SUPER RUGBY WEEK 18
Crusaders v Highlanders
The Crusaders had the bye last weekend while the Highlanders played in Suva and were hammered by the Chiefs 45-22 (after being down 42-0 at halftime).
The south island derby has a great history and the little brother Highlanders have typically struggled throughout history. The Crusaders have won 3 of the last 4 against the Highlanders and this week are bolstered by the return of All Blacks captain Kieran Reid. The Crusaders boast a whopping 13 All Blacks past or present in their squad this weekend. The Highlander in turn have named a fairly strong side with a few All Blacks scattered around the field also.
The Crusaders have a tremendous home streak running at the moment winning their last 15 Super Rugby matches in Christchurch. They’ll be hard to topple this week and will be desperate to win to sew up the minor premiership and host a home quarter final.
Really like the Crusaders in this, they are peaking at the right time and now have all men on deck to complete back to back premierships.
Reds v Rebels
The Reds season is done and dusted and they struggled against an improving Blues side last week going down 39-16. The Rebels lost to the Waratahs last week in what was an epic game, going down by 5 points late in the game.
The Rebels have the wood over the Reds of late winning 3 of their last 4 matches against the Reds including one match in Brisbane in 2016 where the Rebels won by 3 points.
Both teams have a couple of injurie concerns but the Rebels to me have everything to play for. They are sitting on the bubble in 8th place and this is almost a must win game for them as they face the Highlanders in New Zealand in the last round.
I marked this Rebels 8 points favourites so the current line represents some value in my opinion.
Chiefs v Brumbies
The Chiefs were fantastic last week in Suva against the Highlanders with a frenetic pace in the first half. The Brumbies upset the Hurricanes last week in Canberra and were deserved winners in that clash.
The Chiefs will be seeking out the full 5 points in this one as they try and steal 4th place off the Hurricanes. The Chiefs and Hurricanes clash next week so this game has as much importance as next weeks to see who qualifies potentially 4th-5th respectively. They’re then likely to face each other in the first week of playoffs too.
The Chiefs have won the last three matches against the Brumbies with the last two matches the Chiefs winning by an average of 21.5 points.
Interesting stat is that 4 of the last 5 home games the Chiefs have played against the Brumbies the winning margin has been within 7 points with the Chiefs winning all 5 games. The Weather for Saturday is for a few showers as well so perhaps this game could be a bit closer than what is expected.
It’s hard to see the Chiefs not winning this after decimating the Highlanders last week, though with the weather being unpredictable I’m happy to stay out of this game for now.
Hurricanes v Blues
Another New Zealand derby this weekend and the Hurricanes will be looking to bounce back after a shock loss to the Brumbies last week. I couldn’t remember the last time the Blues beat another NZ conference side so I did some digging and the last time was in February of 2016 where they beat the Highlanders by 2 points, a record they will want to overcome this Saturday.
The Hurricanes have won the last 6 matches against the Blues by an average winning marging of 14 points. The Hurricanes are also undefeated at home this season and will want to keep that record in tact leading into the playoff rounds.
Waratahs v Sunwolves
The Waratahs all but secured their home playoff spot and Australian conference with a victory against the Rebels last week, while the Sunwolves shocked the Bulls with a great victory at home.
In the two clashes between these sides the Waratahs have won both games by an average of 33 points. This however is a different Sunwolves team to the past though their away record (never won an away game) should see the Waratahs through quite comfortably in this one.
Bulls v Jaguares
The Bulls season is dead while the Jaguares juggernaut roles on. The Bulls lost to the Sunwolves in what was an upset while the Jaguares winning streak continues to 7 after beating the struggling Stormers in Argentina.
The Jaguares have a decent record in their short Super Rugby history against the bulls winning 2 of the 3 games played including a 30 point victory earlier this year.
Yes the Bulls are good at home but they have only pride to play for now. I was shocked when the market went up Bulls as slight favourites this week and even more shocked to learn they have shortened even further. The Jaguares are the form team of the whole competition and a win here not only secures them a place in the playoffs but also puts them on course to miraculously win the South African conference.
This will be my largest stake of the year.
Stormers v Sharks
One team gone and one team a must win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Stormers somewhat improved in their narrow loss to the Jaguares while the Sharks looked impressive in the second half to overcome the Lions and keep their season alive.
The Sharks have won the last 4 matches against the Stormers including a home win in April by 7 points. This game is traditionally very low scoring with the last three games between the sides averaging a low 34.5 points.
I marked this a pick game so not willing to take on the line in this one, but we may have a play on the total come Saturday afternoon, stay tuned.
No bet for now.
RESULTS STAKES ROI 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 +8.55 156 5%