Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby 2020: Outright Preview

Super Rugby 2020: Outright Preview

Emiliano Boffelli hands off a Crusaders player

Darry Worthington takes a look at the outright betting for Super Rugby 2020 and gives his prediction for who he thinks will win this year's tournament.

The Super Rugby season is fast approaching its start. Punters and rugby fans will be treated to just under six months of action-packed rugby with teams from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina duking it out to see who will get Southern Hemishpere bragging rights.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Super Rugby 2020
Friday 1 January - Saturday 20 June

To Win Tournament Outright
Crusaders 18/10
Chiefs 4/1
Hurricanes 7/1
Jaguares 12/1
Blues 12/1
Highlanders 14/1
Lions 22/1
Stormers 22/1
Brumbies 25/1
Sharks 30/1
Rebels 30/1
Waratahs 45/1
Bulls 50/1
Reds 100/1
Sunwolves 250/1

Contenders

Crusaders
2019 Finish: Champions

Crusaders celebrate winning 2019 Super Rugby
Can the Crusaders make it four in a row? Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.

The Crusaders come into this one as hot favourites with the books and rightly so considering they have won the last three editions of the tournament.

It will be something of a new look 'Saders team this year with stalwarts such as Ryan Crotty, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Owen Franks having moved on.

While most teams would be left reeling at the loss of seasoned pros like the aforementioned quartet, the Crusaders have enough emerging talent to ensure they are competitive despite losing these household names.

Key Player: Richie Mou'unga
The talented pivot produced something of a mixed bag at international level last year but was the fulcrum during the Crusaders run to their third successive title.

His ability to dictate the pace a game is played at will be crucial to the Crusaders' chances of claiming a fourth consecutive title.

Chiefs
2019 Finish: Beaten Quarter-Finalists

Etene Nanai-Seturo runs with ball in hand for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs will be looking to claim the first title since 2013. Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.

The Chiefs will begin life under Warren Gatland when the 2020 Super Rugby season kicks off. The acquisition of the former Welsh mentor is an absolute coup as he will shore up a Chiefs side that has seemed rudderless over the past few seasons.

Gatland is unlikely to impose as conservative a gameplan as he did with Wales while coaching the Chiefs, as the New Zealand franchise have a number of players blessed with that all-coveted X-factor. 

The Chiefs have also made some shrewd acquisitions when it comes to playing personnel bringing back former All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden.

Key Watch: Aaron Cruden
The Chiefs have been crying out for a leader in the 10 jersey since Cruden left and his return is likely to coincide with an upswing in fortunes for the Waikato-based franchise. While it may take him a few weeks to get back up to speed with the pace of Super Rugby, Cruden will be a force to be reckoned as soon as he does.

Sharks
2019 Finish: Beaten Quarter-Finalists

Lukhanyo Am of the Sharks runs with ball in hand against the Hurricanes
The Sharks have been losing finalists four times since the inception of the tournament. Will 2020 be their year? Image Copyright -Steve Haag Sports

Like a number of sides in the tournament, the Sharks head into 2020 under new management with Shaun Everitt having taken over from the much-maligned Robert du Preez.

Everitt has a very handy squad at his disposal but he will need to instil a fearless culture in a side that has often been missing.

The Sharks did lose a few key men upfront during the off-season with hooker Akker van Der Merve and prop Coenie Oosthuizen having moved to England and the long-serving Beast Mtawirira going to the States. They have tried to mitigate one of these exits by bringing in Cheetahs star Ox Nche to shore up the front row.

Key Player: Lukhanyo Am
The Springbok had a great 2020 season starring for the Sharks and Springboks. He will form a seasoned partnership with Andre Esterhuizen, and the two centres will be vital to the Natalian's cause.

Dark Horse

Blues
2019 Finish: Conference Phase Exit

Ma'a Nonu of the Blues offloads against the Reds
The Blues will look to reclaim their status as one of the tournament's powerhouses. Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports. 

I hate doing this again as every year I tip the Blues for something special they end up disappointing. And while I won't be putting any serious money on them, I cannot help but have a small crack with Beauden Barrett having made the switch to the Auckland-based franchise.

Like a lot of the teams, the Blues have lost a number of seasoned internationals, particularly in the midfield with both Ma'a Nonu and Sonny-Bill Williams having moved on. They will be hoping that off-season English recruit Joe Merchant hits the ground running.

Key Player: Beuaden Barrett
While he will only make his Blues debut in mid-March due to his rest period, Barrett will undoubtedly make an impact for the Aucklanders who have been in desperate need of a real leader at fly-half.

Verdict: Crusaders 18/10
Despite losing a handful of seasoned veterans the Crusaders still look the most settled of the teams. I'll be having my biggest strike on the reigning champions. I'll also be having a small strike on the Sharks who represent good value at 30/1.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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