Our punter Neal Hoogwerf smashed it out of the park last week with every tip landing including his value bets.
Let’s hope for another full house ahead of another jam packed weeekend of rugby.
Western Force v Melbourne Rebels
Friday 5 March – 11:45
The Force enter Round 4 having secured their first win since joining Super Rugby AU last year, defeating the rock-bottom Waratahs 20-16 in Sydney. It was a monumental effort from the Perth outfit as they overturned a 13-7 half time deficit. The Rebels lost out to a late Ryan Lonergan 55m penalty in going down 27-24 to the Brumbies in Canberra. It’s been a tough start to the campaign for Melbourne as they have succumbed to two narrow three point losses.
The Force return home to the Sea of Blue and will be desperate to impress their home supporters after their promising rise. Coach Tim Sampson has brought in Wallaby Sitaleki Timani back into the fray and he will be looking to match the defensive prowess of the Rebels. The Rebels have traditionally struggled as road favourites having covered four of their last 10 fixtures. The Force will have their tails up and I’ll be looking to home advantage to edge it.
Crusaders v Chiefs
Saturday 13 March – 8:05
The Crusaders head into Week 3 of Super Rugby Aotearoa looking to make it three from three in the competition. They were somewhat slow out of the blocks against the Hurricanes, however, an 18 minute interval before halftime saw them stack up four unanswered tries. The Chiefs started their season in an encouraging manner when leading against the Highlanders 20-11 at half time last Friday. However, second half turmoil was to follow as they were outscored by 25 points as they sunk to their 11th straight loss.
If Friday’s showing was anything to go by, not much has changed for the Chiefs in 2021. I do believe that a return to normality is due as some time for the Waikato men. They have enough quality and gamebreakers to put up a contest. The Chiefs have managed to cover five of their last seven on the road and will be itching to put in a performance against the tournament gold standard. Gut feeling indicates the Chiefs should narrowly cover this generous spread.
Brumbies v Reds
Saturday 13 March – 10:45
The Brumbies head into their second consecutive fixture at GIO Stadium having narrowly edged out the Melbourne Rebels after their captain Allan Alaalatoa received a red card. The Reds earnt a well-deserved rest in Round 3 and head into this fixture looking to exact revenge in a rematch of last year’s final.
With both teams undefeated, it will be an opportunity to make a claim for the top spot in Super Rugby AU. Queensland have been on the rise in the last two seasons and have a great H2H record against the Brumbies having covered seven of their last 10 fixtures. The Brumbies have been favoured too generously in the past having only covered the spread in three of their last eight fixtures. I’m struggling to separate the two sides and feel as if the Reds will have a point to prove this weekend. Bet on Queensland to keep it close.
Blues v Highlanders
Sunday 14 March – 04:35
The Blues return from their bye last week to host the Highlanders in their first home fixture of the season. The Blues were impressive in overturning the Hurricanes at the Cake Tin and will be determined to continue their fine form. The Highlanders put their opening season loss against the Crusaders behind them as a Jona Nareki masterclass ensured a dominant second half display in recording a 39-23 victory away from home.
A cracking fixture awaits us on Sunday as tournament-hopefuls the Blues will be looking to close the gap on tournament favourites the Crusaders. The Highlanders left a lot on the field last weekend and will be looking for one last effort before they earn a well-deserved rest. The Blues have only covered the spread in two of their last 13 fixtures when they have been favoured by more than a converted try. Couple that with the Highlanders having covered four of their last six against the Blues, I’ll be looking to an Aaron Smith inspired performance to keep the men from Dunedin in the game.