Super Rugby enters Round 10 this Easter weekend. Alongside my own opinions I have included the winner predictions of 14 ‘experts’ from Rugby Heaven in Australia and TVNZ in New Zealand. Below are the Luxbet odds for this weekend’s fixtures (subject to change). Keep in mind that Readbet is offering 2.00 lines on Super Rugby this season.
Blues vs. Rebels
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 14 for Blues, 0 for Rebels
After last week’s hot and cold performance against the Waratahs, the Blues will be hoping for 80 minutes of consistent rugby as they host Melbourne at North Harbour Stadium. The Rebels welcome Stirling Mortlock and Julian Huxley to the squad, while the Blues welcome back Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock and Benson Stanley. The bookmakers don’t seem to give the Rebels any chance here, with most bookies offering more than 13.00 odds for an away win. Even a 13+ Blues win only pays out 1.17. I fully back the Blues to win this one, but don’t think the odds are generous enough. I will sit on the sidelines, but if you do fancy a bet, you can get 2.00 odds on the Rebels (+22.5) in a line bet with Readbet.
Crusaders vs. Highlanders
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 14 for Crusaders, 0 for Highlanders
It’s hard to see anything other than a Crusaders victory here. The Highlanders typically lift for local derbies, but the Crusaders crushed them 44-13 in Dunedin in Week 5. The Crusaders will be without Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, however the Highlanders have more serious injury woes. Adam Thomson, Shaun Treeby and Alando Soakai are all sidelined along with Colin Slade after a season ending broken jaw against the Rebels. Tom Donnelly will make his return to the Highlanders starting line-up, while Jason Rutledge will be rested. I’m not sure how certain a blow out is here, because the 34-16 scoreline against the Chiefs was flattering last week. I would back the Crusaders in a head to head bet. If you’re feeling really confident you could pair this fixture up with other bets for the weekend to give your other bets a multi bet odds boost. Just keep in mind that if the Highlanders cause an upset, all paired bets with this one would automatically lose!
Reds vs. Waratahs
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 11 for Reds, 3 for Waratahs
This is probably the best fixture of the round, which features 1 vs. 2 in the Australian conference. Given the Reds awesome run the Waratahs desperately need victory here to avoid having to scrap for a wildcard place in the finals. As it stands the Waratahs would miss out on a finals berth, so they’ll need to pick up more points in the second half of the season. From the Reds perspective, they will be keen to avenge the 30-6 thrashing they suffered at the hands of the Waratahs in Week 2. That loss is their only defeat this season, something that few would have predicted after that result. Boosting the Waratahs cause is the fact that Phil Waugh will make a much needed return, along with Wycliff Palu and Tom Carter. The Waratahs will also be buoyed by their second half effort against the Blues, but will be wary of the Reds impressive form of late. I think the bookmakers have the odds spot on for this fixture. My inclination would be to back the Reds to win by 1-12 points.
Force vs. Bulls
10:05 PM AEST
Expert tips: 3 for Force, 11 for Bulls
Everyone predicted the Bulls to fall off their perch after winning last season, but Bulls fans must be sorely disappointed with their third place standing in the South African conference. If they are to get their season back on track the Bulls must grab an away victory here. The Force come into this fixture on a high after grabbing an away victory over the Brumbies last week. The will be without David Smith, but Cameron Shepherd is expected to return. Either team could win, but given the odds I would back the Bulls to win by 1-12 points.
Sharks vs Hurricanes
1:05 AM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Sharks, 1 for Hurricanes
The Hurricanes come to Durban on a high after their last gasp win over the Cheetahs. They will need to be better this week however, as the Sharks are a step up from their previous opponents. The Sharks will be boosted by the return of Patrick Lambie, but Bismarck du Plessis is in doubt and Jean Deysel and Alistair Hargreaves are both sidelined. The Hurricanes welcome back Cory Jane who missed last week for the birth of his daughter. I expect the Sharks to win here, but I don’t fancy the low odds. Given the unpredictability of the Hurricanes I will sit this one out.
Lions vs Chiefs
3:10 AM AEST
Expert tips: 5 for Lions, 9 for Chiefs
The two 5th placed teams in the South African and New Zealand conferences face off in what will likely be an unimportant encounter, as both teams only harbour remote chances of making a playoff spot. The Chiefs were impressive last week against the Crusaders, where the 16-34 scoreline flattered the Crusaders. The Lions continue their losing streak, although the Chiefs will be wary of how hard they pushed the Reds at home in Week 7. I would be inclined to back both teams to win by 1-12. If you want to be more aggressive, consider backing the Chiefs (-4) in a 2.00 line bet with Readbet.