Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby Aotearoa: Round 10 Preview

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Round 10 Preview

Sevu Reece tackles Shaun Wainui

Shaun Goosen looks ahead to the final round of Super Rugby Aotearoa which sees the Highlanders take on the Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium before the Blues and Crusaders lock horns at Eden Park.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Saturday 15 August

Highlanders v Hurricanes
09h05
Forsyth Barr Stadium

To Win Match
Highlanders 29/20
Draw 22/1
Hurricanes 6/10

Handicap
Highlanders (+3.5) 9/10
Hurricanes (-3.5) 9/10

A big win over the Highlanders will give the Hurricanes a great shot at finishing second in the final round of Super Rugby Aotearoa at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

Since losing their opening two fixtures, the Wellingtonians have won five on the trot. Jason Holland’s team have shown some classic Canes creativity in recent weeks which was evidenced in their victory over the Chiefs in the previous round.

The Highlanders on the other hand, have struggled at times. If not for Aaron Smith’s freakish form, they may well be presiding over more than just the five defeats they’ve accumulated over the course of the season.

The Round Five dual between the two at the Sky Stadium went 17-11 in favour of the home side. The fourth-placed Landers have just pride to play for but will look to improve on a home record that comprises of just one win from three.

With the third-placed Canes trailing the Blues by a single log point and a points difference 21 back, a big bonus-point win this weekend would see them in with a chance of usurping their Auckland rivals. Still, the Blues’ destiny remains in their hands and a BP win for them over the Crusaders on Sunday would see them to silver at the Canes’ expense.

Verdict: Hurricanes 6/10
The Canes don’t look likely to slip up and should claim a win away.

Sunday 16 August

Blues v Crusaders
05h35
Eden Park

To Win (80 mins)
Blues 15/20
Draw 19/1
Crusaders 23/20

Handicap
Blues (-1.5) 9/10
Crusaders (1.5) 9/10

The Blues welcome the champion Crusaders to Eden Park on Sunday in what should be a massive test for both sides.

Following the Blues’ impressive early-season form, many expected this to be the championship decider. Two straight losses to the Saders in Christchurch and Hurricanes in Wellington, however, allowed the Cantabrians to assume command of the tournament and never look back.

The Saders wrapped up the title with their home victory over the Highlanders last week, with their only blemish coming in the form of a two-point home loss to the Canes in Round Seven. Nevertheless, Scott Robertson’s men maintained their bullish bearing this season and added Aotearoa silverware – albeit in more pieces than they would have anticipated - to their already bloated trophy cabinet.

This weekend will be all about character for the Crusaders, who don’t have as much to play for as the Blues. Victory for the home side should cap off their fine season with a runners-up finish, so expect the likes of Akira Ioane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi to be at their bruising best.

Not unlike many other Aotearoa clashes this season, Sunday’s blockbuster should feel an awful lot like a Test match. The final quarter will be crucial for the Blues, who should be wary of the Saders’ All Black-like ability to go up a gear as the final whistle draws nearer.

Verdict: Blues 15/20
The Blues will hold nothing back in pursuit of second and can edge the champions this weekend if they can maintain their intensity for the full 80.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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