Wed, Jul 6, 6:07pm by Staff Writer
With only two Rounds of Super Rugby remaining in the regular season there is plenty of competition for the playoff positions. The hardest fought contests are in the Australian and New Zealand conferences where a number of sides still have the chance to improve their positions.
With several cross conference match-ups in Round 16, it may well be that sides will be relying on help from across the southern hemisphere.
The Brumbies need to win against the Blues to stay in front of the Waratahs in the much coveted top spot and assured qualifying position on the ladder. A trip to Auckland with finals footy on the line is not exactly what Coach Stephen Larkham would have wanted at the start of the year. Eden Park is a tough place for any team to go to and come away with a victory.
The Blues may sit bottom of their Conference but that is massively misleading. Some of the rugby they have played this year under new Coach Tana Umaga has been incredible and they will feel they can upset the odds to take down the Brumbies. Sportsbet holds the Brumbies favourites at $1.77 while a Blues win is at $2.05, a close call in what could well be a tight game.
Challenging the Brumbies are the Waratahs who match up against the Hurricanes in the closest contest of the weekend. Sportsbet can only separate the two sides by 20 cents with a win for the Waratahs at $1.80 and the Hurricanes priced at $2.00. These two sides are both in desperate need of victories to keep their hopes of finals alive.
A routine win over the Sunwolves in the last Round for the ‘Tahs means that they remain hot on the heels of the Brumbies but will face a much tougher task against Kiwi opposition. The ‘Canes themselves can still edge out the New Zealand Conference as only two points stand between them and the first placed Chiefs. With Beauden Barrett in outstanding form it is hard to see anything other than a Hurricanes win as they hunt down the Conference leaders.
In the two African Conferences, the outcomes appear much more settled with the Lions and Stormers leading the way. The Bulls have a slight chance of catching the Stormers in Africa 1 but it would take a serious collapse from the Cape Town side. The Stormers face the Force in Perth and are priced at $1.27 for the win in contrast to the home side at $3.82 on Sportsbet.
Last week’s match between the front runners in Africa 2, the Lions and Sharks saw the home side come out on top and now control the Conference. The Sharks no longer have their finals destiny in their own hands but need a win against the Cheetahs in Round 16 to keep up the pressure. Sportsbet holds them as favourites priced at $1.27 with the away side at $3.80. If the Sharks are to qualify as one of the best runners up they need a big victory here.
As Super Rugby 2016 begins to reach its climax the race for qualifying positions is intensifying as the standard of rugby continues to exceed expectations. The focus will be on the battle for top spot in the Australian and New Zealand Conferences in Round 16 but there is plenty more rugby to watched.
Bet of the Round- Blues to Beat the Brumbies at $2.05 on Sportsbet
He may no longer be known simply as the 'no pokies' Senator, but Nick Xenophon is determined to pursue further gambling law…
The proposed merger between Tatts and Tabcorp hit another potential hurdle on Wednesday when a third-party consortium, led by Macquarie Group, launched…
One Sydney punter has admitted a $10 bet which he converted into over $66,000 thanks to a 20-leg soccer multi was a…