The numbers don’t lie...it’s 0-10 for Australia’s five teams against their Kiwi opponents after two rounds of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. Pegging the right margins is the tricky bit. Who would have predicted a 35-point loss by the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium against any team? Let’s take a look at Round Three and spy some winning bets with four of the five matches being played away from traditional home grounds.
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Round 3 Betting Tips
Hurricanes v Western Force
Fri, May 28, McLean Park, Napier 5:05pm (AEST)
The Force are the best performed of Australia’s teams with losses by one and 10 points. Both were in Perth so this visit to McLean Park in Napier really is a huge test of whether that competitiveness is a travelling commodity.
This is former All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush’s first appearance for the Force against his old Hurricanes’ club so the mighty mo will certainly be twitching with energy when leading from the front. Having experienced centre Tevita Kuridrani back and on the bench is a plus for the final 20 minutes. Everyone has admired the Force’s spirit but they have been “up” for a long time. There’s going to be a tumble. Fancy they can compete well here but playing the Crusaders in Christchurch in a week has real danger signs about it.
The Hurricanes will use dynamic All Blacks backrower Ardie Savea in the second half now he’s back on the bench after a knee issue. It has to be a Hurricanes’ win but the Force have a lot to gain by hanging tough.
Jordie Barrett Anytime Try
Waratahs v Crusaders
Sat, May 29, WIN Stadium, Wollongong 3:05pm (AEST)
The Crusaders scored nine tries against the best side in Australia last weekend. How many do they score against the worst? The Waratahs’ disjointed defence just isn’t up to this blowtorch regardless of effort and will, both aspects which are there in abundance. The Waratahs were conceding 36 points a game before playing Kiwi opposition and giving up 64 and 48 in the opening two rounds.
The Waratahs were their own worst enemies against the Blues a week ago with loose passes, intercepted passes and 50-50 plays that just did not treasure the ball enough. Pressure comes from holding onto the ball and the Waratahs need to do that. Scrumhalf Jake Gordon is playing great rugby and his organisation is a key to the best Waratahs’ moments. Will Harrison at fullback and Izaia Perese back in the centres adds to the Waratahs' punch in attack.
The Kiwis are relishing being on tour again so don’t expect any holiday mood to their play. They are clinical and must keep winning big to make the Trans-Tasman final. One All Blacks lock returns from injury in Scott Barrett and another, Sam Whitelock, moves to the bench. That's depth when you see the Waratahs being forced into finding another lock pairing.
Blues v Brumbies
SSat, May 29, Eden Park, Auckland 5:15pm (AEST)
The Brumbies have had the worst draw in the competition...this is their third match on Kiwi soil on the bounce. It’s tough to see a win here even though players like winger Tom Wright and No.8 Rob Valetini are playing extremely well. Last weekend, a rolling maul try off a lineout and two scrum shunts set up the Chiefs’ big lead over the Brumbies in areas they rate themselves. That was a worry.
The Brumbies were 5-all against the Chiefs after 20 minutes with a Wright pass putting centre Len Ikitau over. They need to find a fast start at Eden Park and apply some pressure. The Brumbies are a five-point better team now halfback trump Nic White is back from injury. The Blues are great frontrunners but have buckled when heat is applied although less than a few seasons ago. Blues winger Bryce Heem scored three tries against the Waratahs last round so he’s a try machine if you want an ‘Anytime Try” bet.
Reds v Chiefs
Sat, May 29, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville 7:45pm (AEST)
Youch! That 63-28 thrashing really stung the Reds. It’s bounceback time and this is by far the best chance of an Aussie win in this round. The Reds will play more field position and control the ball far better to get into this game. Gifting 17 turnovers to the Crusaders was madness. The Reds are resilient enough to turn things around in a week and at a stadium hosting its first big rugby match. Tackling too. You can't miss 30 tackles against a Kiwi side. The Reds have to suffocate the Chiefs because Kiwi sides do get frustrated when scoring dries up. Chiefs ringmaster Damian McKenzie is a whiz so the Reds can’t kick aimlessly and have him running back balls that turn into tries from 80m out. Suliasi Vunivalu had a huge game for the Reds against the Crusaders. Watch for another big one from the winger while Filipo Daugunu has been recalled as a turbo on the other wing. No.8 Harry Wilson, who had 13 runs for 99m against the Crusaders as well as a try and an assist.
Highlanders v Melbourne Rebels
Sun, May 30, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney 3pm (AEST)
The trip to Fergburger in Queenstown has been canned and both teams have been redirected to Sydney because of the lockdown rules for Victoria.
The Highlanders must keep winning to reach the final and the Rebels are 0-2 and playing for pride. Don’t forget that the Rebels are the last Aussie team to win in NZ...a 28-22 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin in February last year. The Rebels have cranked out some smothering, disruptive defensive efforts this season and it will take another here. Surely, winger Marika Koroibete is going to score his first try of the season.