Super Rugby Pacific Round 14 Preview & Betting Tips

Super Rugby Pacific Round 7 Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a preview with betting tips for Round 14 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, 20 May

Crusaders

Crusaders vs. Fijian Drua

Fijian Drua

The Crusaders picked up a vital 37-26 win over the Brumbies in Canberra last week. It was a polished, professional exhibition that reminds us that the Crusaders are capable of better than their previous two showings. The win brings them equal on points with the Brumbies with two rounds to play.

The Fijian Drua bounced back from their terrible performance a fortnight ago against the Hurricanes by defeating Moana Pasifika 34-19 last week. It wasn’t a great quality game, but the win means they have made a huge leap towards avoiding the competition wooden spoon. It was the Drua’s second win of the season and it snapped an 8-game losing streak.

Betting: the Crusaders will most certainly win this but many bookmakers aren’t even offering head-to-head odds on them. At the time of writing the line is -30.5. If you ignore the Drua’s result against the Hurricanes then the +30.5 head start for the visitors is worth a look. With the playoffs soon approaching I would expect the Crusaders to rotate some players this week. It’s worth noting that the Crusaders have failed to cover the line in their last four home games. Also, keep in mind that the Drua lost by a respectable 35-18 margin to the league-leading Blues in Auckland a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t bet with much confidence, but if I had to bet on this came I would back the Drua +30.5 at +30.5 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

Reds

Reds vs. Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika

The Reds’ woes against New Zealand sides continued after they fell 26-53 to the Blues in Auckland last week. They trailed by just 8 points at the half only to concede five second half tries. After coming through the domestic portion of the competition with a 7-1 record the Reds have since gone 0-4 against Kiwi opponents. This has seen them slide from 2nd to 7th in the standings.

Moana Pasifika fell 19-34 to the Fijian Drua to slump to 1-10 for the season. They couldn’t make up for a slow start which saw them trail 0-14 early on, with mistakes and ill-discipline hurting their cause. It was Moana Pasifika’s 8th consecutive defeat and it was likely their final chance to pick up a win. The wooden spoon looks likely.

Betting: this is one of many lopsided fixtures on paper this weekend. The Reds should win but it’s hard to know if their four-game losing run to the Kiwi sides will have a hangover effect. I will stay clear of the line market and simply back the Reds in the head-to-head at 1.11 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

Saturday, 21 May

Chiefs

Chiefs vs. Force

Force

The Chiefs squeaked past the Rebels 33-30 in a seesawing contest in AAMI Park last week. They will be relieved to have won but it was a poor performance by their standards. The win sees the Chiefs improve to 8-4 to sit 4th in the standings.

The Force slumped to 2-9 for the season after they were thrashed 10-61 by the Highlanders in Dunedin. The damage was done early after the hosts jumped out to a 28-5 lead in 23 minutes. This was the Force’s 6th consecutive defeat. The loss has almost eliminated them from playoffs contention.

Betting: the line looks accurate and the 1.02 odds on the Chiefs hold no appeal, so I will sit this game out.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes vs. Rebels

Rebels

The Hurricanes came back from a 15-point halftime deficit and scored a late try to see off the Waratahs 22-18 in Sydney last week to improve to 7-5 for the season. After a mid-season slump which saw them lose three consecutive games, including a shock defeat to Moana Pasifika, the Hurricanes have won five of their last six to mount a genuine challenge for a top-4 playoff seed.

The Rebels were highly competitive but fell just short against the Chiefs last week, losing 30-33 at home. The lead changed several times in the second half as the Rebels made a good account of themselves. In the end they couldn’t take advantage of a poor performance by the Chiefs. With their final game of the season against the 8th placed Highlanders, the Rebel’s playoff hopes will remaining alive if they can cause an upset this week.

Betting: the Hurricanes have gone 6-0 as the home favourite over the last 12 months and they have won 8 straight against the Rebels. The Melbourne franchise has gone 1-11 as the underdog over the last 12 months. Once again, I’m on the fence regarding the line so I will simply back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.08 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

Brumbies

Brumbies vs. Blues

Blues

The Brumbies fell 26-37 at home to the Crusaders last week. They made too many errors but credit has to go to the visitors for putting them under pressure. After beating their previous three Kiwi opponents, this was the Brumbies first defeat to a New Zealand team this season. They still hold onto the 2nd spot on the table, but that position is now looking precarious. In team news, the Brumbies are likely to remain without key backrower Rob Valetini and centre Noah Lolesio.

The Blues strengthened their grip on the No. 1 seed by defeating the Reds 53-26 at home last week. The victory extended their winning streak to 11 games. They simply look a class above the rest of the competition at the moment. In team news, Rieko Ioane is likely to be out with a hamstring strain this week.

Betting: the Blues have scored a terrifying 124 points in their last two games, but they were both in Auckland. I expect the Brumbies in Canberra will be far more competitive than their fellow countryman. The Blues have failed to cover the line as the away favourite over the last 12 months. I will back both the Brumbies 1-12 at 4.00 (Unibet) and the Blues 1-12 2.75 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

Sunday, 22 May

Highlanders

Highlanders vs. Waratahs

Waratahs

The Highlanders’ resurgence continued following their 61-10 thrashing of the Force last week. Following a 1-8 start to the season the Highlanders have since gone 3-0 and are now in a prime position to reach the playoffs. They will look forward to playing again at home this week. The Highlanders’ previous four games were all played in a different country to the preceding week.

The Waratahs fell 18-22 at home to the Hurricanes last week to slide to 7-5 for the season. They jumped out to a 15-0 halftime lead and held that lead until the 75th minute before conceding a match-winning try to the visitors. The Waratahs will be crushed by that defeat but can take heart from their substantial improvement in competitiveness compared to last season. This time last year the NSW side leaked 64 points against the Hurricanes. In a major blow to the Waratahs’ chances in the playoffs, in-form centre Izaia Perese picked up a suspected season-ending knee injury.

Betting: the Highlanders have won six in a row at home against the Waratahs as well as six in a row when installed as the favourite (home or away) against the Waratahs. The Highlanders have gone 6-0 as the favourite over the last 12 months while the Waratahs have gone 1-8 as the underdog and 0-4 as the away underdog. I would back the Highlanders in the head-to-head at 1.32 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

 

Best Bets of the Round

Highlanders in the head-to-head at 1.32 (Unibet)

 

Author: Ken Sutton