Round 6 in the Super Rugby season kicks off on Friday night with the Melbourne Rebels taking on the Fijian Drua. As always, Jim Tucker is back with his best bets from the weekend's action below.
The big one in Heritage Round is the latest chapter in the 140-year history of matches between the Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs. The Kiwis are back from their enforced week off because of COVID disruptions too. Let's take a look at Round 6 in Super Rugby Pacific.
Super Rugby Round 6 Betting Tips
Melbourne Rebels v Fijian Drua
Fri, Mar 25, AAMI Park, Melbourne 7.45pm (AEDT)
A quick turnaround after these same teams met in Round 3. The Drua found their mojo with a 22-0 rally from 14-0 down to win that one 31-26.
That breakthrough win gave the Fijians huge confidence and was a disorientating jolt to the Rebels, who are still winless after five rounds.
The Fijians also beat the Rebels in a pre-season trial so the advantage is with them.
The Fijians feast on turnovers for their counter attacks and the Rebels are conceding more per game (18) than any team in the competition. That’s the key stat here. If the Rebels can’t tidy up that error rate of poor passing, loose ball-carries, squandered lineouts and so on, it could be another tricky night.
Dynamic backs Apisalome Vota (20) and Vinaya Habosi (18) are near the top of the chart for “defenders beaten” this season so that shows you the potency when the Drua are allowed to run.
The Rebels are desperate. They are on a 10-game losing streak and just have to find a way to turn that around.
Hooker Jordan Uelese was going to be the next big thing as a Wallabies hooker. Now, he can’t even crack a 40-man training squad with four hookers. His handling and lineout throwing are letting him down.
He has to shake himself back to form. On the flipside, young winger Glen Vaihu has been superb and right from his big run from the kick-off against the Waratahs last weekend.
There’s real betting value in this game if you think the Rebels are finally going to click because sports bookies have them as the slimmest favourites. Back the Rebels and collect. It's $3.20 by 1-12 pts at TAB.com.au and $3.40 if you think the Rebels will win by more.
Western Force v ACT Brumbies
Fri, Mar 25, HBF Park, Perth 10pm (AEDT)
Now this is an intriguing match-up. The Brumbies have gone 5-0 with a near top-strength side every match.
For the first time, there are key players rested or out with niggles. The aim is to be fully sorted for the big April 2 grudge clash against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium whether the Brumbies admit it or not.
No Noah Lolesio at No.10, two top props out and halfback Nic White on the bench...there is enough dilution of the Brumbies to give the Force a real shot here.
That said, the Brumbies have won 13 times in a row against the Force which is as one-sided as it gets.
The Force had a good chance of winning in February before bowing 29-23 in Canberra.
The Force have won more lineout steals (10) than any other club. It’s how Izack Rodda and co pressured the Brumbies in Canberra. They must do it again because the Brumbies have initiated 15 of their 21 tries this season off lineouts.
Brumbies winger Tom Wright is leading the Super Rugby Pacific try-scorers list with five from five games.
At $2.05 for an Anytime Try, he is decent value at Ladbrokes to cross the paint again.
It’s time for the Force to pounce with the Brumbies “up” for the recent win over the Reds and peering into the future at the next clash with the Queenslanders.
Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs
Sat, Mar 26, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 7.45pm (AEDT)
The line has been set at 11.5 pts with the Reds as clear favourites.
It makes total sense. The Reds have their major spark back through livewire halfback Tate McDermott, now he’s clear of an ankle injury.
By contrast, injuries and suspected COVID have rubbed our three of the Waratahs’ ignition keys in attack, Izaia Perese, Ben Donaldson and Jake Gordon.
McDermott means that much to the Reds. He takes the focus off James O’Connor because he’s a second playmaker and gets the Reds on a roll marching forward with his darts.
There is also much relief at the Reds with bulldozing prop Taniela Tupou cleared to play after the judiciary overturned a two-week ban on appeal.
The Reds have won the past three matches against their oldest rivals. They just look a bit more polished in this one too.
The Waratahs will miss Perese’s linebreaking and the leg-churning running metres he always chalks up from outside centre. He’s elite in those areas. They won’t miss his lack of passing to outside supports because the team’s hooker passes nearly as much. There’s a reason only one of the Waratahs’ 13 tries has been scored by a winger.
Jordan Petaia has signed a new Rugby Australia and Reds deal. He’ll be on a high and he’s getting the knack of this fullback caper. There’s a karma thing. A try from him.
Jordan Petaia ANYTIME TRY
Moana Pasifika v Hurricanes - Hurricanes 22+ ($1.40 at TAB)
Highlanders v Blues - Blues 11-20 ($3.00 at Ladbrokes)
Chiefs v Crusaders - Crusaders –1.5 ($1.91 at Ladbrokes)