The 2016 Super Rugby season continues this weekend with seven matches to be played. We take a look at every match and offer our Super Rugby Round 7 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Chiefs vs Blues (Friday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Blues returned to winning ways by picking up a huge victory against the Jaguares on home soil last week. They scored two tries in the first half and were forced to rely on the boot of five-eighth Ihaia West to get them over the line as he grabbed a total tally of 19-points in the match. The side also had to overcome spending 10-minutes with 14 men on the field, as Tevita Li was sinbinned. It is a positive side for the struggling Blues but they face a much tougher opponent this weekend.
The Chiefs earned a massive scalp last week when they defeated the brumbies away from home that saw them move to the top of the Super Rugby table. Their incredible recent run has seen them win in South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia in successive weeks. The Chiefs were able to use their scrambling defence to suffocate the Brumbies despite the side producing 9 line breaks in the contest. The home side will earn a comfortable victory in this one as they continue their winning streak.
Western Force vs Crusaders (Friday 9pm AEDT)
The Force raced to an early lead against the Highlanders and was surprisingly leading the defending champions 14-0 for the opening 20-minutes. However, the side was unable to continue that form for the rest of the match as they ultimately fell to the Highlanders 32-20. They face their fourth straight New Zealand opponent and they haven’t been able to earn a victory thus far. Surprisingly though they have a good record against the Crusaders and have defeated them twice on home soil in three matches.
The Crusaders earned their second victory in South Africa and it was in a thrilling match against the Lions. Their 43-37 win was the match of the round and it saw the side be lifted into second place on the ladder. Their forward pack was able to rise to the challenge against the Lions but ultimately it was their backline that got them out on top and we expect the same thing to happen this weekend.
Stormers vs Sunwolves (Saturday 3am AEDT)
The Sunwolves missed out on their best chance to win their first ever Super Rugby match when they fell to the Kings. The Japanese side has almost 70% of possession and were camped in Kings half for 60% of the match but still couldn’t come out on top. Unfortunately for them, it gets a lot harder this weekend when they face one of the strongest sides in the competition.
The Stormers will also be fresh as they are coming off a bye and will be full of confidence after two big wins against the Brumbies and Jaguares in Argentina. However, there was bad news this week as they lost Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth to a calf injury in Monday’s training session. The key player will miss the contest and it will hinder the side even more with Stormers back up lock Jan de Klerk already on the sidelines for the next ten weeks, as their depth in the position will be tested over the next few weeks. Despite the loss, the Stormers will still pull off a victory against the Stormers but we believe the Sunwolves will manage to pull off a fight like they have all season.
Hurricanes vs Jaguares (Saturday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Jaguares fell to the Blues last week as they failed to put on a solid performance without ten of their first string players. The Argentinian side was able to race out to a 6-0 lead but crucial errors cost the side as halftime approached and they were unable to find their way back in the match as they gave away penalties that would end in the Blues gaining three points.
Meanwhile the Hurricanes will be looking to gain some solid form after their bye. They are currently on a three game winning streak and it is important for the side to continue to win as they are in the tough New Zealand conference. The Hurricanes backline will prove too strong in this one and if they can get out to an early lead it could turn into a big score line.
Reds vs Highlanders (Saturday 7.45pm AEDT)
The Highlanders came out slow against the Force as they underestimated their opponent and weren’t up for the contest. However, they were able to overcome that and still earn a comfortable victory but they didn’t earn the bonus point they would have been searching for. However, it keeps the side in a great position with just one loss all season.
The Reds haven’t won a game all season but since Matt O’Connor and Nick Stiles took over as co-coaches they have played at a much higher level. Their defence has been impressive whilst they have had a chance to win all three of the games they played. They finished the match against the Blues in a draw whilst they lost by two points in the other two contests. The Highlanders have never won at Suncorp stadium, however, I am backing the defending champions to earn a comfortable victory on the road.
Sharks vs Lions (Sunday 1.05am AEDT)
The Sharks are coming off a bye and will be searching for their first win in matches after drawing with the Bulls and suffering a loss at home to the Crusaders. The side has suffered a lot of injuries to key players this season and will still be without five starting players this weekend including arguably their best player Patrick Lambie. The Sharks have a strong defensive outfit but need to improve in attack as they have only crossed for 10 tries this season.
Meanwhile the Lions have been a strong outfit this season and narrowly missed out on defeating the Crusaders last week in a high scoring affair. They have looked strong in attack whilst their defence has lacked at times. The Lions have one of the stronger forward packs in the competition and they will need to take advantage of the penalties they will likely win at the scrum. However, we are backing the Sharks to come out as the fresher and more desperate side to win on home soil.
Kings vs Bulls (Sunday 3.15am AEDT)
The Bulls ground out their third Super Rugby victory of the 2016 campaign as they came out on top against the Cheetahs. They came out quickly as they were fresh off a bye and they had three tries in the opening 40 minutes. The Cheetahs had plenty of opportunities to cross in the first 10-minutes but the Bulls defence held firm and it stepped up in the dying stages as well as it held on for a victory.
The side won’t be challenged as much this weekend as they take on one of the weaker sides in the competition. The Kings earned their first win last week as they held off the Sunwolves on home soil but it could be another long wait until they taste victory again. Their defence is the worst in the competition and whilst the Bulls don’t play the most expansive type of football they will come out on top comfortably in this one.
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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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