Super Rugby enters Round 14 this weekend. As we move closer to the end of the season more teams are falling out of finals contention. As it stands, most bookmakers only offer odds on eight teams to win the finals series. With six teams to play in the finals, that doesn’t give much hope to the outside contenders! 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.
Each team’s points tally is provided in brackets.
Friday – May 20
Blues (49) vs. Stormers (44)
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Blues, 1 for Stormers
This should be a great game. Both teams sit top of their respective conferences, and both teams enter this fixture in losing form. The Blues were once again hot and cold last week, except they started cold rather than hot this time, giving the Reds a 24-0 lead before ending with a 37-31 scoreline. The Stormers have lost two in a row now, with both losses coming against New Zealand teams. Their losses against the Crusaders and Chiefs were by 6 and 7 points respectively, and I expect a similar margin again. I would back the Blues to win by 1-12 points.
Saturday – May 21
Crusaders (44) vs. Chiefs (29)
5:35 PM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Crusaders, 1 for Chiefs
The Chiefs enjoyed an impressive win over the Stormers last week, while the Crusaders fell to the lowly Cheetahs. The Crusaders injury woes continue. Sonny Bill Williams, Matt Todd, and Jonathan Poff are the latest casualties to join Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Sam Whitelock, Sean Maitland, Kahn Fotuali’i and Adam Whitelock on the sidelines. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are riding high after good wins over respectable opponents in the Highlanders and Stormers. Most ‘experts’ are backing the Crusaders this week, but with only 1.27 odds on a Crusaders victory, I think a head to head bet on the Chiefs is much better value.
Waratahs (40) vs. Lions (19)
7:40 PM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Waratahs, 1 for Lions
The Waratahs will be looking to pick up maximum points as they take on the weakest side in the South African conference. The Lions did manage to beat the Brumbies last week, but it was arguably one of the weakest Brumbies performances in history, so it’s hard to read too much into it. The bookmakers are certainly giving the Lions no chance. The Waratahs welcome back Tatafu Polota-Nau and will be hoping they don’t have a repeat shock loss to a minnow after losing to the Cheetahs at home earlier in the season. I expect the Waratahs to win, but I don’t think 1.08 is good enough value, so I will sit on the sideline.
Force (25) vs. Brumbies (22)
10:05 PM AEST
Expert tips: 13 for Force, 1 for Brumbies
It’s not easy being a Brumbies supporter this season. The Brumbies have historically had a very good home record, and to lose to the hapless Lions at home last week underlines how poor the Brumbies are at the moment. The Force are also looking a little ragged. I don’t see this result having any impact on the finals series, so both teams are playing for pride at this stage. Given the bad press and heat the Brumbies have been receiving, the Force will have to be wary of the wounded dog, especially given they welcome back skipper Rocky Elsom for this fixture. The Force have a fairly strong line up available to them, with only Cameron Shepherd and Richard Brown unavailable. I think the odds are pretty fair. I would back the Force in a head to head bet.
Sunday – May 22
Cheetahs (29) vs. Rebels (19)
1:05 AM AEST
Expert tips: 14 for Cheetahs, 0 for Rebels
The Cheetahs are on a high at the moment. They may have only won four games this season, but they’ve actually won three on the trot. Their biggest achievement was the 33-20 victory over the Crusaders last week, which has put everyone on notice. I don’t see the Cheetahs making it into wildcard contention, but they have a genuine chance of taking third spot in the South African conference, which would be a decent result after a poor first half of the season. The Rebels are looking a little ragged, having lost 47-10 to the Bulls last week and are fielding a growing injury list. The one plus for the visitors is that Mark Gerrard returns from injury. I would back the Cheetahs in a head to head bet. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous you could back the Cheetahs to win by 13+.
Sharks (43) vs. Bulls (36)
3:10 AM AEST
Expert tips: 11 for Sharks, 3 for Bulls
This is arguably the best fixture of the round. The result is massive for both sides, in particular the Bulls, whose wildcard ambitions could go up in smoke if they lose. A win for the Sharks could see them cement their wildcard place, and could actually see them go top of the South African conference. The Bulls welcome back skipper Victor Matfield, while Francois Hougaard, Jaco Pretorius and Chiliboy Ralepelle have earned a recall. I would back the Sharks to win by 1-12.