The following is a preview with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
Compare Super Rugby odds
View the Super Rugby form guide
To take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, these previews are published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk-averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering.
Friday, 22 April
Chiefs vs. Waratahs
The Chiefs defeated Moana Pasifika 45-12 last week to bounce back from their 0-25 home defeat to the Blues the week before. The Chiefs are now 5-3 for the season. They currently sit 6th in the standings and with the Trans-Tasman stage of the season set to commence, they could end up as high as 3rd.
The Waratahs jumped out to a 24-0 lead and held on to beat the Force 41-24 in Perth last week to improve to 5-3 for the season. The only downside was their period of ill-discipline during which the Waratahs were reduced to 13 men. This arguably cost them a winning bonus point. After a horrific 0-13 campaign last year the Waratahs are well on track to make the playoffs.
Betting: the Waratahs have gone 0-9 as the underdog over the last 12 months, however they have also gone 6-3 at the line as the underdog. The Chiefs have won four straight against the NSW side and the last two wins were by 51-14 and 40-7 scorelines, however the Waratahs have improved markedly since 2021. I’m unsure about the 17.5 line so I will simply back the Chiefs in the head-to-head at 1.09 (Unibet). At the time of writing other bookmakers are offering as little as 1.04 for this selection. Keep an eye on the total when it’s published. Five of the Waratahs’ last six games have gone over the total as well as five of their last seven games against the Chiefs.
Moana Pasifika vs. Force
Moana Pasifika had the unenviable task of playing twice last week with their second opponent only playing once. They lost 12-53 to the Hurricanes on Tuesday and 12-45 to the Chiefs on Saturday. Moana Pasifika sit bottom of the standings with a 1-7 record. Their covid make-up schedule has been brutal but they can take solace from the fact that their remaining fixtures are against Australian and Fijian opponents. It remains to be seen whether their heavy schedule will have a hangover effect in the ensuing weeks.
The Force fell 24-41 at home to the Waratahs last week to slide to 2-6 for the season. The damage was done in the opening 17 minutes, by which time the Force found themselves 0-24 down. Slow starts have been an annoying habit for the Perth side after they fell behind by double-digit deficits to both the Brumbies and Rebels before losing each of those games by a point. Injuries and illnesses played a key part in last week’s result. Captain Feleti Kaitu’u, Jeremy Thrush, Bayley Kuenzle and Toni Pulu were all ruled out before kick-off last week. This was in addition to the absences of Izack Rodda and Issak Fines-Leleiwasa due to covid protocols.
Betting: at the time of writing most bookmakers are offering even odds on each team. The Force have the better record but Moana Pasifika have had the tougher schedule. I’m going to side with the Force’s superior Super Rugby experience and back them in the head-to-head at 1.91 (bet365).
Saturday, 23 April
Blues vs. Fijian Drua
The Blues defeated the Crusaders 27-23 last week to end an 18-year losing streak in Christchurch. A late key tackle sealed the win, which has propelled the Blues to the top of the table. It wasn’t the most clinical performance, particularity with Beauden Barrett kicking the ball away in the second half, but the win has firmed the Blues as my current favourite to win the title.
Prior to their bye last week the Fijian Drua fell 12-33 last week to slide to 1-7 for the season. They showed their usual flashes of brilliance but had no answer to the Brumbies’ rolling mauls. The Drua will now face their first ever Kiwi opponent this week.
Betting: the Blues are -30.5 favourites at the time of writing with many bookmakers not even offering head-to-head odds. The Blues have a habit of jumping out of the gates well while the Fijian Drua have a trademark of launching second half comebacks. I would back the Blues -15.5 in the halftime handicap at 1.90 (Unibet).
Hurricanes vs. Reds
The Hurricanes overcame a tough schedule to defeat the Highlanders 22-21 in Dunedin last weekend. This was on the back of their 53-12 Tuesday win over Moana Pasifika. The Hurricanes head into the Trans-Tasman fixtures with a 4-4 record. In team news, hooker Asafo Aumua is suspended for three weeks.
The Reds defeated the Rebels 36-32 in Melbourne last week. It wasn’t a satisfactory performance by their standards but they probably had one eye on the Trans-Tasman fixtures. With the domestic portion of the regular season done, the Reds are one of three sides with a 7-1 record.
Betting: the Reds went 1-4 against New Zealand teams last season and they’ve lost nine of their last ten games against the Hurricanes, including the last six. The Hurricanes have gone 6-0 as the favourite over the last 12 months while the Reds have gone 1-5 as the underdog. I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.36 (BlueBet).
Sunday, 24 April
Highlanders vs. Brumbies
The Highlanders suffered a heart-breaking 21-22 home defeat to the Hurricanes last week after they were denied a try after the full-time siren. They were left to fume after the referee missed a shoulder charge to the face by a Hurricanes player, who has since received a three-week suspension. The Highlanders have been more competitive than their 1-7 record suggests, with six of their defeats coming by 1-12 margins and four coming by 1-7 margins. In team news, lock Josh Dickson is suspended for three weeks.
Prior to their bye last week the Brumbies scored four of their five tries from mauls as they overpowered the Drua 33-12 to move 7-1 for the season. Given their growing injury list, the bye came at a good time for the Brumbies. They rotated a number of key players for their last fixture, so they given that and their bye, they should be fresh for this game.
Betting: the Brumbies went 1-5 against New Zealand teams last season and they have lost six consecutive games to the Highlanders. The Brumbies failed to cover the line in all six of those defeats. Both teams have performed to bookmakers’ expectations over the last 12 months. The Highlanders have gone 6-0 as the favourite and 0-9 as the underdog, while the Brumbies have gone 8-0 as the favourite and 1-6 as the underdog. I would back the Highlanders in the head-to-head at 1.50 (bet365).
Crusaders vs. Rebels
The Crusaders fell 23-27 at home to the Blues last week to slide to 6-2 for the season. The visitors jumped out to a 24-10 lead before poor tactical kicking by the Blues enabled the Crusaders to mount a comeback. In mixed team news, captain Scott Barrett is suspended for four weeks, however All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock is expected to return.
The Rebels fell 32-36 to the Reds at home last week to slide to 2-6 for the season. With the 10th placed Highlanders likely to improve in the second half of the season, the Rebels’ chances of making the playoffs look remote. They have been competitive in the last three weeks but have paid the price for their listless 0-5 start to the campaign, due in part to their injury toll at the season start. With every game played at AAMI Park this week, the Rebels are the only side to play at their home venue this round.
Betting: the Crusaders have won five straight against the Rebels. In Sydney last year the Crusaders won by 26 points. At the line the last eight meetings between the two were split four apiece. The best head-to-head odds on the Crusaders at the time of writing are 1.02 and the -28.5 looks right on the mark, so I will sit this game out. Keep an eye on the total when it is published later. The previous five meetings between the two all went over the total with an average figure of 76.0 and a median figure of 66.0.
Best Bet of the Round
Blues -15.5 in the halftime handicap at 1.90 (Unibet)