Super Rugby Round 10 – 2017

Saturday Plays: 

Best Bet 1: Lions -8.5 (vs Force) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet (early twitter play)

Best Bet 2: Crusaders -14.5 (vs Cheetahs) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet (early twitter play)

Best Bet 3: Blues -3.5 (vs Brumbies) @ $1.91 – Ladbrokes (early twitter play)

Highlanders ($1.18) VS Stormers ($5.00)

The 10th round of Super Rugby gets underway with only the one match on Friday, and a cracking one at that between the Highlanders and the Stormers in Dunedin. The Stormers tour got off to the worst possible start with a 28 – 54 demoralising loss to a steamrolling Crusaders juggernaut. The Highlanders also had things their own way, delivering a 40 – 15 victory over the Sunwolves to their fans in Invercargill. The last time these two teams played was in 2015 (the same year the Highlanders won the competition), where the Highlanders ended a six-game losing streak to the men from Cape Town.

Highlanders: LLWLWWWBW
Stormers: WWWBWWWLL

Prediction:

A few weeks ago before the Stormers loss to the Lions, I mentioned that their perfect start was about to get ugly and last week showed they aren’t quite there yet. They will be better off for the extra week in New Zealand and the fact that they have former Highlander Shaun Treeby in their squad, but they simply don’t have the backs to compete against what the Highlanders can offer. The margin will be a lot closer than last week, but I can’t see the Stormers winning in captain Eben Etzebeth’s 50th Super Rugby game.

Predicted result: Highlanders to win a tight affair @ $1.18 – Sportsbet

Chiefs ($1.005) VS Sunwolves ($19.00)

Saturday’s card kicks off at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, where the Chiefs face the Sunwolves. The Chiefs didn’t have it all their own way in Perth, but they still prevailed 16 – 9 over a dogged Force outfit on the back of Aaron Cruden’s boot. The Sunwolves were okay in patches against the Highlanders, but they still fell 25 points short against last year’s semi-finalists. This will be the first time the Chiefs and the Sunwolves have clashed in Super Rugby and the third match in a row in New Zealand for the Sunwolves.

Chiefs: WWWWBWLWW
Sunwolves: LLLLLBWLL

Prediction:

The Chiefs have made a staggering 11 changes to their match day 23, however, given the depth of their squad, it is still an extremely strong group. Brodie Retallick has been rested and understandably so, after solidifying his place at the top of the lock stocks in world rugby with some excellent performances so far this season. The main concern for the Chiefs this week will be how Jonathan Taumateine goes at halfback with no Brad Weber, Tawera Kerr-Barlow (concussion) and Finlay Christie to call upon. To be fair, he has some exceptional talent around him and these next few weeks could really propel his stocks moving forward.

Once again, the Sunwolves will be dogged, but they simply don’t have the firepower up front or out wide to compete with a Chiefs outfit that needs five competition points from this fixture. The Chiefs have gone off the boil in recent weeks, so I expect them to bounce back and things could get ugly, with a possibility of the scoreboard looking more like a cricket score by the end of the match in Hamilton.

Predicted result: Chiefs to win by plenty @ $1.005 – Sportsbet

REDS ($1.75) VS WARATAHS ($2.10)

The Reds and the Waratahs will continue their 141-year old rivalry at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night. The Reds return from their week off, however, the week prior they picked up their second win of the season with a patchy win over the Kings. The Waratahs season is on life support after hitting a low point last weekend, losing to the lowly Kings 24 – 26 in Sydney. They do have some things on their side this week though having won the last six against the Reds dating back to 2013, including three victories at Suncorp.

Reds: WLLLLLLLB
Waratahs: WLLLWLLBL

Prediction:

For years, the Reds and the Waratahs have been the driving force for Australian rugby. There has never been a shortage of talent, but since the Reds triumph in 2011 and the Waratahs triumph in 2013, things have hardly been palpable. The QRU are trying to hype this match up, but form suggests that both of these two teams are going to fumble their way through the 80 minutes. This is an historic matchup and there are several key matchups in this game that could directly impact who starts for the Wallabies in the first Test match of the international season against Fiji in June. The forward packs have both been hit and miss this season but in the backs Cooper vs Foley, Kerevi vs Horne, and Hunt vs Folau will have Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s eyes firmly fixed on.

It is do or die for both teams this weekend – lose this one and they can kiss their season goodbye. The Reds seemed to have found their attacking mojo against the Kings, thanks to Quade Cooper, whereas the Waratahs haven’t really had it all season, unless Bernard Foley has taken things into his own hands. Despite the Waratahs winning the last six games against the Reds, their form this season has been woeful and without Tolu Latu to pester the breakdown, I simply can’t back them at Suncorp, even against an underperforming Reds outfit.

Predicted result: Reds to win a ‘blockbuster’ @ $1.75 – Sportsbet

FORCE ($3.75) VS LIONS ($1.27)

The Reds and the Waratahs will continue their 141-year old rivalry at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night. The Reds return from their week off, however, the week prior they picked up their second win of the season with a patchy win over the Kings. The Waratahs season is on life support after hitting a low point last weekend, losing to the lowly Kings 24 – 26 in Sydney. They do have some things on their side this week though having won the last six against the Reds dating back to 2013, including three victories at Suncorp.

Force: LWLBLLWBL
Lions: WWLWWBWW

Prediction:

The cries coming from Western Australia can be heard all around the rugby world. Their fans are showing their true colours and spirit with the impending announcement of the club’s fate and it sad to think that the nation’s most passionate fans might be without a team to follow next year, or a local superstar or hero to admire if you were a youngster learning the game. For years, they haven’t had the big names like the other franchises do, but they are always a difficult team to put away.

The loss of Dane Haylett-Petty is a big blow for the Force this week and I feel last week’s match would’ve sapped the home team’s energy, but none of their belief. Coach Dave Wessels announced this week that the Force need to start winning those tight games and stop being content with narrow losses. The Lions have won ten matches on the trot at home and they need to have a strong tour if they want home field advantage come the playoffs and interestingly, the Lions are unbeaten as the away favourite over the past 12 months. I see them continuing that this weekend with a double-digit win over an understrength Force line-up in the west.

Predicted result: Lions to win @ $1.27 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 1: Lions -8.5 (vs Force) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet (early twitter play)

CHEETAHS ($5.50) VS CRUSADERS ($1.15)

The Cheetahs return to Bloemfontein on Saturday night to face the red-hot Crusaders at the Free State Stadium. The Cheetahs can’t seem to buy a win at the moment, last weekend surrendering a lead in the dying minutes of their away match against the Bulls. On the other hand, the Crusaders will be rolling into town after last week dismantling the Stormers last weekend in Christchurch. The Crusaders have a dominant record over the Cheetahs winning seven of the nine matches played, including the last three, one of which was on the Highveld.

Cheetahs: LWWLLLBLL
Crusaders: WWWWWWBWW

Prediction:

Cheetahs rugby is in a bad way with the coach insinuating that his team isn’t handling the pressure of their impending exit from Super Rugby. The Crusaders have been synonymous for their destructive forwards play, based around a strong scrum, an accurate line-out and a powerful maul. However, the way in which they have switched it up to more of a width-based game is starting to bear real fruit and winger George Bridge is enjoying life after scoring a hat trick last week. To be fair, they have had an ‘easy’ run to date with a number of home games, but they are certainly title contenders. To add to that, historically, the Crusaders have performed well in South Africa and I can’t see that changing this weekend. I expect the Crusaders to rack up their third consecutive 50-point match.

Predicted result: Crusaders to win @ $1.15 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 2: Crusaders -14.5 (vs Cheetahs) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet (early twitter play)

KINGS ($2.20) VS REBELS ($1.67)

The Kings return home and welcome to the Rebels to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night for a clash of the struggling. The Kings return home after the biggest win of their short existence, beating the Waratahs 26-24 in Sydney. The Rebels will still be searching for their first victory in South Africa after blowing an opportunity to beat a 14-man Sharks team last weekend, a game in which they eventually drew. These teams have met once back in 2013, a match in which the Kings won 30 – 27 in Melbourne on the back of an injury-time drop goal by Demetri Catrakilis.

Kings: LWLLLBLLW
Rebels: LLBLLLBD

Prediction:

The Kings will be on cloud nine after their historic win in Sydney, but the trip back from Sydney to Port Elizabeth isn’t an easy one. The Rebels have had their best two weeks of the season recently, with a win over the Brumbies and the last minute draw to the Sharks. Not a bad feat when they have as many as 20 injured players currently, with seven players in their squad not even under contract. The Rebels are now acclimatised to South African conditions and after a sub-standard attacking performance last week, I believe they can string a few tries together in Port Elizabeth. It’s not a game I will be making a play on, as I just can’t bring myself to back the Kings, although the Kings games have produced an average of 60 points at home this season, so check the total points markets when they are released.

Predicted result: Rebels to win @ $1.67 – Sportsbet

JAGUARES ($1.42) VS SHARKS ($3.04)

Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires will host a crucial Africa 2 Conference between the Jaguares and the Sharks on Saturday night (local time). The Jaguares put together a spirited performance against the Lions last weekend, however, they fell short against last year’s beaten finalists in Johannesburg. The Sharks escaped with a dour 9 – 9 draw against the lowly Rebels, despite having to play for 40 minutes with just 14 men. The Sharks have beaten the Jaguares all three times they have played, but only by margins of five (2017), seven (2016) and four (2016) points.

Jaguares: WLWWWBLLL
Sharks: LWWWWLWBD

Prediction:

The Jaguares are three from three at home this season, beating the Lions (who were understrength), the Cheetahs and the Reds. However, their last three matches have seen them lose three in a row in South Africa, which isn’t acceptable for a team with the calibre of the Jaguares. Sharks coach Robert du Preez basically said that the Sharks should’ve given their fans their money back after their display last weekend. Despite Andre Estherhuizen’s early red card, the Sharks entered the Rebels red zone close to 20 times, without managing to cross the chalk. Flanker Philip van der Walt has been given the captaincy duties in a team that includes eight changes.

This is another difficult one to pick, but I never like opposing any Argentinian team at home. The Sharks have the pack to match them in the forwards, however, I feel they are a little light on in terms of size and experience in the back and I expect this is the area the locals will get on top of them.

Predicted result: Jaguares to win @ $1.42 – Sportsbet

BRUMBIES ($2.40) VS BLUES ($1.57)

GIO Stadium in Canberra will host its first Sunday game of the season between the Brumbies and the Blues. The Brumbies put together a strong first half performance against the Hurricanes last weekend in Napier, however, they conceded 42 unanswered points in just 33 minutes. The Blues return from a bye round and given the fact that they are currently sitting in fifth position in New Zealand, need this victory. The Blues have won the last two matches they have played against the Brumbies, however, the home team has won four of the last six times dating back to 2002.

Brumbies: LLWWLBWLL
Blues: WLLLWWLLB

Prediction:

The Brumbies (17) are seven points ahead of the Reds (10) in the Australian Conference, and they are the only team in Australia with a positive points differential. They were exceptional for a 20-minute period against the Hurricanes in round nine, but then capitulated badly and just failed to nullify the potency of the Hurricanes. The Blues have named an experienced line-up, however, they will be without Jerome Kaino for six weeks as a result of a knee injury. This allows Akira Ioane, a future All Blacks number eight, some game time after some strong performances off the bench. Sonny Bill Williams and George Moala form a dangerous centre partnership and I expect them to create a lot of space for Matt Duffie and Rieko Ioane so look at them in the Anytime Try-Scorer (ATS) markets.

The Brumbies are traditionally strong at home, however, they have dropped two of the matches played in Canberra this season, against the Sharks and the Highlanders. They have also lost their last four at home against New Zealand opposition. I’m jumping back on the Blues bandwagon this week and under what are expected to be sunny skies in Canberra, the fifth-ranked New Zealand team is going to make a mockery of the best placed Australian outfit.

Predicted result: Blues to win @ $1.57 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 3: Blues -3.5 (vs Brumbies) @ $1.91 – Ladbrokes (early twitter play)

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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