The following are betting tips for Round 2 of the 2021 Trans Tasman Super Rugby competition.
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, 21 May
Hurricanes vs. Rebels
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The Hurricanes defeated the Waratahs 64-48 in Sydney last week to extend their strong run of 16 wins from their last 17 games against Australian opposition. Following their win over the Highlanders in Aotearoa Round 8, this was the first time the Hurricanes had won back-to-back games in 2021. The Wellington side scored 41 points against the Highlanders, so offence is certainly no issue at the moment, however their defensive stats leave a lot to be desired.
The Rebels commenced their Trans-Tasman campaign with a humiliating 3-50 home defeat to the Blues. The scores were briefly 3-3 before the Blues ran the Rebels off the park with six unanswered tries. Such was the gulf in quality between the sides that the Rebels conceded two tries whilst playing with a one-man advantage.
Betting: the Hurricanes have won seven on the trot against the Rebels and three of their four home wins over the Melbourne side were by 13+. Given the head-to-head odds for the Hurricanes are just 1.04 and the 13+ odds are only 1.22, however, I will sit this one out.
Force vs. Highlanders
View a detailed form guide for Force vs. Highlanders
The Force made a good account of themselves despite falling 19-20 at home to the Chiefs last week. Fly-half Domingo Miotti had the chance to clinch victory with an after-the-hooter conversion but missed. The Chiefs, backing up from their Aotearoa final, weren’t at their best but the Force can take heart from their competitive performance.
The Highlanders commenced their Trans-Tasman campaign with a 40-19 win over the Reds in Dunedin. They took advantage of a jaded Reds outfit that was backing up after the AU final. It’s hard to get a read on the Highlanders this season given their mercurial nature. They thrashed both the Crusaders and Reds by 21-point margins but also lost by 19 points to the Hurricanes and by 21 points to the Blues.
Betting: given the uncertainty over what version of the Highlanders we’ll see, I’ll opt for a higher-odds market. I’ll tip the Highlanders to win with the Force making a good account of themselves. I would back the Highlanders 1-12 at 2.90 (Unibet).
Saturday, 22 May
Blues vs. Waratahs
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The Blues sit top of the Trans-Tasman table courtesy of their 50-3 hammering of the Rebels in Melbourne last week. Most of the damage was done in the second spell after the Blues led 17-3 at halftime. They are clearly enjoying the opportunity that the clean slate the Trans-Tasman competition has given them following a disappointing Aotearoa campaign.
The Waratahs lost 48-64 to the Hurricanes in Sydney last week to extend their horrid 2021 record to 0-9. Despite the seemingly close scoreline the Waratahs never seriously looked like winning. The standout issue this year is their defence, which has leaked 38 points per game.
Betting: the Waratahs’ last three games totaled 61, 61 and 112 points as they’ve lured their opponents into playing almost exhibition-style, defence-forgotten rugby. The 61-point totals were against the Rebels and Force, who have both averaged just 16 points per game against other opponents this season, so I can only imagine what the Blues, who put 39 past the Chiefs and 50 past the Rebels in recent weeks, will do to them. The total hasn’t been published at the time of writing but I would certainly back the over if it’s around 60.5. The line has been set at an eye-watering 35.5 with the Blues at 1.01 odds in the head-to-head. Given the Waratahs’ ability to put points on the board I will side with them in this market. I would back the Waratahs +35.5 at 1.85 Unibet).
Chiefs vs. Brumbies
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The Chiefs started as heavy favourites but only just saw off the Force 20-19 in Perth last week. Discipline was almost their undoing as the Chiefs conceded two yellow cards and a red card. They played the final 14 minutes with 14 men and would have lost had the Force not missed their try conversion at the death. To be fair, it was always a big ask for the Chiefs to back up following the Aotearoa final. None of the other finalists in AU or Aotearoa put in a good performance last week.
The Brumbies almost pulled off a major upset but fell 29-31 to the Crusaders in Christchurch last week. They had the opportunity to tie the game after scoring a last-gasp try, but Noah Lolesio missed the conversion. The defeat extends the Brumbies’ winless run in Christchurch to 21 years. With both teams featuring a hangover of last week’s finals, it wasn’t a high quality game, but the Brumbies can take heart from such a competitive showing against New Zealand’s best team.
Betting: the Chiefs have yet to win a game by more than 6 points this season and their last five wins were by 3, 3, 1, 2 and 1 points. Five of their last six home wins over the Brumbies were also by 1-7 points. Despite going 1-4 in their last five games at FMG Stadium, the Brumbies have covered the line in each of those visits to Hamilton. I would back the Brumbies +9.5 at 1.89 (bet365). Those looking for more risk should consider the Chiefs 1-12 at 3.10 (Sportsbet).
Reds vs. Crusaders
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The Reds fell 19-40 to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week. The hangover effect from their AU title win was evident as they lacked the energy and intensity of the well-rested hosts. The Reds had only trained once since the final and chose to rest a few players, but they will nevertheless be disappointed with such a poor performance. The defeat extends the Reds terrible run of 17 defeats from their last 18 fixtures against Kiwi opposition. James O’Connor left the field with a head knock at halftime last week, but at the time of writing he is expected to play this week.
The Aotearoa-winning Crusaders started as heavy favourites last week but only just squeaked past the Brumbies 31-29 in Christchurch. They led by 14 points with 8 minutes to play but had to fight off a late Brumbies comeback. The win extends the Crusaders’ impressive run of 20 wins from their last 21 games against Australian opposition. It wasn’t a great performance by the Crusaders’ high standards, but it was always a big ask to play one week after enjoying the highs of a title win, as the Reds clearly found out.
Betting: the Reds bring an 11-game winning streak at Suncorp Stadium into this clash but they have lost eight in a row to the Crusaders. Ominously, the Crusaders have gone 6-1 away from home over the last 12 months with 5 of those wins coming by 13+ margins. At Suncorp Stadium the Crusaders have only won 1 out of their last 6 visits by 13+, however. I’m on the fence regarding the win, line and margin markets, so I will instead anticipate a lower scoring game. The last four meetings between the two went under the total and with the Reds unable to afford going 0-2 in Trans-Tasman rugby, I expect they will take a cautious approach. I would back under the published total if it is 54.5 or higher.
Best Bets of the Round
Brumbies +9.5 at 1.89 (bet365)