Super Rugby Round 12 – 2017

Best Bet 1: Reds/Highlanders/Sharks@ $2.09 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 2: Highlanders -12.5 @ $1.91 – Sportsbet

BLUES ($1.08) VS CHEETAHS ($8.00)

The 12th round of Super Rugby kicks off at the spiritual home of rugby union, Eden Park, where the Blues host the Cheetahs in Auckland. The Blues return home after securing to important victories over the Brumbies (18 – 12) and Waratahs (40 – 33) in recent weeks. The Cheetahs have made the long trek from Bloemfontein and they will be absolutely gutted after blowing a 17-point lead against the Highlanders with just five minutes left on the clock last weekend, to eventually lose, 41 – 45. The last time these teams played was in the Free State in 2015, with the Cheetahs securing a narrow one-point win.

Blues: WLLLWWLLWW
Cheetahs: LWWLLLBLLLL

Prediction:

For forty minutes the Blues were outstanding last week and to be fair, that’s all they really needed to play for. The Ioane brothers put in strong performances and Pier Francis scored 20 points ahead of his English squad selection under Eddie Jones. For the second time in a month, the Cheetahs squandered a 20+ point lead against New Zealand opposition, which clearly indicates that their fitness is simply not up to scratch. Their one-on-one tackling was woeful, but loosehead prop Ox Nche has been one of their best players by far this season and should be in line for a Springbok call-up. The Blues have played the Cheetahs four times in New Zealand for four wins and the Cheetahs have lost their past five matches against New Zealand opposition, so I see the Blues heaping more misery on them this week in a high-scoring fixture (weather-permitting).

Predicted result: Blues to win @ $1.08 – Sportsbet

BRUMBIES ($2.80) VS LIONS ($1.44)

The best team in Australia, the Brumbies welcome the best team from South Africa, the Lions to GIO Stadium in Canberra on Friday night. The Brumbies are coming fresh off their bye, however, they will be seething after their 12 – 18 loss against the Blues in round ten. The Lions will be confident heading to Canberra, having won their seventh match in a row with a 47 – 10 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne. The Brumbies have a dominant record against the Lions, winning 13 of the 17 matches played.

Brumbies: LLWWLBWLLLB
Lions: WWLWWBWWWW

Prediction:

The Brumbies have been at the top of the Australian Conference for the majority of this season, but another defeat here could create some real issues for them. They are a very structured team that rely heavily on their defensive structures (ranked 3rd) and their rolling maul. Alarmingly, they missed 50+ tackles against the Blues, with their scrambling defence and the Blues ineffective finishing being the only thing that kept them in the game. The Lions have now won a club record seven matches in a row with the 47 points against the Rebels the most they’ve ever scored outside of South Africa and the 37-point winning margin being their biggest away win.

It really is a crucial game for both teams and if the Lions want to finish at the top of the log this season and guarantee themselves a home final (if they get that far), this is a game they must win. The last time these teams played in the nation’s capital was in 2011, when the Lions secured their first ever win over the Brumbies from nine attempts. The Lions have a great opportunity to score another rare win in Canberra and I think they have enough in their arsenal to do it, but I see it being on the back of a strong second half performance and it also being a very tight contest.

Predicted result: Lions to win @ $1.44 – Sportsbet

CRUSADERS ($1.80) VS HURRICANES ($2.00)

The table-topping Crusaders return home to AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday evening for the match-of-the-round against the reigning champions, the Hurricanes. The Crusaders secured a maximum ten competition points in South Africa, last weekend embarrassing the Bulls 62 – 24 for a rare win in Pretoria. The Hurricanes took some time to find their groove against the Stormers, before a late onslaught saw them win, 41 – 22. This will be the first of two vital New Zealand conference matchups between these two over the next couple of months.

Crusaders: WWWWWWBWWWW
Hurricanes: WWLWBWWWWBW

Prediction:

This is a match not to be missed with some of the best rugby players on the planet on display and two teams gunning for that all-important top seed in the New Zealand conference. Against the Bulls, the Crusaders equalled their 2002 record of starting the season with a perfect 10-0 record. The Hurricanes are also on a tear at the moment winning their last six matches and 16 of their last 17. Last weekend’s match against the Stormers probably highlighted the fact that they were a week ahead of themselves and certainly would’ve been a wake-up call for them, especially to their forward pack who were outmuscled at times.

Both teams will be without some of their big names including Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read from the Crusaders and Dane Coles from the Hurricanes, but there are so many mouth-watering match-ups that the All Blacks coaching party will have a keen eye on. I give the Crusaders the edge in the pack, but the Hurricanes have the more potent backline, so it will be interesting to see what pace the Crusaders play at. I imagine it will be slightly slower, potentially negating the effectiveness of Beauden Barrett’s lethal kick-pass as they will look to fan out quicker due to slow ruck ball.

The Hurricanes have won four of the last five and six of the last eight against the Crusaders, including the most recent match in Christchurch last year. The Crusaders have three New Zealand derbies in their next four matches, which will really be a good acid test as to where they currently are at. Even though the Crusaders will get a boost from playing in front of their crowd, the travel factor can’t be overlooked and I just feel like the Hurricanes might run them off their feet late in the second half.

Predicted result: Hurricanes to win a classic encounter @ $2.00 – Sportsbet

Betting Stats: 

– Ngani Laumape has now scored 11 tries in nine games this season; including four doubles. Anytime try-scorer market could be an option.
– The Hurricanes have now scored the first try in eight of their nine games this season.

REBELS ($2.50) VS REDS ($1.53)

The Rebels welcome the Reds to AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday night in a match that can be deemed ‘the battle of the desperates’. The Rebels were simply awful against the Lions last week (10 – 47) and although the Reds started well against the Chiefs, they still found it hard to contain them, going down 17 – 46. The Rebels have had the wood over the Reds in recent seasons, winning the last two matches and four of the last six.

Rebels: LLBLLLBWLL
Reds: WLLLLLLWBLL

Prediction:

Three wins from 18 matches – that is what the Rebels and the Reds have achieved collectively this year. It has been nothing short of embarrassing and both teams certainly won’t want to drop points in this one or fans might revolt. The Rebels have only scored two tries in their last four matches and conceded a whopping 91 points in their last two. There is no doubt about it that the Rebels always lift against the Reds, but I’ve seen more fight and promise in the Reds over the last couple of weeks than I have in the Rebels. Another loss here for Rebels coach Tony McGahan against the lowly Reds will certainly spell disaster for his future in Melbourne. Although the Reds have now lost 13 straight away matches dating back to Round 16 in 2015, another damning statistic, if the Reds can nullify the Rebels dangerous back three, I expect the Reds to take this by more than a score.

Predicted result: Reds to win @ $1.53 – Sportsbet

BULLS ($5.00) VS HIGHLANDERS ($1.17)

Things don’t get any easier for the Bulls, this week hosting the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The Bulls were rudderless against the Crusaders last week getting thumped 24 – 62, whereas, the Highlanders pulled off one of the best comebacks of all time to beat the Cheetahs 45 – 41 in Bloemfontein. The Highlanders have won three of the last four played against the Bulls, however, they have lost four of the last five played in Pretoria.

Bulls: LLBWLLLWWBL
Highlanders: LLWLWWWBWWW

Prediction:

The Bulls have been absolutely hammered in the media this week with every man and his dog calling for coach Nollis Marais’ head. They let in 10 tries at Loftus in a gutless performance and fans headed for the turnstiles well before the referee even blew the final whistle. On the other hand, the Highlanders ‘never say die’ attitude was evident last weekend, but they needed it because, along with the Blues, they have been the most inconsistent of the New Zealand teams. They are suffering from a huge casualty list at the moment, but they still have enough class and fitness to overcome their Australian and South African opponents. Looking ahead to this match, I just can’t see how the Bulls can turn around their fortunes in a week after the shambles of last week. The Highlanders are now acclimatised to the local conditions in the Republic and they should be able to win this one by two or more tries.

Predicted result: Highlanders to win @ $1.17 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 2: Highlanders -12.5 @ $1.91 – Sportsbet

SHARKS ($1.17) VS KINGS ($5.00)

The Kings host the Sharks at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night. The Kings will be fresh after their bye round, but it probably came at a bad time after thumping the Rebels 44 – 3 two weeks ago. The Sharks kept their unbeaten record against the Force in Durban with a comfortable 37 – 12 victory. The Kings have never tasted victory against the Sharks either, both home or away, having lost the five matches played.

Kings: LWLLLBLLWWB
Sharks: LWWWWLWBDWW

Prediction:

The Kings are currently on a two-match winning streak for the first time in their history. They are playing some very entertaining rugby and scoring lots of points with flanker Chris Kloete and Flyhalf Lionel Cronje really leading the charge. The Sharks have also found some form, unbeaten in over a month. The loss of Curwin Bosch, who in my opinion has been the Rookie of the Year in this competition, is offset by the return of Pat Lambie, a player who really needs the game time to rebuild his confidence in his body and his game. I’m expecting one of the biggest crowds in Port Elizabeth season for this match and although the Kings should be able to score a couple of tries, the visitors should be too classy.

Predicted result: Sharks to win @ $1.17 – Sportsbet

JAGUARES ($1.20) VS FORCE ($4.50)

Things don’t get any easier for the Bulls, this week hosting the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The Bulls were rudderless against the Crusaders last week getting thumped 24 – 62, whereas, the Highlanders pulled off one of the best comebacks of all time to beat the Cheetahs 45 – 41 in Bloemfontein. The Highlanders have won three of the last four played against the Bulls, however, they have lost four of the last five played in Pretoria.

Jaguares: WLWWWBLLLLW
Force: LWLBLLWBLLL

Prediction:

There is no consistency when it comes to the Jaguares and the Force are a much different team away from home. It’s not a game that is going to attract a lot of attention from a viewership perspective and both of these teams have been very unkind to punters so far this season. When the Jaguares blow hot they play some exceptional rugby, but they have a tendency to just switch off in games – it must be frustrating being a true Jaguares fan. The Force have only won twice away from home since the start of 2016, a span of 12 matches, and even though they should be able to score a few points themselves this weekend, the home side should prevail.

Predicted result: Jaguares to win @ $1.20 – Sportsbet

Author

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Glenn

Glenn has followed rugby union for 19 years and has expert knowledge on the game freely committing to over 500 viewing hours a year. Having played with and against some current Super Rugby players and International superstars, he understands the game, the players and the laws inside out. Having been born in South Africa, spent time in New Zealand and currently living in Australia, Glenn lives and breathes rugby. With so many different tournaments happening around the world simultaneously and the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympic program, there are always plenty of healthy betting options available. An obsession, a passion, call it what you will, Glenn enjoys sharing his insight, opinions and predictions with anyone who wants to listen.

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