Just the six games in the Super Rugby League this weekend kicking off with a great double header on Friday night at 5.35pm! Catch our preview and tips for all six games in Round 14 below.
Friday night features the 9-2-1 Hurricanes as they take on the 6-5 Jaguares at Westpac Stadium. The 'Canes have owned the Jaguares in the previous two encounters but the Argentinian side is playing well enough to cover the line in this clash. They were hard done by in a 32-27 loss against the Highlanders last week and their record in New Zealand is decent lately (2-1 SU). Meanwhile, the Hurricanes survived a tough battle with the Blues at Eden Park as they recorded a 5th straight victory this season. They have been dealt a blow for this clash as Beauden Barrett will watch from the sidelines due to an enforced rest with the World Cup approaching. Interestingly, the Hurricanes are 4-16 ATS in their last 20 games so I like the Jaguares chances of keeping this one close until the final whistle.
The Friday night doubleheader sees another intriguing matchup with the 6-5 Rebels at AAMI Park against the 6-5 Bulls. Last week, the Rebels survived a tough encounter with the Reds at this venue, winning 30-24. Which ended a 3 game losing streak and kept the Rebels home final hopes alive. The Bulls are starting a 4 game trip to Australasia and they'll be looking to rebound from a 45-13 home loss against the Crusaders. The good news is they hold a 5-1 SU record against the Rebels and it's 4-0 ATS since 2014. Coming into this clash, Melbourne has a few injury concerns and while Quade Cooper has been cleared to play, he did suffer concussion symptoms last week. After a win at home, the Rebels are just 4-8 ATS so with the Bulls record against the Rebels, they should be able to cover.
Super Rugby action returns to Eden Park on Saturday as the Blues face the Chiefs. This is a very crucial game for both sides because it will likely be season over for the losing team. The home side Blues will be eager to break a 4 game losing streak, of which have all been fairly tight encounters. On the flip side, the Chiefs won a close one last week at home over the Sharks. These two sides met just last month and the Chiefs snuck home 33-29. The last 4 meetings have been decided by under 7 points so it's hard to see a blowout result with either side looking for a crucial victory.
Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium hosts the rivalry matchup between the QLD Reds and NSW Waratahs. Both sides are coming off a loss after last week and that should see two desperate teams on Saturday. For the Reds, they just went down to the Rebels in Melbourne by 6 and the Waratahs almost upset the Lions in South Africa. NSW has dominated this rivalry lately with 10 straight victories since 2014. However, they're a different side without Israel Folau and their record after travelling from South Africa is just 1-10-1 SU. At Suncorp, the Reds have won 3 of 4 so I think they're very good value to finally break their curse against NSW this weekend.
In Johannesburg, the 6-5 Lions will face the 5-5-2 Highlanders from 11pm on Saturday night. Last week, the Lions rallied against the Waratahs with a 29-28 victory and they have won 3 of their last 4 home games. Meanwhile, the Highlanders played in a close affair against the Jaguares at home as they came out on top, 32-27. In the last 2 meetings between these teams, the home side has won by 12 points so this figures to be another close game between fairly similar teams. They also can't really be separated in the odds, which says this matchup will likely finish with a close margin.
Closing out Round 14 will be the Stormers up against the Crusaders in Cape Town. The Stormers are back from the bye and last time out, they lost to the Jaguares 30-25. They've played in 3 straight close battles but this shapes as a tough matchup against the best side in Super Rugby. Despite resting players last week, the Crusaders smashed the Bulls 45-13 to open their tour of South Africa. Sevu Reece was the star with a hat-trick and All Black Richie Mo'unga crossed twice. The concern for the Stormers is their 1-7 SU record against the Crusaders and they haven't beaten them as the home team since 2010. While I think the Crusaders win this comfortably, the line is set fairly high for this clash and this will be a safe no bet.
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