SUPER RUGBY WEEK 9
Hurricanes v Brumbies
The Hurricanes grabbed a late try to beat the Blues away from home last weekend, meanwhile the Brumbies mixed season continues with a shock loss to the struggling Rebels.
On paper, you'd think a Hurricanes victory is all but certain. Diving a little deeper the Brumbies have actually won 5 of the last 6 games against the Hurricanes. They're somewhat of a bogey team for the Hurricanes. Last season in the opening round the Brumbies absolutely hammered the Hurricanes 52-10 in Canberra. The Hurricanes are yet to lose to an Australian side at home for over two years and are also on a 9 home game winning streak.
The average score for these two teams against each other over the last 6 games is a touch under 50 points. This game is being played in Napier and in the last three games dating back to 2011 the Hurricanes have won 2 (Highlanders, Bulls) and lost 1 (Bulls). The average score for this ground over those three games was 53 points, although this is heavily skewed by a 76 point try fest in 2015.
I think the Brumbies may push the Hurricanes in this game. They'll be extremely disappointed in last weekends match and I'm happy to have a play on the Brumbies plus at the line.
Waratahs v Southern Kings
The Waratahs would have welcomed the week off last week to prepare for the next few games, with the Brumbies losing last week to the Rebels it has evened up the Australian conference a bit and they'll be looking to add a Bonus point win this weekend. The Kings looked pretty ordinary on defence last week, I'm really surprised they covered the line in the end; I think it was more the case of the Reds switching off.
These two teams have only played once in 2013 with the Waratahs thrashing the Kings 72-10. Since their introduction back into Super Rugby the Kings have only won 1 game away from home, that being to the Sunwolves. Overall they've only won 3 of 20 away games - a terrible statistic.
The Waratahs should do the job on the Kings this week and I think they'll cover the line.
Lions v Jaguares
The Lions somewhat upset the Stormers last weekend with a deserved 29-16 victory away from home. Meanwhile the Jaguares poor away form continued with a disappointing 13 point loss to the Bulls.
These two teams have played three games in the past with the Jaguares winning 2 out of 3. However, remember the Lions in both their losses to the Jaguares sent some standard teams to Argentina, particularly that team in the last round last season.
Over the last three games between the Lions and Jaguares the average points scored is a massive 64 points.
The Lions seem to be getting their season in shape now and with the easy draw they have for the rest of the season they'll be pushing towards that minor premiership.
Highlanders v Sunwolves
The Highlanders had the week off last week and have named a very strong side against the Sunwolves this week, perhaps the best side they have put on the field this year. The South African sides are resting players against low teams like the Sunwolves but they're tripping up and not getting the full 5 points out of the game, the NZ attitude as seen last week by the Crusaders it to get the job done and secure all possible points; the Highlanders will look to do that this weekend.
Though the Highlanders sit mid table they've had a fairly tough draw. Their only losses are against the top three teams on the ladder; Crusaders, Chiefs and Hurricanes.
The Sunwolves are 0-10 on the road and this weekend will almost certainly be 0-11. They really struggle away from home and did so last week against the Crusaders. The Crusaders put the foot off the gas in the last 20min, not to embarrass the Sunwolves.
This game is being played in Invercargill, the weather forecast looks good for once down there so hopefully a dry track with plenty of points. The Highlanders have a decent record down their winning 5 of the last 6 games (loss to Cheetahs in 2013).
Crusaders v Stormers
The Crusaders easily disposed of the Sunwolves last weekend 50-3 and looked pretty impressive doing so. Meanwhile the Stormers had their first hiccup this year with a home loss to the Lions, the margin of victory being a bit of a surprise.
The last time a Crusaders side lost to a touring South African side was almost 3 years ago. The Crusaders have won their last 5 games against the Stormers dating back to 2011. In those 5 games only 1 match was by more than 7 points however. Of those last 5 games, the average total points is a low 37.5.
Come back on Saturday and we might have a play at the total.
Force v Chiefs
The Force had the week off last weekend. Meanwhile the Chiefs came from an extraordinary 24 points down to beat the Cheetahs by 14 on the weekend, a huge second half performance.
It will be interesting to see how the Force goes for the remainder of the year, it could be their last, a huge effort on field may sway the ARU to keep them in the competition however and this weekend will be an important game for them.
The Chiefs have won 6 of the last 7 games against the Force and a win this weekend would not surprise. After having not won at home for almost two years, the Force are going for their third victory at home in a row.
Over the last 7 games these teams average 47.5 points between them when playing each other. However, in Perth that number drops to 40 points (last three Force home games). With the Chiefs returning from South Africa I expect them to be a little tired while the Force should be rather fresh.
Come back on Saturday and we might have a play at the total.
Under 55.5 Points4 at 1.87+3.48
Bulls v Cheetahs
Last weekends victory against the Jaguares could be the turning point for the Bulls season as they try and get another win against the Cheetahs this weekend. The Cheetahs, well the old saying goes Rugby is a game of two halves and it sure showed on the weekend.
These are the two worst South African sides this year on defence. The Cheetahs have conceded on average 37 points per game while the Bulls have conceded 27 points on average. The Bulls are also South Africas worst attacking side this season with a low average of 22 points per game.
The last six games between the sides have averaged 56.5 points per game. I expect this to be another high scoring affair.
Sharks v Rebels
The Sharks are going along nicely this year and would have surely benefited from their week off. The Rebels shocked the Brumbies last weekend to record their first win of the year. Like the Force, they too are in the firing line to be axed next year and will be doing their very best on the field for the remainder of the season to impress the ARU that they should stay in the competition.
The Sharks have never lost to the Rebels winning all 4 games they've played, however the last two games played between the two sides have been very close wins to the Sharks; 4 and 6 point wins.
The last 4 games have yielded an average of 56 points per game, though the last two games only 42 points on average.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Final +3 3 100% Semi Finals -0.77 6.5 -12% Quarter Finals +2.94 9 33% Week Seventeen -1.2 11 -11% Week Sixteen -3.3 9 -37% Week Fifteen +0.52 19.5 3% Week Fourteen -16 16 -100% Week Thirteen +3.81 13.5 28% Week Twelve +2.71 17.5 15% Week Eleven -2.9 11 -26% Week Ten -0.35 14 -3% Week Nine -5.52 13 -42% Week Eight +6.77 12 56% Week Seven +7.8 9 87% Week Six +15.46 13 119% Week Five +1.61 10 16% Week Four -2.24 8 -28% Week Three -10 10 -100% Week Two +4.9 8 61% Week One -4.15 13.5 -31% Futures +5.7 10 57% Total +8.79 226.5 4%