Super Rugby Round 10 Preview & Betting Tips

Super Rugby OddsThe following are previews and betting tips for Round 10 of the 2015 Super Rugby competition.

Friday, 17 April

Crusaders v Chiefs

5:35 PM AEST, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders v Chiefs

After thrashing the Sharks 52-10 in Durban two weeks ago, the Crusaders came back down to earth with a 20-25 loss at home to the Highlanders. Some poor defence cost them as the Highlanders pounced on turnover ball. Ryan Crotty is out with a concussion this week so Dan Carter will wear the No. 12 jersey. Prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Luke Romano return after being rested against the Highlanders while Richie McCaw returns to the starting line-up after starting from the bench in previous weeks.

Prior to their bye last week the Chiefs had to come from behind to beat the Blues 23-16. They will be pleased to have reduced their penalty count, which has been incredibly high of late, however it was a poor performance for the Chiefs, who gave up too many turnovers and botched line-outs. The Chiefs have shuffled their backline for this clash. Brad Weber will start at halfback and Charlie Ngatai will start in midfield after recovering from injury. Tim Nanai-Williams comes onto the wing, with Tom Marshall moving to fullback.

Head-to-head pick: Crusaders
Line pick: Crusaders -1.5

Conservative betting: this should be close. I’m leading towards the Crusaders because they boast a formidable 5-1 record on the back of a loss and last week’s defeat to the Highlanders was on the back of their tour of South Africa and the Highlanders had just come off a bye week. I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.78 (William Hill).

Aggressive betting: the Chiefs have a 2-2 record in Christchurch over the last few years so I expect them to be very competitive. I would back the Crusaders 1-12 at 2.95 (Pinnacle Sports).

Saturday, 18 April

Hurricanes v Waratahs

2:30 PM AEST, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
View a detailed form guide for Hurricanes v Waratahs

Prior to their bye last round the Hurricanes beat the Stormers 25-20 to move to 7-0 for the season. In a patchy performance they scored three tries in 12 minutes just before half-time but failed to score a point in the second half. New fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder continues to impress in his debut season – as if the Hurricanes need any new talent in their back line!

The Waratahs’ patchy title defence continued last week with a 18-32 loss at home to the Stormers. The Waratahs led 15-13 at halftime but had no answer to the physical Stormers defence in the second half. The result leaves them with a 4-3 record for the season but they remain well in touch of the playoffs. After enjoying so much dominance last year the Waratahs remain terribly inconsistent this season, with too many sloppy errors in possession. Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro will miss this clash because of visa restrictions.

Head-to-head pick: Hurricanes
Line pick: Hurricanes -4.5

Conservative betting: the Hurricanes have managed to win even when not playing well this year. If they can iron out some kinks they will be a very scary proposition late in the season. The Waratahs do have an impressive 5-2 away record over the last 12 months however the Hurricanes have gone 6-1 at home and have been playing better rugby more consistently this season. I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.47 (Luxbet).

Aggressive betting: given the Waratahs lost by 7 points to the Highlanders in Dunedin earlier in the season, I fancy the Hurricanes -4.5 at 1.91 at (bet365).

Highlanders v Blues

5:35 PM AEST, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
View a detailed form guide for Highlanders v Blues

The Highlanders continue to impress after coming from behind to beat the Crusaders in Christchurch last week. They were rewarded for playing the game at a high pace, with loose forwards James Lentjes and Elliot Dixon upstaging an All Black-laden pack at the breakdown. New winger Waisake Naholo continues to have a prolific season, adding two more tries to his tally last week.

The Blues snapped a nine-game losing streak spanning this season and last by defeating the Brumbies 16-14 at Eden Park last week. Due to the cricket World Cup scheduling, that game was just the first Blues fixture at Eden Park, a venue where they boast an excellent record. Their playoff chances may have long expired but the Blues will likely be a thorn in the side of their compatriot opposition in the second half of the season. Up and coming loose forward Akira Ioane gets his first start this week. Luke Braid is out injured and Steven Luatua is being rested. Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina have been rotated to the bench.

Head-to-head pick: Highlanders
Line pick: Blues +5.5

Conservative betting: six out of the last seven meetings between the two sides were won by the home team and while the Blues got the monkey off their back by beating the Brumbies last week, it remains to be seen whether they can win away from Eden Park. I would back the Highlanders in the head-to-head at 1.48 (William Hill).

Aggressive betting: five of the Blues’ seven losses this season were by 7 points or less while the Highlanders have only won once at home by more than 7 points in the last 12 months. With that in mind I would back the Highlanders 1-12 at 2.83 (Pinnacle Sports).

Brumbies v Rebels

7:40 PM AEST, GIO Stadium, Canberra
View a detailed form guide for Brumbies v Rebels

The Brumbies paid the price for a slow start against the Blues last week, trailing 0-13 at the break before losing 14-16. They could have stolen the victory in the final minute but Nic White’s penalty attempt fell short. Due to all of the Australian teams losing last week, the Brumbies remain top of the Australian conference, which has been the weakest of the three conferences so far this season. The loss against the Blues came at a physical cost, with fly-half Matt Toomua ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury and prop Scott Sio out for at least six weeks with a knee injury.

Prior to their bye last week the Rebels saw off the Reds 23-15 for their first home win of the season. With the halfway point of the season reached the Rebels remain in the playoff hunt, however with both of their bye weeks used, the Melbourne side now has a run of nine consecutive weeks of fixtures. Keeping the side fit and fresh while remaining competitive will be a challenge given their lack of squad depth. The Rebels have received a boost ahead of this clash with winger Dom Shipperley available for selection after recovering from a broken hand.

Head-to-head pick: Brumbies
Line pick: Brumbies -10.0

Conservative betting: the Brumbies have a dominant record over the Rebels, particularly at home. They Canberra side is undefeated at home over the last 12 months and given they boast a 6-1 record on the back of a loss, it’s hard to see anything other than a Brumbies victory this weekend. I would back the Brumbies -1.5 at 1.50 (William Hill).

Aggressive betting: the last four visits for the Rebels to Canberra have resulted in the following losing scorelines: 32-17, 37-6, 39-17, 37-10. Given their lack of competitiveness against the Brumbies and the home side’s 6-2 record at the line at home over the last 12 months, I would back the Brumbies -10.0 at 1.91 (William Hill).

Force v Stormers

9:45 PM AEST, nib Stadium, Perth
View a detailed form guide for Force v Stormers

After two competitive performances in South Africa, the Force would have felt that they should have beaten the Cheetahs last week, but they lost 15-24 at home to slip to 1-7 for the season. They led 15-8 early in the second half but the defeat has well and truly killed of their playoff chances.

The Stormers backed up an impressive second half performance against the Hurricanes two weeks ago by defeating the Waratahs 32-18 in Sydney. The hallmark of last week’s win was their excellent defence, which we’ve become accustomed to in recent years but haven’t seen much of this season. It was the Stormers’ first win in Sydney since 2007, with the result propelling them up to 6th on the table. The win snapped a nine-game losing streak overseas, which has provided them with excellent momentum going into this clash. In team news, utility forward Michael Rhodes has returned to South Africa with a torn hamstring. He will be out for at least six weeks.

Head-to-head pick: Stormers
Line pick: Stormers -4.5

Conservative betting: the Stormers have won four of their last five against the Force, with their only defeat coming by a solitary point. Based on the Stormers’ impressive performances over the last two weeks and the Force looking out of sorts, I would back the Stormers in the head-to-head at 1.55 (Luxbet).

Aggressive betting: the Stormers rarely win by more than 13 on the road but if they can play as well as they did against the Waratahs then a 13+ margin could be on the cards. I would take the value and back the Stormers 13+ at 3.62 (Pinnacle Sports).

Sunday, 19 April

Sharks v Bulls

1:05 AM AEST, Kings Park, Durban
View a detailed form guide for Sharks v Bulls

The Sharks were looking to make amends for their 52-10 loss to the Crusaders when they visited the Lions last week, but fell 21-23 to slump to 4-5 for the season. They will be ruing their ill discipline, which saw three players suspended for last week. Andre Esterhuizen picked up a yellow card against the Lions to continue the Sharks’ poor disciplinary record. The absence of fly-half Patrick Lambie for another five weeks also doesn’t help their cause.

The Bulls bounced back from their away loss to the Lions by thrashing the out of sorts Reds 43-22 last week. They were dominated for possession for much of the game but pounced well on mistakes by the Reds. The bonus point win sees them sit top of the South African conference, however only four points separate them from the 4th places Sharks. The Bulls have been boosted this week with the Springboks trio of Adriaan Strauss, Jan Serfontein and Handre Pollard all available for selection. Lappies Labuschagne is also available.

Head-to-head pick: Bulls
Line pick: Bulls +2.5

Conservative betting: six of the last seven meetings between the two sides were won by the home side, however the under-strength Sharks have been disappointing in recent weeks while the Bulls have won five of their last six. Either way I suspect it will be close so I would back both the Sharks 1-12 at 2.94 (Pinnacle Sports) and the Bulls 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365).

Aggressive betting: I’m going to lean towards recent form and back the Bulls 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365).

Cheetahs v Reds

3:10 AM AEST, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
View a detailed form guide for Cheetahs v Reds

The Cheetahs snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Force in their fourth and final tour game. It was the fourth game in a row where they conceded fewer points than they had the game before but they still have the worst defensive record in the competition by quite some margin. Springbok fullback Willie le Roux is being rested this week.

The Reds’ miserable run continued last week with a 22-43 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria. Despite the scoreline it was an improved performance from the Reds, with the injury-hit side actually managing to dominate possession for much of the game. In the end, however they made too many mistakes, which the Bulls duly punished. The result leaves them at the foot of the competition standings with a 1-7 record. Worryingly for the Reds, only two of their seven losses were by 7 points or less. The injury-hit side has received a boost for this clash, with James Horwill back from suspension and James O’Connor available.

Head-to-head pick: Cheetahs
Line pick: Reds +6.5

Conservative betting: both teams have been out of form, however the Cheetahs have better momentum after their win last week. Also the Cheetahs are 4-3 at home over the last 12 months while the Reds are 1-7 on the road during this period. I would tentatively back the Cheetahs in the head-to-head at 1.46 (William Hill).

Aggressive betting: I find it hard to pick a winning margin for this clash given the Cheetahs propensity to win by 1-7 at home and the Reds’ propensity to lose by 8+ on the road. Given the Reds were able to dominate possession for long periods last week I suspect they will be competitive. I would back the Cheetahs 1-12 at 2.89 (Pinnacle Sports).

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