09 June 2020, by: Carl Lewis
Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1 Preview and Predictions
Super Rugby Aotearoa moves swiftly to Round 2 as we see the Crusaders for the first time in the competition. They face a wounded Hurricanes side in Wellington on Sunday while the first match sees an interesting clash between a Chiefs and the resurgent Blues.
Below is our betting preview ahead of Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2.
Saturday 20 June
The Chiefs suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the Highlanders in Round 1 of Super Rugby Aotearoa, but they are still the bookies’ favourites against a rejuvenated Blues. The Chiefs might have won four of their past five meetings with the Blues but Leon Macdonald’s team is on the up.
The Blues showed their improvement and quality with a 30 -20 win over Hurricanes. To further drive their upward trajectory home is that across the two Super Rugby competitions, they have completed five consecutive wins. If you’ve been backing the Blues as the underdog recently then you’ve been rewarded. In contrast, the Chiefs have lost their past two games as favourites and they did look on the sluggish against the Highlanders.
Kaleb Trask struggled at fly-half for the Chiefs. That could see former All Black fly-half Aaron Cruden make his first start for the Chiefs since returning from Europe. The Blues are unlikely to tinker too much with their side. Beauden Barrett, a fly-half by choice, should remain at full-back considering the impressive performance of Otere Black.
The Blues form suggests they could sneak a big away win which is something they have struggled to achieve against fellow New Zealand sides in recent years.
Best Bet: Blues to win at 2.10
Sunday 21 June
The Crusaders, as expected against the Hurricanes, are the clear bookies’ favourites. They suffered only one loss during the regular Super Rugby season at the hand of the Chiefs and they are the defending Super Rugby champions so they are the tournaments top dogs.
The Crusaders have won their past five games against the Hurricanes and they have won seven of their past eight games as favourites. The Hurricanes are a better side than their lacklustre display against the Blues. Perhaps they needed Round 1 to get the rust off. Also, they have won three of their past four games at home. In previous head to heads between the two sides, the home team has won 10 of their past 12 matches.
The Hurricanes are likely to get Ardie Savea into the starting line-up. Otherwise, they should stay much the same as the XV against the Blues. The Crusaders apparently have a fully fit squad ahead for the clash.
The fact that the Hurricanes have a game under their belt and are playing in Wellington means they could be fired up against a Crusaders side who might be rusty after a three-month break.
Best Bet: Hurricanes win 1st Half at 2.65