SUPER RUGBY WEEK 13
Chiefs v Crusaders
First time a Super Rugby game is being played in Fiji so no true home advantage for the Chiefs. The Chiefs had the luxury of a week off while the Crusaders shut down the Hurricanes winning 20-12.
The Chiefs have won 6 of the last 7 clashes against the Crusaders including the last 4 games; a lot of these trends have been broken this year namely the Stormers losing these trends to the dominant New Zealand sides. Over the last 4 games between the sides the average winning margin by the Chiefs has been 14 points. You have to remember though that the Chiefs have been pretty dominant over the last few years and the Crusaders lesser so.
Crusaders are currently the best defensive side in the competition averaging 18.8 points per game against, while the Chiefs are not far behind averaging 19 points per game against. This has all the makings of a pretty defensive and low scoring game. The last 7 games between the two sides have averaged an extremely low 39 points per game.
I think the Crusaders will narrowly win this one, I don't think there is any value in this though. May have a small play on the total when this comes out on Friday.
Under 52.5 Points2 at 1.87-2
Stormers v Blues
The Stormers bye last week couldn't have come at a better time. A tough tour of New Zealand culminated in three losses and they're currently on a 4 match losing streak. The Blues meanwhile have won their last three games albeit against weaker opposition. They were pretty dominant in their win against the Cheetahs last week winning 50-32.
The Stormers (like many of their records against NZ sides) have won 4 of the last 5 games against the Blues. They're currently 4-1 at home this year while the Blues away record reads 3-3. The Stormers will be working on their defence for this week after leaking 155 points in their last three games.
In the last 7 games between these sides they have averaged 40 points per game. The Blues welcome back Sonny Bill Williams this week which should see their attacking options open up a bit more.
Might have a play on the total come Friday.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
The Hurricanes were comfortably beaten last weekend against the Crusaders, a massive shut out saw them fail to score a try for the first time in 61 games! The Cheetahs struggled against the Blues and have now recorded 8 losses in a row.
Weather permitting this should be a try fest. The Hurricanes are the best attacking side in the competition averaging 42 points per game, while the Cheetahs are the 2nd worst defensive side this year conceding on average 38 points per game.
Looking at the scores over the last 4 games between the sides they are massive. Over the last few years scores of: 60-27, 39-34, 47-38 and 50-41; the hurricanes winning 3 of those 4 games. That is an average of 85 points per game over the last 4 games.
Again we'll look at the total closer to the time, I'm a little weary of the weather in Wellington this weekend so we might have a play on Saturday.
Force v Highlanders
The Force caused the upset of the round last week beating the Jaguares 16-6. While the Highlanders got out of trouble beating the Bulls late 17-10 in a wet affair.
The Force used to have a pretty good record against the Highlanders, the Highlanders have won the last 2 clashes, but the Force had won the previous 5 games.
The Highlanders are looking as good as they did in 2015 when they won the title. They're kind of sneaking under the radar a bit but have amassed 7 wins on the trot now and are on the tail of the Hurricanes in the NZ conference. They've won 4 of their last 5 away games. They will be without winger Waiksake Naholo this weekend as he was given a 1 match suspension for a shoulder charge last weekend.
The Force are 2-2 at home this year with wins against the Kings and Reds. Their two losses this year were against two hard teams in the Chiefs and Lions and they only lost both of those matches by 9 points. They've got their backs against the walls with the axe over their heads to be cut from the competition and in doing so they've produced some of their best rugby in years albeit with a weakened side due to injuries.
I think the Highlanders will win this one in a close affair.
Sunwolves v Sharks
The Sunwolves had the week off last week while the Sharks lost to the Kings putting a small dent in their chances of making the playoffs.
These teams have played once before last year with the Sharks winning 40-29. It will be interesting to see if the Sharks rest any players this week as they will be desperate to win this one and grab the bonus point too.
The Sharks have a 3-3 away record this year while the Sunwolves have a 1-3 home record this year, upsetting the Bulls at home in their last match.
In the last two games at home this year the Sunwolves have led at half time. With a week off under their belt they'll be fresh for this game. A small play on the HT/FT double.
Sunwolves/Sharks HT/FT Double0.5 at 6.50-0.5
Lions v Bulls
Lions showed true character to overcome the Brumbies in Canberra last week. While the Bulls were unlucky not to beat the Highlanders last weekend, a poor bit of discipline costing them a win.
The Lions are on a massive high winning their last 8 games. They currently have a 10 game home streak and haven't lost at home in over a year. The Bulls however have lost their last 5 away games.
The last two games between the sides average 72 points. I don't think they'll be that many points in it this week, both teams are struggling to rack up too many points in the last few weeks.
Kings v Brumbies
The Kings upset the Sharks last week while the Brumbies lost late to the Lions. These two teams played once in 2013 and drew 28-28. The Kings have won now three on the trot (a record) while the Brumbies have lost their last 4 games.
Brumbies have a slight lead in the Australian Conference and will probably need to win 2 more games to secure a home semi final. They would have looked at this one as an almost guaranteed 5 points. The way the Kings are playing that might be easier said than done. They're fighting for survival in the competition and have really come together. Unfortunately the Kings are without two of their best players this week in Cloete and Banda.
I think the Brumbies will win this one and cover the line.
Waratahs v Rebels
The Waratahs had the week off last week while the Rebels went down bravely to the Reds. A loss here for either side could end their super rugby season.
The Waratahs have won the last 5 of 6 games against the Rebels including a 32-25 win in Melbourne earlier in the year. Surprisingly the Waratahs have lost their last 4 home games while the Rebels haven't won away from home this season.
Both teams have only beaten Australian sides this year, spelling out a disastrous season for both; either team doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. The Rebels have only scored 2 tries in away games this year, averaging a low 7.5 points per game in away games.
I think the Waratahs will win this one comfortably.
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%