The following are betting tips for Super Rugby AU Round 7 & Aotearoa Round 6 for the 2021 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, 2 April
Crusaders vs. Highlanders
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders vs. Highlanders
UPDATE: the Highlanders have stood down six players as punishment for breaking team code. Josh Ioane, Sione Misiloi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Patelesio Tomkinson have been left out of the 23-man squad.
Brown told NZME the players had “broken the code” of his team and had been dropped for the match as punishment.
Prior to their bye last week Richie Mo’unga scored 28 points as the Crusaders defeated the previously unbeaten Blues 43-27 in Auckland. Both sides scored four tries but the superior discipline of the Crusaders when the opposition were in kickable positions proved the difference as they kicked five penalties to one. The Crusaders are now 4-0 and with just half the season played they already have one foot in the final.
The Highlanders fell 19-30 at home to the Hurricanes last week to slide to 1-3 for the season. Despite dominating territory and possession they trailed 7-17 at halftime and a slow start to the second half put the game out of reach. Once again the Highlanders were their own worst enemy. They botched five chances in the first half alone, which stemmed from not kicking for goal, losing line-outs & scrums and conceding penalties at the breakdown. Both teams scored three tries but the Highlanders’ insistence on not kicking for goal proved to be their undoing. In a further blow, former All Black Liam Squire has likely played his last game this season due to a recurring knee injury.
Betting: the Crusaders have won 11 of their last 13 at home against the Highlanders. They have won seven on the trot as well as seven on the trot at home against the southerners. Of the Crusaders’ last 11 home wins over the Highlanders, 9 were by 13+ and the last six wins were by 17, 23, 26, 24, 20 and 10 points. With the Crusaders looking as strong as ever and the Highlanders struggling this year, I will back the Crusaders 13+ at 1.55 (bet365).
Waratahs vs. Brumbies
View a detailed form guide for Waratahs vs. Brumbies
The Waratahs fell 14-46 at home to the Reds last week to slide to 0-5 for the season. The fallout of that heavy defeat was the sacking of coach Rob Penney with assistant coaches Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker named as interim head coaches for the rest of the season. Given the squad has lost over 1,800 Super Rugby caps of experience over the last two seasons, the sacking may have been harsh. We’ll see over the next few weeks whether the Waratahs’ form improves without Penney.
The Brumbies moved to 4-1 for the season after they bounced back from the Reds defeat by thrashing the Force 42-14 in Canberra. The game was over by halftime as the Brumbies ran in four unanswered tries to lead 28-0. The Force were more competitive in the second spell but the result had already been determined by that point.
Betting: the Brumbies have won seven straight against the Waratahs as well as five straight in Sydney. The Waratahs in 2021 are the weakest in recent memory. They’re conceding 40 points per game, with the Force the next worst at 24. The Waratahs were battered 61-10 by the Brumbies earlier in the season and another hammering looks on the cards. I would back the Brumbies 13+ at 1.50 (bet365). This selection is as low as 1.30 with other bookmakers, so those odds might not last! Those looking for more risk should take the Brumbies -19.5 at 1.93 (bet365).
Saturday, 3 April
Blues vs. Hurricanes
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs. Hurricanes
The Blues limp into this clash on the back of consecutive defeats after they suffered an agonising 12-15 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton, with one penalty kick separating the two sides. They were defensively well organised but couldn’t put enough points on the board. The Blues have a good forward pack on paper but they came off worryingly second best last week. They have some highly rated backs too but could only manage four line breaks. The Blues’ form is a shame for those who believed they could challenge the Crusaders this season.
Jordie Barrett scored all of the Hurricanes points last week as they defeated the Highlanders 30-19 in Dunedin to pick up their first win of the season. The hosts enjoyed most of the territory and possession but the Hurricanes defended well to soak up the pressure and win comfortably. Their forwards’ superior work rate at the breakdown was also telling. A late Highlanders try made the game look closer than it was.
Betting: the only ones to beat the Blues at Eden Park over the last 12 months were the Crusaders, while the Hurricanes have won just one of their last five games. The 1.35 odds are shorter than I was hoping for. Nevertheless, if I were to bet on this game I would back the Blues in the head-to-head at 1.35 (BlueBet).
Rebels vs. Reds
View a detailed form guide for Rebels vs. Reds
Prior to their bye last week the Rebels defeated the Waratahs 33-14 to move to 2-2 for the season. After playing the entire Super Rugby AU campaign outside of Melbourne last season, the Rebels finally returned to AAMI Park. They relished the home venue and led 33-0 until the Waratahs scored two late consolation tries. After both benches cleared the second half Rebels performance wasn’t nearly as strong but it was nevertheless a great result. They have scored five tries in their last two fixtures, having failed to cross the try line in their first two games. The Rebels have cemented themselves as the best of the rest in a conference dominated by the Reds and Brumbies. This week provides the opportunity for them to make a claim as a top-two side.
The Reds thrashed the struggling Waratahs 46-14 last week to remain top of the table with a 5-0 record. The seven tries to one victory was made more emphatic by the fact that the Reds had lost each of their previous six visits to Sydney. The win was also a milestone because the Reds have now won consecutive away games for the first time since 2013.
Betting: historically bookmakers have been good at predicting the result of this clash. The Rebels have gone 4-1 as the home favourite against the Reds and 0-1-4 as the home underdog. With the visitors installed as the favourite this time round, I will back the Reds in the head-to-head at 1.58 (bet365).
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