Super Rugby Round 16 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

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Please note that to take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, these previews are published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering, especially given the enforced resting of international players this season.

Friday, 31 May


Blues vs Bulls

5:35 PM AEST, Eden Park, Auckland
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs Bulls

The Blues fell 11-19 to the Crusaders in Christchurch last week. They have now gone 0-6 away from home this season but the good news is they are much more formidable in Auckland, where the Blues have gone 5-2. Their two home defeats were against the Crusaders and Hurricanes – the best two teams in the competition.

The Bulls fell 10-22 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week, with the scoreline flattering the Pretoria side due to the numerous missed points from the tee by the hosts. They now face two tricky away fixtures against the Blues and Highlanders, knowing that they have only won once outside South Africa since 2016.

Betting: the Blues have gone 5-1 as the home favourite over the last 12 months while the Bulls have been poor overseas travellers in recent seasons. The Blues look a bit short (1.29) in the head-to-head market so I will instead back the Blues 1-12 at 2.70 (Sportsbet).
Confidence: low


Rebels vs Waratahs

7:45 PM AEST, AAMI Park, Melbourne
View a detailed form guide for Rebels vs Waratahs

The Rebels thrashed the Sunwolves 52-7 in Tokyo last week to keep pace with the Brumbies at the top of the Australian conference. The 8 tries to 1 victory came at a cost, with Will Genia picking up a concussion which will likely rule him out of this clash. The Rebels have only won two of their last six games and their only wins since Round 4 have been over the Reds and Sunwolves – each twice.

The Waratahs’ Australian conference title hopes virtually ended last week when they fell 15-23 at home to the in-form Jaguares. The Waratahs have gone 1-5 against non-conference opponents this season and it was their 4th home defeat as they’ve struggled to find form whilst playing at various “home” venues this year.

Betting: both teams bring underwhelming form into this fixture. The Waratahs have gone 0-4 as the away underdog over the last 12 months however they have won their last five straight against the Rebels. The last two games between the two were settled by 5 points or less so I would back both the Rebels 1-12 at 2.88 (Sportsbet) and the Waratahs 1-12 at 3.85 (TopBetta).
Confidence: medium

Saturday, 1 June


Sunwolves vs Brumbies

3:15 PM AEST, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo
View a detailed form guide for Sunwolves vs Brumbies

The Sunwolves’ season collapse continued with a 7-52 home defeat to the Rebels last week. Their offence has run dry with three of their last four opponents keeping them to 7 points or less. The Sunwolves’ defence has also been a disaster, with the side conceding a league-worst 35 points per game, compared to the average of 24.8. They have now lost their last six and looking at the remaining schedule, it’s unlikely the Sunwolves will win again this season.

The Brumbies have maintained their lead at the top of the Australian conference after they defeated the Bulls 22-10 at home last week. The scoreline would have looked different had Christian Lealiifano not gone one from five with the boot. The Canberra side is the form team of the Australian conference, having won five of their last six fixtures. Much of the sides’ turnaround has been due to the fixture schedule, with four of their last six fixtures coming at home. The Brumbies have gone 6-1 at home this season but 1-5 away from Canberra.

Betting: the wheels look to have fallen off the Sunwolves in recent months, with their last six defeats coming by an average of 28-point margins. I would back the Brumbies in the head-to-head at 1.17 (Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, TopBetta).
Confidence: medium


Chiefs vs Crusaders

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

The Chiefs saw off the Reds 19-13 last week to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Once again it was defence that won them the day after the Reds spent much of the second half camped inside the Chiefs’ 22. All up the Chiefs made over 240 tackles during the match. Having conceded 70% possession and territory, the Chiefs will know that a performance like that won’t be good enough against the Crusaders, however. In team news, Angus Ta’avao and Anton Lienert-Brown should return after being rested last week, while Brodie Retallick and Nathan Harris are unavailable due to injury.

The Crusaders defeated the Blues 19-11 in Christchurch last week to move to 10-3-1 for the season. Thirteen points separate them from the Hurricanes, who are about to embark on their South African tour, so the first overall seed is virtually assured. This is a sobering fact for fans of other teams given the Crusaders have a 22-0 record in home playoff games. One shadow leading up to this clash is that Richie Mo’unga and George Bridge were named in the ongoing investigation over offensive behaviour in Cape Town a fortnight ago. In better news, Kieran Read is expected to return this week.

Betting: the Crusaders have won their last five straight against the Chiefs, who will be fatigued after having to do so much defending last week. With Brodie Retallick’s return from injury delayed, I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.23 (Sportsbet).
Confidence: medium


Reds vs Jaguares

7:45 PM AEST, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
View a detailed form guide for Reds vs Jaguares

The Reds enjoyed 70% possession and territory but struggled to find the try line as they fell 13-19 to the Chiefs in Hamilton last week. It was their third consecutive defeat and with a tough run of fixtures remaining, I don’t expect the Reds will make the playoffs. In team news, star player Samu Kerevi should return after being rested last week.

The Jaguares have won back to back Australasian fixtures after they saw off the Waratahs 23-15 in Sydney last week and the Hurricanes 28-20 in Wellington the week before. A yellow card almost undid their cause against the Waratahs, but the Jaguares’ held firm to pick up the win. After a slow start to the season the Jaguares have won six of their last seven to sit 3 points clear at the top of the South African conference.

Betting: the Jaguares have a perfect 5-0 record on Australian soil since entering Super Rugby. Given this and their superior form to the Reds, I would back the Jaguares in the head-to-head at 1.52 (bet365, Unibet). I expect the Reds will keep them honest so for those looking for more risk I would back the Jaguares 1-12 at 2.80 (Sportsbet).
Confidence: medium


Sharks vs Hurricanes

11:05 PM AEST, Kings Park Stadium, Durban
View a detailed form guide for Sharks vs Hurricanes

The Sharks saw off the Lions 27-17 last week to complete the double over the Johannesburg franchise. They sit 6th in the standings, 3 points ahead of the 9th placed Stormers, but this is their final home game of the regular season so this is almost a must-win game if the Sharks are to secure a playoff spot.

Prior to their bye last week the Hurricanes put in a poor performance and suffered a shock 20-28 home defeat to the Jaguares in Wellington. It was the first time this season that a team other than the Crusaders had defeated the Hurricanes and it was their first home defeat to a foreign opponent since 2015. All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett was rested for that clash and should return this week.

Betting: the Sharks are undefeated at home against the Hurricanes over the last decade and they have won their last five home fixtures against Kiwi opponents. I would back the Sharks +3.5 at 1.82 (TopBetta).
Confidence: low

Sunday, 2 June


Lions vs Stormers

1:15 AM AEST, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
View a detailed form guide for Lions vs Stormers

The Lions have now gone 0-4 for the season against South African sides after they fell 17-27 to the Sharks in Durban last week. Elton Jantjies had a game to forget after he threw two intercept passes that led to the Sharks’ first and third tries and he missed a critical penalty late in the game. With three rounds to go the Lions currently occupy the 8th and final playoff spot, but only tie-breaking rules currently separate them from the 9th placed Stormers.

The Stormers have moved to within touching distance of a playoff spot after they defeated the Highlanders 34-22 in Cape Town last week. This was on the back of a shock draw against the Crusaders in Christchurch so their recent run of form has given them every chance of making the playoffs.

Betting: the Lions have gone 7-2 at home over the last 12 months while the Stormers have gone 2-6 away from home. I would back the Lions in the head-to-head at (bet365, Ladbrokes).
Confidence: low


Best Bets of the Round

Back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.23 (Sportsbet)


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