Super Rugby 2018: Round 9 Preview

Super Rugby 2018: Crusaders v Bulls Preview

There are five Super Rugby games taking place on Saturday the 14th of April including a South African derby between the Sharks and Bulls.

This Saturday will have something of a 'David v Goliath' feel to it with the bookmakers offering some massive handicaps. This bodes well for plus punters who may well be in for an extremely profitable weekend.

Sunwolves v Blues
Prince ChiChibu Memorial Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Sunwolves 7/1
Draw 33/1
Blues 1/14

Sunwolves (+16.5) 9/10
Blues (-16.5) 9/10

The first fixture of the day pits the winless Sunwolves against the struggling Blues. The visitors come into this one as hot favourites with the 'books but the last time they met the Sunwolves they came unstuck going down 48-21 out in Tokyo.

The Blues managed to yet again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend as they let a half-time lead slip to go down 21-19 to the Chiefs. The Sunwolves head into this one off the back of a defeat as well, as they went down 50-29 to the Waratahs.

Verdict: Sunwolves (+16.5) 9/10
While I fully expect the Blues to win this one, I don't think they will come anywhere near clearing what is a substantial handicap.

Rebels v Jaguares

To Win (80 Mins)
Rebels 1/5

Draw 30/1
Jaguares 7/2

Rebels (-11.5) 9/10

Jaguares (+11.5) 9/10

Our next fixture of the day sees the Australian Conference toppers take on the South African Conference cellar-dwellers. The hosts head into this fixture off the back of a bye, while the visitors come into the game having gone down 14-40 to the Crusaders last Saturday.

These two sides met for the first time last year in a very tight fixture that saw the Jaguares run out 29-32 victors. The Rebels are a much-improved outfit this year, and they should be able to claim the spoils on home soil.

Verdict: Jaguares (+11.5) 9/10
This is a pretty tough handicap to call. The Rebels are more than capable of clearing it in front of their home fans but the Melbourne side seems to have gone off the boil in recent weeks. Added to this is that they may lack some dynamism after a week off. I'll be having a small strike on the 'Jags staying within the 'cap.

Highlanders v Brumbies
Forsyth Barr

To Win (80 Mins)
Highlanders 1/9

Draw 30/1
Brumbies 11/2

Highlanders (-17.5) 9/10
Brumbies (+17.5) 9/10

Our next fixture sees the Brumbies make the short trip across the Tasman to take on the Highlanders.Both teams currently lie in third position on their respective conference logs and a win for either would go along way to closing the gap on their domestic rivals.

The Highlanders, like the Sunwolves, enjoyed a bye week last time out, while the Brumbies registered a morale-boosting 45-21 victory over the Reds.

Verdict: Brumbies (+17.5) 9/10
This is another handicap that I'm not at all convinced will be cleared. The Brumbies have stayed within much smaller lines than the current one since 2010 with their biggest loss to the Highlanders during this period being by 13 points.  

Waratahs v Reds
Sydney Cricket Ground

To Win (80 Mins)
Waratahs 3/10
Draw 28/1
Reds 5/2

Waratahs (-8.5) 9/10
Reds (+8.5) 9/10

We move from a New Zealand versus Australia clash to an all Aussie affair with the Waratahs hosting the  Reds in the day's fourth fixture. The 'Tahs head into this one off the back of a 21-point  victory over the Sunwolves while the Reds suffered their second heaviest defeat of the season last week as they went down by 24 points to the Brumbies.

The Waratahs have won the last two games between the sides by three points or less, which certainly makes the current handicap an attractive proposition.

Verdict: Reds (+8.5) 9/10
Yes, they were hammered by the Brumbies last week but my money is on the Reds boxing back with a big performance against the 'Tahs that sees them stay within the +8.5 line. 

Sharks v Bulls
Jonsson Kings Park


To Win (80 Mins)
Sharks 9/20

Draw 25/1
Bulls 18/10

Sharks (-6.5) 9/10
Bulls (+6.5) 9/10

The final fixture of the day is arguably the most anticipated one with the  Bulls travelling to Durban to take on a Sharks side that impressed during their recently concluded tour of New Zealand. The Natalians were great value for money on tour managing to beat the Blues while narrowly going down to the Hurricanes due to a crazy final six minutes that saw the Kiwi outfit overturn a ten-point deficit.

The Bulls have also impressed in recent weeks putting up a fight against the Crusaders while beating the Stormers by 10-points at Loftus the following week. John Mitchell's men will also be the fresher team headed into this one as they enjoyed a bye week during Round 8.

Verdict: Bulls (+6.5) 9/10
This is another game in which I fancy the plus to arrive. The Sharks will be drained both emotionally and physically after last week's heartbreaking defeat to the 'Canes. I can see the Bull taking advantage of this fact and running the Natalians close. 

Written by Darry Worthington for

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