Thu, Jul 27, 8:19am by Staff Writer
Super Rugby has reached the semi-finals stage with the New Zealand franchises once again dominating. The Kiwis are guaranteed at least one finalist as the Crusaders host the Chiefs. Meanwhile there is a repeat of the 2016 Final with the Lions taking on the Hurricanes in South Africa.
Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium, Saturday July 29, 7:35pm AEST
The Crusaders suffered a setback in the last Round of the regular Super Rugby season. Losing their perfect record after going down to the Hurricanes. That appears to have been just a blip as they came back stronger than ever to dispatch the Highlanders in a dire, rain soaked clash, 17-0.
The men from Christchurch are beginning to look like their former selves after dominating the competition for so long. They are favourites with William Hill at $1.31 to beat the Chiefs. Something that they achieved back in Round 13 with a 31-24 victory.
Travel may well be the Chiefs biggest enemy for this clash. Despite being victorious in their qualifier against the Stormers. The Chiefs have had to endure a return trip to South Africa something that may well test their player’s bodies to the limit when they come up against the Crusaders.
History, however, is on the Chiefs side after they beat the Crusaders twice before when they met at this stage of the competition in 2012 and 2013. They are an outside bet at $3.50 with William Hill but they certainly possess the talent in their squad to challenge the Crusaders all the way.
Bet of the Match: Crusaders to Win by 1-12 points at $2.70
Lions v Hurricanes, Emirates Airline Park, Saturday July 29, 10:30pm AEST
This will be the first time that the Lions face Kiwi opposition in 2017. In fact, the last time they played a side from New Zealand, it was the Hurricanes in the 2016 Final. The Lions were comprehensively beaten that day 20-3. They will be aiming to gain revenge for that defeat back home in South Africa, hoping the travel has effected the Hurricanes coupled with home ground support.
The Lions are priced at $2.03 with William Hill to claim victory and become only the second South African side in Super Rugby history to reach back to back Finals. Although they haven’t beaten the Hurricanes since 2007.
A disjointed performance was enough to see the Hurricanes past the Brumbies in the qualifiers. They will need to be much better this weekend when they take on the Lions. A slow start like the one in Canberra may well cost them a place in the Final.
The return of club captain Dane Coles in that match will be a welcome boost the side. His leadership and prowess on the field will add another dynamic to already star studded line up. They stand as slight favourites for this match with William Hill priced at $1.80. This will be the Hurricanes first Finals match on South African soil but having won of their last five matches their confidence will be high.
Bet of the Match: Lions to Win by 1-12 points at $3.10
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