The following are betting tips for Round 3 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, 28 May
Hurricanes vs. Force
View a detailed form guide for Hurricanes vs. Force
The Hurricanes overcame a slow start to beat the Rebels 35-13 in Wellington last week. Crucially, they picked up a winning bonus point. Like every New Zealand team the Hurricanes are now 2-0 for the season. It looks increasingly likely that the two finalists will be based on accumulated bonus points.
The Force fell 15-25 at home to the Highlanders last week. They might have qualified for a losing bonus point had they not turned down a kickable penalty in the second half. The Force sit 6th in the standings as the best of the Australian sides courtesy of a bonus point and a net points difference of -11, which, sadly, is comfortably better than any of their compatriots. Fly-half Jake McIntyre suffered a serious head knock during the game so I doubt he’ll feature this week.
Betting: The Hurricanes have beaten Australia’s worst two franchises by 16 and 22 points, so the +22.5 line for the Force looks a touch too high. The Chiefs and Highlanders only beat them by a combined 11 points, so I would back the Force +22.5 at 1.93 (bet365).
Saturday, 29 May
Waratahs vs. Crusaders
View a detailed form guide for Waratahs vs. Crusaders
The Waratahs continued their trend of creating free-scoring games when they fell 21-48 to the Blues in Auckland. This was on the back of their 48-64 defeat to the Hurricanes in Sydney. The Waratahs have scored an impressive 10 tries so far this competition, but their 17 tries conceded is the worst in the competition by a three-try margin. They have also created an unwanted new club record of ten consecutive Super Rugby defeats.
Following a lacklustre home win over the Brumbies in Round 1, the Crusaders fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition by thrashing the AU-winning Reds 63-28 in Brisbane. Richie Mo’unga continues to be the best-performing fly-half in New Zealand as he scored a hat-trick of tries to contribute to his personal haul of 31 points in the match. The Crusaders only sit 3rd on the standings at the moment, but they have the easiest remaining schedule, having already played Australia’s best two teams.
Betting: this looks to be another high-scoring game. I expect the Crusaders will run out to a big lead before relaxing, which will allow the Waratahs to put some points on the board. I would back the over if the total is set at 64.5 or lower.
Blues vs. Brumbies
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs. Brumbies
The Blues almost reached the half century mark in successive games when they defeated the Waratahs 48-21 in Auckland. They dominated proceedings but only led by 8 points at halftime before pulling away in the second spell. The Blues retain their lead at the top of the standings but they have faced the two easiest opponents in the competition thus far.
After almost securing a draw against the Crusaders in Round 1, the Brumbies crashed back down to Earth with a 19-40 thrashing at the hands of the Chiefs in Hamilton. They are known for having one of the better forward packs in Australia but they were clearly second best against the hosts. Their backs were outmatched too. The Brumbies now visit the Blues in Auckland before returning home for the remainder of the tournament.
Betting: the Brumbies were really disappointing last week. Can they bounce back or will the drain of playing a final against the Reds followed by fixtures against the Crusaders and Chiefs take its toll? When the Blues win they tend to win big. This season 6 of their 7 wins were by 13+, so I would back the Blues 13+ at 1.80 (Sportsbet).
Reds vs. Chiefs
View a detailed form guide for Reds vs. Chiefs
After winning the AU title, the Reds’ Trans-Tasman campaign has gone from bad to worse. In the opening round they rotated some of the squad and were thrashed 19-40 by the Highlanders in Dunedin. Last week they returned home to their fortress at Suncorp Stadium only to be hammered 28–63 by the Aotearoa-winning Crusaders. The Reds conceded nine tries last week and after just two rounds of the Trans-Tasman tournament, it’s clear we will see an all-New Zealand final.
The Chiefs defeated the Brumbies 40-19 in Hamilton last week. Their excellent performance was a marked improvement on their one-point win over the Force the week before. The hangover from the Aotearoa final defeat likely played a role in that result. A repeat of last week’s performance in Townsville on Saturday would see the Chiefs win comfortably.
Betting: I expect this tournament will take its toll on the Australian sides, who are having to play game after game against Kiwi opposition. The average winning margin jumped from 17.4 points in Round 1 to 23 points in Round 2, which is ominous. The Reds have lost five consecutive games to the Chiefs, including their last three in Queensland. I would back the Chiefs in the head-to-head at 1.40 (Unibet).
Sunday, 30 May
Highlanders vs. Rebels
View a detailed form guide for Highlanders vs. Rebels
The mercurial Highlanders put in a strong defensive display to see off the Force 25-15 in Perth last week. It was the first time the Otago franchise had recorded back-to-back wins since 2019. The fact that the Chiefs only squeaked past the Force by a point the week before highlights how good that performance was.
The Rebels fell 13-35 to the Hurricanes in Wellington last week. In a similar vein to their 3-50 defeat to the Blues in Round 1, the Rebels defended well in the first half and only trailed 3-14 at the break, only for the score to blow out in the second half. Once again some of the effort in second half tackling left a lot to be desired, but at least the performance was an improvement over the previous week.
Betting: the average winning margin has been 20.2 in Trans-Tasman Super Rugby and the Rebels have been Australia’s worst performing team. I would back the Highlanders 13+ at 1.36 (bet365).
Best Bet of the Round
Chiefs in the head-to-head at 1.40 (Unibet)