The following is a preview with betting tips for Round 12 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
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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, 6 May
Blues vs. Rebels
The Blues squeaked past the Force 22-18 in Perth last week to remain at the top of the standings with a 9-1 record. The Blues led 22-8 at halftime but didn’t trouble the scoreboard in the second half as the hosts mounted a comeback. The victory wasn’t pretty, but it extended their winning streak to nine games.
The Rebels moved into a playoffs spot for the first time this season after they defeated Moana Pasifika 26-22 in Melbourne. The two sides were evenly matched as the lead changed four times. Following a 0-5 start to the campaign the injury-hit Rebels have since gone 3-2 as their injury crisis lessened.
Betting: the Blues are the clear head-to-head pick but there isn’t much value at 1.05 odds. The line is a different story, however. The Rebels have gone 6-1 at the line as the away underdog over the last 12 months and they have covered the line in each of their previous three visits to Auckland. Every Australian team covered the line against a Kiwi opponent last week. I would back the Rebels +26.5 at 1.69 (Picklebet).
Reds vs. Highlanders
The Reds are 0-2 against Kiwi sides this season after they fell 25-27 at home to the Chiefs last week. This was on the back of their loss to the Hurricanes in which they blew a 17-0 lead to lose 17-30. The Reds have now lost 22 of their last 24 games against New Zealand opposition.
The Highlanders made the tricky trip to Fiji last week and came away with a 27-24 win over the Fijian Drua. The crucial win sees them move to 2-8 for the campaign. The Highlanders are 10th in the standings but the playoffs remain within reach, with the 8th placed Rebels sitting just two points above them.
Betting: the Reds have won 4 of their last 5 at home against the Highlanders. The Queensland side has gone 8-0 as the favourite over the last 12 months while the Highlanders have gone 0-9 as the underdog. The Highlanders have had to do a lot more travelling leading up to this fixture. They played their previous three games in New Zealand, then Australia, then Fiji. I would back the Reds in the head-to-head at 1.53 (bet365).
Saturday, 7 May
Moana Pasifika vs. Waratahs
Moana Pasifika fell 22-26 to the Rebels in Melbourne last week to remain at the foot of the table. They will be left to rue what could have been after they failed to find touch from a penalty in the final minute.
The Waratahs took advantage of a rotated Crusaders squad to win 24-21 in Sydney last week. The win was built on a strong defensive display which kept the Crusaders scoreless in the first half. Playoffs rugby looks almost assured as the Waratahs now sit 14 points ahead of the 9th placed Force.
Betting: Moana Pasifika have gone 1-8 this season and they’ve lost six straight games. The Waratahs, meanwhile, have gone 5-0 as the favourite over the last 12 months. I would back the Waratahs in the head-to-head at 1.40 (bet365).
Chiefs vs. Brumbies
The Chiefs secured a 27-25 away win over the Reds last week to move to 2-0 against Australian opposition and 7-3 for the season. The win has bumped them up to 4th in the standings as the Chiefs continue their quest for a home quarter-final.
The Brumbies defeated the Hurricanes 42-25 in Canberra last week to improve to 9-1 for the season. This was on the back of their win over the Highlanders, making the Brumbies the only Australian side with a 2-0 record against Kiwi opposition. The only caveat to that record is that both wins were in Australia.
Betting: the Chiefs have gone 7-1 in their last eight home games against the Brumbies but only 1-5 at the line in their last six meetings in Hamilton. I would back the Chiefs 1-12 at 2.75 (Unibet).
Force vs. Crusaders
The Force fell 18-22 at home to the Blues last week to slide to 2-7 for the season. Their 26-phase passage of play in the dying minutes on the Blues’ goal-line fell short as the Force suffered their 5th defeat by a margin of 6 points or less this season. They now sit outside the playoffs, one point behind the Rebels, however the Force do have a game in hand if their postponed game against Moana Pasifika is rescheduled.
The Crusaders rotated out their All Blacks and fell 21-24 to the Waratahs in Sydney last week to slide to 7-3 for the season. After they were shut out in the first half the Crusaders mounted a strong second half comeback but came unstuck with a red card offence.
Betting: I expect the Crusaders will rotate their All Blacks back into the squad this week. The Force are 0-11 as the underdog over the last 12 months while the Crusaders have gone 9-1 away from Christchurch. I’m on the fence regarding the line. The Force have lost primarily by narrow margins this season, however the Crusaders beat the Rebels by 25 points a fortnight ago and they will be seething after their shock defeat to the Waratahs. I will avoid the line and simply back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.12 (Unibet).
Sunday, 8 May
Hurricanes vs. Fijian Drua
The Hurricanes fell 25-42 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week to slide to 5-5 for the season. They led early in the second half before they were overpowered by the efficient Brumbies.
The Fijian Drua played their first ever Super Rugby game on home soil last week but fell just short, losing 24-27 to the Highlanders. They held the lead until the 63rd minute but couldn’t finish the visitors off. The Drua are now 1-9 in their inaugural Super Rugby campaign.
Betting: the Drua have gone 0-5 as the away team this season. They have lost seven straight games and four of their five away defeats were by 13+ margins. The Hurricanes have gone 5-0 at the line on the back of their last five defeats and they have gone 6-0 as the home favourite over the last 12 months. Five of the Hurricanes’ six home wins over the last 12 months were by 13+ margins. I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.17 (Picklebet). Those looking for more risk should consider the Hurricanes 13+ at 1.62 (Unibet).
Best Bets of the Round
Reds in the head-to-head at 1.53 (bet365)