Round 7 of Super Rugby went mostly according to plan but there were some upsets in the mix.
The Blues were beaten handily at home to see them fall to the bottom of the New Zealand conference and although underdogs to win, the Lions lost another home game to the Crusaders.
Week 8 of the 2018 Super Rugby season features some intriguing contests and we have free tips and form for all six games this week, which kicks off with the Hurricanes vs. Sharks on Friday night.
5:35pm Hurricanes vs. Sharks @ Westpac Stadium
The early signs didn’t look good for the Hurricanes against the Rebels last week, but they quickly put those fears to bed.
Overcoming an early deficit, the Hurricanes turned on the jets to win by 50-19 in a thrashing of the Rebels and the Sharks could be next on the list.
Having scored 63 points against the Blues last week, the Sharks could be confident heading into this game but taking on the Hurricanes at home is a much harder task.
The Blues showed no respite on defence and simply let the Sharks enforce their will, but it was impressive finishing from the South African side.
Are the Hurricanes 22.5 points better than the Sharks? We don’t think so.
Betting tip: Sharks +22.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Hurricanes by 17
3:15pm Sunwolves vs. Waratahs @ Chichibunomiya Stadium
The Sunwolves are coming off a bye week which was much needed after losing at home to the Chiefs 10-61 in Round 6.
Japanese rugby has improved over the last few years but the Sunwolves haven’t had much success in Super Rugby and it’s not about to get any easier as the Waratahs come into town.
Coming off a solid 24-17 win over the Brumbies, the Waratahs appear to be in good shape and they played the majority of that game without star player Israel Folau.
They also missed many kicks at goal and the winning margin could have resembled what the Sunwolves could be in store for this Saturday.
We’re not expecting this game to be very competitive.
Betting tip: Waratahs –15.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Waratahs by 20
5:35pm Chiefs vs. Blues @ FMG Stadium
There is talk in New Zealand about how long Blues coach Tana Umaga has left at the helm after another dismal Blues performance.
The 40-63 loss to the Sharks last week was one of the worst in Blues’ history and there doesn’t appear to be any leadership among the group.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, looked good when beating the Highlanders and we can’t quite believe the odds on offer for the Chiefs to win this game.
$1.36 is being offered by Sportsbet and we can’t see them losing at home, but will they cover the 8.5 points spread?
The Chiefs have a solid forward pack and some exciting backs. The Blues have a suspect forward pack and quality wingers which rarely get the ball, so we’re expecting an easy Chiefs win.
Betting tip: Chiefs –8.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Chiefs by 14
7:45pm Brumbies vs. Reds @ GIO Stadium
The Brumbies might have lost to the Waratahs last week but there were encouraging signs from the Canberra-based franchise.
They might not be the complete package like they used to be, but the Brumbies have shown signs of competing this season and the Reds are inconsistent enough to take advantage of.
The Reds season has been full of excitement and their bye week couldn’t have come at a better time following their lengthy road trip.
They played with plenty of promise during that time but ultimately came away with one only win over the Jaguares.
This will be a close contest and while we like the way the Brumbies are heading, the Reds should have too much firepower.
Betting tip: Reds to win @ $2.45 (BET NOW)
Reds by 7
1:15am Lions vs. Stormers @ Ellis Park
The Lions haven’t been themselves this season, suffering recent losses to the Crusaders and the Jaguares.
Over the last three weeks they have scored only one win and that came by two points over the Sunwolves.
On form the Lions are no chance of beating the Stormers, which were defeated by the Bulls last week but had beaten the Reds prior to that.
We’re not sure when the Lions will start looking like the team which lost in the 2017 Super Rugby final, but they’re going to need to show form soon.
This should be a typically close all-South African battle.
Betting tip: Stormers +7.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Lions by 3
7:40am Jaguares vs. Crusaders @ Estadio Jose Stadium
The Crusaders are the dominant favourites for this game and with good reason.
They didn’t look overly great when winning 14-8 over the Lions last week, but it’s never easy travelling to South Africa and scoring a convincing victory.
Playing the Jaguares at home always presents a challenge as they’re an inconsistent team that can play well one day and poor the next.
Having scored a big win over the Lions in Round 6 and having the bye last week, the Jaguares should be in good shape for this game.
But, the Crusaders should be too professional and win easily.
Betting tip: Crusaders –14.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Crusaders by 18