Super Rugby reaches the two-thirds mark of the regular season this weekend. We’re now at the stage where many teams are playing a side they played earlier this year. 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). Keep in mind that Readbet is offering 2.00 lines on Super Rugby this season.
Hurricanes vs. Blues
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 6 for Hurricanes, 9 for Blues
The Blues’ winning streak continued last week with a hard fought victory over the resilient Highlanders. They will be looking for their 9th win of the season against a Hurricanes side that will be desperate for a win to stay in playoff contention. The Hurricanes have been inconsistent this year, which is no surprise, given their historical tendency to frustrate their fans. The Hurricanes enjoyed an impressive last minute win over the all conquering Reds last week, but have also managed to lose to the lowly Brumbies and Rebels. Given the nationality of their opponents, you can be assured they’ll give 100% this week, so the Blues can expect the type of performance that the Reds encountered. The Blues did well to beat the Highlanders last week. The Highlanders fielded a stronger squad than the one that beat the Crusaders, but the Blues managed to grind out an albeit controversial 15-10 victory. I anticipate the Blues will win here, but I expect it to be close. If you’re the cautious type I recommend backing the Blues in a head to head bet. If you’re looking to take on more risk, then I recommend backing the Blues to win by 1-12. If you are are planning to back the Hurricanes I recommend the 3.50 odds on them to win by 1-12 over a head to head bet, as I don’t expect the Hurricanes to blow the Blues away.
Rebels vs. Reds
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 2 for Rebels, 13 for Reds
It is 5 vs. 1 in the Australian conference for the second fixture of the round. The Reds will be disappointed to have lost to the Hurricanes last week in what was only their second loss of the season. The Rebels return home on the back of a 28-9 loss against the Waratahs, and will be bracing themselves for another tough domestic fixture. They will be without Danny Cipriani and Richard KingiMost, who have been stood down after a drinking binge last weekend. Most punters are predicting a Reds victory here. Unfortunately, the odds on the Reds to win are dismal, and given their winning streak was broken against the Hurricanes last week, I’m not convinced the odds are worth the risk. My suggestion to get more bang for your buck is to create a multibet using head to head odds on the Reds and Sharks. That would give you around 1.27 if both sides won.
Lions vs. Cheetahs
3:10 AM AEST
Expert tips: 5 for Lions, 10 for Cheetahs
With their victory over the Brumbies, the Cheetahs have managed to put some space between themselves and the Lions in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the South African conference. Interestingly, the Lions’ only victory of the season was a 25-20 win over the Cheetahs at Vodacom Park in round 4, and they’d love to do the double over their fellow countrymen. Both sides have a habit of losing in close games this season, so I would back both teams to win by 1-12 points. That would effectively give you around 1.50 odds on either team to win without blowing the other side away.
Chiefs vs. Highlanders
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 6 for Chiefs, 9 for Highlanders
This game is important in the fight for a wildcard position. The Chiefs are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Highlanders are looking to further solidify a wildcard position in the playoffs. It’s interesting to see how sides lift their game against teams in their own conference, and I was impressed by the Chiefs performance against the Crusaders in week 9. Since then they’ve played in South Africa, where they beat the Lions and lost to the Bulls. The Chiefs will be weary after their travels, but they do welcome back Sitiveni Sivivatu for this fixture. The Highlanders beat the Chiefs 23-13 in Dunedin back in round 2, and I think they have a genuine chance completing the double this year. I would back the Highlanders to win by 1-12 points, as they’re a tough side to beat, and 3.30 is good value.
Waratahs vs Force
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 12 for Waratahs, 3 for Force
The Waratahs will be hoping for a bonus point victory here. Despite sitting second in the Australian Conference they are currently outside a playoff position due to the higher points tally of the 3rd place Highlanders in the New Zealand conference. The Force still (barely) have everything to play for. They could still make the playoffs, and an upset win could see them move to 3rd in the Australian standings. Having said that, the Waratahs beat the Force 31-3 in Perth in round 8, and most will expect them to win again here. The Force have been competitive of late, losing by 12 to the Crusaders, but I would still back the Waratahs in a head to head bet.
Stormers vs Crusaders
1:05 AM AEST
Expert tips: 9 for Stormers, 6 for Crusaders
This fixture could be a momentum builder for the winner, with both sides expected to make the playoffs. The game is a sell-out, and should be a good one for the neutral, given the pending battle between Sonny Bill Williams and Jean de Villiers. The Stormers have had a fantastic season to date, with their only loss coming against the Reds at home in round 8. The Crusaders are a formidable outfit. While they will be without the services of Andy Ellis, Brad Thorn, Dan Carter and Sam Whitelock, the Stormers will still have the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and Robbie Fruean to contend with. Having said that I think the Crusaders outfit at the moment is not as strong as the all conquering force they looked to be in weeks 3-8. I’m not surprised to see the Stormers installed as favourites, and would be inclined to back both sides to win by 1-12. An alternative bet is to back the Stormers (-1.0) at 2.00 odds with Readbet.
Sharks vs Brumbies
3:10 AM AEST
Expert tips: 14 for Sharks, 1 for Brumbies
It’s hard to be optimistic about the Brumbies chances here. Their 2-7 record coupled with their 47-36 loss to the lowly Cheetahs doesn’t bode well as they take on tougher opposition in the form of the Sharks. The Brumbies have made a number of changes from the side that lost last week. In one of those changes, Matt Giteau will swap shirts with Christian Lealiifano, taking the No. 10 shirt and Lealiifano returning to inside centre. I would back the Sharks in a head to head bet.