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Super Rugby: Chiefs look to go clear at the top

The Chiefs get the chance to move clear at the top of the Super Pacific Rugby ladder when they take on Fijian Drua on Friday.

Seven rounds have been played and the Chiefs have taken the season by storm, winning all seven games.

They are the hot fancies to make it eight, and by doing so can move clear at the top of the ladder, as the Brumbies in second place do not play.

As well as the Chiefs v Fijian Drua there are also three other games to look forward to in week nine.

Also on Friday night the Rebels take on the Crusaders, before the action moves on to Saturday with the Blues versus Waratahs, while the Force play the Highlanders.

Chiefs go for eight in a row

WhatChiefs v Fijian Drua
WhereFMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
When17:05 (AEST), Friday 21st April 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsChiefs 1.04, Fijian Drua 10.00

The Chiefs will be out to make it eight wins on the bounce when they take on a Fijian Drua side that has picked up three wins from their seven games so far this season.

It will be a huge upset if Fijian Drua can pull off the win and coach Mick Byrne says they have come up with a game plan to get the job done, they just need to stick to it.

They have beaten the Crusaders already this season, but lost by 15 points to the second-placed Brumbies last week.

The Chiefs have made a host of changes for the game and have opted to rest captain Sam Cane, but coach Clayton McMillan says the opposition will still be treated with respect as they have made big improvements.

Crusaders on a good run

WhatRebels v Crusaders
WhereAAMI Park, Melbourne
When19:35 (AEST), Friday 21st April 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsRebels 6.50, Crusaders 1.11

The Crusaders sit in fourth spot on the ladder and get the chance to close the gap on the Hurricanes, who are one place and four points above them.

They are in good touch after winning their last four games, including a 35-17 win over the Brumbies.

The Rebels on the other hand have won just two games all season and were hammered 54-17 against the Blues last week.

Injuries have not helped them but their chance of causing an upset have been boosted as hooker Alex Mafi returns from a hand injury, while Trevor Hosea has recovered from concussion.

Related Super Rugby News

Super Rugby: Chiefs and Hurricanes set to clash

Super Rugby: Chasing pack look to close the gap

Home success likely for Blues

WhatBlues v Waratahs
WhereEden Park, Auckland
When17:05 (AEST), Saturday 22nd April 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsBlues 1.062, Waratahs 8.50

The Blues are fifth on the ladder and should be full of confidence following their win over the Rebels.

However, they have been unable to string back-to-back wins together this season and tend to win one then lose one and that could give the Waratahs some hope.

The Tahs have won just two games all season, but one of them was against the Force last week. Before that they also gave the Brumbies and Chiefs a run for their money so look to be in good touch.

They will be missing Wallabies stars Michael Hooper, Lalakai Foketi and Mark Nawaqanitawase though, which makes their task of trying to pull off an upset even more difficult.

Home comforts could be crucial

WhatWestern Force v Highlanders
WhereHBF Park, Perth
When19:35 (AEST), Saturday 22nd April 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsWestern Force 3.20, Highlanders 1.36

Last but not least, the Force take on the Highlanders in the final game of the round on Saturday and will be looking to make home advantage count.

They have won just the two games so far this season, but both have been in the west, so being on home soil will boost their chances.

The Highlanders have won three out of the last four games, including a 43-35 win over the Force back on 19th March.

The Force will welcome back captain Michael Wells following three weeks on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.

The Highlanders are boosted by the return of Freddie Burns, Fabian Holland, Connor Garden-Bachop, Will Tucker, Mitch Hunt and Josh Timu.

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