• Neal Hoogwerf

Super Rugby Preview: Week 3

Blues vs Crusaders

The Blues picked up their first victory of the season in difficult conditions beating a hapless Waratahs side 32-12. The Blues dominated upfront but once again underlined the unpredictability of the Auckland based side. On the other hand the Crusaders let a 12-3 lead slip to eventually be downed 15-25 by the Chiefs in Hamilton. Numerous errors and lack of cohesion left a lot to be desired, but the hopeful return of Richie Mo’unga will certainly improve the team chemistry this week. Digging into the archives doesn’t make pretty reading for Blues fans as they are on a 10 match losing streak against the ‘Saders. However, the Blues have covered the handicap 5 times in their last 6 meetings against the Crusaders in Auckland and a handicap of a shade over a converted try has me leaning towards the Blues.

Bet: Blues +7.5

Value Bet: Crusaders to win by 1-12 @17/10

Sunwolves vs Chiefs

The Chiefs made a real title statement by dismissing reigning champions, the Crusaders in Hamilton. The team was expertly marshaled by Aaron Cruden and Gatland’s chargers were deserved winners. You honestly never know what you will get when the Sunwolves take to the field. If you are a Sunwolves backer, you will be pleased to read that they are playing in Tokyo. The Sunwolves have only covered the handicap in 2 games of their last 7 at home, however they have covered 5 of their last 6 games when they have been home underdogs of more than 3 tries. Despite the fact that the Chiefs are resting key players, I only seeing this being one way traffic.

Bet: Chiefs -19.5

Hurricanes vs Sharks

The Sharks made a significant statement in putting away a Highlanders team by 22 points on the road. The Sharks were emphatic in their showing and are strong contenders in the race for the SA conference in 2020. It was back to business for the Hurricanes in upsetting the Jaguares on their home patch. After being 13 points down with 25 to play, the ‘Canes turned the screw and recorded a 26-23 victory. The Hurricanes have had a lot of travelling to do so far in 2020 and I feel that will catch up to them when they front up to a red hot Sharks team. The ‘Canes have only covered 4 of their last 14 games at home and I’ll be firmly in the visitors camp.

Bet: Sharks +7.5

Rebels vs Waratahs

There isn’t a lot of good to mention about this Rebels team so far in 2020. After being joint Australian conference favourties, they have been blown off the park in both of their opening two fixtures. It’s a similar situation for the Waratahs as they have been humbled by both the Crusaders and Blues so far. Both teams are in need of a serious confidence boost and this fixture presents an interesting affair. The Rebels have lost their last 5 home games against the Waratahs and have to go back to 2013 to find their last home triumph against the NSW rivals. Both teams seem to not want a victory, but I just feel that Dave Wessels’ Rebels will do the business on the weekend.

Bet: Rebels outright win @0.7

Value Bet: Rebels to win by 1-12 @16/10

Lions vs Stormers

The Lions managed to scrape to their first victory of the season against an error-ridden Reds side. It wasn’t a viewers’ spectacle, but conditions didn’t exactly help the cause. The Stormers have churned in two effortless displays, resulting in both visitors to Newlands being left scoreless. It is the first time in Super Rugby history that a team has played consecutive games and not conceded a point. News has arisen out of the Stormers camp that Bongi Mbonambi, Herschel Jantjies and Jaco Coetzee have been sidelined, but that shouldn’t change the ultimate result. The Stormers have struggled in recent times against the Lions and have failed to cover the handicap in the last 7 meetings between these sides. That will certainly change on Saturday as I expect a rampant Stormers side to do the business.

Bet: Stormers -4.5

Brumbies vs Highlanders

The Brumbies produced another statement of intent in dispatching the Rebels by 13 points in Canberra. The Brumbies are a well drilled side and it will take a serious underperformance for them to be bullied on home turf. The Highlanders were embarrassed at home and simply had no answers to the Sharks attack. The ‘Landers look a shadow of their former selves and will be in contention for the wooden spoon in the NZ conference. The Highlanders have enjoyed recent dominance over the Brumbies having won the last 4 fixtures between these sides but I can’t see that trend continuing. I expect the Brumbies pack to have too much for the visitors.

Bet: Brumbies -4.5

Value bet: Brumbies to win by 1-12 @16/10

Jaguares vs Reds

The Jaguares were humbled on their home turf by a fired up Hurricanes team. Not many would have seen them losing in Buenos Aires and it presents a predicament in the race for the SA conference. The Reds started out as 7 point underdogs against the Lions but money came in for the Queensland side and the handicap settled to 3 points before kick off. The Reds were their own worst enemies and two yellow cards ultimately left them chasing the game. The Reds were victorious in their last visit to Buenos Aires but the Jaguares have significantly improved since then. This is a difficult game to call but this handicap just feels a few points too big. The Reds are improving and I have them to cover the handicap this weekend.

Bet: Reds +13.5

Value bet: Jaguares to win by 1-12 @ 17/10

Find all the bets here:

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