Thu, Mar 9, 1:37pm by Staff Writer
The opening two weeks of Super Rugby 2017 have shown just want rugby fans have been missing over summer. Despite the Australian sides once again struggling, the sheer amount of attacking, thrilling rugby on offer keeps fans glued to their TV screens. Round Three sees the first week of byes with the Rebels and Bulls being the first sides to take a step back from the action.
Chiefs v Hurricanes, Waikato Stadium, Friday March 10, 5:35pm AEDT
The reigning Champions, the Hurricanes, face their first true test of the new season as they travel to the Chiefs. So far in 2017 they have easily dispatched of the Sunwolves and Rebels in score lines that flattered the Hurricanes and raised questions about the standards of the all sides in the competition. The return of Nehe Milner-Skudder last week was the big talking point in Wellington and if he can stay fit he could push the side from the back to compete for the title once again. The Hurricanes stand at $2.00 compared to the Chiefs at $1.80. The home side hold the advantage due to their battle hardened players who have already faced and beaten two of their direct New Zealand Conference rivals. Those victories have shown the Chiefs once again look like potential Champions in the making.
Bet of the Match: Hurricanes to Win by 1-12 points at $2.85
Brumbies v Force, GIO Stadium, Canberra, Friday March 10, 7:45pm AEDT
In the Australian Conference the surprise leaders after two rounds are the Western Force. After their thrilling win over the Reds last weekend and their narrow loss to the Waratahs, they sit atop the Conference. This weekend they face the Brumbies who have had to endure two weeks of tough, close losses. William Hill has made the Brumbies favourites at $1.34 in contrast to the Force at $3.20. If the Force can replicate last week’s performance, then they could be a real threat to the Brumbies and those odds. The Brumbies continue to struggle as their young players find their feet in Super Rugby without any experienced leaders around them.
Bet of the Match: Brumbies to Win by 1-12 points at $2.80
Reds v Crusaders, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday March 11, 7:45pm AEDT
2017 was being touted by many in Queensland as the year of the Reds. Several big name homecomings including Quade Cooper and Stephen Moore had hopes high but performances so far have failed to deliver. A last-minute win over the Sharks at home and then a loss to the Force has thrown the Reds’ failings into the spotlight. They need a win this week against the Crusaders. Something that won’t come easily against a Kiwi side that it is two wins from two after wins over the Brumbies and Highlanders. They haven’t been at their best but still have plenty of firepower to threaten the Reds. William Hill prices a Crusaders victory at $1.47 and Reds at $2.70.
Bet of the Match: Crusaders to Win by 1-12 points at $2.85
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