Thu, May 24, 12:37pm by Staff Writer
Round 15 of Super Rugby features a clash which could well be a Grand Final preview, when the Crusaders host the Hurricanes on Friday night.
Elsewhere, the Jaguares look to continue their winning streak of five matches when they host the Sharks and the Stormers host the Lions in Cape Town.
Crusaders versus Hurricanes
Friday, 25 May 2018 at 5.35pm AEST
The Crusaders and Hurricanes meet for the second time this season as they sit in first and second position on the competition table respectively.
Both sides have played tremendously this season and have lost one game each, with the Crusaders one point clear of their rivals.
The home side will start as rare home underdogs at $1.95, with the Hurricanes favourites at $1.86.
The Crusaders have been recently decimated by injury, particularly to their front row which goes a long way to explaining the current odds.
The Hurricanes have not been at their ruthless best in recent times, narrowly beating the Reds before a scratchy performance against the Sunwolves.
The same can be said for the Crusaders, who had to recover from a 29-nil deficit to beat the Waratahs 31-29 in the biggest comeback in Super Rugby history.
A lot of the star players from both sides spent the week together in All Blacks camp, but as they return to their clubs, will have a fierce contest on their hands.
We are tipping the Crusaders to exact revenge on the Canes for a defeat they suffered earlier this season.
It is rare that Canterbury are home underdogs and despite their lean front row, they have the weapons in other areas of the ground to take on the Hurricanes who have struggled defensively of late.
Best bet- Crusaders to win at $1.95
Jaguares versus Sharks
Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 5.40am AEST
The Jaguares are on a roll at the moment winning their past five games and setting a team record in the process.
They trail the Lions by seven points in the South African conference and are $1.44 favourites to win their sixth in a row against the Sharks on Saturday morning.
The visitors are $2.80 at Sportsbet but have won their previous two encounters against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Their most recent clash was in 2017 where the Sharks won 33-25.
This is a different Jaguares side to the one that played in 2017, with these players full of confidence, as they continue to effortlessly score and they are defending with more vigour than we have ever seen from them in Super Rugby.
All four of the Sharks win this season have come at home and they have an unbeaten record against the Jaguares.
Despite that, the Jags being only 6.5-point favourites is tempting enough for us to back them this week, given how they have steamrolled South African opposition at home this season.
Best bet- Jaguares to cover -6.5-point handicap at $1.90
Chiefs versus Waratahs
Saturday, 25 May at 5.45pm AEST
The Chiefs return from South Africa where they defeated the Stormers before a narrow loss to the Sharks.
They now face a quick turnaround as they host the Waratahs. The Chiefs are $1.32 favourites, with the Tahs paying $3.40.
The Australian hoodoo against New Zealand opposition was finally broken by the Waratahs last weekend as they beat the Highlanders 41-12.
In the weeks prior, the Tahs have gone down narrowly to the Blues and Crusaders, so their breakthrough win last weekend was well earned.
The Chiefs regain the services of their All Blacks players, but remain a team besieged by injuries.
In their last home game they were defeated by the Jaguares in a limp performance and will need a big upturn in form to stave off the Tahs.
New South Wales are far and away the best Australian side in Super Rugby this season and after a lean 2017 season look to be destined to play finals this year.
While last weekend’s win against the Highlanders was morale boosting, a number of the Chiefs best players do not have travel fatigue having returned from South Africa over a week ago, and they should get the job done in a close match.
Best bet- Chiefs Big Win Little Win 1-39 at $2.88
The Rebels are in action on Friday night and are huge favourites at $1.10 to beat the Sunwolves who have won two games in a row at $7. The Wolves will be without a number of players who will represent Japan in the June test series.
The Reds are $4.40 outsiders to beat the Highlanders who are $1.22 for their match in Brisbane, while the Brumbies are $3.50 underdogs to beat the Bulls in Pretoria who are $1.30.
The Stormers will be desperate for a win when they host the conference leading Lions who are $1.53 favourites for their match in Cape Town.
Round 15 Odds – Sportsbet
Crusaders $1.95 v Hurricanes $1.86
Rebels $1.10 v Sunwolves $7
Jaguares $1.44 v Sharks $2.80
Chiefs $1.32 v Waratahs $3.40
Reds $4.40 v Highlanders $1.22
Bulls $1.30 v Brumbies $3.50
Stormers $2.50 v Lions $1.53
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