Super Rugby enters Round 6 this weekend. Alongside my own opinions I have included the winner predictions of 15 ‘experts’ from Rugby Heaven in Australia and TVNZ in New Zealand. Below are the Luxbet odds for this weekend’s fixtures (subject to change).
Rebels vs. Hurricanes
7:40 PM AEDT
Expert tips: 2 for Rebels, 13 for Hurricanes
The Rebels will hope to reverse last weekend’s punishment at the hands of the Reds when they return home to face the Hurricanes. The erratic nature of the Rebels performances from week to week make them hard to predict. They’ve been humiliated by the Waratahs and the Reds, but have also beaten the Brumbies and pushed the Sharks all the way. The Hurricanes have been sloppy this season. They have plenty of talent, in particular in the backs, but they’ve failed to take enough of their opportunities. They were competitive for a good portion of their game against the Blues last week, and I expect the Hurricanes to win here. I would back them in a head to head bet, but I’m concerned by the low 1.18 odds. If you have multiple betting agency memberships, hunt around to see if you can get better value. In terms of line betting, the 12.5 head start that the Rebels have been given will likely either prove to be far to generous, or not nearly generous enough!
Reds vs. Cheetahs
3:40 PM AEDT
Expert tips: 14 for Reds, 1 for Cheetahs
The Cheetahs come into this fixture on the back of a shock victory against the Waratahs in Round 5. Last week in my initial published draft I mentioned that you may wish to take a cheeky bet on the Cheetahs to beat the Waratahs (at 10.00+ odds). However an hour later, after seeing that my sentiments weren’t shared anywhere else I chickened out and just left the Cheetahs (+19.5) line bet tip. You do believe me? Right? That will teach me for not sticking to my guns!
The Reds will also be on a high on the back of mauling the Rebels last week. I’m surprised at everyone’s pessimism about the Cheetahs. I don’t think they’re as bad a side as the odds suggest. They’ve been competitive in all of their losses in South Africa, and only one Australian side (Force) have beaten a South African side (Lions) this season. I would back the Cheetahs (+17.5) in a line bet. And, if you’re feeling cheeky, you may want to make a small punt on the Cheetahs in a head to head bet (I promise to not delete the sentence this week!). Just be aware that the Cheetahs will be without their captain Andries Strauss for this fixture, so it is a long shot.
Chiefs vs. Blues
5:35 PM AEDT
Expert tips: 3 for Chiefs, 12 for Blues
Both teams are looking to win two games in a row for the first time this season. The Blues eventually ran out to a comfortable 41-17 win over the Hurricanes last week, while the Chiefs beat the previously unbeaten Sharks 15-9 in a game that featured no tries. Given the odds I would back the Blues in a head to head bet. They have a stronger forward pack than the Chiefs, and the Waikato side will be concerned by their inability to get over the line after last week. I think it will be a bit tighter than the Blues v Hurricanes in Round 5, but the Hurricanes and Chiefs look to be of similar strength, and if the Blues are consistent they should be able to maintain their winning record against fellow NZ sides.
Brumbies vs. Waratahs
7:40 PM AEDT
Expert tips: 2 for Brumbies, 13 for Waratahs
Had it not been for their capitulation against the Cheetahs in Round 5, the Waratahs would have been overwhelming favourites with the bookies this week. As it stands, the Waratahs are only 1.67 favourites (you can get 1.769 with Pinnacle Sports) against a Brumbies side that is without a win since week 1. Frustratingly for the Brumbies, two of their losses have come against the Reds and lowly Rebels, so they will be desperate to take points from a fellow Australian team on Saturday. I expect the Waratahs to bounce back from last week’s failure against the Cheetahs. I think the odds are fair value, and would back them in a head to head bet.
Stormers vs. Force
12:00 AM AEDT
Expert tips: 14 for Stormers, 1 for Force
I was impressed by the ability of the Force to win in South Africa last week, but the Stormers are a tough side at home. The Stormers are undefeated this season, having enjoyed an away victory over the fancied Bulls last week. The Stormers don’t concede many points, but they don’t score a ton of tries either, so the performances of the goal kickers will be key. Despite the low odds, I would back the Stormers here. Travelling on the road only gets tougher, and I don’t fancy many teams’ chances at Newlands Stadium.
Bulls vs Lions
2:05 AM AEDT
Expert tips: 13 for Bulls, 2 for Lions
After enjoying a long undefeated streak at home, the Bulls have lost consecutive home games to the Highlanders and Stormers. The Lions visit Pretoria on the back of a disappointing home loss against the Force. I think this could be fairly tight. I expect the Bulls to win, but am put off by the low head to head odds. I would be more inclined to back the Bulls (2.90) to win by 1-12 points.
Crusaders vs. Sharks
2:00 AM AEDT
Expert tips: 14 for Crusaders, 1 for Sharks
Due to the stadium damage in Christchurch, this fixture is being played at Twickenham in London, so I don’t consider this to be a home game for the Crusaders. I feel for the squads. Both played in NZ last week, and it’s a long trek to England, especially from Dunedin. This fixture is serving as an earthquake fundraiser, and the crowd will be packed with Kiwi and South African expats. The Sharks have been fairly poor in the last two rounds, and the travelling from South Africa to Australia to New Zealand to England will be hurting them big time. The Crusaders have looked fantastic in their last three fixtures. Sonny Bill Williams looks to be a certain starting All Black with his ability to offload the ball and strip opposition players of possession whilst standing up in the tackle. Robbie Fruean has also been impressive. It will be interesting to see if the Crusaders can keep their momentum up after such a long journey, but the Sharks should be more exhausted, and after seeing the Crusaders dispatch a weary Highlanders outfit last week, I can see them winning again on Monday morning. Had the game been played in NZ I would have backed the Crusaders (-10.5) in a line bet, but given the uncertainties introduced by the European venue, I would take the Crusaders in a head to head bet instead.