stakes are high in this one after both lost last week.
Only three points separate the teams on the ladder, meaning a win is crucial for both sides if they plan to keep their hopes of making the playoffs alive.
Expect them both to put it all on the line for 80 minutes.
The Tahs were flat in the loss to the Rebels a week ago, and will need to find some energy because they know the Crusaders are hard to beat at home - you only have to look at the NSW record in the city to see that.
BRUMBIES (3rd) V HURRICANES (9th)
- At Canberra Stadium, Canberra 7.40pm
- Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
- Head-to-head: Played 18, Brumbies 10, Hurricanes 8
- In Canberra: Played 10, Brumbies 6, Hurricanes 4
- Last time: R16 2012: Brumbies 37 beat Hurricanes 25 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
After two consecutive losses, the Brumbies stopped the rot last week with an impressive win in Auckland, and will look to increase their lead at the top of the Australian Conference with another clinical performance.
The Hurricanes, who should be well rested after the bye, have plenty to play for though - they must win if they are to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The return of captain Conrad Smith should give them a much-needed boost.
HIGHLANDERS (15th) V BLUES (7th)
- At Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 5.35pm
- Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
- Head-to-head: Played 21, Blues 14, Highlanders 7
- In Dunedin: Played 10, Highlanders 5, Blues 5
- Last time: R8 2013: Blues 29 beat Highlanders 18 at Eden Park, Auckland
The Blues have a perfect opportunity to end a two-game losing streak and keep in the hunt for a playoff berth at the same time.
The Highlanders have been in freefall all season, and missed a great chance to haul themselves off the bottom of the ladder after losing against fellow strugglers, the Force, in Perth last week.
The Aucklanders have far more to play for and will simply want it more.
The Highlanders have won just once this season, and that does not look like changing here.
REDS (5th) V REBELS (12th)
- At Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 7.40pm
- Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
- Head-to-head: Played 5, Reds 5, Rebels 0
- In Brisbane: Played 2, Reds 2, Rebels 0
- Last time: R4 2013: Reds 23 beat Rebels 13 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Few would have expected the Rebels to be the form team coming into this one.
However, they have won their past two games, while the Reds have lost theirs.
The Queenslanders cannot afford to slip up again, especially against a side they have never lost to.
The Rebels have nothing to lose, as they go for a historic first three-in-a-row, which could make it closer than expected.
The Reds should return to winning ways, but not by the margin many would have predicted earlier this year.
STORMERS (11th) V SOUTHERN KINGS (13th)
- At Newlands, Cape Town 1.05am
- Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
- Head-to-head: N/A
- In Cape Town: N/A
- Last time: N/A
The injury-hit Stormers should still have too much strike power for the competition newcomers, and they will also be full of confidence after beating the Reds at this ground last week, somewhere they win more often than lose.
The Stormers should win comfortably, and will look to chase a coveted bonus point, of which they have just one this season.
However, the Kings have already proved this season they are more than capable of upsetting the odds.
CHEETAHS (4th)V BULLS (2nd)
- At Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 3.10am
- Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
- Head-to-head: Played 10, Bulls 10, Cheetahs 0
- In Bloemfontein: Played 5, Bulls 5, Cheetahs 0
- Last time: R9 2013: Bulls 26 beat Cheetahs 20 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Both teams are in impressive form, with only one defeat between them since round nine.
Something will have to give in this one - the Cheetahs will be hoping it will be the end of their horrific record against the Bulls.
They have never beaten the Bulls in their 10 Super Rugby showdowns, something that is likely to play mind games with them.
The Bulls are looking too clinical at the moment, although expect this match to be tight.
Bye: Chiefs (1st), Force (14th), Sharks (10th) - All times AEST.