There are 5 Super Rugby matches taking place this weekend and we take a look at them from a betting angle.
The Highlanders had to fight hard for an 18-15 away win over the Reds last week and in so doing they avoided a second successive defeat to Australian opposition. They return home where they have won all 5 matches including beating the Crusaders by 8 and the Blues by 7 in New Zealand derbies. The Hurricanes saw their 10 match winning streak ended last week when they lost 13-24 away at the Crusaders. Their only other away match against New Zealand opposition was a 36-15 win over the Blues. The handicap looks quite well set for this game and for my betting interest I am going to have a punt on Ben Lam being the first try scorer at 17/2. He has been in prolific form this season and I am hoping he can strike early.
The Blues will be looking to bounce back from successive home defeats to the Crusaders and the Hurricanes when they host the Rebels on Saturday. They have lost all 6 matches they have played in Auckland this season but this will be their first home game against Australian opposition. The Rebels halted a 5 match losing run with back-to-back victories over the Brumbies away and the Sunwolves at home. This will be their first away match against New Zealand opposition and in their previous 3 matches away to the Blues they have lost by 6 points, 4 points and 17 points respectively. I am leaning towards a comfortable Blues win here and will be backing them on the handicap as the Rebels have tended to struggle in New Zealand having lost their last 6, 5 of which have been by margins of 13 or more.
The Chiefs are coming off a 12 point home win over the Waratahs and they are playing their third home New Zealand derby of the season, having beaten the Blues by 2 and the Highlanders by 5. They face the defending champions, the Crusaders, who have won 9 in a row including an impressive 11 point win over the Hurricanes at home last week. The Crusaders have only lost 2 games this season on the road but both were against New Zealand opposition, losing by 8 to the Highlanders and 10 to the Hurricanes. The Crusaders have won 2 of their last 4 matches away to the Chiefs and both these have been by narrow margins and I am looking for more of the same and I will take the Crusaders win by less than 12.5 points at 17/10.
The Reds have only won 1 of their last 9 matches but after taking a disappointing 35 point loss away to the Sunwolves they have run New Zealand teams close, losing by 4 to the Hurricanes on the road and by 3 to the Highlanders at home. This will be the second Australian derby they have hosted this season, having beaten the Brumbies by 8 in round 3. The Waratahs have played 3 successive New Zealand teams, losing to the Chiefs and the Crusaders on the road and beating the Highlanders at home. They were very competitive in both the Chiefs and Crusaders matches and will be happy to be facing Australian opposition, having won their only other Australian derby on the road against the Brumbies. The Waratahs have won 4 in a row in Brisbane and I think they will win this game although I once again feel it will be close and will be taking the alternative winning margin of the Waratahs by 1-10 points inclusive at 5/2.
The Brumbies broke a 5 match losing streak when they beat the Bulls 38-28 in Pretoria last week despite being down to 14 men for most of the last quarter. They return home where they have only won 2 from 6 this season. They play a Sunwolves side who lost by 27 to the Rebels last week in Melbourne but prior to that had beaten the Stormers and the Reds at home. There has been plenty of money for the Brumbies on the handicap this week and having opened in the early 20’s it is now sitting at (-31.5) some of this is based on Sunwolves team news but given that the Brumbies have had to travel back from South Africa I am a little nervous to be taking them at these levels. I am going to take a speculative interest at this stage on the Brumbies to win by 21-30 points inclusive at 33/10 as I don’t think the current handicap is far off the mark.
Highlanders v Hurricanes – click here to bet
First try scorer, Ben Lam at 17/2
Blues v Rebels – click here to bet
Handicap, Blues (-8.5) at 9/10
Chiefs v Crusaders – click here to bet
Crusaders to win by less than 12.5 at 17/10
Reds v Waratahs – click here to bet
Waratahs win by 1-10 points inclusive at 5/2
Brumbies v Sunwolves – click here to bet
Alternative winning margin, Brumbies 21-30 points inclusive at 33/10
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change