How much of a factor will home ground advantage play in Round 11? We are about to find out with all five Australian sides hosting visits by the Kiwis and Moana Pasifika.
On the notion of “home” advantage, the Fijian Drua will play their first home game at a manic National Stadium in Suva when the vulnerable Highlanders run out on Saturday.
We picked up a nice $2.50 collect by tipping the Brumbies to beat the Highlanders last weekend.
Where is the value this week?
Super Rugby Pacific Round 11 Betting Tips
Queensland Reds v Chiefs
Fri, April 29, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 7.45pm (AEST)
The Chiefs are coming in hot as a 6-3 team but the Reds fancy they can knock them off.
They won’t be doing that if they squander a 17-0 lead and make another 18 turnovers like they did when blowing it against the Hurricanes last weekend.
No dropped ball or pushed passes out wide. That’s where it came unstuck last weekend.
The Reds defence really attacked the ‘Canes and that must be the blueprint again on Friday night to slow down the Chiefs. The Reds are up for it.
Getting two big bodies back on the bench is a real plus for impact with Wallaby Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Seru Uru both able to make a mark in the second half.
The Reds beat the Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville last year which shows they are capable of big points against the Kiwis.
The Chiefs have travelled without All Blacks flanker Sam Cane but it’s a hot backrow even without him. No player has won more turnovers (11) this season than Reds flanker Fraser McReight so that’s the sign of the influence he can have.
The Reds have won 17 of their last 19 games at home, including that Townsville match, so home form is winning form.
Western Force v Blues
Fri, Apr 29, HBF Park, Perth 10pm (AEST)
The return of Wallabies forwards Izack Rodda and Tom Robertson definitely stiffens the Force but this is a red-hot Blues side.
The Kiwis come to Perth with an 8-1 record and the most tries (38) of any side in the comp.
They feast off mistakes. One dropped ball can be a try 65m downfield in an instant.
The best chance for the Force is a little complacency creeping in at the Blues. It’s hard to see with experienced leaders like Beauden Barrett and Dalton Papalii pushing the team.
The Force have only once beaten the Blues and that was way back in 2008.
Caleb Clarke ANYTIME TRY
Fijian Drua v Highlanders
Sat, Apr 30, ANZ Stadium, Suva 2.35pm (AEST)
The Fijians have returned aces like flyhalf Teti Tela to the line-up after a rest. It has all been aimed at being cherry ripe for this big homecoming to Suva.
It’s heartening that an under-strength Drua still made so much of the play when losing to the Blues last weekend.
The Highlanders don’t have a winner’s confidence at 1-8. You’d like to think the Drua story has a special win in store.
NSW Waratahs v Crusaders
Sat, Apr 30, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney 5.05pm (AEST)
The Crusaders are not the same team without All Blacks whiz Richie Mo’unga calling the shots but they are still a brilliant outfit. They made hard work of the opening half against the Melbourne Rebels last Sunday then snapped into gear to win 42-17.
There’s still too much passing polish and grunt in the pack from Sam Whitelock and Co to go near tipping the Waratahs.
Losing two hookers does compromise the Waratahs. While new hooker Mahe Vailanu is a gem around the field, he has weaknesses at scrum time which won’t go unprobed.
One of the best head-to-heads of the season will be Waratah Michael Hooper against classy Argentinian import Pablo Matera, who ran for 99m off 13 carries against the Rebels.
This could be an excellent spectacle.
Melbourne Rebels v Moana Pasifika
Sat, Apr 30, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm (AEST)
Moana Pasifka crammed in six games between March 25 and April 16 to catch-up on COVID cancellations. They were tired so no game last weekend will have freshened them up.
This is the new club’s first away trip to Australia. They have some poise with former Wallaby Christian Lealiifano at flyhalf but are way to inconsistent to get an accurate read on this game.
The Rebels have good patches in them but that’s all. Hard workers like flanker Brad Wilkin stand up every week but the Rebels give away too many free chances to opponents.
Moana can seize on those with a flourish.
Carter Gordon bounced back really well as a reserve last weekend against the Crusaders and he’s in a good head space to enjoy this start at No.10 for the Rebels.
I want to pick the Rebels but...
ACT Brumbies v Hurricanes
Sun, May 1, GIO Stadium, Canberra 2pm (AEST)
The Brumbies produced a stand out performance to beat the Highlanders 28-17 in Melbourne last weekend.
The blueprint had all the right ingredients to beat the Hurricanes as well. Dominant ball-carries, aggressive defence, good kicking and short sweep passing raids rather than the risk of dropping ball on side-to-side attacks.
The Brumbies get a welcome lift for Sunday with the return of fullback Tom Banks.
There’s no reason why the Brumbies can’t win again at home this time although the ‘Canes have some big time players in Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara.