Super Rugby Round 7 – Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

View and compare Super Rugby odds.
View the Super Rugby form guide.

Friday, 30 March


Chiefs v Highlanders

5:35 PM AEDT, FMG Stadium, Waikato
View a detailed form guide for Chiefs v Highlanders

The Chiefs crushed the Sunwolves 61-10 last week to move to 3-1 for the season. They looked fantastic against the Japanese side, but then again so did the Sharks, who have since lost twice. Nevertheless, the Chiefs have now won three in a row despite their injury woes. Their next three fixtures are against Kiwi sides, which will provide a stern examination of their depleted player stocks.

The Highlanders had their first away fixture of the season last week and suffered their first defeat, falling 12-29 to the Hurricanes. The scores were locked at 12-12 at the 50th minute before the Hurricanes pulled away for the win as the Highlanders failed to take their chances. They will be keen to return to winning ways this week ahead of next week’s bye.

Betting: the Highlanders have won 6 of their last 7 against the Chiefs, however the Chiefs won their most recent encounter. Like the bookmakers, I’m finding it hard to separate the two sides, so I would back both the Chiefs 1-12 at 3.25 (Ladbrokes) and the Highlanders 1-12 at 3.40 (Ladbrokes). Twelve of the last 16 meetings between the two were settled by this margin.
Confidence: medium


Rebels v Hurricanes

7:45 PM AEDT, AAMI Park, Melbourne
View a detailed form guide for Rebels v Hurricanes

The Rebels bounced back from their heavy loss to the Waratahs by thrashing the Sharks 46-14 in Melbourne last week. They controlled the game from start to finish and put in a much stronger defensive performance than the week before. The Rebels are now 4-1 for the season but this will be their first clash against a New Zealand team. They’ve had a soft schedule thus far so how they go this week will provide a great insight into their title credentials.

The Hurricanes showcased their title credentials with a 29-12 win over the previously unbeaten Highlanders last week. The Wellington side has now won 7 of it’s last 8 home fixtures against Kiwi teams. They now take on their first Australian opposition of the season. Flanker Ardie Savea might not be available this week due to a rib injury.

Betting: the Hurricanes have won their last five meetings against the Rebels, with four of those wins coming by heavy margins, but the Rebels are a completely different side this year and all of their home fixtures to date have been won by 23+ margins. The difference between the current form guides of the two sides, however, is the Rebels have yet to play a team ranked in the top 6, while the Hurricanes have already played and beaten the 3rd ranked Crusaders and 6th ranked Highlanders, both by 10+ margins. The Hurricanes aren’t a particularly strong team to back at the line, so I will simply back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.29 (Ladbrokes).
Confidence: low

Saturday, 31 March


Blues v Sharks

5:35 PM AEDT, Eden Park, Auckland
View a detailed form guide for Blues v Sharks

Prior to their bye last week the Blues returned from South Africa with one win from two. They failed to build on the momentum from upsetting the Lions by putting in a sloppy performance against the Stormers. Turnovers and poor defensive saw them down 3-24 at the break before they found their feet in the second half. The side looked better with Stephen Perofeta at fly-half than starter Bryn Gatland, so it will be interesting to see who gets the No.10 jersey this week. In negative team news, Blues will be without centre Sonny Bill Williams for up to two months due to a broken wrist, while lock Scott Scrafton has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

The Sharks defended well to remain in the contest against the Rebels at halftime last week, but were blown away in the second spell to fall 14-46. The Sharks have only one win so far this season, which doesn’t bode well for their two-game tour of New Zealand.

Betting: the Sharks have won 6 of their last 7 clashes against the Blues, but lost their most recent encounter 18-23 in Auckland in 2016. The Sharks’ losses to the Rebels and Brumbies in recent weeks don’t give me any confidence in backing them, but 1.20 odds looks awfully short for the erratic Blues. If I had to bet I would back the Blues in the head-to-head at 1.20 (William Hill), but I wouldn’t put my house on it.
Confidence: low


Brumbies v Waratahs

7:45 PM AEDT, GIO Stadium, Canberra
View a detailed form guide for Brumbies v Waratahs

Prior to their bye last week the Brumbies played their first home fixture of the season and, despite picking up two yellow cards, returned to winning ways with a 24-17 win over the Sharks. Coach Dan McKellar shifted Christian Lealiifano to inside centre and gave Wharenui Hawera the No.10 jersey and the two combined well. Both sides scored two tries but the two long-range penalties slotted by Hawera proved to be the difference. The Brumbies are now 2-2 for the season and have an opportunity to improve their standing in the Australian conference with back-to-back home fixtures against Australian opposition.

Prior to their bye last week the Waratahs shifted Israel Folau to the wing and it paid immediate dividends, with his dominance in the air contributing to a 51-27 thrashing of the previously unbeaten Rebels in Sydney. Halfback Mitch Short also had a great game. The only downside of the performance was they got off to another slow start. They found themselves down 3-20 early on just a week after conceding 26 points in the opening 20 minutes to the Jaguares. Nevertheless the Waratahs will be delighted to a have picked up a key victory over a conference rival just a week after that shambolic performance in Argentina.

Betting: the Brumbies have won their last 3 against the Waratahs but prior to that they lost the last 4. Three of the last four meetings between the two were won by the away team. Of the two sides, the Waratahs’ best rugby this season has looked more convincing than the Brumbies’ best rugby, so I would back the Waratahs in the head-to-head at 1.72 (bet365, Palmerbet). For those looking for more risk I would also consider the Waratahs 1-12 at 3.25 (Ladbrokes). It’s been a long time since the Waratahs last won by 13+ in Canberra.
Confidence: medium

Sunday, 1 April


Bulls v Stormers

1:15 AM AEST, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
View a detailed form guide for Bulls v Stormers

The Bulls return home from their three-game tour of Australia and New Zealand with just 1 bonus point to show for it. The 14-33 scoreline against the Crusaders last week was a touch harsh, given the Bulls edged the hosts in territory and possession – significantly so in the first half. They had a poor game tactically, however. The Bulls turned down kickable penalties on a wet night which didn’t pay off and they paid the price for lack of finishing ability. After winning in Round 1 the Bulls have now lost 4 on the trot and will have to hope that a return to Pretoria can turn their fortunes around.

The Stormers saw off the fast-finishing Reds 25-19 last week to move to 3-3 for the season. They dominated the Reds’ pack and continue their strong form of winning games as the bookmaker’s favourite.

Betting: the Stormers have won 6 of the last 7 against the Bulls and they have gone 5-1 over the last 12 months when installed as the favourite. If I had to bet on the head-to-head market I would back the Stormers at 1.70 (Unibet), but I am wary of the Bulls’ improvement under new head coach John Mitchell. Given 8 of the last 9 meetings between the two in Pretoria were settled by 12 points or less, I would back both the Bulls 1-12 at 3.60 (Ladbrokes) and the Stormers 1-12 at 3.25 (Ladbrokes).
Confidence: high


Lions v Crusaders

10:30 PM AEST, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
View a detailed form guide for Lions v Crusaders

After a promising 3-0 start to their campaign, the Lions have since put in three poor performances. They lost to the Blues, only just beat the Sunwolves and fell 35-49 to the Jaguares. The worrying sign for the Lions is their porous defence which has leaked 35, 38, 38 and 49 points in their last 4 fixtures. Based on current form they will have their work cut out against the Crusaders, despite the visitors’ injury woes.

The Crusaders ground out a scrappy 33-14 win over the Bulls in wet conditions last week to bounce back from consecutive defeats. The scoreline was slightly flattering, but they never looked like losing. In a sour note, Ryan Crotty left the field with a head knock, which is what forced him to miss games earlier in the season.

Betting: the Crusaders are unbeaten in their last 5 visits to Johannesburg. With the Lions’ defence looking shaky, I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.50 (William Hill).
Confidence: medium


Best Bets of the Round

Back both the Bulls 1-12 at 3.60 (Ladbrokes) and the Stormers 1-12 at 3.25 (Ladbrokes)


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