Super Rugby Round 12 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 12 of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

View and compare bookmaker odds for this round.

View the form guide for this round.

Friday, 13 May


Highlanders v Crusaders

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

The Highlanders are now within touching distance of the top of the ladder after they upset the Chiefs 26-13 in Hamilton last week. I really like what I’m seeing from them at the moment. After a few disappointing performances in April they have tidied up their error count and their defence is looking immense. The returns of Marty Banks and Waisake Naholo will also help their cause going forward. Naholo in particular is a big return, scoring two tries last week after making his comeback from a broken leg.

The Crusaders are on a strong roll and may in fact be the form team of the competition, with their solitary loss of the season coming back in Round 1. Last week they brushed aside the Reds 38-5, with the result forming a trend where the Crusaders score tries aplenty while suffocating the opposition with a physical rush defence. They are currently the 2nd ranked team in offence and the 4th ranked in defence, which highlights the all-round strength of the side.

Head-to-head pick: Crusaders
Line pick: Crusaders -0.5

Betting: when playing in Dunedin, four of the last five clashes between the two have been settled by 6 points or less. Based on last week’s impressive showings by both teams I find it hard to pick a winner so I would back both the Highlanders 1-12 at 3.30 (bet365) and the Crusaders 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365). Both sides have strong defensive records of late, which should prevent a blow out.


Rebels v Brumbies

7:40 PM AEST, AAMI Park, Melbourne
View a detailed form guide for Rebels v Brumbies

Prior to their bye last week the Rebels fought back well to salvage a vital bonus point in their defeat to the Blues. They’re in the midst of a three-way battle for the Australian conference, however with the Waratahs’ resurgence in the last few weeks and the Brumbies soft remaining schedule, I’m not convinced the Rebels will achieve a maiden playoff berth this season. The Rebels have been boosted this week by the returns of Mike Harris, Colby Fainga’a and Lopeti Timani.

The Brumbies returned to the top of the Australian conference with a 23-6 win over the Bulls last week. It wasn’t a convincing performance by any means, but there will be plenty of relief around the club as they had gone into that fixture having lost three of their last four games. A niggling concern for the Brumbies, however, is their inability to accrue bonus points. They have just one for the season which is why the Waratahs are level on points despite having won one fewer game. The Kings are the only other side with fewer than two bonus points.

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

Betting: so far this season the Rebels are 4-1 against sides with a losing record and 1-3 against sides with a winning record. They do come into this fixture having won their previous clash against the Brumbies, however the last time that happened they were thrashed by the Brumbies the following meeting. I would back the Brumbies in the head-to-head at 1.57 (Luxbet).

Saturday, 14 May


Hurricanes v Reds

5:35 PM AEST, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
View a detailed form guide for Hurricanes v Reds

The Hurricanes were made to pay for a poor start to the second half as they fell 15-32 to the Sharks in Durban last week. Nevertheless, 5 points was a decent haul from their two-game tour of South Africa. They sit 5 points clear of the Waratahs in the race for the final playoff spot and will back themselves against the Reds this week. The Hurricanes will field a weakened side, however, with Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Julian Savea, Ardie Savea and Chris Eves all dropped for breaching curfew in South Africa.

Having being brushed aside 5-38 by the Crusaders in Christchurch last week, the Reds were given a reality check of how far behind the top sides in the competition they are at the moment. To their credit, the young side has a great work ethic and there are definitely some young up and comers in the squad, but the best they can realistically aim for this season is mid-table.

Head-to-head pick: Hurricanes
Line pick: Reds +13.5

Betting: the Hurricanes should be too strong, however they will be notably weaker this week due to the five dropped players. I would tentatively back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.18 (Ladbrokes).


Waratahs v Bulls

7:40 PM AEST, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
View a detailed form guide for Waratahs v Bulls

After a poor start to the season the Waratahs are now on a three-game winning streak, having seen off the Force, Stormers and Cheetahs in recent weeks. They now sit level on points with the Brumbies in the Australian conference and they have a game in hand over the Canberra side. Last week’s performance wasn’t error free, but they will be pleased to have kept an opponent tryless for the first time this year. The win also snapped a three-game losing streak at home. A good result against the Bulls will be important because the next two opponents for the Waratahs are the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The Bulls fell 6-23 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week after being given a tough time of it by referee Ben O’Keeffe. They sit just one point behind the Stormers in the Africa 1 conference, but they risk slipping further behind this week, with the Stormers playing the Sunwolves. In team news, winger Jamba Ulengo has been called up to the squad to replace the injured Travis Ismaiel.

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

Betting: the Bulls have been pretty competitive in their recent visits to Sydney and they come into this fixture having won five of their last six. I would back the Bulls +11.5 in the pick your own line market at 1.48 (William Hill).


Sunwolves v Stormers

9:45 PM AEST, Singapore National Stadium, Singapore
View a detailed form guide for Sunwolves v Stormers

The Sunwolves paid the price for a poor first half as they fell 22-40 to the Force in Tokyo last week. They did well to come back in the second half to deny the Force a bonus point, however, which will give them some confidence going into this fixture.

Prior to their bye last week the Stormers fell 30-32 at home to the Waratahs after playing the last 24 minutes of the match with 14 men due to a red card offence. The Stormers were also left to rue missed penalties by Jean-Luc du Plessis and the fact that they couldn’t make their dominance in possession count. In team news, winger Leolin Zas will miss the next two weeks for a dangerous tackle charge.

Head-to-head pick: Stormers
Line pick: Sunwolves +26.5

Betting: so far this season the Sunwolves have been much more competitive against South African sides than they have against Australian teams. So far at “home” (Singapore), the Sunwolves have lost by 1 point to the Cheetahs and by 3 points to the Bulls. Based on this I would back the Sunwolves +26.5 at 1.90 (CrownBet).

Sunday, 15 May


Cheetahs v Kings

1:05 AM AEST, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
View a detailed form guide for Cheetahs v Kings

The Cheetahs made five changes to the starting line up last week and seemed to suffer for it, with their scrum in particular looking poor after making three changes to the front row. With any playoff hopes for this season dashed, they appear to have already shifted their focus to next year, using the rest of this competition to build for the next campaign. They do return to their regular front row starters this week.

The Kings bounced back from their 73-27 thrashing at the hands of the Jaguares with a much more competitive showing against the Blues, losing 18-34 in the end. The two results show that at full strength they are a bad team, and when they rotate out players they are a terrible team. The Kings have received a double blow ahead of this clash, with CJ Velleman ruled out for at least six weeks with a broken thumb and Chris Cloete ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Stefan Watermeyer has suffered a foot injury and may not be available either.

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

Betting: the Cheetahs should be too strong, especially with the Kings’ injury woes. I would back the Cheetahs 13+ at 1.31 (Pinnacle Sports). At the time of writing other bookmakers are offering as little as 1.12 for this selection.


Lions v Blues

3:10 AM AEST, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
View a detailed form guide for Lions v Blues

Prior to their bye last week the Lions put in a sub-par performance and were made to pay by the Hurricanes, who turned numerous Lions’ errors into tries. They nevertheless remain in a strong position in the Africa 2 conference and after this week they won’t have to play any further Kiwi sides during the regular season. In team news, flyhalf Elton Jantjies suffered a knee injury against the Hurricanes so he faces a late fitness test ahead of this clash.

The Blues currently sit at the foot of the New Zealand conference but remarkably would be tied for first if they were in Australia. Last week they saw off the Kings 34-18 to record their first victory in South Africa in four years. The Lions are a completely different prospect, however, so I don’t fancy the Blues’ chances this weekend.

Head-to-head pick: Lions
Line pick: Lions -6.0

Betting: the Blues have a terrible away record in recent years, with the win over the Kings snapping a 12-game road losing streak. The hosts will be fresh and motivated for this so I would back the Lions in the head-to-head at 1.48 (Luxbet).


Jaguares v Sharks

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

Prior to their well-earned bye last week the Jaguares thrashed the Kings 73-27 to move to 2-7 for the season. They’ve had to endure a torrid travel schedule but are a pretty tough side to play at home. For their most recent tour they kept ten players in Argentina to stay fresh, which is why they are a much different prospect at home than they are on the road.

The Sharks have moved to just one point behind the Lions in the Africa 2 conference after they saw off the high-flying Hurricanes 32-15 in Durban last week. They had just returned home from a three-game tour of New Zealand, which made the result all the more impressive. They will also be buoyed to be in such a strong position having not had the services of Springboks fly-half and Sharks captain Patrick Lambie until last week.

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

Betting: the Jaguares find themselves in a rare position where they will be much less travel-fatigued than their opponents. Early in the season the Chiefs could only win at this venue by 4 points while the Stormers won by 5. Since that the Jaguares have become more settled and they only lost by 4 points to the Sharks in Durban earlier in the season. I would back the Jaguares +6.5 in the pick your own line market at 1.50 (Sportsbet).


Best Bets of the Round

Back both the Highlanders 1-12 at 3.30 (bet365) and the Crusaders 1-12 at 3.25 (bet365)

Back the Lions in the head-to-head at 1.48 (Luxbet)


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