WARATAHS v WESTERN FORCE – click here to bet

The Waratahs were beaten by 6 points on the road in Brisbane last week, but there was certainly a point in the second half  where they looked like they were going to come back to win the game.  They now play their first home match of the season.  The Waratahs last 4 matches against Australian opposition has seen 2 victories and 2 defeats.

The Force have been in the wilderness for a couple of years and they certainly pose something of a conundrum for punters as many of their players are unknown.

For what it is worth these sides have met 8 times where the Waratahs have hosted with the Waratahs winning 4, the Force 3 and 1 drawn match.  Total points average just 30.


Waratahs 2/9

Draw 35/1

Western Force 15/4

Handicap:  Waratahs (-11.5) at 9/10, Western Force (+11.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Handicap, Force (+11.5) at 9/10

I felt the Force were unlucky to be cut from Super Rugby and the game just seemed to be picking up in Perth at the time.  The Waratahs didn’t impress me last week and unless the Force are really awful I think they could beat the handicap here.


REBELS v REDS – Click Here to bet

This match is taking place in New South Wales on neutral territory due to travel restrictions in Melbourne around the COVID-19 virus.

The Rebels were beaten by 8 points by the Brumbies last week having at one stage looked like they might pull off a remarkable come from behind victory.  The home team were that bit too strong in the end though and the Rebels will certainly have to improve if they are to win this Tournament.

The Reds beat the Waratahs in a high scoring game in Brisbane last week and it took some pin point kicking by James O’Connor to get them home.

The Rebels have won their last 2 matches against the Reds, by 6 points at home last year and by 19 points on the road also in 2019.  Australian derbies are often dour affairs, but there has been quite a history of high scoring matches between these sides with 7 of the last 8 games reaching 50 points or more.


Rebels 21/20

Draw 25/1

Reds 9/10

Handicap:  Rebels (+0.5) at 9/10, Reds (-0.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Winning margin, Reds under 12.5 points at 19/10

I am in agreement with the betting here and make the Reds slight favourites and think the 1-12 Winning Margin offers the best value.


CRUSADERS V CHIEFS – click here to bet

The Crusaders overcame a penalty count which was leaning heavily against them in the first-half to comfortably beat the Hurricanes 39-25 on the road in their first match of this Tournament.  There seems to be some debate as to whether the Hurricanes were just very poor for the Crusaders were impressive, but personally I thought it was a very good performance by the favourites.

The Chiefs have lost both of their opening games, away at the Highlanders and at home to the Blues and they are now 21/10 second favourites to finish bottom of the New Zealand Conference.  They have a lengthy injury list and are certainly battling in the engine room and in particular in the lineouts.

These sides met earlier in the year in Hamilton with the Chiefs winning 25-15, but the last time they met in Christchurch was in 2019 with the Crusaders winning 57-28.


Crusaders 1/4

Draw 33/1

Chiefs 7/2

Handicap:   Crusaders (-10.5) at 9/10, Chiefs (+10.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Winning Margin, Crusaders over 12.5 points at 11/10

New Zealand derbies tend to be tight affairs, but if you look at the Crusaders recent home record against the Chiefs they have won by margins of 29, 22 and 14 points and given how different these teams have looked in the opening matches the 11/10 they win by 13 or more appeals as a solid bet.


BLUES V HIGHLANDERS – click here to bet

The Blues opened their campaign with an impressive home win over the Hurricanes and they followed that up by beating the Chiefs on the road, for the first time since 2011.  They started the match (+2.5) point underdogs and were probably somewhat fortunate to lead at half-time after conceding loads of first-half penalties.  They tightened up on their discipline in the second-half though and ran out comfortable 24-12 victors.  The Blues now find themselves in an unfamiliar position of strong favourites heading into a New Zealand Derby.

Looking at the Outright Betting you would think this is a two horse race between the Crusaders and the Blues, but we mustn’t forget that the Highlanders have only played once and they beat the Chiefs at home. They do look to have a tough task on their hands here and the last time they played the Blues in Auckland was in 2019 with the home team winning 33-26.


Blues 1/4

Draw 33/1

Highlanders 7/2

Handicap:  Blues (-10.5) at 9/10, Highlanders (+10.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Alternative winning margin, Blues 11-20 points inclusive at 3/1

This handicap looks well set, but I am leaning towards the Blues and at the same time I can’t see them running away with this so the 11-20 point winning margin appeals at some value.


HURRICANES V CRUSADERS – click here to bet

The Hurricanes have now shortened to 1/1 from 5/1 to be the bottom placed side in this competition and they know that a victory against the Crusaders is a must if they are to contend.  The Crusaders, of course, are Tournament favourites and they have been priced up at (-6.5) here, a handicap that hasn’t moved all week.

The Hurricanes were very much in the match against the Blues in Auckland last week in the first half, but a poor performance in the 3rd quarter cost them as the Blues built an unassailable lead.

The Crusaders had a bye in Week 1 and they will be hoping to continue the sort of form they showed in the original competition where they had 5 victories and just 1 defeat which came away to the Chiefs.

The Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 32-8 in Wellington last season, but prior to that the Hurricanes had dominated this fixture at home winning the previous 3 head to heads.


Hurricanes 47/20

Draw 25/1

Crusaders 4/10

Handicap:   Hurricanes (+6.5) at 9/10, Crusaders (-6.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Half-time result, Hurricanes (+3.5) at 9/10

I think the Hurricanes will be competitive early and the Crusaders may have a little bit of rust having not played in so long.  I am backing the home team to be no more than 3 points behind at the break.