Super Rugby Round 14

The Reds and Waratahs have mountains to climb in Round 14 if they’re to end the Aussie teams’ horror losing streak against New Zealand sides, while the Blues have a Kiwi hoodoo of their own to conquer when they host the Crusaders and the battling Brumbies are fighting for their season in South Africa. The Wolf has made Chiefs +7 ($1.90) his best of the week and says they are great value for the outright win.

Round 14 Preview and Tips

Hurricanes vs Reds (5:35pm Friday 18th May)
The Reds’ campaign is in tatters after being humiliated 63-28 by the last-placed, previously winless Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend. Being crushed by Super Rugby’s worst team doesn’t bode well for a road trip to take the heavyweight Hurricanes, who are on a nine-match winning streak after easily putting away the Blues 36-15 in Round 13. For the 4-6 Reds, it was also a dismal follow-up to rolling the Lions in their previous outing. The Hurricanes have won eight of their last nine against the Reds – including five of the last six 13+. The Reds’ away record against the ’Canes is a miserable 1-8. The Reds are 1-5 on the road this season, with four of the losses by 21 points or more – the Wolf is expecting the firepower-laden ’Canes to inflict similar damage.
Best Bet: Hurricanes -27.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Hurricanes by 36-40 ($9.00) 

Sunwolves vs Stormers (3:15pm Saturday 19th May)
The lowly Sunwolves are understandably fizzing after just their fourth win in 40 Super Rugby matches and their first of 2018 – a 63-28 demolition of the Reds in Tokyo. The signs of a breakout performance were there after some spirited recent displays in New Zealand, but last week’s stunning result will have the 5-7 Stormers on high alert. The Stormers’ two-game winning streak came to a halt in Round 13 via a 15-9 home loss to the Chiefs. The Stormers have played the Sunwolves twice in Asia and were pushed both times, held to a draw in 2016 and overcoming a double-digit deficit in the second half to win last year. The Sunwolves are 4-0 against the line in their last four games, while the Stormers are a dismal 0-6 head-to-head in away games in 2018.
Best Bet: Sunwolves +9.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Sunwolves WIN ($3.75) 

Blues vs Crusaders (5:35pm Saturday 19th May)
The embattled Blues eased some pressure with their away win over the Waratahs in Round 12 but resumed normal transmission last week with a 36-15 home loss to the Hurricanes. The winless streak against fellow Kiwi teams stands at 16 games – and now they host the defending champion and competition-leading Crusaders. The 9-2 Crusaders staged a remarkable comeback from 29-0 down against the Waratahs to win 31-29 last Saturday. The Crusaders are on a six-game winning run against the Blues, though the last eight clashes in Auckland have been shared 4-4. Twelve of their last 16 fruitless outings against NZ rivals have been decided by 10 points or less, but despite Joe Moody’s suspension the Wolf is confident of a comfortable Crusaders victory in this one.
Best Bet: Crusaders 13+ ($2.00)
Value Bet: 1st Half Margin – Crusaders 8-14 Points ($3.60)

Waratahs vs Highlanders (7:45pm Saturday 19th May)
The Highlanders will be looking to extend NZ teams’ winning streak against Aussie Super Rugby opponents to a ridiculous 40 games. Of course, the 7-3 Highlanders’ finals hopes will be their primary focus on this road trip, and they bounced back from a heavy loss to the Sharks in Round 12 with a solid home victory over the Lions last weekend. The 5-1-4 Waratahs lead the Australian Conference but have lost to the struggling Blues and bottled a 29-point lead against the Crusaders in the past fortnight. The Highlanders have won six of their last eight against the Waratahs, including their last two in Sydney. Last season the ‘Landers romped to a 44-28 victory in Dunedin. Brilliant Highlanders fullback Ben Smith is set to miss the trip but superstar halfback Aaron Smith will return; the visitors should squeeze out a hard-fought win over a Waratahs side missing key forward Ned Hanigan.
Best Bet: Highlanders 1-12 ($2.70)
Value Bet: Highlanders by 6-10 ($5.00)

Sharks vs Chiefs (11:05pm Saturday 19th May)
Smarting from a shock loss at home to the Jaguares, the Chiefs began their South African tour with a grinding 15-9 win over the Stormers to improve to a 7-3 record. The 4-1-6 Sharks have struggled all season for consistency, bookending consecutive wins over the Stormers and Highlanders (a stunning 38-12 upset) with losses at home and away to the Bulls. The Sharks boast a 6-4 home record against the Chiefs, including a 12-11 win when the teams last met in Durban in 2016. But the Chiefs have won six of the last seven between the teams overall. The 2012 Super Rugby final combatants have a habit of producing tight games – six of the last seven have featured 1-12 margins. The Wolf can’t ignore a Kiwi heavyweight as a big outsider against overseas opposition; all the value lies with the Chiefs in this one.
Best Bet: Chiefs +7 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Chiefs WIN ($2.85) 

Lions vs Brumbies (1:15am Sunday 20th May)
The reigning two-time South African champs and the two-time reigning Aussie champs lock horns in Johannesburg, but the Brumbies’ form in 2018 has the Wolf feeling a bit pessimistic heading into this clash. The playoffs ship is sailing for the 3-7 Brumbies, who have lost their last four games – including a home defeat to the Rebels last Saturday. The 6-6 Lions are clinging to the South African Conference lead after a mixed tour Down Under, thrashing the Waratahs before losing to the Reds, Hurricanes and Highlanders. But the 2016-17 Super Rugby runners-up are 4-2 at Ellis Park this season while the Brumbies’ sole road win came against the Sunwolves in their first outing of 2018. The Lions prevailed 13-6 in a Canberra slugfest last season – just their third win in 11 games against the Brumbies. Expect the hosts’ to improve further on that record, but that juicy line might just be worth getting behind the Brumbies with given the Lions’ recent travel demands and patchy form.
Best Bet: Brumbies +15.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Lions 1-12 ($3.25)

Jaguares vs Bulls (7:40am Sunday 20th May)
The Jaguares are back home from a triumphant tour of Australia and New Zealand, boasting a genuine chance to challenge the faltering Lions for the South African Conference title. The usually erratic Argentine outfit defeated the Rebels, Brumbies, Blues and a genuine big fish in the Chiefs to rally to a 6-5 record. A place in the finals is within their reach. But the 5-6 Bulls have also been in resurgent form, winning four of their last six games – including a crucial victory over the Stormers in Round 13. The Bulls aren’t great travellers – including a 29-11 loss in their only previous trip to Buenos Aries – which is just enough to back the Jags with a bit of confidence…but it’ll be close.
Best Bet: Jaguares -4.5 ($1.85)
Value Bet: Jaguares 1-12 ($2.90)