It’s already Round 9 of Super Rugby and every game is becoming more important.
Some teams will need to start winning with frequency to make the playoffs and other teams are battling it out for the top spot in their divisions.
There are some intriguing games this week and we have free tips for all six fixtures.
5:35pm Hurricanes vs. Chiefs @ Westpac Stadium
How did the Hurricanes escape with a win against the Sharks? We’re not entirely sure but it was an incredible last three minutes.
Bookmakers have opened the Hurricanes as the short favourites against the Chiefs, which just scraped past the Blues, but it’s tough to gauge which will was more impressive.
The Hurricanes showed ability to score points in winning 38-37 at the 84th minute mark but the Chiefs showed better defensive prowess.
Underestimate the Chiefs at your peril and we’ll happily take the points on offer.
Betting tip: Chiefs +9.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Hurricanes by 5
1:05pm Sunwolves vs. Blues @ Chichibunomiya Stadium
The Blues looked much better against the Chiefs last week, winning for most of the game but giving up a penalty try in the closing stages.
That kind of performance would have given coach Tana Umaga plenty of confidence going forward but we’re smelling an upset here.
It’s never easy to tip the Sunwolves to win a game purely on the fact that it rarely happens, but they could be worth a bite at the points start.
They scored 29 points against the Waratahs last week and they could open up the suspect Blues’ defence with ease.
Take the Sunwolves and cheer for the home side.
Betting tip: Sunwolves +16.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Blues by 12
3:15pm Rebels vs. Jaguares @ Melbourne Stadium
The Rebels came out of the blocks well this season but that has quickly turned south for the Melbourne franchise.
Losing 19-50 to the Hurricanes was an example of the difference between the New Zealand conference and the Australia but they will have a chance to get back into the groove against the Jaguares.
Coming off a bye week, the Rebels should be well-rested to face a team which hasn’t had to do much travelling so far this season.
We would have rated the Jaguares in this position at home but the Rebels should have too many guns for the visitors.
Betting tip: Rebels –11.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Rebels by 14
5:35pm Highlanders vs. Brumbies @ Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders may have been beaten by the Chiefs in Round 7 but they didn’t lose any admirers.
Losing by five points to one of the best teams in the competition was a solid effort and they have had a bye week to rest any niggling injuries they might have been suffering.
Although the Australian conference teams have struggled in New Zealand, the Brumbies deserve more respect than the $6 odds suggest.
They’re coming off an impressive win over the Reds last week and they have always been a confidence team.
With their leader back in the side, the Brumbies could test a few of the more favoured teams.
Betting tip: Brumbies +15.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Highlanders by 12
7:45pm Waratahs vs. Reds @ SCG
The Waratahs have had plenty of distractions this week with the comments from Israel Folau, but they look to remain solid on the field.
Coming off a 50-29 win over the Sunwolves, the Waratahs will be looking to extend their winning streak over the Reds, which looked good in patches against the Brumbies but ultimately gave up the ghost in the second half.
That was a disappointing result for the Reds, which possess plenty of attacking power but little in the way of defence.
A win from either side here will have them in good stead for the rest of the season but it should go in th way of the home side.
Betting tip: Waratahs to win @ $1.30 (BET NOW)
Waratahs by 7
1:15am Sharks vs. Bulls @ Kings Park Stadium
The Sharks deserved to beat the Hurricanes last week but could manage only a bonus point out of the game.
Hopefully that result hasn’t disheartened the franchise, which has endured a long road trip to Australasia.
The Bulls are well-rested after a bye week and they looked good when beating the Stormers in South Africa.
There’s no denying that the Bulls will be in better physical shape for this, but the Sharks are the better side.
Betting tip: Sharks to win @ $1.50 (BET NOW)
Sharks by 6