Wed, Jul 25, 1:13pm by Staff Writer
Four teams remain in pursuit of the 2018 Super Rugby crown with the two semi-finals taking place this weekend.
Crusaders versus Hurricanes
Saturday, 28 July 2018 at 5.35pm AEST at AMI Stadium, Christchurch
The Crusaders ($1.38) have been the dominant team in Super Rugby, particularly in the latter half of the season and host the Hurricanes ($3.04) on Saturday night.
A Canterbury win will mean they host the Grand Final, with a Hurricanes win forcing the Canes on the road to play the winner of the Lions and Waratahs match.
In the quarterfinals, the Crusaders cruised to a 30-point win against the Sharks.
The visitors were unable to win the breakdown and got stuck at the wrong end of the park too often.
The Crusaders stifled the Sharks’ trademark driving maul and had too much energy for the road-weary visitors in the final 20 minutes.
The Hurricanes hosted the Chiefs in the closest of the quarterfinal matches.
The Canes were victorious after a late flurry from the Chiefs, winning the match 32-31 in Wellington.
These two sides have jostled at the top of the standings for the majority of the season, with many pundits predicting they would meet in the Grand Final.
They have split their season series, with each side winning at home.
In their most recent meeting, the Crusaders won 24-13 in Christchurch and led 24-6 in the closing minutes.
Both teams will be taking points with the boot when they are on offer in this match, which is an alteration to the style of free-flowing rugby which both employ during the regular season.
The Crusaders are in better form and at home, which makes them too hard to pass over as winning this match.
Best bet- Crusaders Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $2.63
Lions versus Waratahs
Saturday, 28 July 2018 at 11.05pm AEST at Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
The Lions are aiming to reach a third successive Super Rugby Grand Final when they host the Waratahs on Saturday night.
The Lions are $1.27 favourites for the match in South Africa, with the visiting Tahs $3.80 outsiders at Sportsbet.
The Lions were convincing 40-23 winners against the Jaguares last weekend, while the Tahs had a much closer match against the Highlanders.
After trailing 23-6 at half-time and looking dead and buried, the Tahs scored three tries in an eight minute outburst to win the match 30-23.
They will certainly be feeling the effects of that match, as well as the burden of travelling to South Africa, all within seven days.
The Tahs drew their only match in South Africa this season against the Sharks, but suffered a horrible loss to the Lions in round 10.
The road side kept the Tahs scoreless in Sydney, with a dominant 29-0 win. The Lions have won the past three matches against the Tahs, who were last victorious against the Lions in 2014 and in 2009 in South Africa.
New South Wales have a tough task ahead of them if they hope to get the better of the Lions on Saturday night.
Look to take the Lions in the second half handicap, giving away a 4.5-point start, as the Tahs will likely tire in the closing stages.
Best bet- Lions to cover 4.5-point second half handicap at $1.90
Super Rugby Semi Final Odds – Sportsbet
Crusaders $1.38 v Hurricanes $3.04
Lions $1.27 v Waratahs $3.80
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