Friday night rugby is an integral part of Super Rugby. But which teams have the best record and form for Friday night rugby?
Super Rugby is throwing up a brace of mouth-watering fixtures on Friday night in Round 12 with the Blues hosting the Cheetahs before last year’s runners-up the Lions travel to the Australian capital to face the Brumbies. The four teams have experienced mixed fortunes in their recent ‘pre-weekend’ fixtures, with only one of the four having won more than half of their last 10 games played on a Friday.
Of the four, it’s the team at the top of the Australian conference who boast the best long-term form on Friday nights. The Brumbies have won seven of their last 10 games played on a Friday, scoring six points more than their opponents on average across that span. However, that form is still favouring them despite a drop in performance in their last four attempts from which they’ve nabbed just one victory.
They’ll take on a Lions squad which has won half of their last 10 Friday fixtures, though they head into this fixture on complete opposite form to the Brumbies after winning four of their last five games played on a Friday, including each of their last two.
This will be the fourth time that these teams will have met on a Friday evening, with all three previous iterations ending in favour of the Brumbies. The most recent of those encounters came back in 2012, though the Canberra side have remained strong in such games against all South African opposition. The Brumbies have never lost a home game against a South African team on a Friday night in Super Rugby history (W17, D1), though their last six such fixtures have been decided by an average margin of just five points.
Warming up our seats before that clash, the Blues and Cheetahs do battle in Friday night’s first encounter. Neither side has a positive record across their last 10 Friday encounters, though the Cheetahs’ average of 33 points scored across that span is far better than any of the other three teams pulling on jerseys this Friday.
This will be the fifth time that the Blues and Cheetahs have faced off against each other on a Friday night, with the Blues winning the first three encounters between 1997 and 2009 before the Cheetahs snapped their drought with a nail-biting 25-24 win against the Blues on Friday in Round 3, 2015.
The Blues have won seven of their last eight games played at home on a Friday against teams visiting form outside of New Zealand, though that form has been thanks largely to solid performances against Australian teams. The Dunedin squad have won just one of their last six such fixtures against South African opposition, though each of those losses came by no more than six points on the day.