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Super Rugby semi-finals preview

Friday, July 25, 2014

Update: 10:00AM Preview of Super Rugby semi-finals (NZ times) Saturday, July 26

Crusaders v Sharks at AMI Stadium, Christchurch, 7.35pm

Head to Head: Played 20; Crusaders 14, Sharks 5, drawn 1

In Christchurch: Played 11; Crusaders 10, Sharks 1

Last clash: Round 14, 2014 - Sharks bt Crusaders 30-25, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

A heavyweight tussle between the best of New Zealand and South Africa. While the Crusaders have found their groove and flexed their muscles after the June Test break, the Durban-based Sharks have struggled to rediscover their early form. Jake White's men only just scraped past the Highlanders last weekend but showed they have the set-piece and forward strength to overpower any team.

They are also same Sharks who stunned the Crusaders two months ago to be the first South African team in a decade to win in Christchurch. King Richie McCaw returns to the starting side at No.6 and Dan Carter stays at second five-eighth where he will often feed rampaging Fijian Nemani Nadolo.

Tip: Crusaders by 8

NSW Waratahs v Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 9.40pm

Head to Head: Played 24; Waratahs 13, Brumbies 11

In Sydney: Played 13; Waratahs 11, Brumbies 2

Last clash: Round 17, 2014 - Waratahs bt Brumbies 39-8, ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Last time the bitter rivals met in Sydney for a top-four play-off, the Brumbies blew the Tahs out of the water. Little chance this time as a tight, yet entertaining, spectacle is promised.

Although NSW romped to the minor premiership and are title favourites, the Brumbies know what it's like to win - and lose - big play-off games. They've produced their best performances of the season in wins over the Force and Chiefs and are playing with great pace and skill.

Tip: Waratahs by 3

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