Mon, Apr 23, 11:26am by Staff Writer
The top of the table Hurricanes enjoyed their second and final bye of the season but remain heavy favourites to win Super Rugby at $2.40.
The chasing pack include last season’s winners the Crusaders who have remained at $4.50 or thereabouts for much of the season.
Despite a bright start, Canterbury only managed to beat the winless Sunwolves 33-11 in Christchurch as 38-point favourites pre-match.
The Japanese franchise are winless after eight matches and it is hard to see where their win will come from. They are $5001 to win Super Rugby and won’t even go close to making the finals.
It was a winless weekend for all four Australian franchises in a disappointing week for the sport in Australia with much of the off-field talk surrounding Israel Folau and none of the on-field play inspiring fans.
The Waratahs four-match winning streak was ended in emphatic circumstances on Friday night when the Lions grabbed their first ever win in Sydney in a 29-0 demolition of the Tahs.
That loss sees the Tahs odds of winning Super Rugby drift from $13 to $19 this week, but they remain the best priced Australian team.
After a number of up-and-down weeks, the Lions have put together a number of good performances returning to their form of the past two seasons.
They will be confident of an Australian tour sweep next Saturday when they visit the Reds in Queensland.
The Lions have shortened into $6.50 to win Super Rugby, making them fourth favourites for the competition.
The Reds trailed 24-0 at half-time to the Chiefs and after the Waikato team scored the first try of the second half in the 44th minute it was game over for the Queenslanders.
They did manage two late consolation tries, but Brad Thorn’s men were soundly beaten by a far more clinical Chiefs team.
Their fifth win in six outings for the Chiefs keeps them in touch at the top of the New Zealand conference and they are $10 to win Super Rugby.
The Reds have now lost three matches in a row after a bright start to the season and are $2001 to win Super Rugby.
The Rebels travelled to Petroria to face the Bulls on Saturday night and were on the defensive early, with the Bulls leading 21-3 at half-time.
They had little answer to the Bulls’ strength and physicality, with their South African tour getting off to a losing start as they were downed 28-10.
The Rebels are $26 to win Super Rugby but face a tough remaining schedule with a match against the Stormers in Cape Town, followed by a home game against the Crusaders and two away games in New Zealand.
The Bulls have won two games in a row and will need plenty more wins to catch the Lions at the top of the South African conference. They are $21 to win Super Rugby.
The biggest upset of the weekend came on Sunday afternoon when the Jaguares won their second straight game in Australia to go 4-0 in the past two seasons in Australia, beating the Brumbies 25-20.
The visitors got off to a flying start leading 13-0 after six Brumbies penalties in the opening quarter of the match.
Despite a fightback from the hosts, the Jaguares were too good and are starting to play some of the best rugby we have seen from them in Super Rugby.
They are $426 to win Super Rugby, but have leaped to third in the standings in the South African conference.
It has been a horrible year from the Brumbies as they have won only two games. They are $126 to win Super Rugby.
The Highlanders continued their recent dominance over the Blues with a 34-16 win in Auckland on Friday night.
Two tries in the opening five minutes for the Highlanders ensured the Blues were chasing the game for the entire match and they never led.
The Highlanders are $5.50 to win Super Rugby and one of the favourites for the competition.
The Blues are perennial under achievers and look unlikely to make the finals at $151 at Sportsbet.
The Sharks managed a tight 24-17 win against the Stormers on Sunday morning in a crucial match for both teams.
Neither side has been convincing all season, but will need to continue to win those inter-conference games if they are a chance of catching the Lions.
Neither side look to be a finals threat, with the Sharks $126 to win the title and the Stormers even longer at $176.
Super Rugby Championship Odds – Sportsbet
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