Best Bet 1: Lions – 31.5 @ $1.82 – Tab.co.nz
SHARKS ($1.25) VS BULLS ($4.00)
Super Rugby returns after the International Test match window with four matches, the first of which sees the Sharks host the Bulls at Kings Park on Friday night. The Sharks have wrapped up the wildcard playoff spot already, whereas, the Bulls season is over having only managed to win three matches this season. Surprisingly, the Bulls haven’t lost to the Sharks since 2014 and they have a dominant record in Durban, winning seven of the 12 matches played.
It’s hard to know what a month off is going to do to some of these players. Before the break, the Sharks had won four of their previous five fixtures, whereas, the Bulls had lost four on the trot. Jan Serfontein was arguably the Springboks player of the series against France and Jesse Kriel did a good job in increasing his stocks as well. Jean-Luc du Preez was good for South Africa as well, with the Beast struggling a bit as he has tended to do over the past 18 months. It’s a game I am going to stay away from, but if forced to pick, I would back the Bulls at the line as it would’ve cashed in six of the last seven matches. I would also consider playing the unders in this one with a bit of ring rust likely to set in, alongside the physical and forward-dominant nature I expect this match to entail.
Predicted result: Sharks to win @ $1.25 – Sportsbet
JAGUARES ($1.19) VS KINGS ($4.75)
During the month of June, the Jaguares more or less switched jerseys to don the blue and white hoops of Argentina, whereas the Kings had some time off whilst a few of their players representing South Africa ‘A’. The Kings did head over to Buenos Aires early on in the week, but it is known to be one of the toughest challenges in rugby. Although the Jaguares will be without some of their best performers in June including captain Agustin Creevy and winger Ramiro Moyano, they should be more cohesive than the visitors and I expect them to win comfortably in a high-scoring match.
Predicted result: Jaguares to win @ $1.19 – Sportsbet
CHEETAHS ($3.35) VS STORMERS ($1.33)
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has named a weakened team to face the Stormers with Francois Venter the captain at outside centre. They will be without hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld for the rest of the season due to injury and flanker Oupa Mohoje has been selected on the bench. There is a lot of x-factor in the backline with the likes of Raymond Rhule, Sergeal Petersen and Clayton Blommetjies, but it will depend on whether the forwards can do the job up front first.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has entrusted prop Frans Malherbe with the captaincy after choosing to rest both lock Eben Etzebeth and flanker Siya Kolisi, who were in fine form for the Springboks. Lock Pieter-Steph du Toit will be looking to finish the campaign off strongly after falling behind the Lions Franco Mostert for a national locking berth. Keep an eye on debutant flyhalf Damian Willemse who has just returned from Georgia where he represented the Junior Springboks. You can tell he has grown up watching the likes of Quade Cooper and Shane Williams with his nifty footwork.
The Stormers will need to target an understrength Cheetahs pack up front in order to shutdown the home side’s backline. They have been inconsistent over the past two months of competition, so I am going to stay away from this game, but if forced to pick, I would pack the visitors to cover the line on the back of a solid platform set by the forwards. The majority of Cheetahs home games this season have been high-scoring.
Predicted result: Stormers to win @ $1.33 – Sportsbet
LIONS ($1.01) VS SUNWOLVES ($19.00)
The Lions were in a great position to go one better than last year, however, they have lost their inspirational skipper Warren Whiteley to a groin injury for the rest of the season. He does an exceptional job in leading the team and his influence will be missed in the big moments of big games. Johan Ackermann has still named a strong team and confidence will be high with many of his troops apart of either the Springboks 3-0 triumph over France or South Africa ‘A’ two wins over the French Barbarians. Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia has made 12 changes to his team that were hammered by the Cheetahs prior to the International break. A number of players have been rested for the first of two games in the Republic, so they will be up against it in Johannesburg. The Lions know that nothing less than a bonus-point win over the Sunwolves will be acceptable and given they are at near full-strength and the Sunwolves are somewhat under strength, I can’t see anything other than a blow-out. The Lions should be able to notch up at least 50 points.
Predicted result: Lions to win @ $1.01 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 1: Lions – 31.5 @ $1.82 – Tab.co.nz