The final round of the Super Rugby regular season is this weekend and there is still a lot of moving that can be done in the finals positions. Continue reading for our Super Rugby Round 17 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Blues vs Waratahs (Friday 5.35pm AEST)
The Waratahs fell at home last week and it has put them in a position where they can’t control their own destiny. Even if they are to earn a bonus point victory on the road against the Blues, they still could miss out on playing in the finals series. However, as they are playing in the opening game of the round it would be good for their mentality as if they are able to go out and earn the win it will put a lot of pressure on the Brumbies to do the same on Saturday night.
The Waratahs trailed early in the match 11-0 but were able to score 17-unanswer points to take an early lead just after the half time break when Israel Folau crossed. However, that was as good as it got for the Waratahs as the Hurricanes ran away with the match as the Tahs weren’t disciplined.
Meanwhile the Blues seem to have saved their best performances for last. Fresh off learning their fate that they would be unable to play in the post-season, the Blues came out with a lot of attacking flair, as they had essentially nothing to lose. They were able to outclass the Brumbies as they handed them a 40-15 loss.
The Tahs will give it their everything to come away with a victory in this one but they have been inconsistent all season and don’t necessarily deserve a spot in the finals. Injuries have derailed their year at times and the Blues showed last week what they are capable of at home.
Reds vs Rebels (Friday 7.45pm AEST)
The Reds and Rebels will be playing for pride this weekend as both sides have been out of contention for the last few weeks. The Reds never stood a chance this year as they have struggled despite showing progress throughout the season. However, they suffered their worst loss of the season last week as the Chiefs demolished them on home soil.
It was much better for the Rebels who conceded a whopping 85-points against the Crusaders in what was their worst defeat of the season and the most points the club has ever allowed. It will be a disappointing end to what has been the best season for the Rebels but they will at least end with the year with a victory in this one.
Sharks vs Sunwolves (Saturday 3am AEST)
The Sharks are currently sitting in one Wild Card spot for the finals but they can’t afford a loss as the Bulls are right on their tails. Luckily for them, they are finishing their regular season against the Sunwolves who are sitting on the bottom of the table. It will be the first time these two sides are facing off and it should be all one-way traffic. The Sharks should use this opportunity to improve their attack but they won’t want to make any mistakes early and ensure they get the victory. We are predicting the Sharks to come out on top by a comfortable margin.
Crusaders vs Hurricanes (Saturday 3.15pm AEST)
We are treated with a finals match a week early, as these two sides will be desperate for victory. Just two competition points separate the Crusaders and Hurricanes on the ladder and the winner of this contest will earn the higher seed in the finals and possibly a spot on the top of the New Zealand conference.
Both sides are coming off huge victories with the Hurricanes coming from behind against the Waratahs on the road at a venue they had only one three times in 10 attempts whilst the Crusaders were absolutely dominant against the Rebels last week. They piled on 85-points in a try scoring clinic and will come into this match full of confidence in front of their home fans. They have only lost three games all season – twice against the Chiefs and once against the Highlanders. They have the third best attack and defence in the competition and it is a combination that contributes to their success.
For the Hurricanes, a lot of the responsibility lands on the shoulders of flyhalf Beauden Barrett. He has been crucial to their success all season and has continued to develop as a player and is a certain pick for the All Blacks squad. His pace and playmaking ability makes him a danger for any team. However, he can’t do it all on his own and there isn’t enough pieces around him due to a couple of injuries the Hurricanes suffered earlier in the season. The Crusaders will be able to earn the victory on their home soil.
Highlanders vs Chiefs (Saturday 5.35pm AEST)
Rugby fans will be licking their lips at this double header, as another blockbuster match will be played. The Chiefs are sitting on the top of the New Zealand conference but there are four teams in contention of moving into first place.
The Highlands and Chiefs had two impressive performances over the weekend and both of them were on the road. The Highlanders cruised to victory in Argentina against a strong Jaguares outfit whilst the Chiefs dominated the Reds at Suncorp stadium.
The Chiefs capitalised on every opportunity they were presented and at one-point they were facing a Reds side with only 13-men on the field due to two players being yellow carded. In that period the Chiefs score 21-points and the game was over at halftime.
The Highlanders stayed true to their style has they had limited ball and territory but as soon as they had a sniff they would make the opposition pay. They have become notorious for absorbing pressure and forcing a turn over and scoring on the break this season. It will hard for them to be able to do that against such a strong Chiefs side but they have already proved they are capable of doing it on the road against this weekend’s opponent this year. We are backing them to be able to do it once again, this time in front of their home fans.
Brumbies vs Western Force (Saturday 7.40pm AEST)
The Brumbies have applied a lot of pressure on themselves for this weekend after a terrible performance against the Blues last week. They didn’t turn up with enough energy as they conceded four tries in the opening 20-minutes. It was concerning to see the Blues come out on top in a period when they had only 14-men on the field. The Brumbies attempted a comeback before halftime but they weren’t able to add to that in the second half.
The Force put a week of turmoil behind them when they took on the Stormers on the weekend. They played similar to how they have all season and that is by staying in the contest for the opening 30-minutes before falling away as they aren’t able to put together a complete performance. The side lacks a lot in attack and it will be hard for them to crack the Brumbies defence in the ACT. The home side will be able to earn the victory and likely book themselves a place in the finals series in a solid bounce back performance.
Stormers vs Kings (Sunday 1.05am AEST)
The Stormers are returning home from a successful trip to Australia where they earned back-to-back victories against the Rebels and then the Force. It has put them in a solid position on the ladder and a win against the Kings could see them earn third place on the overall standings.
The Kings have had an unsuccessful return to the Super Rugby competition, registering just two victories all season. They have conceded the most points of any team at 632 and we are predicting them to be on the wrong end of another hiding on Sunday morning.
Cheetahs vs Bulls (Sunday 4.05am AEST)
The Bulls will know how much this match will mean for them before they will take the field as they will either have an opportunity to win and make the finals or it will just be a regular match before they finish their season. It is more than likely going to be the latter as they are needing the Sunwolves to cause a massive upset against the Sharks. The Bulls started the season strongly but ultimately injuries to key players have derailed their season.
Meanwhile the Cheetahs have continued to be a middle of the table team that shows the capabilities of being a top team with their attacking flair but doesn’t quite have the consistency to do it week in and week out. The Bulls will be able to end their season on a high note as they come away with a comfortable victory in this one.
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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