Each week Super Rugby 2018 gets closer and closer to the post-season and Round 14 is another crucial one for the New Zealand contingent as teams look to lock in their position for the finals.

The Hurricanes will have the first stab at the top of the conference when they take on the Reds on Friday evening. The Queensland side will be reeling after a big loss to the Sunwolves in Round 13 which could well spell danger for the Canes. In fact, the Reds have taken competition points from each of their last three games when backing up after having conceded 50+ points in a match, picking up a win and two bonus point losses in that time.

The Hurricanes will be looking to build on an already impressive recent record against the Australian clubs, however. The Canes have won their last 11 games on the bounce against teams from across the ditch, including two wins against the Reds, and haven't lost a home game against an Australian team since Round 10, 2015 against the Waratahs.

Super Saturday for New Zealand fans kicks off in the second game of the day with a critical derby between the Blues and Crusaders. The last and first ranked teams in the conference will face off as the Auckland squad becomes increasingly desperate for competition points.


The Crusaders may have won their last six games on the bounce against the Blues, but the Auckland club can draw on some admirable home form for inspiration. The Blues have won seven of their last 12 home games against the Crusaders, and picked up a further three losing bonus points in that time.

The Highlanders are then on the road again after a brief one-game stint on home soil, travelling to face the Waratahs in New South Wales. The Highlanders have won 13 of their last 16 games outside New Zealand; however, they'll be looking to avoid back-to-back losses in such fixtures for the first time since 2015 after a significant loss to the Sharks in Round 12.

The Waratahs will be hoping to make us all forget about their Round 13 slip up against the Crusaders, and they'll have their best chance of doing so having returned to home soil. The New South Wales side have won three of their last five games at home, as well as picking up a losing bonus point in one of the two losses in that time.

The Chiefs are in South Africa to wrap up the weekend for the New Zealand contingent, and will face off against the in-form Sharks in a late-night encounter for those watching on in Oceania.

Their hosts will have a taste for blood after picking up a 38-12 win over the Highlanders in their last meeting with a New Zealand team, and have now won four of their last six regular season games against teams from the country.

Metre-eater Solomona Alaimalo will be critical to the Chiefs' fortune on foreign turf - the rampaging outside back has gained a competition-high 905m so far this campaign. He's done so from just 112 carries, giving him an average gain per carry of just over eight metres. He's also crossed for five tries so far this season, and has made a competition high 31 clean breaks - nine more than any other player (Manasa Mataele 22).

- Opta Stats