Super Rugby Round 15

The Aussie Super Rugby contingent’s 40-game losing streak against New Zealand teams ended last week and the Reds and hoodoo-busting Waratahs will be aiming to for more trans-Tasman joy in Round 15, which kicks off with an all-Kiwi absolute blockbuster in Christchurch.

The Chiefs delivered as The Wolf’s best bet last week and this week he is chips in Waratahs +10 and says the Aussie side are value for the outright win.

Round 15 Preview and Tips

Crusaders v Hurricanes (5:35pm Friday 25th May)
Christchurch hosts what is shaping as the match of the 2018 Super Rugby season between the two leading contenders for the title. The result will likely decide who finishes with the vital top finals seed. The 10-2 Crusaders have won seven straight, though they made tough work of recent victories over the Waratahs and Blues and are battling a front-row crisis with All Black props Joe Moody and Owen Franks currently suspended. The 10-1 Hurricanes have won 10 in a row but were run close by the Reds last weekend; both teams will be looking for an improved display, particularly defensively. The Hurricanes have won eight of their last 11 against the Crusaders, including a 29-19 victory at home earlier this season. They were also the last team to win at AMI Stadium, prevailing 31-22 in the final round of 2017. Given the Crusaders’ key absentees, the Wolf is keen on the ’Canes as slight outsiders.
Best Bet: Hurricanes WIN ($1.98)
Value Bet: Hurricanes 1-12 ($3.10)

Rebels v Sunwolves (7:45pm Friday 25th May)
The 5-6 Rebels are still in the finals mix, emerging from a horror mid-season run with a 27-24 away win over the Brumbies in Round 13. They had the bye last week. The visiting Sunwolves are last with a 2-9 record, but they are the talk of Super Rugby after a stunning 63-28 demolition of the Reds and an equally momentous last-gasp 26-23 win over the Stormers. The class of ex-Highlanders No.10 Hayden Parker has transformed the Japanese outfit. But the Sunwolves are winless in 19 away games in their three Super Rugby campaigns. The Rebels are 2-0 against the Sunwolves – both wins coming by 20 points or more – but are on a three-game losing streak at AAMI Park. The Wolf expects the Rebels to get up but the Sunwolves have been bank against the line in their past five games and look excellent value again with a big head-start.
Best Bet: Sunwolves +22.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Rebels 1-12 ($5.00)

Jaguares v Sharks (7:40am Saturday 26th May)
After a poor start to the season, a maiden finals berth is at the 7-5 Jaguares’ mercy – and they remain in the mix to top the South African Conference. The Argentine outfit backed up a watershed four-win tour of Australia and New Zealand up with a resounding 54-24 home win over the Bulls last week. The 5-1-6 Sharks sit eighth but have a host of teams breathing down their necks. They can take confidence from home wins over Kiwi heavyweights the Highlanders and Chiefs in the past three weeks but they are a dreadful 1-5 on the road this season. The Sharks are 4-0 against the Jaguares and won 33-25 in Buenos Aries in 2017, but the Jags’ current form is irresistible and they should get their sixth straight win comfortably.
Best Bet: Jaguares -6.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Jaguares 13+ ($2.70)

Chiefs v Waratahs (5:35pm Saturday 26th May)
The Waratahs can take a real stranglehold on top spot in the Australian Conference this weekend, and arrive in Hamilton full of confidence after belting the Highlanders 41-12 to end Aussie teams’ 40-game losing streak against Kiwi sides. The 7-4 Chiefs are back from an arduous fortnight in South Africa in which they grinded out a 15-9 win over the Stormers and went down 28-24 to the Sharks. The Chiefs are 6-5 at home against the Waratahs – including a 46-31 result last season – but the Sydneysiders have won six of their last eight against the Chiefs overall. Encouragingly, the last time an Australian team won in New Zealand was when the Waratahs downed the Chiefs two years ago, and the Wolf doesn’t mind their chances against the start given their recent form and the Chiefs’ travel strain.
Best Bet: Waratahs +10 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Waratahs WIN ($3.40)

Reds v Highlanders (7:45pm Saturday 26th May)
The Reds bounced back from their Tokyo nightmare against the Sunwolves with a spirited 38-34 loss to the Hurricanes last week (a huge win against the line). But the fact remains they are 4-7 with the second-worst for-and-against in the competition. The Highlanders, meanwhile, will not be enjoying the fact they were the first Kiwi side in 40 games to lose to an Aussie opponent, whipped 41-12 by the Waratahs last week after having a player sent off early on. They are sixth with a 7-4 record and arrive in Brisbane with a woeful 2-10 away record against the Reds. Eight of the teams’ last nine games were decided by seven points or less, which puts the home side in a strong position with a sizeable start.
Best Bet: Either Team Win By Under 12.5 ($1.87)
Value Bet: Highlanders by 6-10 ($5.00)

Bulls v Brumbies (11:05pm Saturday 26th May)
The finals ship has all but sailed for the Brumbies, who have won just three of their 11 games – losing their last five in a row – to sit second-last on the ladder. They led the Lions with 20 minutes left in Johannesburg last week but conceded three late tries to go down 42-24. The 5-7 Bulls are in the mix but simply have to win this game to keep their playoffs hopes alive. They are coming off a dismal 30-point away loss to the Jaguares after winning four of their previous six games. The Bulls are 4-2 at home in 2018 while the Brumbies are 1-4 on the road. The Brumbies have won four of their last five against the Bulls but are just 4-7 in Pretoria all-time and have regressed badly this season and can’t be backed with any confidence at the intimidating Loftus Versfeld.
Best Bet: Bulls -9.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: First Half Margin Bulls 1-7 ($3.50)

Stormers v Lions (1:15am Sunday 27th May)
The 7-6 Lions are clinging to the South African Conference lead, easing the pressure of three straight losses Down Under with a fast-finishing 42-24 win over the Stormers in Round 14. The 5-8 Stormers are virtually in sudden-death territory as far as the finals are concerned, sitting four points adrift of eighth spot but giving up a game or two to the teams ahead of them. They are also reeling from an after-the-siren defeat to the lowly Sunwolves in Hong Kong. The Lions may have won just four of their last 18 against the Stormers but they have won the last three between the teams. The Stormers are 5-1 at home this season and the Lions an uncharacteristically poor 2-4 on the road, but the 2016-17 runners-up are on a remarkable 20-game unbeaten streak against fellow South African teams and should keep that run going.
Best Bet: Lions -4 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Lions 13+ ($3.40)