Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby Aotearoa: Highlanders v Chiefs Preview

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Highlanders v Chiefs Preview

Darry Worthington previews the first Super Rugby Aotearoa clash, which will see the Highlanders take on the Chiefs at Forsyth Bar on Saturday the 13th of June.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Jockeys Ride HorsesIt's the moment rugby fans have been waiting for. This Saturday will finally see the return of Rugby Union after a three and a bit month break. The Highlanders and Chiefs will have the honour of starting the oval ball action when they play in front of what could well be a packed Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Highlanders v Chiefs
Saturday 13 June
Forsyth Barr

To Win (80 Mins)
Highlanders 26/10
Draw 25/1
Chiefs 3/10


*Handicap to be added upon release

Two women looking excitedly at cellphoneHighlanders
The men from Otago have been given little to no hope of winning the tournament and have the highest price on their head by a country mile. They have also been given little hope of winning this one as they are currently trading at 26/10 to beat the Chiefs despite being at home.

While they have made some decent signings during the lockdown period bringing in former All Black and Hurricanes star Nehe Milner-Skudder and getting the services of Sevens man Vilimoni Koroi who was due to be with the New Zealand Sevens side on the HSBC Sevens circuit until the Series was called off., they're still far having a solid backline contingent.

The Highlanders head into this one off the back of a dire first half of the year having lost five of the Six Super Rugby 2020 games they played before the tournament was cancelled. They will need to make massive improvements if they are to be competitive in the inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa game.

Hollywoodbets Back on Track Punters' ChallengeChiefs
The Chiefs come into this clash as solid favourites with the books which isn't really surprising considering the names they'll have on their team sheet for this weekend. Both Aaron Cruden - who played a key role in the Chiefs winning four of their opening six 2020 Super Rugby fixtures - and Damien Mckenzie are set to be the fulcrums in the backline.

Warren Gatland's men are struggling slightly upfront, however, with Atu Moli and Same Cane both ruled out for this one. The former has actually been ruled out for the entire season. They will also be without the services of locks Michael Allardice and Laghlan McWhannell. The loss of the latter duo is a major blow to the Chiefs' cause as they are already without All Black Brodie Retallick, who is on a sabbatical.

Verdict: Highlanders (+7.5) 9/10 *Forecast Handicap
When these two teams met earlier in the year the Chiefs ran out 15-24 victors. Despite a lot of punters and pundits on the minus, I'm inclined to go the other way. The Highlanders, while far from a spectacular rugby team aren't as bad as people are making out. And with Josh Ioane returning to fly-half they will be a lot more competitive than they were during Super Rugby proper.

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