The following are previews with betting tips for Super Rugby AU Round 4 & Aotearoa Round 7 of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
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.
Friday, 24 July
Waratahs vs. Rebels
View a detailed form guide for Waratahs vs. Rebels
The Waratahs blew a 15-point lead to fall 23-24 at home to the Brumbies last week. It was their 8th defeat in 9 games against the Canberra side. The Waratahs will feel aggrieved not to have won given they were in the ascendancy, particularly at the set piece, for much of the game. Mistakes and a lack of experience cost them. Following their win over the Force and defeat to the Reds the Waratahs are now 1-2 for the campaign. In team news, halfback Jake Gordon and centre Lalakai Foketi might return this week if they can pass fitness tests.
Prior to their bye last week the Rebels moved to 0-1-1 for the competition following an 18-all draw with the Reds in a dour contest in Sydney. The Rebels were left to rue conceding 8 points while the Reds were down to 14 men at the beginning of the second half as well as opting to kick for touch rather than attempt a kickable penalty. The bye week will hopefully have helped the side sort out their line-out and other niggly issues.
Betting: the Rebels won the most recent meeting but prior to that the Waratahs had won six straight against the Melburnians. There doesn’t seem to be much to separate the Australian sides at the moment so I would back both the Waratahs 1-12 at 3.50 (bet365) and the Rebels 1-12 at 2.80 (bet365).
Saturday, 25 July
Crusaders vs. Hurricanes
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders vs. Hurricanes
Prior to their bye last week the Crusaders put in a classic fourth quarter masterclass to defeat the Blues 26-15 to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition. The Cantabrians have now gone 36 games undefeated at home. The Blues matched it with the Crusaders for much of the game, but as we’ve seen so often, the Crusaders find a gear late in the game that no one else can match. The venue for this fixture is ominous. The Crusaders have won 18 of their last 20 New Zealand derbies in Christchurch.
The Hurricanes upset the Blues 29-27 in a thrilling contest in Wellington last week. Following a 0-2 start to the campaign the Hurricanes have now won three straight. Not only have they been picking up wins, but there’s been a sense of gaining momentum as the Hurricanes’ form has improved each week. This makes this fixture a clash of the two in-form sides of the competition.
Betting: the Crusaders have won five in a row at home against the Hurricanes and their last home defeat came back in 2016. I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.24 (Sportsbet).
Force vs. Brumbies
View a detailed form guide for Force vs. Brumbies
The Force put in another spirited performance but fell 24-31 to the Reds in Brisbane last week. This was on the back of their 14-23 defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney. In both games the Force started well before being reigned in by the opposition. They play well in patches but have yet to put in an 80-minute performance. This week provides the Force with their first ‘home’ fixture, which unfortunately for the Perth faithful is being played in Sydney.
The Brumbies overcame a 15-point deficit to overcome the Waratahs 24-23 in Sydney last week to move to 2-0 for the campaign. They failed to handle the Waratahs’ pressure for much of the game but showed good composure and belief to close out the win against an inexperienced side. Like a number of Australian teams, set pieces continue to be an issue for the Brumbies after they lost 8 line-outs and 2 scrums. The 14 turnovers conceded doesn’t make for pretty reading either, so it’s ominous that the Brumbies can continue to find ways to win despite showing room for improvement. To be fair, the Brumbies’ line-out issues aren’t helped by the injury absences of locks Caderyn Neville and Nick Frost to go with the departure of Blake Enever.
Betting: the 1.14 head-to-head odds for the Brumbies are too short. The market isn’t giving enough credit to the Force, particularly given the Brumbies’ woes in the lock position. I would back the Force +19.5 in the pick your own line market at 1.50 (Sportsbet).
Sunday, 26 July
Blues vs. Chiefs
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs. Chiefs
The Blues suffered their second straight defeat last week when they fell 27-29 to the Hurricanes in Wellington. This was on the back of a 15-26 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch. Prior to that the Blues had won seven straight games. Defence will undoubtedly get addressed during the week as the Hurricanes found too many holes. The Blues’ three-game winning streak at home is still in tact and they now host a side that can’t buy a win at the moment.
Last week the Chiefs blew a 24-0 lead to fall 31-33 at home to the Highlanders. The defeat extends their losing streak to six games when you include the regular Super Rugby season. The Chiefs weren’t helped by the controversial disallowing of a Damian McKenzie try but the Chiefs can have no excuse for blowing a 24-point lead.
Betting: I expect the Blues will win but the 1.38 head-to-head odds are just a tad short for my liking. The last eight Chiefs’ defeats were by 1-12 points and 16 of the last 20 meetings between the two were settled by 1-12 points so I would back both the Blues 1-12 at 2.88 (Sportsbet) and the Chiefs 1-12 at 4.25 (bet365).
Best Bets of the Round
Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.24 (Sportsbet)