After a month of international rugby, the players have returned to their clubs as the biggest club rugby tournament in the world returns to action. Continue reading for our Super Rugby round 15 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Chiefs vs Cheetahs (Friday 5.35pm AEST)
Super Rugby returns with a bang as the two powerhouse New Zealand sides face off for top spot in their conference. The Crusaders are currently sitting in first place but the Chiefs are just three competition points behind them and a win would see the Chiefs leapfrog the Crusaders.
A lot of the players from these two teams were involved in New Zealand’s dominance over Wales but they will be hitting each other hard in this match with a lot on the line. The Crusaders lost to the Chiefs in the opening match of the season but a lot has changed then as the Chiefs headed into the month off in poor form as they lost two of their last three matches. Since the Crusaders loss to the Chiefs in round 1, they won 10 of their 11 matches and head into this match as favourites despite playing on the road.
The Crusaders will rely on their superiority in the forwards to get them on the front foot whilst being strong at the scrum, line out and breakdown. On the back of this they will be able to get good field position with penalties and they will look to capitalise on that. However, if they are to make a mistake the Chiefs will make them pay, as they are one of the best sides on the counterattack. The Chiefs will have benefited more from the break and in front of their home crowd we have them winning this one by a narrow margin.
Brumbies vs Reds (Friday 7.35pm AEST)
The Brumbies are currently sitting on the top of the Australian conference and this is a must win for them with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. The Brumbies headed into the bye period in solid form as they won three straight games and they will be full of confidence against the Reds as they have had a lot of success against their Australian opponents. The Brumbies have won 11 of the 14 matches played on their home soil against the Reds and their line up on paper is definitely superior.
The Reds have improved throughout the season but they are still going to be a lot stronger next season and are playing the rest of the year to build momentum for next year. Their side is still hit by injuries despite having a month away from action whilst the Brumbies will be without David Pocock who was injured in the opening game of the three match series for Australia against England. It is a big loss for the Reds but they will be able to lift in other areas and earn the victory.
Sunwolves vs Waratahs (Saturday 3.15pm AEST)
The Waratahs head into this match as massive favourites as you would expect, as the Sunwolves are still learning in their first season in Super Rugby. They have just one win to their name this season and have moved to the bottom of the table.
Meanwhile a win for the Tahs would see them move into a strong position for the run home and they will definitely be in search for the bonus point victory by scoring three tries more than their opponent. The Tahs have won four of their last five matches and as they have two New Zealand opponents to finish off the regular season, it is a must that they earn the maximum competition points in this one. This will lead to the side going all out attack and I am predicting them to pile on the points throughout the match and clear the line comfortably.
Hurricanes vs Blues (Saturday 5.35pm AEST)
The Hurricanes started the season slow, had a midseason resurgence where they began to look like the dominant side they were last year but they headed into the break with a mixture of results as they lost two of their last five matches. They still sit in a comfortable position on the ladder despite being in the tough New Zealand conference and a win this weekend could book their place in the finals series.
In the overall match ups, the Blues are the side with the advantage. However, in recent years it is the Hurricanes who have had it over their New Zealand rivals. The Blues have lacked in attack in recent years and their defence has been cracked relatively easily. They are lacking behind compared to their New Zealand conference teams but they are still a quality side. It will be a tough match but the Hurricanes will come out on top on the back of their superior offence with flyhalf Beauden Barrett showing his full potential when on the field for the All Blacks.
Rebel vs Stormers (Saturday 7.40pm AEST)
The Rebels have had one of their most successful seasons in the Super Rugby competition despite finding themselves in 12th place on the ladder. They are no longer in contention for the finals series but they have improved their game to a new level this year and have been competitive in the majority of their matches whilst causing multiple upsets. They have a young side that will continue to develop in years to come and they have a lot of reason to be excited. However, this weekend they are facing a Stormers outfit that is sitting on the top of their conference and they will want to defend their home field advantage.
The Rebels won’t have the advantage of the scrum, however what will go in their favour is the condition of the ground. In the Wales vs England match at AAMI park it reached a point where the scrums were no longer competitive due to the soil being moved under the players feet when pushing. This will mean the Stormers won’t be able to gain the proper dominance they would normally have in this area. However, the Stormers do have the advantage in the backline and the forward pack. The Rebels have struggled at the line out all season and I see this as a big area where the Stormers will look to capitalise, as they won’t be afraid of kicking the ball into touch and attempting to steal it and gain the field advantage.
Cheetahs vs Western Force (Saturday 11pm AEST)
This is a battle of pride between these two sides with the two combining for just five wins and 19 losses this season. The Cheetahs are clearly the stronger side as they offer a lot more in attack then their opponents and having the home field advantage will be huge for them in this contest. However, in their history it hasn’t shown as in the four matches played at Toyota stadium, the Force have won 2 and lost 2 against the South African opponent.
The Force has been competitive in the majority of their matches this season and after narrowly losing to the Blues on their home soil, they almost pulled off an upset on the road against the Rebels. They weren’t able to get the job done in those two games but it could be third time lucky for the Western Australian side as I am predicting them to get their third win of the season.
Lions vs Sharks (Sunday 1.10am AEST)
This is a huge match for the South African conference as the Sharks are sitting just inside the top eight and in a finals spot but they have a lot of teams breathing down their neck. Meanwhile the Lions are on the top of the South African conference and a win in this one would almost certainly book their place on the top.
It has been a great season for the Lions that no one saw coming. Their forward pack has been brilliant as they have one of the best scrums in the competition whilst they put a lot of effort into turning the ball over at the breakdown. Their back line has also gone above expectations and they have been a great attacking force.
On the other hand, the Sharks have suffered crucial injuries throughout the year and have relied mostly on their defence to get them over the line. They aren’t a side that chances their hand unless they are forced into that position and on the occasions when they have they have looked a much better side. If they went into matches with a more attacking approach they could have more success. However, I am predicting them to stick to their defensive mindset and this will be the team’s downfall.
Kings vs Highlanders (Sunday 3.20am AEST)
The Highlanders were looking as if they would head into the break as the form team of the competition with wins against the Chiefs and Crusaders but they fell to the Hurricanes in their last match. It was a big loss for the side as it could have solidified their spot in the finals but instead they are just ahead of the pack. Luckily for them they are facing the Kings this weekend and a win is written in with a sharpie for the side but they will be searching for the maximum points with the bonus point for getting three more tries than their opponent.
The Kings are the worst defensive team in the competition and the Highlanders will be wanting to make them pay despite being on the road in this one. We will be backing a huge victory for the Highlanders, as they will be well rested and ready to steer their team into the finals and defend their Super Rugby crown.
Jaguares vs Bulls (Sunday 7.40am AEST)
This will be the first time these two sides are facing off and it will be a must win match for the Bulls if they are going to make a push into the finals series this year. The Jaguares have disappointed a lot of people but they had a lot of high expectations on their shoulders considering it was their first season in the toughest rugby club competition in the world. Injuries as well as the travel has seen the Jaguares register just 2 wins as they sit in 15th position on the ladder. However, in a lot of games when they have played their best and on home soil they have managed to be competitive and keep the contests close.
We are predicting this one to be a close contest with the Jaguares playing at their best as they will be coming off the International break where the best players in the side were playing together. The Bulls have been weak on the road this season and we are predicting an upset with the Jaguares earning the win in front of their home fans.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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