It was a 4-0 clean sweep for the home teams in the quarter-finals of Super Rugby Pacific and those on their home turf are again favoured in the semi-finals.
The Brumbies carry Australia’s hopes in a tough match-up against the favoured Blues in Auckland on Saturday night. The Crusaders are at home in Christchurch against the Chiefs on Friday night.
Where is the value this week? The more units placed on a betting tip, the higher the confidence level.
Super Rugby Semi Finals Betting Tips
Crusaders v Chiefs
Fri, June 10, OrangeTheory Stadium, Christchurch 5.05pm (AEST)
Here’s the defining stat...the Crusaders have won the past 26 finals matches they have hosted in Christchurch.
The line is set at 7.5 points. The Chiefs are not without a chance and did win 24-21 when they upset the Crusaders on their March visit to Christchurch.
The Crusaders have a finals pedigree like no other team. They took their time to overcome a willing Queensland Reds team in the quarter-final but showed their scorepower in the end.
They have the bases covered. Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga is pure class as a playmaker. You’d take him every time over Chief Bryn Gatland but the understated No.10 has more try assists (11) than any player in the competition. He’s a distributor not a star like Mo’unga.
The back three of Will Jordan (10), Leicester Fainga’anuku (10) and Sevu Reece (9) have feasted on tries all season for the Crusaders. This trio is where you are looking for an Anytime Try.
The battle up front is where the Chiefs must excel to have a chance. Chiefs trump Brodie Retallick will be up against two fellow All Blacks locks in Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett.
The big “IN” for the Chiefs is All Blacks skipper Sam Cane, who will come off the bench at flanker after two games out with knee trouble. By contrast, the Crusaders have lost backrower Ethan Blackadder (shoulder) and have elevated Tom Christie.
Coaching guru Warren Gatland isn’t the Chiefs head coach but he is in charge of defence. He will have a trick or two to stifle and slow the Crusaders for sure.
The Chiefs have the best scrum statistically and concede the fewest penalties of any side. They are big stats for a semi-final.
You fancy this being a terrific game but the Crusaders will find a way.
$2.90 (1.5 Units)
Blues v Brumbies
Sat, June 11, Eden Park, Auckland 5.05pm (AEST)
The Brumbies have four wins over Kiwi sides this season and were beaten on full-time by a field goal when they recently played the Blues. That’s an excellent pointer that the men from Canberra have a style that works.
The pre-season focus on disrupting more opposition ball at the ruck has paid off. They’ve been direct when facing the Kiwis, they’ve been patient and they’ve never tired of backing their rolling maul off lineouts.
They twice scored tries off lineout drives against the Blues in Canberra where they were pipped 21-19.
Just as significantly, the Brumbies defence held the Blues to just two tries, a feat no other team has managed against their top-strength line-up.
The Brumbies get a massive lift with Wallaby Rob Valetini back at No.8. His fearless charges, post-contact metres and heavy hitting were instrumental in wins over the Kiwi sides.
The Brumbies have weapons who can swing a game in different ways...halfback Nic White, the rolling maul, pacy fullback Tom Banks, neat-stepping winger Tom Wright, goalkicker Noah Lolesio, Valetini, a strong scrum and super-sub Ryan Lonergan.
Nine tries from mauls is a big stat so the principal beneficiary, hooker Folau Fainga’a, is again a good Anytime Try bet. “First Away Team Tryscorer” on Fainga’a is at $5 with TAB.com.au and worth a bet.
The Brumbies pinch a few more turnovers and have a better lineout. That’s where they have to fire again.
That’s the case for the Brumbies.
The Blues just relish the huge crowd support at Eden Park. They have won 14 games in a row and have gained the extra confidence of winning a number of those in close finishes.
Most of all, flyhalf Beauden Barrett has hit a sweet patch of form. He has scored four tries and provided four try assists across his last three games. With him on song, the Blues are even better.
The Blues are a powerful side. No.8 Hoskins Sotutu is not just good on attack, he’s emblematic of the starch to the team’s defence. He’s made 121 tackles and missed just nine.
The Brumbies have to lead and pressure to have their best chance in this semi-final. Losing key outside centre Len Ikitau to suspension is a major blow. It’s a chink to the Canberra team’s defence that they don’t need.
Taking the Line bet on the Brumbies at +12.5 pts may seem an option but scores blow out late when it's glory-or-bust. It's still worth it because the Brumbies have been excellent this season. There's a bit of heart, rather than head, to that but you've got to be cheering an Aussie side.
Fainga'a first away team try
$5.00 (1 Unit)