The 2017 Super Rugby season continues this weekend and the Crusaders, Stormers and Chiefs head into the round still unbeaten, with the two latter sides facing off on Sunday morning. We take a look at some of the key games in our Super Rugby Round 7 Preview and Betting Tips.
Hurricanes vs Waratahs (Friday 5.35pm AEDT)
The Waratahs defensive display has been a worry all season and it was at its worst on the weekend against the Crusaders. The sid emissed 22 tackles by half time and had allowed two tries in the opening 15 minutes of the match. They will be tested again this weekend on the road against the defending champions. They were able to fight back into the match to make it 26-22 but they were caught napping again in defence as they allowed another three tries to lose 41-22.
Meanwhile the Hurricanes were good, but not great in their win over the Reds. They pulled away in the second half to earn the victory but it wasn’t as convicing as we expected. They were lucky with an intercept try early in the match and Ardie Savea put togehter a great performance. He left the field with an injury but he should be right to take his place in the starting line up this weekend. The home side will earn the victory, but the line is a big one and we will take the Tahs with the head star
Sunwolves vs Bulls (Saturday 3.15pm AEDT)
The Bulls have had a slow start to the season and have registered just the one victory, meanwhile the Sunwolves have been competitive in matches but haven’t been able to find the killer blow to break their losing streak. This could be their best chance yet as they play the Bulls on home soil.
The Bulls pulled the trigger early against the Chiefs as they surprised the home side to take an early lead. However, they didn’t capitalise enough on their first half possession as they were ran down by the New Zealand side.
The Sunwolves will enter this match on the back of a bye and will be fresh. The week before they put on their best performance of the season against the Stormers. The Sunwolves are definitely building towards something and we believe they will secure the upset in this one.
Highlanders vs Blues (Saturday 5.35pm AEDT)
A rematch of round 3 is on the cards this weekend but this time the Highlanders will host the match. We are predicting another tight one, after the last contest was settled by four points and the Blues missed out on an opportunity to win the match in the dying stages with the Highlanders coming out on top.
The Highlanders were clinical in their last match. They dominated the Rebels from the outset and earned their most convincing win of the season. Aaron Smith was inspirational in his 100th Super Rugby match and he will be key to their victory on Saturday.
Meanwhile the Blues were poor in their last start, despite the victory. They left it late against the Force on home soil and were trailing for the majority of the match. However, they did do enough to secure the victory and keep the New Zealand race alive. We are predicting they will be competitive in this one, but again lack the class to come away with the victory.
Brumbies vs Reds (Saturday 7.45pm AEDT)
The all Australian contest will have a lot on the line as not much is seperating the sides in the low Australian conference. It is likely only one side will reach the finals from the conference and it will be the team that finished on top. The Reds have been competitive in all of their matches but only grabbed the one victory while the Brumbies have a similar story but have the two wins next to their name.
The Reds have a more experienced side but the youth of the Brumbies have put together some exciting plays. The Reds were opting to run with the ball against the Hurricanes and it worked early on for them. However, errors and missed defensive assignments cost them against the storng Hurricanes outfit. Meanwhile the Brumbies will benefit from a bye last weekend and come into this match fresh. They will earn a narrow win in this one, with the home field advantage and ability to counter allowing them to prevail.
Sharks vs Jaguares (Saturday 11.05pm AEDT)
This will be a big match between the two sides in the same South African conference. The Sharks suffered a narrow loss against the Lions last week to drop off the pace while the Jaguares will benefit from a bye which will give them more time to adjust to the travels to South Africa.
The Jaguares have just one loss to their names this season and they are looking like a much improved side on last year. They are fielding a strong squad every week and their biggest victory this season came against the Lions at home. They still need to prove their consistency and ability to win on the road, which will be tested this weekend.
The Sharks took the lead into halftime against the Lions but the momentum swung when they lost Etienne Oosthuizen due to a yellow card. They showed off their attacking skill and if they can continue to play that way they will secure victories.
Stormers vs Chiefs (Sunday 1.15am AEDT)
The Chiefs and Stormers enter this match as two of the three unbeaten sides. It will be a cracking match with the Stormers facing their biggest test of the season.
The Chiefs enter this match after earning a victory on home soil against the Bulls, a South African opponent. That will help prepare them for this contest. The Cheifs were slow to kick into gear last week and they will need to correct that this weeeknd. The side can credit Damian McKenzie for the win as the fullback looked dangerous all night. He threatened to break the line with every run and his fast feet helped the Chiefs to get over the advantage line and get a roll on. They will be looking for a similar performance from the youngster this weekend.
Meanwhile the Stormers grabbed their best victory of the weekend with a thrashing of the Cheetahs. They proved they have a dangerous attack as they piled on eight tries and only allowed one. This came a week after they struggled against the Sunwovles. It must have been a wake up call for them and they will be on the rise. The Chiefs don’t have a strong record in South Africa and we believe they will fall again in this one.
Force vs Kings (Sunday 4.05pm AEDT)
The Force return home after an unsuccessful New Zealand trip but they did show fight. The side stayed in the match against the Crusaders and Chiefs and they will head into the match with the lowly South African opponent with confidence of getting their second win of the season. They will welcome back Dane Haylett-Penny to the squad after he didn’t travel to New Zealand. The fullback will be fresh and hopefully not rusty and he should be able to carve up the Kings poor defence.
The Kings will enter this match on the back of a bye, a week after suffering a 19-42 loss on home soil against the Lions. The Kings are capable of keeping games close, but we believe the trip and the Force’s determination this season will lead to their comfortable victory.
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