Highlanders v Hurricanes
The Highlanders beat the Reds last week in a tight match after trailing for the majority of the game. The Hurricanes looked fairly ordinary in a tough wet contest against the Crusaders losing by 11 points in the end.
The game of the round for mine and a big match for both teams. Both teams have named star studded line ups in this important clash. The Hurricanes need to win if they have any aspirations of being ranked 1 going into the finals playoffs. It’s not so much a much win match for the Highlanders but they will want the win to cement their spot in the playoffs.
The Highlanders have a great record at home winning their last 11 super rugby games in Dunedin.The Hurricanes themselves have beaten the Highlanders in their last 4 appearances though these were all played in Wellington.
The average score in the last 5 games between these sides is a low 42.5 points. The last two games in Dunedin between these sides averages 33 points per game. So this may be a low scoring close affair.
I’m not sure who wins this, it should be a close one. Predicting either team to win by Under 7.5 points.
Blues v Rebels
The Blues had the week off after their loss to the Crusaders the week prior. The Rebels had a strong win against a depleted Sunwolves outfit closing out the game in the last quarter to win 40-13.
The Blues have rested Reiko Ioane for this match though they’ve named his brother Akira. They also might be without Sonny Bill Williams who has been bracketed in the centres.
A rare day game in Auckland with the weather forecast to be a bit iffy for now, hopefully the rain stays away and we can see some running rugby. Historically this is a very high scoring game with the last 5 games between the two sides averaging 66 points per game. We may have a look at the total closer to game day.
The home team has won this game all but once with the only difference being the Blues beating the Rebels last year in Melbourne. The Blues have not won at all at home this season so they’ll be desperate to win this one.
Not liking anything at the moment, particularly with the Rebels not naming their side at the moment.
No bet for now.
Chiefs v Crusaders
A cracker of a game between the Chiefs and the Waratahs last week with both going tit for tat. The Chiefs getting up in the end to win by 12 and cover the handicap after the siren. The Crusaders meanwhile played a very structured and smart game against the Hurricanes coming out victors.
Another great clash this one, similar to the Highlanders v Crusaders where both teams have a little to play for. The Crusaders will want to keep their top spot while the Chiefs will want to cement their playoff spot.
The Crusaders have won the last 3 games against the Chiefs and are also on a 9 match winning streak. In those last 3 clashes the Crusaders have won by at least 7 points with 2 of the games being 13+ victories. The Crusaders have scored plenty of points against the Chiefs in their last 3 matches averaging 34 points per game.
The weather around for this game is wet with showers in the evening, I think this suits the Crusaders game to a tee. They’ll be winning this one.
Reds v Waratahs
Both teams lost last week to New Zealand sides though both games could have gone either way.
The Reds have not beaten the Waratahs since 2013, a staggering 8 match losing streak. Though the last two matches in Brisbane the Waratahs have only won by 2 and 3 points respectively. The Reds have won 3 of their last 5 home games while the Waratahs are 2-3 away this season.
They certainly have the wood over the Reds but I think this game will be a lot closer. The Reds have had such an up and down season and they’ve had two really strong games against NZ sides over the last two weeks.
Brumbies v Sunwolves
The Brumbies upset the Bulls last week to win by 10 points even after a Red card. While the Sunwolves had little chance after resting their Japanese internationals eventually going down to the Rebels by 27 points.
These teams have played twice before with the Brumbies winning both matches by 7 points (away from home) and 61 points (in Canberra). The Sunwolves have never won away from home and they won’t be winning this one. It is reported that a further 5 Japanese internationals have returned home to the squad leaving the Sunwolves even further depleted.
The line opened up -18.5 and has drifted considerably once again to -31.5 and has since come back into -29.5. There is word that the Brumbies may rest three of their international players but there seems to be a tug of war between the ARU and Brumbies over whether this will happen or not.
Happy to stay out of this game.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Semi Finals -0.14 2 -7% Quarter Finals -0.28 8 -4% Week Nineteen +4.53 5 91% Week Eighteen -6.15 12 -51% Week Seventeen -3.1 8 -39% Week Sixteen -2.3 8 -29% Week Fifteen +1.1 7.5 15% Week Fourteen -0.38 8 -5% Week Thirteen -3.78 11.5 -33% Week Twelve +1.75 8 22% Week Eleven +9.25 11.5 80% Week Ten +5.5 12.5 44% Week Nine +1.3 11 12% Week Eight +5.84 9 65% Week Seven +5.98 19 31% Week Six +2.64 9 29% Week Five -4.7 9 -52% Week Four -4.4 12 -37% Total +12.66 171 7%