The following are betting tips for Round 5 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, 11 June
Hurricanes vs. Reds
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Jordie Barrett missed two potentially game-winning penalties in the final two minutes as the Hurricanes fell 10-12 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week. Barrett’s 1 from 4 night from the penalty spot cost them dearly, but the Hurricanes as a side failed to score a single point in the second half. As only the second New Zealand team to lose a game, the Hurricanes now need a host of other unlikely results to go their way if they’re to make the final.
The injury-hit Reds fell 24-31 to the Blues at Suncorp Stadium last week. They are now 1-3 for the campaign as they compete to finish as the best of the Australian teams. James O’Connor (neck) and fullback Bryce Hegarty (hamstring) were late omissions for last week’s game, which forced Reds to name 19-year-old debutant Mac Grealy at fullback and Hamish Stewart in his first game at fly-half in almost three years, so they did well to keep the Blues honest. The Reds also lost Suliasi Vunivalu to a hamstring injury during the game.
Betting: the Hurricanes have won five in a row against the Reds but their last meeting was settled by just 4 points. There isn’t a huge amount of value in the hosts in the head-to-head so I will instead back the Hurricanes 1-12 at 3.10 (Sportsbet, Unibet).
Brumbies vs. Highlanders
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The Brumbies claimed a gutsy 12-10 home win over the Hurricanes last week, making them just the second Australian side to pick up a win. The Hurricanes missed three crucial penalty kicks in that match, but the victory was a win for the Brumbies’ defence, which bounced back after conceding 31, 40 and 38 points in the first three rounds of Trans-Tasman rugby. Those first matches were all played in New Zealand, which highlights how much a side’s defensive effort can improve when back at home.
The Highlanders moved into 2nd in the standings with one round to play after they thrashed the Waratahs 59-23 in Dunedin. The franchise’s record-breaking 36-point win was made all the better by the fact that they had rested Aaron Smith and Shannon Frizell. The Highlanders sit ahead of the 3rd placed Crusaders by a slender points difference of 11. The Crusaders wrap up their campaign with a very winnable fixture against the Rebels a day later, so the Highlanders will likely have to win with a bonus point if they are to make the finals. Even that may not be enough if other results go against them.
Betting: the Highlanders have won five straight against the Brumbies, including their last three visits to Canberra. All three of those wins were by 6 points or less so I will back the Highlanders 1-12 at 3.00 (Sportsbet).
Saturday, 12 June
Rebels vs. Crusaders
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The Rebels remain without a win in Trans-Tasman Super Rugby after they fell 26-36 to the Chiefs in Sydney. They did well to bounce back from 0-19 down to go into halftime at 19-all, before the Chiefs pulled away in the second spell. The result continues a trend in the right direction for the Melbourne side. Their defeats in this tournament have been by 47, then 22, then 15, then 10-point margins. Due to the covid outbreak in Melbourne, this will be the Rebels’ third consecutive game at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
The Crusaders maintained their unbeaten start to the Trans-Tasman campaign but they failed to pick up a crucial bonus point in their 29-21 home win over the Force last week. They may be left to rue the decision to rest a number of their regular starters for that clash. With a round to play they sit 3rd in the standings, separated from the 2nd placed Highlanders by a comparative points difference of 11. The Highlanders face a difficult trip to Canberra on Friday, however, a day before this one. At kick-off the Crusaders will know exactly what is required to make the final.
Betting: the Rebels are merely playing for pride in front of a neutral crowd while the Crusaders will need to win and possibly win big. The last two meetings between the two saw the Rebels annihilated 10-55 in 2018 and 66-0 in 2019. I would back the Crusaders -20.5 in the pick your own line market at 1.50 (Sportsbet).
Blues vs. Force
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The Blues defeated the Reds 31-24 last week to end a five-game losing streak at Suncorp Stadium. As they have done so all season, the Blues sit top of the standings with one round to play. The Highlanders and Crusaders are a point behind them so the Blues know that a bonus point win would guarantee them a spot in the final. The Highlanders and Crusaders will have completed their fixtures before this match, so the Blues will know exactly what is required before kick-off to make their first final since 2003.
The Force bounced back well from their 6-43 thrashing by the Hurricanes in Round 3 by making a good account of themselves in their 21-29 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch. With the exception of that dreadful result against the Hurricanes, the Force have avoided blowouts this campaign, with their three other defeats coming by 1, 10 and 8-point margins. Their ability to deny New Zealand teams bonus points is having a huge bearing on the make up of next week’s final.
Betting: the Force have gone 9-2 at the line away from home this season. I expect the Blues won’t need to win by a bonus point so I will back the Force +26.5 at 1.89 (bet365).
Waratahs vs. Chiefs
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The Waratahs continue to be the most consistent side in the tournament, churning out one high-scoring defeat after another. They fell 23-59 to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week. This was on the back of 28-54, 21-48 and 48-64 scorelines in preceding rounds. The Waratahs have conceded a historically awful 56.3 points per game in this tournament, with 34 tries conceded in four games – ten more than the next worst defence. They are 0-12 in a season that can’t come to an end soon enough.
The Chiefs saw off the Rebels 36-26 in Sydney last week. Despite leading by 19-points at one stage, the Chiefs missed out on a bonus point so they now languish 5th in the standings with only a mathematical chance of making the final.
Betting: as we’ve seen so often this competition, I expect the Waratahs will keep it somewhat close in the first half before possibly suffering another blowout in the second spell. I would back the Waratahs +11.5 in the first-half handicap at 1.94 (Sportsbet).