Crusaders v Hurricanes
In what some would say should be the final this game is a mouth-watering clash between two of the New Zealand powerhouses. The Crusaders are by far and away the best team in the competition in my opinion and the Hurricanes have plenty to do if they want to topple the Crusaders in this one.
The Crusaders beat the Sharks last week comprehensively while the Hurricanes put away the Chiefs comfortably though two late tries to the Chiefs makes the score a bit flattering to the Chiefs.
The Home side of this clash has won 7 of the last 8 games. The Crusaders are currently on an 18 match home winning streak in Super Rugby (they did lose to the British and Irish Lions at home last year). Ironically the last team to beat the Crusaders at home was the Hurricanes in 2016 where they catapulted themselves from 6th to 1st on the table in the last round of the Super Rugby season of 2016.
Earlier in the season the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders in Wellington 29-19 after a frenetic start where the Hurricanes were up 21-0 after 24 minutes. In the home fixture for the Crusaders the Crusaders easily held the Hurricanes to a 24-13 win in the wet. The Hurricanes star studded backline had no match for the Crusaders in the rain.
I think the Crusaders should do this one easily and am happy to back them on the line.
Lions v Waratahs
The Lions pulled away in the last 20 minutes to comfortably beat the Jaguares last week 40-23 while the Waratahs pulled a rabbit out of the hat in a fantastic comeback in beating the Highlanders 30-23 after trailing 23-6 at the half time break.
The home side has won this fixture in 5 of the last 6 matches, though the Lions have won the last 3 matches against the Waratahs including a 29-0 win in Sydney when the Lions looked out of form and the Waratahs actually started favourites in that game.
In the last three games played in Johannesburg between these teams the average total is a very high 70 points per game. Being a playoff match I can’t see the score getting anywhere near that though.
The Lions should be too strong at home for the Waratahs, though I think it might be a close. I’m predicting a Lions win by 12 and under.
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%