Mon, May 7, 11:37am by Staff Writer
The 2018 Super Rugby season continued on the weekend with round 12 action and it is the Hurricanes who remain firm favourites to win their second title in three years.
A Saturday night rematch of the 2016 Super Rugby season between the Canes and the Lions was a highlight of round 12 play, with the Kiwi side proving too strong, winning 28-19.
That win takes the Canes to $2.25 in the outright market at Sportsbet, while the Lions are at $10.
The match was dominated by the Hurricanes in the early stages, with a pair of late tries to the Lions helping to balance the scoreboard. The Canes have not been unbeatable this season, but have shown ruthlessness when it matters and they can dazzle and score points when required.
The Lions remain the best South African team in Super Rugby, but will be hunting a win in Otago next weekend when they face the Highlanders, to stave off the surging Jaguares.
The Argentinian team have won an unprecedented four matches in a row, after their shock 23-19 win in Rotorua against the Chiefs.
The Jags were big underdogs for the fixture, but managed to stifle the Chiefs attack which was poor for much of the night. That loss pushes the Chiefs to $14 in the outright market, out from $8 last week.
The win has done wonders for the Jaguares who have pushed up the South African conference standings, trailing the Lions by just seven points. They are now $41 in the outright market, from $151 last week.
The Crusaders dazzled in their second half against the Melbourne Rebels, thumping the Australian franchise 55-10.
They piled on 45 second half points to embarrass the home side and remain atop the New Zealand conference, two points clear of the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders continue to be well-priced to make it back-to-back Super Rugby crowns and are clear second favourites at $3.60.
The Rebels season which started so well has descended into chaos with five straight losses. They are now $81 on Sportsbet to win the title, but are only four points away from being the top side in the Australian conference.
The Waratahs and Blues played out a tense match at Brookvale Oval in Manly on Saturday night, with the visitors prevailing narrowly 24-21.
The Tahs had numerous chances to win the game in the final ten minutes, but a combination of poor decision-making and stoic defence from the Blues kept them out.
It was a much needed win for the Blues, their fourth of the season. They still languish in last spot in the New Zealand standings and are $201 to win the title.
By virtue of an uncompetitive Australian conference, the Tahs continue to lead the standings and are $19 to win Super Rugby.
The Highlanders suffered a shock loss to the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning, going down 38-12.
A second half barrage from the hosts left the Highlanders with no answer in what was their poorest performance of the season.
They now return to New Zealand to face the Lions, with travel fatigue certain to factor into that contest.
The Highlanders remain third favourites to win Super Rugby at $5.50 at Sportsbet. The Sharks continue to show flashes of brilliance this season, but are not rated at all to win the title, priced at $176.
An all-South African derby between rivals the Bulls and Stormers produced a win for the hosts 29-17.
They leapfrog the Bulls into fourth position in the conference standings with the win, while the Bulls sit last, two points behind the Stormers.
After getting off to a hot start, the visitors provided little resistance in the second half, as the Stormers, spurred on by their home crowd earned a deserved victory.
The Brumbies ($326), Reds ($426) and Sunwolves ($5001) all had the bye during round 12.
Super Rugby Championship Odds – Sportsbet
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