Hurricanes v Chiefs
These two teams played last week with the Chiefs getting the chocolates after starting with a hiss and a roar going up 21-0 in the first half. The Hurricanes did stage a comeback but they must be a little nervous facing off against, particularly with the Chiefs having a number of injuries/resting players last week.
Both teams are back to almost best line ups this week so it’s a completely different game to last week. The Hurricanes defence will need to improve, particularly the later half of the season where they have been far from impressive. The Chiefs have got out to massive starts in their last few games so the Hurricanes will need to be on their toes early.
The Hurricanes have a solid record at home winning their last 9 games; ironically the last loss was to the Chiefs 17-14 a year ago. The Chiefs have won 3 of the last 4 games against the Hurricanes while the last 5 matches has averaged a rather low 40 points per game.
Crusaders v Sharks
The Crusaders are by far and away the best side in the competition in my opinion, they’ve had to deal with injuries throughout the year and finally have what I consider to be the best team they’ve put on the park this season. The Crusaders thrashed the lowly Blues last week while the Sharks beat the Jaguares.
The Crusaders have won their last 17 games at home this week and their last 3 of 4 against the Sharks. The Crusaders are simply unbeatable at home. They’ll win this game but I’m not sure they’ll hammer the Sharks. The Sharks have had a great record against NZ sides this year. They beat the Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs and only lost by a point to the Hurricanes in the last play of the game.
As mentioned, the Crusaders will win this but I give the Sharks a chance in the points start.
Waratahs v Highlanders
The Waratahs were beaten by the Brumbies last week while the Highlanders beat the Rebels in a close one, though they did rest a lot of their players in preparation for this weeks game.
These two teams faced off a couple of months ago with the Highlanders suffering a red card early on in the game, thus getting comprehensively beaten by a good Waratahs side that night 41-12. The Highlanders have won 4 of the last 5 matches against the Waratahs though with the last 4 games between these sides averaging a high 58 points per game.
The Highlanders will be seeking revenge from earlier on in the season in this one. The Waratahs have looked rather shaky of late, losing last week and struggling in the first half against the Sunwolves. I’m liking the Highlanders to win this one.
Lions v Jaguares
The Lions are the other form team in the competition along with the Crusaders. They easily beat the Bulls last week 38-12 after going down in the match early. The Jaguares have lost their last couple of games and really do struggle against South African teams in South Africa.
The home team has won this fixture in all 6 matches played. The Lions also have a handy record at home this season winning 6 of 8 games at home. As mentioned the Jaguares have struggled away in South Africa. They’ve only won 2 of 13 matches in South Africa and they were against the Cheetahs and Kings who are no longer in the competition.
Over the 6 games played between these sides has averaged a huge 65.8 points per game. I can’t see it getting that high this game though, being a playoff game.
In love with the Lions in this game, everything points to them winning this one by quite a bit. Unfortunately the line of -8.5 at the start of the week has vanished but there is still some -9.5 around which we’ll bet.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Semi Finals -0.14 2 -7% Quarter Finals -0.28 8 -4% Week Nineteen +4.53 5 91% Week Eighteen -6.15 12 -51% Week Seventeen -3.1 8 -39% Week Sixteen -2.3 8 -29% Week Fifteen +1.1 7.5 15% Week Fourteen -0.38 8 -5% Week Thirteen -3.78 11.5 -33% Week Twelve +1.75 8 22% Week Eleven +9.25 11.5 80% Week Ten +5.5 12.5 44% Week Nine +1.3 11 12% Week Eight +5.84 9 65% Week Seven +5.98 19 31% Week Six +2.64 9 29% Week Five -4.7 9 -52% Week Four -4.4 12 -37% Total +12.66 171 7%