Super Rugby 2017: Round 12 Preview (Saturday)


Our in-house rugby scribe runs the rule over Saturday’s five Round 12 Super Rugby fixtures, including the blockbuster clash between the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

We’ve got five cracking Super Rugby fixtures to look forward to this Saturday, with the pick of the action seeing the Crusaders and Hurricanes lock horns in the day’s opener. There’s also a local derby between the Kings and Sharks which should be a rather feisty affair.

Crusaders v Hurricanes | Saturday 13 May | AMI Stadium | 09:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Crusaders 9/10 | Draw 20/1 | Hurricanes 9/10

The bookmakers have priced both of these teams up at 9/10 for the win, which does take some of the value away from punting on the Hurricanes who won’t have home ground advantage.

The hosts were in sensational form during their recently concluded tour of South Africa where they handed out drummings to the Cheetahs (21-48) and the Bulls (24-62). Those big wins saw them remain the only unbeaten side in the tournament. The Hurricanes have also enjoyed recent success over South African opposition, beating the Stormers 41-22 last Friday.

In terms of team news, the Hurricanes have brought Canterbury man Reed Prinsep on the flank while prop Loni Uhila comes in on the bench. On the Crusaders side of the spectrum, Joe Moody comes into the front row with Wyatt Crockett reverting to the bench.

Verdict: Hurricanes 9/10
They won at Christchurch by 25 points last year and my money is on them doing it again. Get on the ‘Canes at 9/10! 

Rebels v Reds | Saturday 13 May | AAMI Park | 11:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Rebels 15/10 | Draw 22/1 | Reds 11/20
Rebels (+4.5) 9/10 |Reds (-4.5) 9/10

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet as there’s really no point in looking into form – both sides have been dreadful – or injury news.

The last two games between these sides have been won by the Rebels. While the home side has won three of the last four.

Verdict: Rebels 15/10
I’m going with the recent stats here and backing the Rebels to come out on top on their own patch.

Bulls v Highlanders | Saturday 13 May | Loftus Versfeld | 15:05

To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls 9/2 | Draw 28/1 | Highlanders 1/7 
Bulls (+14.5) 9/10 | Highlanders (-14.5) 9/10

The Bulls will be looking to bounce from their hammering at the hands of the Crusaders when they take on the Highlanders, who performed a minor miracle as they came back from the dead against the Cheetahs last Friday evening.

The Bulls were absolutely diabolical against the Crusaders as they shipped 62 points in front of a frustrated Loftus crowd. The loss also ended the Bulls’ min-revival that saw them win two games on the trot. Conversely, the Highlanders have won six games in a row, with their last loss coming in mid-March.

Verdict: Bulls (+14.5) 9/10
While I think the form points to a Highlanders win, I don’t think it will be by more than the handicap. My money is on the Bulls going down by less the 15 points. 

Kings v Sharks | Saturday 13 May |Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Kings 17/4 | Draw 33/1 | Sharks 1/8
Kings (+14.5) 9/10 | Sharks (-14.5) 9/10

A Curwin Bosch-less Sharks squad make the trip to Port Elizabeth to take on the Kings. The hosts enjoyed a bye last week while the visitors put in a solid shift against the Western Force.

The Sharks come into this one as heavy favourites, with the bookmakers giving the Kings a 14.5 point head start. It seems a bit too big a handicap for me, however, as the Kings have been brilliant at home this term. The Sharks will also be missing the aforementioned Bosch although the return of Patrick Lambie will negate his absence somewhat.

Verdict: Kings (+14.5) 9/10
The Kings were unlucky to go down to the Sharks earlier this year and I think they’ll give the Natalians a run again here. My advice is to jump on the Kings plus. 

Jaguares v Force | Saturday 13 May | Estadio Jose Malfitani | 23:40

To Win (80 Mins)
Jaguares 1/7 | Draw 28/1 | Force 17/4
Jaguares (-14.5) 9/10 | Force (+14.5) 9/10

This is another game that I’m not going to go into too much detail for, as I can only see a big Jaguares win here after Force coach, David Wessels, opted to field a second-string backline that will feature veteran Peter Grant at fullback. While I have nothing against Grant – he was a fine player during his Stormers days – fielding him at fullback while resting Dane Haylett-Petty makes me feel that the Force mentor, Dave Wessels, has already thrown in the towel for this one.

Verdict: Jaguares (-14.5) 9/10
The ’Jags may have struggled against the Sunwolves last week but I can’t see them having similar issues against this second string Force outfit.

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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