We take a look at 3 of the Super Rugby matches taking place on Saturday with the Brumbies v Lions clash covered in its own preview.
Chiefs v Blues – click here to bet
The Chiefs currently sit bottom of the New Zealand Conference with just 2 wins in 7 matches. Those 2 wins though have come in their last 2 matches away to the Bulls and away at the Jaguares and they are coming off a bye heading into this fixture. Their home form has been disappointing with losses to the Highlanders and Sunwolves and a draw to the Hurricanes.
The Blues opened with 3 losses in row and everyone thought it was going to be another disappointing season, but they have given themselves hope with 4 successive victories including edging the Waratahs at home 32-29 last week. They continue to battle on the road and have lost both away games against the Sharks and Jaguares.
The Chiefs have had by far the best of this fixture over recent years and have won 7 in a row against the Blues.
Chiefs -5.5 at 9/10
Blues +5.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Blues (+5.5) at 9/10
This should be a cracking derby and I just have a feeling that this Blues side is a step up from what we have seen in previous season and can run the Chiefs very close.
Sharks v Jaguares – click here to bet
The Sharks are narrow favourites for the South African Conference at 16/10 after they beat the Lions away in convincing fashion last week – click here for outright markets. They have won 4 and lost 3 matches this season and at home they have won 2 and lost 2 with Sharks home games averaging just 34 points.
The Jaguares got their first ever win on South African soil when they beat the Bulls 22-20 last week coming from 10 points down in the last 10 minutes. They previously lost 3 in a row against the Lions and Stormers away and the Chiefs at home.
The Sharks and Jaguares have met 3 times in Durban with the Sharks winning on each occasion, most recently 20-10 last season. All 3 victories have been by 12 points or less
Sharks -8.5 at 9/10
Jaguares +8.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Sharks -8.5 at 9/10
If the Sharks can reproduce anything like the form they showed in the first-half against the Lions they should run away with this match. Conditions in Durban are seldom easy though, but I am confident that they can grind out a win of 9 points or more.
Bulls v Reds – click here to bet
The Bulls Conference hopes took a big dive last week when they went down unexpectedly to the Jaguares. They controlled most of the game, but failed to take their chances and their opponents scored 2 late tries for the victory. It was the second successive home defeat for the Bulls having also lost to the Chiefs and their 2 home wins came earlier in the season against the Sharks and the Stormers.
The Reds have won 3 and lost 4 of their opening fixtures and they currently sit 3rd in the Australian Conference, 9 points behind the Rebels. They beat the Stormers by 12 points at home last week and in their 3 away games have beaten the Sunwolves, but lost to the Waratahs and Highlanders.
The Bulls have won their 7 last home matches against the Reds and all of these have been by margins of 13 points or more. The Reds have a very poor record in South Africa only winning 1 of their last 12 matches.
Bulls -13.5 at 9/10
Reds +13.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Reds +13.5 at 9/10
The Bulls have not convinced me in recent weeks and while the Reds are hardly World beaters I do think that they have enough talent in their side to run this Bulls team fairly close.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change