The 2016 Super Rugby season continues this weekend with eight big matches to be played highlighted by the Brumbies vs Crusaders on Sunday. Continue reading for our Super Rugby Round 9 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Highlanders vs Sharks (Friday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Sharks are a wounded team that has now lost three matches in a row. They started the season perfectly but as injuries have taken their toll on the side they have lost a lot of class and composure. Their latest loss to rivals the Lions were their most disappointing, as their defence that had seen them win their opening games was non-existent as the Lions ran away with the contest.
Meanwhile the Highlanders are coming off their second loss of the season and their first since their opening match of the 2016 Super Rugby season. It was a surprise loss as they fell the Reds who were previously winless. They fell behind early in the match and they left their comeback too late as they eventually fell by one point. It was one of those losses that all great teams face as they take on a lesser opposition and turn up expecting to just win the match, whilst their opposition lifts to another level as they know they are facing a great opponent and need to be switched on. The Highlanders will overcome this and return to winning ways on their home soil this weekend.
Rebels vs Cheetahs (Friday 7.45pm AEDT)
The Cheetahs earned their biggest victory in clubs history last week as they ran in 14 tries against the Sunwolves on their home field. It was a fantastic attacking performance as they registered the second most points scored in a single match in Super Rugby history. However, it definitely won’t be that easy for them to break tackles and create line breaks this weekend.
The Rebels defeated the Waratahs in Sydney two weeks ago but last week they were disappointing on home soil as they failed to create quality chances against the Hurricanes. They are the favourites heading into this one as they have a 4-3 record this season whilst the Cheetahs have just the two victories against the two lowest teams the Sunwolves and Kings. The Rebels will need lock Luke Jones to step up and have another great performance, as he was their best player in a losing side last week. Jones made 16 runs for 68 metres whilst busting two tackles and making a line break, whilst they will need more out of Sean McMahon who has been missing at the breakdown where he usually thrives. These two will step up as leaders for them this weekend as they hand the Cheetahs another loss.
Sunwolves vs Jaguares (Saturday 3.15pm AEDT)
The two inaugural teams will face off for the first time in Super Rugby history with both sides seasons not going according to plan. The Sunwolves were expected to struggle in their first year but not many predicted the Cheetahs putting on the score line against them that happened last week. It is a massive setback for the Japanese side that had been competitive in at least half of its matches this season without a victory.
Meanwhile the Jaguares were expected to challenge in the South African conference with the majority of their line up consisting of Argentinian internationals. However, since earning a big come from behind victory against the Cheetahs in the opening week of the competition they have gone on to lose every match. That will change this weekend though as they keep the Sunwolves winless and pick up their second win.
Hurricanes vs Chiefs (Saturday 5.15pm AEDT)
This is a mouth-watering clash between two of the top sides in the New Zealand conference and the Super Rugby competition. The Chiefs are currently sitting on the top of the table and have lost just one match this season against the Lions. It was a shock loss but other than that match they have been switched on and found a way to come out on top even when put to the test. Their biggest fault at this stage is their scrum and that is how they nearly lost to the Crusaders and did lose to the Lions as their forward pack has the ability to be dominated. However, that shouldn’t be the case this weekend as the Hurricanes forward pack hasn’t been very dominant this season.
The Hurricanes are currently sitting in sixth position but have only lost two matches and are on a 5 match undefeated streak. After a slow start to the season the side is starting to click together as there was a lot of changes made to their back line throughout the offseason. Flanker Ardie Savea was involved in everything last week against the Rebels and he will need to have a big match this weekend for the Hurricanes if they are to stand a chance. However, the Chiefs are coming off a bye and will be fresh for this constant and I believe their attack will be too strong as they earn a great victory on the road.
Western Force vs Waratahs (Saturday 7.45pm AEDT)
If last week was a do or die match for the Waratahs, then this weekend is a victory they need otherwise this season will start to become an embarrassment for them. The Tahs have 4 losses to their name in six matches and their chances of reaching the finals this season are incredible low as they need to go on a big winning streak to revive their 2016 campaign. The move of Israel Folau to outside centre was relatively successful however it probably would have been beneficial for the team if they had of been able to try the experiment against a side that wasn’t as strong as the Brumbies were. A hat-trick to Joe Tomane helped the Brumbies to pick up their first victory at Allianz stadium in 14 years. They will need another big match from Kurtley Beale at full back whilst getting Folau more ball is always going to be beneficial for the side as he was able to equal Lote Tuqiri’s try scoring record with one of his rare touches on Saturday night.
Meanwhile the Force almost caused a massive upset in their last match against the Crusaders but a last minute try saw them fall short. They are coming off a bye and will be relatively confident they can earn a victory against the Tahs on home soil. However, the Force have been inconsistent this season and their defence isn’t very strong and I see the Waratahs coming out with a lot to prove and with a fire in their belly and running away with this match.
Stormers vs Reds (Saturday 11pm AEDT)
The Stormers are currently sitting in second position but they are coming off a loss last week as they failed to earn victory on the road against the Lions. The Stormers managed just one try throughout the match but they remained in the contest in true Stormers fashion by constantly knocking over three points throughout the match. The Stormers are one of the best sides in the competiton at playing the territorial game and taking advantage of being in their opponents territory as they rarely venture into the opposition’s half and not leave with points.
The Reds couldn’t back up their strong performance against the Highlanders last week as they fell to the Bulls on the road by 19-points. They were still challenging in the contest and two early tries in the second half gave them hope of an upset but the Bulls ultimately proved too strong as they ran away with the contest in the dying stages of the match. The Reds will again put on a strong performance as their resurgence continues but they won’t have enough class to defeat the Stormers on the road.
Kings vs Lions (Sunday 1.10am AEDT)
The Lions picked up another solid win last week, as they were able to hold off the Stormers on home soil. The Lions are now on top of their South African group and they have proven they are a real title contender this season. They have one of the strongest forward packs in the league and are very successful at the set pieces whilst constantly put pressure on the opposition at the breakdown. Their ability to chance their hand and attack whilst still playing solid territorial rugby has made them incredibly successful this season.
The Kings have only earned one victory this year against the Sunwolves and they won’t be causing an upset this weekend. The Kings have been able to score points in the majority of their matches but their defence has been letting them down and the solid attack of the lions and their ability to snuff out opportunities at the set pieces and breakdown will ultimately lead to the downfall of the home side.
Brumbies vs Crusaders (Sunday 4.05pm AEDT)
The Brumbies will be looking for an important victory this weekend that would see them snap two hoodoos in as many weeks. Last Saturday they were able to earn their first victory in 14 years against the Waratahs at Allianz stadium whilst this weekend Christian Lealiifano will be looking for his second victory against the Crusaders in 10-years as the team from Christchurch has been dominating their ACT opponent for over a decade. Their last victory came in 2009 and since then they have lost four of the five matches by 13 points or more.
The Crusaders are currently on a six-game winning streak since losing their opening match to the Chiefs. They are a part of the New Zealand dominance that has seen the New Zealand sides win 9 of their 11 matches against Australian opponents this season. The Brumbies will be more prepared this time around having lost to the Chiefs a few weeks ago and will expect an onslaught from the Crusaders. The match will be incredibly close and we believe this time the Australian side will come out on top.
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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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