Super Rugby 2017: Round 16 Preview

Super-Rugby-2017-Round-16-preview

Super Rugby makes its return this weekend with three fixtures taking place this coming Saturday. 

With the June internationals now out of the way, South African rugby fans will once again be divided with their allegiances shifting from the Springboks to their franchises. And while there’s only the solitary local derby this Saturday, it should be an absolute humdinger with the Cheetahs – who have nothing to lose – taking on the Stormers in the Free State.

The other two games see the Jaguares and Kings lock horns in a one A.M. kick-off - thanks for that one SANZAAR – while the Lions will take on the Sunwolves in the final fixture of the day.

Jaguares v Kings | Saturday 1 July | Estadio Jose Amalfitani | 01:05

To Win (80 Mins)
Jaguares 1/10 | Draw 30/1 | Kings 9/2
Handicap
Jaguares (-13.5) 9/10 | Kings (+13.5) 9/10 

I have to say that I’m really not impressed with this kick-off time, and whatever genius decided on it should be drawn and quartered. This is just another major turn off that is going to have rugby fans even more irate with Super Rugby’s governing body. Anyway, let’s leave the rant there and move on to the actual preview.

This is quite a big one as both of these teams will be desperate to avoid the Africa Conference 2 wooden spoon. Only five points separate the hosts - who currently lie in third spot on the conference - and the visitors. Both teams struggled for results prior to the International break and come into this on off the back of successive defeats.

Verdict: Kings (+13.5) 9/10
This handicap is miles too big. Yes, the Kings are not the majestic force they were in early May but they still should have enough about them to see off a Jaguares side whose nucleus performed extremely poorly during the June Internationals. I will be having a medium sized strike on the Kings staying within the ’cap.

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Cheetahs v Stormers | Saturday 1 July | Toyota Stadium | 15:05

To Win (80 Mins)
Cheetahs 2/1 | Draw 22/1 | Stormers 7/20
Handicap
Cheetahs (-7.5) 9/10 | Stormers (+7.5) 9/10

Our final local derby of the weekend is next up on Saturday’s menu and we should be in for a rather entertaining affair out at the Toyota Stadium with both teams likely to employ a run at all costs game plan. The hosts may be facing an axing from Super Rugby but they will want to leave a mark on the competition before they make their bow out of the tournament for the final time – well that is if Sanzaar follows through on their plan. The Stormers, on the other hand, are assured of an extended stay in this year’s competition as they have already secured top spot on the Africa Conference 1 log.

Both teams have some injury concerns heading into this one with the Cheetahs missing impressive hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld and the Stormers without Sharks-bound Robert du Preez and back-up fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis. With the aforementioned duo out, Robbie Fleck may be tempted to hand Baby Bok Damian Willemse a start. The young gun is being touted as the next big thing and it really wouldn’t surprise me if he starts ahead of Kurt Coleman and Brandon Thompson.

Verdict: Cheetahs (+7.5) 9/10
I’m going to have a really small strike on this one as I’m not that confident. The Cheetahs tend to do well near the backend of a Super Rugby season and they’ll be determined to put on a show with their time in Super Rugby set to come to an end shortly. The smart option here could be to get on the over points markets via the Live In-Play platform as both teams are likely to run the ball. 

Lions v Sunwolves | Saturday 1 July | Emirates Airline Park | 17:05

To Win (80 Mins)
Lions 1/100 | Draw 40/1 | Sunwolves 10/1
Handicap
Lions (-34.5) 9/10 | Sunwolves (+34.5) 9/10

The Lions, minus Warren Whiteley, will welcome the Sunwolves to Emirates Airline Park in the final fixture of the weekend. The hosts may be without their skipper but they still likely to put in a big performance with a whole host of their players coming off the back of some brilliant performances for the ‘Boks. Conversely, the Sunwolves players will come into this one on a bit of a low after being involved in Japan’s two losses to the Irish.

This will be only the second meeting between the two sides. The Lions ran out 13-26 victors in the previous clash which was actually the Sunwolves first ever Super Rugby fixture. The Lions were in sensational form prior to the June break, beating the Bulls 51-14 and the Kings 54-10.

Verdict: Lions (-34.5) 9/10
The Lions will be running it from all quarters this week in a bid to sew up the bonus point and extend their points differential. I cannot see the Sunwolves coping with the Lions onslaught, which means I’m going to climb into the minus like a prop into a steak. 

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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