Another huge round of 2016 Super Rugby action is set for this weekend with every team taking part in fourth round action. Continue reading for our Super Rugby Round 4 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Hurricanes vs Western Force (Friday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Force has one win in their first three matches but they have put up a fight in all three of their contests. Last week they were outclassed by a top notch Brumbies outfit but they still managed to remain in the contest and continued to fight throughout the match. Dane Haylett-Petty was a stand out for the side at fullback and was constantly being a dangerous runner. He ran for game high 91 metres and blew past three defenders in the 80-minutes.
The Hurricanes were able to kick start their 2016 Super Rugby season by defeating their New Zealand rivals the Blues last week. However, the win came at a cost with Nehe Milner-Skudder suffering a shoulder injury after 50-minutes. Milner-Skudder had a breakout season last year and was a strong performer for the All Blacks during the rugby World Cup. His speed and allusive running will be missed as the inexperienced backline without becomes younger. The Hurricanes have a dominant record against the Force winning eight of the nine meetings between the two sides and the home side will come out on top again but I like the Force with the big head start.
Waratahs vs Highlanders (Friday 7.45pm AEDT)
This is an important match for the Waratahs as they can’t afford to fall too far behind their Australian conference rivals the Brumbies. The Waratahs lost to them in their last start but they were in the contest until the final minutes. Unfortunately hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau suffered an injury and will miss the next few weeks, which puts a lot of pressure on replacement Hugh Roach to perform at the lineouts and scrums. The Tahs will also be searching for revenge after being embarrassed by the Highlanders on home soil in last season’s semi-final.
The Highlanders have bounced back after suffering a loss in the opening round of the season to pick up two big victories. Despite only having 37% of possession last week, the Highlanders earned a double digit victory against the Lions as their defence held strong whilst they took their minimal opportunities in attack. Their line will be challenged more this weekend with the Waratahs offering more in attack than the Lions. Israel Folau is due for a big match and I expect him to have a big impact in this match if the Highlanders attempt to get into a kicking battle.
Bulls vs Sharks (Saturday 4am AEDT)
The Sharks are the only undefeated team remaining in the South African conference as they travel to take on the Bulls who are coming off a bye. The Sharks were forced to tackle their way to victory against the Stormers last week as they had just 35% of the ball but they did get a lot of luck go their way with a controversial penalty try awarded to them which also resulted in a Stormers player receiving a yellow card. The Sharks demolished the Kings in the opening week of Super Rugby whilst they were able to hold off the Jaguares the week after.
Meanwhile the Bulls were thumped in their opening match against the Stormers but bounced back nicely for a 20-point victory against the Rebels the following week. The bye would have done the side a lot of good as they look to continue to improve without their important flyhalf Handre Pollard. The Sharks have earned two road victories already this season and with their defence being one of the best in the competition we are backing them to hold out the Bulls advances and remain undefeated to start the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Sunwolves vs Rebels (Saturday 3.15pm AEDT)
The Rebels raced to a 16-0 lead against the Reds last week and it looked as if they would be putting a big score on and gain a huge amount of confidence for the rest of the season. However, they switched off and it nearly cost them everything as the Reds produced a big comeback but fell short as they couldn’t convert despite having 18 phases on the Rebels line.
The same can be said for the Sunwolves as it looked as if they had registered their first win in Super Rugby history. It wasn’t too be as they only managed three points in the second half as the Cheetahs stormed home to be one point victors. It will be interesting to see which side has dealt with this issue the best as no team can afford to be complacent in this strong competition. I believe it will be the Rebels who will address it better as they are a more experienced side and will want to continue on their development and earn a narrow victory.
Crusaders vs Kings (Saturday 5.35pm AEDT)
It is already looking as if it will be a long season for South African side the Kings. In their two matches this season they have conceded 43 and 58 points albeit against strong attacking sides. They face one of the tougher tasks in Super Rugby this weekend as they head to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders.
The Crusaders aren’t the force they were over the past decade as they have lost their two best servants Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, however they are still a strong outfit. They will definitely earn the victory in this one but by how much is the question. The line is set at a massive 31 points with not much else offering much value in this match. We suggest backing this amount as they have lost by more than this margin in their two matches on home soil this season.
Reds vs Blues (Saturday 7.45pm AEDT)
The Blues have suffered back-to-back defeats after starting the season tremendously by picking up a win against the defending Super Rugby champions. They were unfortunate not to earn the points last week against the Hurricanes but the Crusaders outclassed them the week before. A reshuffle in the teams line up saw them improve and the same team is expected to take the field this week for the Blues.
The Reds showed signs that they won’t be a stepping stone this season as they fought back from a 16-0 deficit to make a game of it against the Rebels. They even had the opportunity to win the match but were unable to create a chance for a field goal before they had an error and the game was over. Matt O’Connor and Nick Stiles had their first match as co-coaches and their impact on the side seemed immediate. It will be interesting to see how strong the side can get when they become healthy, however with a lot of key players still on the sidelines we are backing the Blues to earn the victory in this one.
Lions vs Cheetahs (Sunday 2.05am AEDT)
The Lions will return home this weekend after two tough outings in New Zealand. They picked up an incredible and unlikely victory against the Chiefs but they weren’t able to crack the Highlanders defence last week as they suffered their first loss of the season. However, it was the opposite story for the Cheetahs as they picked up their first win of the season last week against the Sunwolves. They were forced to do it the hard way as they headed into half time facing a massive deficit. They showed a lot of character to bounce back and they will need to bring that this weekend on the road. The Lions have a strong forward pack and they will be dominant at the scrum and lineouts. This will contribute to the side returning to winning ways on their home soil.
Stormers vs Brumbies (Sunday 4.15am AEDT)
The high flying Brumbies travel to South Africa in this one to take on the Stormers who suffered their first loss of the season last week. The Brumbies are the only team in the Australasian conference to remain undefeated and they have done it in terrific fashion. They are using the attacking style of rugby perfected and have picked up three straight 13+ victories. Their best victory was against the Waratahs two weeks ago and they will face another big challenge this weekend but they have a surprisingly strong record against the Stormers in South Africa as they split the 10 matches at the Newlands Rugby Stadium whilst they have won 12 of the 18 matches in total.
The Stormers were arguably the better side against the Sharks last week but had a few big calls go against them. It put them under a lot of pressure and it was ultimately too much in the end. However, with the Brumbies playing at such a high level it wouldn’t be smart to back against them. Captain Stephen Moore is leading from the front whilst Matt Toomua has been dominant at inside centre and scored a crucial try against the Force. We expect them to lift and continue their strong record against the Stormers.
Jaguares vs Chiefs (Sunday 8.40am AEDT)
The Chiefs returned to winning ways last week as they dominated the Kings and they will be better off this weekend after adjusting to the time zone having spent a full week in South Africa. The side was its dangerous attacking best whilst Damien McKenzie helped the score line by kicking 10/10 goals. They face a much tougher task this weekend as they take on the Jaguares side that is full of Argentinian internationals.
The Jaguares were unfortunate not to get the victory against the Sharks as they scored two tries to one and it was ultimately penalty goals that handed them the loss. They will need to be more disciplined this week, as they can’t afford the sharpshooter McKenzie to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The Jaguares will be able to give the Chiefs the run for the money but the Chiefs with their experience and class will find a way to win.
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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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