The following is a preview with betting tips for the final of the 2021 Trans Tasman Super Rugby competition. This fixture sees the Blues host the Highlanders in an all-Kiwi affair.
To take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, this preview is published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk-averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering.
Saturday, 19 June
Blues vs. Highlanders
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs. Highlanders
The Blues topped the Trans-Tasman standings throughout the tournament but only points difference separated them from the Highlanders at the end of the season. Their tournament form was an improvement on their 3rd place finish in Super Rugby Aotearoa with a 4-4 record. The Blues will now host a Super Rugby final for the first time in 19 years. They bring the better defensive record into the game. The Blues conceded 21 tries in the eight matches of Super Rugby Aotearoa, compared to 28 for the Highlanders. The Blues then conceded just 10 tries in Trans-Tasman Super Rugby, compared to 13 for the visitors.
The Highlanders qualified for the final just ahead of the Crusaders courtesy of a +6 superior points difference. They finished the regular season in impressive fashion by thrashing the Brumbies 33-12 in Canberra. Like the Blues, the Highlanders enjoyed the clean sheet that the Trans-Tasman competition provided after finishing 4th in the Aotearoa campaign with a 3-5 record. They had the best disciplinary record in the Trans-Tasman competition and sin bins could prove crucial in this fixture.
Betting: the Blues have gone 8-1 at home over the last 12 months while the Highlanders have gone 8-2 at the line away from home. The Blues defeated the Highlanders 39-17 at home in Aotearoa Round 3 before the Highlanders beat them 35–29 in Dunedin in Round 8. Given the venue and the fact that the Blues have had the superior defensive record in both the Aotearoa and Trans-Tasman tournaments, I would back the Blues in the head-to-head at 1.40 (Unibet). I have a huge amount of respect for the Highlanders and it wouldn’t surprise me if they covered the line, so those looking for more risk should consider the Blues 1-12 at 2.88 (Unibet).