Super Rugby enters Round 13 this weekend. This round features three close fixtures followed by three lopsided ones. Alongside my own opinions I have included the winner predictions of 13 ‘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.
Highlanders vs. Hurricanes
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 9 for Highlanders, 4 for Hurricanes
This should be a close game, and I’m intrigued to see the Hurricanes have been installed as the marginal favourites here. The Highlanders comfortably have a better win-loss record, but the Hurricanes’ victory over the Reds and close loss to the Blues suggest they’re in the best form of their season. Also in the mind of the bookies is the Highlanders have been ravaged by injuries of late. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes welcome back Ma’a Nonu, while Piri Weepu will make his return off the bench.
So far Highlanders have enjoyed a great campaign, sitting only one point off a wildcard place. After beating the Crusaders away from home they’ve lost to the Blues and Chiefs, so they will be desperate to avoid three defeats on the trot to sides in their conference. The Hurricanes sit 12 points off a wildcard spot, so a loss here could effectively end their season. They will also be looking to avenge their 9-14 loss to the Highlanders in Round 1. The Hurricanes’ 29-26 victory over the Chiefs in Round 4 is the only Hurricanes victory over a Kiwi team so far this season.
This game has the potential to be a real grind. I would back both sides to win by 1-12 points.
Reds vs. Blues
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 11 for Reds, 2 for Blues
The second game of the round is another intriguing encounter. The top team in Australia plays the top team in New Zealand, with the winner going top of the table. The Reds would have been disappointed by their loss to the Hurricanes to weeks ago, and will be pleased with their return to winning ways with the 33-18 win over the Rebels last week in Melbourne. The Blues continue to win, albeit in fairly ugly fashion. They came through two prickly encounters away against the Highlanders and Hurricanes with 10-15 and 11-17 score lines, respectively, and will be perfectly happy to grind out another ugly result this week. The Blues welcome back Anthony Boric and Luke McAlister, but Jerome Kaino is out with injury. Queensland will be without Mike Harris. The bookmakers have installed the Reds as favourites, but I would be wary of the Blues here. If I had to pick a winner I’d go for the Reds, but I think a good value bet is for the Blues to win by 1-12 at 3.30 odds.
Chiefs vs. Stormers
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 5 for Chiefs, 8 for Stormers
The Stormers have been incredibly consistent this season, with their two losses of the campaign coming against the two strongest sides they’ve played, namely the Reds and Crusaders. This is the Stormers’ first fixture outside South Africa, so it will be interesting to see if they can continue their good form overseas. I think the Chiefs could be a tough fixture for the Stormers. Had this fixture been played at Newlands Stadium I wouldn’t hesitate to back the Stormers, but the Chiefs have the ability to cause a minor upset here. I can’t pick a winner or margin, so I will sit on the sidelines.
Brumbies vs. Lions
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Brumbies, 0 for Lions
With their last victory coming back in Round 8, the Brumbies will be desperate for a win, especially given they’re playing the weakest side in the competition. The Lions will be on a low after losing at home 19-53 to fellow strugglers the Cheetahs last week. They have only one victory this campaign, and no wins last season, so these a trying times for Lions supporters. I expect the Brumbies to win, but I’m not convinced the 1.13 odds are worth the risk, so I will sit this one out.
Bulls vs. Rebels
1:05 AM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Bulls, 0 for Rebels
According to the bookmakers this is the most lopsided fixture of the round, with a paltry 1.02 on offer for a Bulls victory. The Bulls haven’t blown any teams away this season, so I would back the Rebels (+24.0) in a 2.00 line bet with Readbet.
Cheetahs vs. Crusaders
3:10 AM AEST
Expert tips: 0 for Cheetahs, 13 for Crusaders
The Cheetahs enjoyed a strong victory over the Lions last week, but this fixture sees them play a daunting Crusaders outfit, who welcome back captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter for the game. The Crusaders mid-season drop in form (by their high standards) coincided with Carter’s injury absence, so the Cheetahs will be ruing the timing of his return. Ben Franks is also back from injury, while Kahn Fotuali’I and Israel Dagg are the latest casualties. The Crusaders will fancy their chances here, especially after their victory over the Stormers last week and key personnel returning. I would back the Crusaders in a head to head bet.