Tue, May 29, 7:22am by Staff Writer
The Crusaders are now the favourites to take out the 2018 Super Rugby title after a convincing 24-13 victory against the Hurricanes on Friday night.
In wet conditions in Christchurch, the hosts took advantage of the Hurricanes poor ball retention and lack of territory. The Canes are now $2.50 to win Super Rugby, with the Crusaders $2.20 favourites. The two sides have played twice this season, each winning their home games.
While the match was far from a spectacle, both sides gave us a glimpse of a potential Super Rugby Grand Final later in the year.
The Jaguares continued their impressive mid-season surge, winning their sixth game in a row after a 29-13 victory against the Sharks.
The Jags are now $23 to win Super Rugby and trail the Lions in the South African conference by just six points. They were $501 to win the title before their winning run.
The Sharks continue to struggle this season and are $67 to win the title. Although sitting third in the South African conference, they trail the Rebels by only two points in the overall standings and will remain hopeful of a finals berth.
The Sunwolves winning streak has ended at two games after a 40-13 loss to the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.
Coach Jamie Joseph made 14 changes and was absent from the fixture himself, conducting a Japanese national team camp before the upcoming June test series. The Rebels pulled away in the second half after a sloppy first half where they committed a number of errors and conceded the first try.
The Rebels are second in the Australian conference and are $67 to win the title. The Sunwolves are nearly out of mathematical contention and are at a huge $2501.
The Waratahs fought gallantly against New Zealand opposition for the fourth consecutive week, but went down 39-27 to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
After racing out to a 14-0 lead, the Tahs struggled to contain the Chiefs rapid ball movement, which has been missing from their game for the past month.
The Chiefs are now $12 to win Super Rugby, equal fourth favourites. The Tahs are close behind at $13 and after a tough stretch of games will close their season with four games against Australian rivals. They hold a slender one-point lead atop the conference.
The Highlanders were made to battle until the final whistle to beat the Reds for the first time at Suncorp Stadium in soggy conditions in Brisbane.
A late penalty goal sealed victory for the visitors after they dominated the second half. They are $12 to win Super Rugby but have been unimpressive during the past fortnight.
The Reds tried hard once again for Brad Thorn but came up short towards the end of the game. A lack of firepower off the bench proved costly for the Reds, who are $251 to win the title.
In Pretoria, the Brumbies pulled off a massive upset beating the Bulls 38-28. The Brumbies were reduced to 14 players midway through the second half after Folau Fainga’a was red carded.
That did not stop the Brumbies though who scored two late tries in the final 10 minutes for one of their best wins in recent times.
It gives them a slender hope of playing finals, although they remain huge outsiders at $501.
The Bulls will be bitterly disappointed with being unable to close out that game when they had the lead and an opposition player sent off with 10 minutes to go. They are last in the South African conference and $51 to win the title.
The Lions fought hard for their 26-23 win against the Stormers in Cape Town, needing a late try to seal victory.
It was an important win for the Lions who have the Jaguares breathing down their necks in the standings.
The Lions are six points clear atop the South African conference and are third favourites for the title at $11 at Sportsbet.
The Stormers once again lost a close game and are $251 title shots.
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