Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby Aotearoa: Round 8 Preview

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Round 8 Preview

Beaden Barret of the Blues

Shaun Goosen looks ahead to what may prove to be a pivotal weekend in the race for the Super Rugby Aotearoa title. The winless Chiefs face off against the table-topping Crusaders on Saturday before the Highlanders and Blues lock horns on Sunday.


Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Chiefs v Crusaders

Saturday 1 August
09h05
FMG Stadium Waikato

To Win (80 mins)

Chiefs 24/10
Draw 25/1
Crusaders 1/3

Handicap

Chiefs (+8.5) 9/10
Crusaders: (-8.5) 9/10 

After suffering a franchise-record seventh consecutive loss, the Chiefs will hit back harder than ever against the Crusaders at the FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday.

Warren Gatland’s men have come close to breaking their bagel in the past two rounds of Aotearoa, frustratingly allowing the Highlanders to come surging back after a fast start at the FMG before narrowly falling to the Blues in Auckland last week.

They had chances to win both matches but couldn’t manage to seal either. Following their latest disappointment, one that saw this band of players equal their franchise’s worst-ever run of results, you’d expect some kind of backlash this week.

The Crusaders, though, are hurting too after losing out to the Hurricanes for a first home loss since 2016. It almost seems inconceivable to suggest that Scott Robertson’s men could lose two on the bounce, but the Chiefs are a proud unit and will be aching to cause an upset in front of their supporters.

It’s not that they’ve been hopelessly poor. It almost seems as if they are just moments away from clicking and finally finding their feet in the competition. I’m backing them to do just that this Saturday.

Verdict: Chiefs 24/10

I’m going to stick my neck out again and predict an almighty upset in Waikato. The Chiefs’ results are unbefitting of such a talented squad and I reckon they will finally do themselves justice this weekend.

Highlanders Blues

Sunday 2 August
05h35
Forsyth Barr Stadium

To Win (80 mins)

Highlanders 15/10
Draw 25/1
Blues 11/20

Handicap

Highlanders (+4.5) 9/10
Blues (-4.5) 9/10

The Blues will again look to close the gap between themselves and the Crusaders with another win over the Highlanders at Eden Park on Sunday.

The men in blue claimed a narrow 27-24 third-round win in Dunedin after another pulsating all-Kiwi affair. Their home win over the Chiefs last week, coupled with the Saders’ loss in Wellington now sees them within two points of the Cantabs, albeit having played one game more.

Victory for the second-placed Blues will heap even more pressure on the log-leaders, who play in Waikato on Sunday. With the Hurricanes now just a point back in third, though, no side can afford a misstep as the competition draws to a climactic final three rounds.

The fourth-placed Landers come off their bye which followed up a defeat of the Chiefs. They are just six points behind the Canes but will draw level on games played after this weekend. They will again rely on the impact of Aaron Smith, who has been breaking games open for fun over the past few weeks.

Verdict: Blues (-4.5) 9/10

The Landers have improved markedly over the Aotearoa season, but the Blues have looked good at home. They should take it at Eden Park to keep their title aspirations alive.

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile