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Round 19: Five things to look forward to

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Check out our list of five things to look forward to at the road to the finals heats up.

MAGIC 23
Twenty three is the magic number for the Chiefs against the Hurricanes on Friday night. If the Chiefs can beat the Hurricanes by 23 points with a bonus point they will secure a home quarterfinal. This means that the Hurricanes will lose home ground advantage for a crunch quarterfinal against the Chiefs. The Chiefs don’t have to look far for inspiration. Just two weeks ago they piled 42 points on the Highlanders in a flawless first half. If they repeat that performance against the Hurricanes then it could be playoff time in Hamilton. Grab your tickets to see if the Chiefs can put a spanner in the works of the Hurricanes.
LIMA’S FINAL FLING?
The Highlanders clash against the Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday evening could be Lima Sopoaga’s last match in front of his home fans. Since debuting for the Highlanders in 2011, Sopoaga has become a fan favourite and one of the southern team’s most reliable performers. With the Highlanders unlikely to finish above six on the ladder, the Highlanders will be forced to play away from home in the playoff rounds. Sopoaga will want to finish on a high in front of his home fans, so grab your tickets to see him in action one more time.

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1998
It’s been 20 years since the Crusaders won their first Super Rugby title with a 20-13 victory over the Crusaders in an epic final. This Saturday night, the Crusaders will pay tribute to that trail-blazing team with a reunion during the match against the Blues at AMI Stadium. A whole host of Crusaders legends will be in attendance as the current team looks to make it 12 straight wins and continue their winning momentum into the playoffs. Get your tickets hereto join the fun.

WHO WILL TOP THE AFRICAN CONFERENCE?
With one round remaining, the African conference title is still up for grabs. The Lions sit in the box seat on 41 points, but the Jaguares are breathing down their neck on 38 points. The equation is simple for the Lions – beat the Bulls in Johannesburg and top spot is yours. If the Lions lose, it will be a nervous wait. The Jaguares take on Sharks in the final game of the round and a victory will give them top spot (provided the Lions don’t win). Even if the Lions secure a losing bonus point and both teams finish on 42 points, the Jaguares will grab top spot because they have won more games in the regular season.

AUSSIE BLOCKBUSTER
The Waratahs may have wrapped up the Australian conference, but they face a massive test against the Brumbies in Sydney on Saturday night. The Brumbies have been one of the form teams of the last few rounds and were unlucky not snatch a late victory from the Chiefs last week. The Brumbies still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs. If the Rebels and Sharks both lose and fail to pick up bonus points, then a bonus point win to the Brumbies over the Waratahs will see them into the playoffs. Either way – a cracker is instore in Sydney.