Super Rugby Pacific Round 5 Preview & Betting Tips

Super Rugby Pacific Season Preview

The following is a preview with betting tips for Round 5 of the 2022 Super Rugby season.

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To take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, these previews are published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk-averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering.

Friday, 18 March

Highlanders

Highlanders vs. Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika

The Highlanders led 13-3 at halftime but fell 20-32 to the Blues in Auckland last week to slump to 0-4 for the season. To add insult to injury, Thomas Umaga-Jensen had to leave the field injured. He had been their primary attacking weapon up until that point. One telling stat is the Highlanders had 104 carries to the Blues’ 110, but only managed 278 metres to the Blues 519. The Highlanders have now lost six consecutive games to New Zealand opposition. Their preparations for this game have been disrupted by a covid outbreak in the squad. At the time of writing the number of players affected hasn’t been released.

We’re into Round 5 yet Moana Pasifika have only played one game this season. Their first two rounds were postponed due to a covid outbreak in their own squad and their Round 4 clash was postponed due to an outbreak in the Hurricanes’ squad. Moana Pasifika’s sole result is a 12-33 defeat to the Crusaders in Round 3. That scoreline was more than respectable given Moana Pasifika had been crushed 61-7 in their only pre-season fixture and they had fielded eleven Super Rugby debutants against the Crusaders.

Betting: given the uncertainty regarding the covid outbreak at the Highlanders and the paucity of data for Moana Pasifika, I will sit this game out.

Brumbies

Brumbies vs. Reds

Reds

The Brumbies ran in six tries to defeat the Rebels 36-17 last week to move to 4-0 for the season. They had to make almost 100 more tackles than the hosts but the Brumbies were the far more efficient at taking their chances. The Brumbies now sit top of the table, one point ahead of the Reds.

The Reds fended off an incredible comeback from the Fijian Drua to win 33-28 last week to move to 4-0 for the season. They led 28-9 with 18 minutes to go and will be disappointed that they made life so difficult for themselves in the end. It took a 78th minute try from their Fijian flanker Seru Uru to save their blushes.

Betting: both teams have performed according to bookmaker’s expectations over the last 12 months. The Brumbies have gone 8-0 as the favourite and 1-6 as the underdog while the Reds have gone 9-1 as the favourite and 1-4 as the underdog. The venue for this game is important given that 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two were won by the host side. It’s worth noting, however, that the last four meetings between the two in Canberra were all settled by 5 points or less and the Reds won at GIO Stadium last season. I will back both the Brumbies 1-12 at 2.70 (Unibet) and the Reds 1-12 at 3.35 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: medium

Saturday, 19 March

Fijian Drua

Fijian Drua vs. Force

Force

The Fijian Drua fell 28-33 after putting in a valiant effort against the Reds in Queensland last week. They trailed 9-28 with 18 minutes to go before giving the Reds an almighty scare by scoring three quick tries. The result shows that their win over the Rebels was no fluke as the Drua continue to settle into Super Rugby.

The Force put in a lacklustre performance and fell 17-22 to the Waratahs in Sydney last week to slump to 1-3 for the season. They fell behind 7-22 by halftime and struggled to make inroads until soon before full-time, but you have to give the Force credit for salvaging a bonus point.

Betting: at the time of writing the odds don’t offer much value so I will sit this game out.

Crusaders

Crusaders vs. Blues

Blues

The Crusaders blew a 21-10 lead to fall 21-24 at home to the Chiefs last week. It ended their ten-game winning streak. The Chiefs dominated possession in the second half as the Crusaders defended gallantly but ultimately failed to hold their lead. The Crusaders are now 3-1 for the season.

The Blues defeated the Highlanders 32-20 last week to move to 2-1 for the season. Their win came despite the late withdrawal of All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett due a covid outbreak. They put in a terrible first half performance but rallied from 3-13 down at halftime to secure the win. The covid outbreak in the Blues camp continues to grow, which has disrupted their preparations for this clash.

Betting: the Blues performance last week doesn’t inspire confidence going into this game. The Crusaders should be sharper for having suffered a defeat last round. You have to go back to 2018 for the last time they lost back-to-back games, and both of those fixtures were away from home. The last time the Crusaders lost two home games in consecutive weeks was in 2015 and it was the only such occurrence in the data I have at hand that goes back to 2011. The Blues have lost their last 12 visits to Christchurch and are on a 14-game losing streak to the Crusaders. I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.44 (bet365).
Confidence/value: medium

Waratahs

Waratahs vs. Rebels

Rebels

The Waratahs overcame the late withdrawal of captain Jake Gordon to defeat the Force 22-17 in Sydney last week. It was their first win over an Australian opponent this season after they lost to the Reds and Brumbies by narrow margins. Execution let them down at times but they were able to get away with it against a weaker opponent. After leading 22-7 the Waratahs will be disappointed to have conceded late points to give the Force a losing bonus point.

The Rebels fell 17-36 at home to the Brumbies last week to slump to 0-4 for the season. The Melbourne side had most of the possession but were let down by poor execution, while the Brumbies were more efficient at taking their chances. The Rebels also managed to miss 50% more tackles than the Brumbies despite only having to make 42% as many tackles.

Betting: the Rebels have gone 0-10 as the underdog over the last 12 months while the Waratahs have gone 2-0 as the favourite. I’m not confident of backing the Waratahs at the line because the Rebels should improve each week as they get players back from injury. I will simply back the Waratahs in the head-to-head at 1.15 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: low

Sunday, 20 March

Hurricanes

Hurricanes vs. Chiefs

Chiefs

The Hurricanes’ match was postponed last week due to a covid outbreak in their squad. Prior to that they saw off the error-prone Highlanders 21-14 to improve to 2-1 for the season. Despite the high error count it was a much better defensive performance given they conceded 42 and 32 points in Rounds 1 and 2, respectively.

The Chiefs scored a try three minutes after the final hooter to upset the Crusaders 24-21 in Christchurch last week. It was a truly composed performance from the Chiefs. They were well structured, patient and retailed possession well as they slowly ground the Crusaders’ defence down. That performance bodes strongly for the rest of their season. It was a case of second time lucky after the Chiefs missed a penalty kick after the hooter the week before in their 2-point defeat to the Blues. The Chiefs are now 2-1 for the season. All three results were settled by 10 points or less.

Betting: I expect the Chiefs will win but the head-to-head odds look too short for a New Zealand derby. Twenty of the last 25 meetings between the two were settled by 1-12 points so I would back both the Hurricanes 1-12 at 3.85 (Unibet) and the Chiefs 1-12 at 2.70 (Unibet).
Confidence/value: medium

 

Best Bets of the Round

Both the Brumbies 1-12 at 2.70 (Unibet) and the Reds 1-12 at 3.35 (Unibet)
Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.44 (bet365)

 

Author: info

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