Super Rugby Round 10 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

View and compare bookmaker odds for this round.

Friday, 29 April


Chiefs v Sharks

5:35 PM AEST, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
View a detailed form guide for Chiefs v Sharks

Thanks to superior goal kicking and some luck, the Chiefs edged the Hurricanes 28-27 last week to move to 7-1 for the year. Despite their strong record the Chiefs haven’t played their best rugby over the last few weeks so they are a bit more vulnerable than results suggest. In team news, the Chiefs will be without halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow for the next few weeks after he broke his hand, while lock Dominic Bird returns from injury.

The Sharks have snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating the Highlanders 15-14 after the hosts were reduced to 14 men in the 12th minute for a red card offence. The win was crucial because they were fast falling behind the Lions in the Africa 2 conference, with the Sharks set for three more tricky fixtures. Their tour has since been dealt a blow, with Cobus Reinach and Philip van der Walt returning home with injury. Captain Tendai Mtawarira is being rested this week in one of a few rotational changes.

Head-to-head pick: Chiefs
Line pick: Sharks +15.5

Betting: with the Sharks picking up injuries and making rotational changes, I’m going to side with the home team. I will back the Chiefs -7.5 in the pick your own line market at 1.40 (Sportsbet).


Force v Bulls

9:05 PM AEST, nib Stadium, Perth
View a detailed form guide for Force v Bulls

The Force suffered a demoralising 13-49 defeat to the Waratahs last week to slide to 1-7 for the season. With the playoffs already well out of reach their only achievable goal now is to avoid the wooden spoon in the Australian conference. Coach Michael Foley has responded to last week’s poor showing by making seven changes to the squad from last week, with Harry Scoble given his first start at hooker and Ammon Matuauto making his debut at outside centre.

The Bulls remain unbeaten since Round 1 after crushing the Reds 41-22 in Pretoria prior to their bye last week. They remain five points behind Stormers in the Africa 2 conference, but their main rivals at the moment are the Sharks, who sit two points behind them in the race for the third South African group seed. In team news, Jamba Ulengo has returned to South Africa for family reasons while Jason Jenkins has had to pull out this week with a back injury.

Head-to-head pick: Bulls
Line pick: Force +7.0

Betting: the Force have yet to win at home this season while the Bulls are traditionally poor on the road. The home side are on a six-game losing streak, however, while the Bulls are unbeaten in their last six, so I’m going to back the Bulls in the head-to-head at 1.42 (William Hill).

Saturday, 30 April


Blues v Rebels

3:15 PM AEST, Eden Park, Auckland
View a detailed form guide for Blues v Rebels

Prior to their bye last week the Blues defeated the Sharks for the first time in ten years to keep their playoff hopes afloat. They have suffered a major blow, however, with Rene Ranger suffering a season-ending knee injury. The timing is bad, with Rieko Ioane expected to re-join the New Zealand sevens team next week along with his brother Akira.

The Rebels continue their record of beating every team with a losing record and losing to every team with a winning record this season. Last week they comprehensively beat the Cheetahs 36-14 to move to the top of the Australian conference.

Head-to-head pick: Blues
Line pick: Blues -7.0

Betting: the Rebels have been thrashed by their Kiwi opponents so far this year but the Blues are the weakest side in New Zealand. In recent years clashes between these two have all been won by the home team, so I’m going to back the Blues in the head-to-head at 1.38 (bet365).


Highlanders v Brumbies

5:35 PM AEST, Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
View a detailed form guide for Highlanders v Brumbies

The Highlanders have suffered a second straight upset defeat after falling 14-15 to the Sharks. The game was turned on its head when they lost Jason Emery to a red card in the 12th minute, so they did well to keep it close. While the red card did have a major bearing on the outcome, for the second straight week the Highlanders put in an error-ridden performance, which will have their coaches scratching their heads. Jason Emery has received a four-week ban for his red card offence last week so the Highlanders’ struggles at the inside centre position continue.

The Brumbies limp into this fixture on the back of a 14-40 home thrashing at the hands of the Crusaders last week. The season started brightly when they thrashed the Hurricanes, but since then they have been hammered in their three fixtures against sides with winning records, losing by over 23 points on average to the Stormers, Chiefs and Crusaders. Last week’s defeat sees them slip to 2nd in the Australian conference for the first time all season. To compound their woes, co-captain Stephen Moore is in doubt for this clash while their leading try scorer Joe Tomane has been ruled out for 6-8 weeks with a knee injury.

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

Betting: each team has a lot of quality, but both sides bring weak form into this fixture. They both have excellent records on the back of a loss, however, so I am expecting a positive response from each of them. This could go either way. The weather forecast for Invercargill on Friday and Saturday is for rain, so this might not be a high scoring affair. Both sides are missing some key firepower on the wing, which could also diminish the winning margin. I’m going to back both the Highlanders 1-12 at 2.88 (Pinnacle Sports) and the Brumbies 1-12 at 4.20 (bet365).


Reds v Cheetahs

7:40 PM AEST, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
View a detailed form guide for Reds v Cheetahs

The Reds return home from a winless tour of South Africa. They were comprehensively beaten by the Bulls and then put up a strong fight but were blown away in the final quarter against the Stormers. They can take some positives from their performances in recent weeks, however, and will be buoyed by the Cheetahs’ poor showing last week.

The Cheetahs 92-17 hammering of the Sunwolves two weeks ago suddenly seems a long time ago after they were thumped 14-36 by the Rebels. They languish at 2-6 for the season with both of their victories coming over the Sunwolves.

Head-to-head pick: Reds
Line pick: Reds -5.0

Betting: the Reds have won four of their last five against the Cheetahs so if I had to bet on this fixture I would tentatively back the Reds in the head-to-head at 1.52 (Luxbet).

Sunday, 31 April


Lions v Hurricanes

1:05 AM AEST, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
View a detailed form guide for Lions v Hurricanes

The Lions thrashed the Kings last week to maintain a firm grip on the Africa 2 conference. They have defeated the Chiefs and lost to the Highlanders already this season, so this fixture should be intriguing. The Lions will be without Ruan Dreyer, who will undergo surgery on a wrist injury.

Beauden Barrett’s poor night with the boot proved costly as the Hurricanes fell 27-28 to the Chiefs last week to snap a five-game winning streak. They will probably consider themselves unlucky to have lost that fixture and remain a genuine title threat. The Hurricanes have since received a boost, with star loose forward Ardie Savea deciding to pull out of contention for the New Zealand Sevens Olympic team to concentrate on Super Rugby.

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

Betting: the Hurricanes have a winning streak against the Lions that dates back for over six years but the Lions this season are the best they have been in many years. I would back both the Lions 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365) and the Hurricanes 1-12 at 3.40 (bet365).


Stormers v Waratahs

3:10 AM AEST, DHL Newlands, Cape Town
View a detailed form guide for Stormers v Waratahs

The Stormers had a bit of a scare but were too strong in the end against the Reds last week, winning 40-22 to move to 6-2 for the season. The Bulls now commence a three-game overseas tour so the next few weeks will provide them with a chance to create more space between themselves and their Pretoria rivals in the Africa 1 conference.

The Waratahs defeated a team other than the Reds for the first time this season, thrashing the Force 49-13 in Perth last week. They will be pleased to have Rob Horne back from injury. The Waratahs remain 7 points adrift of a playoff spot but the win will have given them a huge lift given their poor recent form. Prop Benn Robinson is not on tour with the side due to an eye injury.

Head-to-head pick: Stormers
Line pick: Stormers -6.5

Betting: the Stormers have played the more consistent rugby this season so I will go with the home side. They’ve only lost 2 of their last 9 at home so I would back the Stormers in the head-to-head at 1.45 (Sportsbet).


Jaguares v Kings

7:40 AM AEST, Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
View a detailed form guide for Jaguares v Kings

The Jaguares must somehow regroup from a torrid overseas tour which culminated in them losing to the Sunwolves in Japan last week. They did leave a number of players at home, however, so they will start as firm favourites this week to record their second ever win in Super Rugby.

The Kings were expected to be thrashed at home by the Lions last week and duly were, losing 10-45 to slide to 1-6 for the season. They now play what is arguably a winnable fixture against the travel-weary Jaguares, however bookmakers have installed them as massive underdogs. The Kings have lost Jaer for six weeks after he broke his hand last week, while Edgar Marutlulle and Sti Sithole return from injury.

Head-to-head pick: Jaguares
Line pick: Kings +26.5

Betting: the Jaguares should be too strong now that they’re back at home but I find little value in the head-to-head market. I also find the winning margin hard to predict so I will sit this one out.


Best Bets of the Round

Back both the Highlanders 1-12 at 2.88 (Pinnacle Sports) and the Brumbies 1-12 at 4.20 (bet365)

Back both the Lions 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365) and the Hurricanes 1-12 at 3.40 (bet365)

Back the Stormers in the head-to-head at 1.45 (Sportsbet)


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