Big picks ahead in countdown to top eight

Well, it was certainly an easier round to pick, and a smattering of tipsters picked all six games.

Surprisingly the Drua’s win (they always win at home!) tripped up a lot of them.

The Canes did enough at home to pick up the points over Moana Pasifika with a 32-24 win, but they will need to lift again this week. The Moana boys were in the game, however, and fought all the way.

The Chiefs rested a few and were unconvincing in Melbourne against the Rebels, who had their chances to snatch it but fell 23-26.

The Drua disposed of the Reds quite comfortably in their 28-19 win, and if they tip over the Landers on Sunday they could finish seventh.

What do the Crusaders have to do to win?

This time they were undone by a dubious penalty try from a muffled shot at goal by the Brumbies, with the final scoreline 31-24 . I know it’s the rules, but would a try have been scored?

The Landers went to the Garden of Eden, came, saw and were ultimately conquered, 47-13. The Blues were just too strong defensively for the Highlanders. The game against the Drua looms as crucial.

The mercurial Force at home dished it up to the woeful Tahs, 27-7, who just can’t get out of their own way.

Zac from Harcourts still leads in Gore but the big mover was Chris from Country&Co who picked all six to close within two.

So, what happens this week?

The Chiefs are at home to the Hurricanes and it’s nearly too close to call. I’ll stick with the Canes (12-) because their pack is stronger, and I still suspect the Chiefs are ‘‘flat-track bullies’’.

The Brumbies (12-) are at home in Canberra and have a lot to play for as they could finish as high as second with the easier run-in. But the Rebels are still in the fight for the playoffs so there won’t be much in it.

Moana Pasifika (12-) host the Waratahs and are due — and deserve — a win. Moana Pasifika just.

The Crusaders are at home to the Blues (12-) in the competition’s biggest rivalry. The Canterbury team will front as they have nothing to lose, but the Blues will extinguish their fire on the back of their great pack.

The Reds (12-) host the Force and will surely win this game, but don’t dismiss the Force entirely.

Finally, it’s the big one at Greenhouse. The Drua have chartered a plane for a hit-and-run mission against the Landers on Sunday. But the Landers (12-) will bounce back and get the win to thank the faithful for their support and guarantee a top-eight spot.

Good punting, team!