Super Rugby Round 15 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 15 of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

View and compare bookmaker odds for this round.

View the form guide for this round.

Friday, 1 July


Chiefs v Crusaders

5:35 PM AEST, ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji
View a detailed form guide for Chiefs v Crusaders

Prior to the break the Chiefs were comprehensively outclassed by the Waratahs, losing 25-45 in Sydney. They now face a must-win clash against the Crusaders with the New Zealand conference at stake. Apart from a 30-minute spell against the Rebels, the Chiefs have failed to fire on all cylinders in the latter stages of the season. Perhaps their impressive 40-7 win over Wales during the break can reignite their form. In team news, lock Michael Allardice has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury. Aaron Cruden was stretchered off the field against Wales but has been cleared of any serious injury. He will start from the bench with veteran Stephen Donald starting at fly-half. This fixture is the first ever Super Rugby fixture to be played in Fiji.

The Crusaders picked up a crucial come from behind victory over the Blues in Auckland prior to the break to sit at the top of the New Zealand conference. The Crusaders have only lost one fixture since their Round 1 defeat to the Chiefs so they along with the Lions are the two form teams at the moment. The Crusaders will be delighted to have rampaging winger Nemani Nadolo back from suspension, especially given his crucial try on return against the Blues. They will also be pleased by the improving form of young fly-half Richie Mo’unga. Ryan Crotty and Luke Romano are out with injury this week.

Head-to-head pick: Crusaders
Line pick: Chiefs +2.5

Betting: this one is a coin toss for me. The Chiefs have won 5 of their last 6 against the Crusaders but their opponents bring better form into this clash. Ten of the last fourteen clashes between the two have been settled by 12 points or less so I would back both the Chiefs 1-12 at 3.40 (bet365) and the Crusaders 1-12 at 3.30 (bet365).


Brumbies v Reds

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

The Brumbies moved back to the top of the Australian conference with a win and a rare bonus point over the Sunwolves prior to the break. The 66-5 mauling was probably just what the doctor ordered for a side that had been struggling a bit on offence in prior weeks. They have an easier line up of fixtures than the Waratahs to finish the season so their destiny is in their own hands. The Brumbies will be without David Pocock for the rest of the season, however, after he fractured an eye socket against England.

Prior to their bye in Round 14 the Reds made hard work of it as they saw off the Sunwolves 35-25 in Brisbane. The win came at a cost, with fullback Ayumu Goromaru ruled out for the rest of the season with an AC joint injury. Rob Simmons also won’t feature this week after he picked up an injury against England.

Head-to-head pick: Brumbies
Line pick: Brumbies -14.5

Betting: the last two meetings between these two have resulted in hidings, with the Brumbies winning 47-3 at home and 29-0 in Brisbane. The international break may have disrupted the Brumbies’ rhythm, however. I will shy away from the -14.5 line and back the Brumbies -7.5 at 1.40 (Sportsbet).

Saturday, 2 July


Sunwolves v Waratahs

3:15 PM AEST, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
View a detailed form guide for Sunwolves v Waratahs

After putting in a strong away performance against the Reds, the Sunwolves rotated their squad and were subsequently thrashed 66-5 by the Brumbies in Canberra. The result highlighted their lack of squad depth and looking and their line-up of fixtures, they will do well just to get one more bonus point before the end of the season.

Knowing a loss would virtually end their season, the Waratahs put in a sublime performance prior to the break to defeat the Chiefs 45-25 in Sydney. They outclassed the Chiefs in virtually every department with a performance that has put the rest of the competition on notice. They have won five of the last six, yet the Waratahs will have to rely on the Brumbies suffering a shock defeat if they are to win the Australian conference. They do sit just 4 points behind the Highlanders in the race for a final playoff spot, however, which is probably their more likely avenue towards making the playoffs. The Waratahs released Zac Guildford during the break after they signed winger Taqele Naiyaravoro. Prop Benn Robinson has been forced into early retirement due to an eye injury he sustained playing Super Rugby against the Brumbies in Round 8.

Head-to-head pick: Waratahs
Line pick: Sunwolves +23.5

Betting: the Sunwolves are 5-2 at the line at home this season so I’m not prepared to take the Waratahs -23.5. Given their strong form I don’t want to bet against them, however, so I would back the Waratahs -15.5 at 1.42 (William HIll).


Hurricanes v Blues

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

Prior to the break the Hurricanes leapfrogged the Highlanders in the standings with a 27-20 win over them in Wellington. The Hurricanes were just beginning to find their rhythm again and captain Dane Coles has said the timing of the international break was bad for them. With three tough fixtures to come they will have to find top form again quickly if they are to make the playoffs.

The Blues were once again competitive against a fellow Kiwi side, but again, fell short, losing 21-26 to the Crusaders prior to the break. They will likely finish at the bottom of the New Zealand conference but can take positives from their improvement from last season. With key players missing the end of this campaign, the Blues won’t make the playoffs, but look likely to make the New Zealand conference even more menacing in 2017.

Head-to-head pick: Hurricanes
Line pick: Blues +10.5

Betting: the Blues tend to play their best rugby against fellow Kiwi sides, but they have a nasty habit of coming up just short. With the Ioane brothers on Sevens duty, I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.27 (Palmerbet).


Rebels v Stormers

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

The Rebels cemented their 3rd place spot in the Australian conference by beating the Force for the second time this season. They’ve been one of the more predictable teams this year, with a 5-0 record against teams with a losing record and a 1-6 record against teams with a winning record. Based on that stat they should struggle against the Stormers and Crusaders in the coming weeks but will back themselves against the Reds in the final round. The Rebels will be without Ben McCalman for the rest of the season after he fractured his collarbone against England.

Prior to the international break the Stormers snapped a three-game winless streak with an unconvincing 31-24 win over the Cheetahs to move back to the top of the Africa 1 conference. Their destiny remains very much in their own hands, with three manageable fixtures to see of the regular season. With that being said, the Stormers’ form hasn’t been convincing so if they do make the playoffs I don’t see them going deep in the knockouts. Schalk Burger will captain the tour squad in the absence of co-captains Juan de Jongh, who is on Sevens duty, and Frans Malherbe, who is out for 2-3 weeks with a neck injury. Fullback Cheslin Kolbe is also not in the squad due to Sevens duty. The Stormers welcome back Jean Kleyn, JP Smith, Jaco Taute and Scott van Breda from injury for the tour.

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

Betting: the Stormers should win this clash, but I’m wary of their poor run of form. I don’t see either side blowing the other away so I would back both the Rebels 1-12 at 3.33 (Pinnacle) and the Stormers 1-12 at 3.00 (bet365).


Cheetahs v Force

11:00 PM AEST, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
View a detailed form guide for Cheetahs v Force

The Cheetahs put up an almighty fight but fell 24-31 to the Stormers prior to the break, with an intercept try proving to be their undoing. Nevertheless it was a strong performance from a Cheetahs team that has got some key players back from injury in recent rounds. They have the opportunity build some momentum going into next season. A strong finish is important because the Cheetahs have been losing Springboks to rival sides in recent off-seasons, so a strong finish may break that trend.

The Force remain rooted at the bottom of the Australasian Group standings after they lost 22-27 to the Rebels prior to the international break. They are 2-10 for the year and are on track for their worst campaign since their debut season in 2006. I’ve spoken about it in prior rounds but the problem for the Force is that while they continue to struggle to convert territory and possession into points – something that’s being going on for years – this season they are also struggling defensively, with the 16th worst defensive record in the competition to go with their 18th ranked offence. The franchise has also been struggling financially, which has inhibited its ability to recruit top players. Coach Michael Foley was sacked during the winter break with assistant Dave Wessels taking over for the final three games of the season.

Head-to-head pick: Cheetahs
Line pick: Cheetahs -7.5

Betting: both sides have had dismal seasons, but the Cheetahs have looked stronger in recent weeks as they’ve got key players back. I would back the Cheetahs in the head-to-head at 1.39 (Palmerbet).

Sunday, 3 July


Kings v Highlanders

1:05 AM AEST, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
View a detailed form guide for Kings v Highlanders

The Kings capitalised on poor Jaguares discipline to record an upset prior to the break. They now have an excellent chance of avoiding the competition wooden spoon, but the fact that they could only just defeat a side that finished the game with 12 men on the field suggests that the win will be their last of the season.

The Highlanders fell 20-27 to the Hurricanes prior to the international break. They currently occupy the 5th and final playoff spot in the Australasian group, with the Waratahs 4 points behind them. Both the Highlanders and Waratahs have very winnable fixtures this week so the 4-point lead could remain in place come next week. Liam Coltman, Alex Ainley and Fumiaki Tanaka are not on tour for the Highlanders due to injury.

Head-to-head pick: Highlanders
Line pick: Kings +29.5

Betting: the Highlanders should be far too strong. The Blues managed to win this clash by 16 points so I would back the Highlanders to at least match that. Unfortunately the best odds for the Highlanders -15.5 is 1.20. Looking at the Kings, their biggest home defeat of the season was by 35 points and against New Zealand sides on tour their biggest defeat was by 33 points against the Crusaders. I would back the Kings +38.5 at 1.40 (Sportsbet).


Lions v Sharks

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

The Lions snapped the Bulls’ undefeated record at home with a commanding 56-20 win prior to the break. The result has cemented their position at the top of the South African Group standings. They have always played open, entertaining rugby, so it’s great to see them finally backing it up with results. The Lions have suffered a major blow during the break, however, with captain Warren Whiteley likely to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Prior to their bye in Round 14 the Sharks steamrolled the hapless Kings 53-0 but still sit 7 points behind the Lions in the Africa 2 conference. This week could make or break the Sharks’ season. It will be interesting to see how much impact the international break will have had on both teams’ forms. The Sharks will be without fullback Willie le Roux this week due to a one-week suspension.

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

Betting: the Lions have yet to lose to a South African side this season, with all three of their defeats coming against New Zealand sides. I would back the Lions in the head-to-head at 1.50 (Ladbrokes).


Jaguares v Bulls

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

The Jaguares’ away woes continued as they suffered a shock 22-29 loss to the Kings prior to the international break. Poor discipline has been a recurring theme for them as they lost two players to red cards in the first half and then a third to a yellow card late in the second. Prop Ramiro Herrera received a two week ban for a red card offence but due to the international break he is now eligible to play.

The Bulls’ undefeated season at home came to a crashing end prior to the break as they lost 20-56 to the high-flying Lions. It was a devastating blow because it sees them sit 3 points behind the Sharks in the race for the third playoff spot in the South African group. Both sides have fixtures they could well lose this round, followed by two fixtures they should win comfortably. The Bulls have lost RG Snyman to injury for the rest of the season and Trevor Nyakane for this fixture, while in better news, Jacques Potgieter is a good chance of returning in time for the playoffs. Captain Adriaan Strauss is being rested this week after he played in all three Springboks fixtures during the break.

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

Betting: I expect this to be a closely fought, physical tussle, much like the Round 12 fixture between the Jaguares and the Sharks, which ended 22-25 to the visitors. I would back both the Jaguares 1-12 at 3.33 (Pinnacle) and the Bulls 1-12 at 3.10 (bet365).


Best Bets of the Round

Back the Brumbies -7.5 at 1.40 (Sportsbet).

Back the Cheetahs in the head-to-head at 1.39 (Palmerbet)

Back the Lions in the head-to-head at 1.50 (Ladbrokes)


Share this:


Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.