Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby Unlocked: Round 2 Preview

Super Rugby Unlocked: Round 2 Preview

Darry Worthington previews the Round 2 Super Rugby Unlocked action that will get underway on Friday the 16th of October. 

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Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

There will be no love lost in Super Rugby Unlocked Round 2 as the Bulls will be looking to improve on their rather lacklustre showing against the Griquas when they travel to Bloemfontein to take on a Cheetahs in the weekend's opener. 

It's then onto Saturday's doubleheader with the first fixture of the day seeing minnows the Griquas and Pumas clash out in Kimberly. It's then the headline game of the weekend as the Stormers and Lions will bring the curtain down on proceedings this Saturday evening.

Cheetahs v Bulls
Friday 16 October
Toyota Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Cheetahs 23/20
Draw 22/1 
Bulls 7/10

Cheetahs 9/10 (+2.5)
Bulls 9/10 (-2.5) 

We kick things off out in the Free State where the Cheetahs will tackle the Bulls in what is something of a grudge match. 

The hosts got their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign off to a flying start as they secured a 53-31 bonus-point win over the Pumas. The only concern Cheetahs coach Haweis Fourie will have is how his side conceded two soft tries in the dying embers of the game which added a lot of polish to the scoreline in favour of the Pumas. His side will have to stay switched on for the entirety of the game as the Bulls are likely to be a much bigger threat than the Pumas. 

The Bulls were far less impressive. particularly during the opening stanza of their round one fixture as Jake White's experiment to play a multitude of wingers in the backline didn't bear much fruit as they were down at half-time. They ended up going on to win the game 30-23 but it was a worrying display from one of the tournament favourites. They should be a bit better this week, however, as Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen is set to start. 

Verdict: Cheetahs 23/20
While Vermeulen's return will improve the Bulls greatly I can still see them going down to the Cheetahs in Bloem. 

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Griquas v Pumas
Saturday 17 October
Tafel Larger Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Griquas 2/9
Draw 25/1 
Pumas 33/10

Griquas 9/10 (-11.5) 
Pumas 9/10 (+ 11.5) 

Next up its minnow versus minnow as the Griquas play host to the Pumas. The home side were mightily impressive against the Bulls last week as they picked up a losing bonus point courtesy of going down by just seven points to their heavily favoured opponents. The men from Griqualand were solid on defence and gave the Bulls backline limited chances during the first half of their opening round fixture. 

The Pumas weren't as impressive as their opponents for this weekend as they were torn apart but a vastly experienced Cheetahs backline and went on to lose the fixture53-31. The side from Nelspruit will take some positives from the game, however, as they showed they are an 80-minute team by scoring two late tries against Free State's finest. 

Verdict: Pumas 9/10 (+11.5)
Games between these sides are usually rather tight old affairs with three of the last five seeing a winning margin of nine points or less. I think we're in for yet another tight instalment here which is why I'm backing the plus handicap. 

Stormers v Lions
Saturday 17 October
DHL Newlands

To Win (80 Mins)
Stormers 1/5
Draw 25/1 
Lions 7/2

Stormers 9/10 (-12.5) 
Lions 9/10 (+12.5) 

The tournament organizers have certainly saved the best for last this weekend with the Stormers opening up their campaign with a clash against a Lions side that will be looking to bounce back from their Round 1 defeat to the Sharks. 

The hosts enjoyed a bye in the opening week and will have been watching proceedings in Durban last Friday where the Lions went down 19-16 to the Sharks. The men from Johannesburg missed out on a late opportunity to draw the game as Springbok Elton Jantjies saw a rather rudimentary kick bounce back off the post. 

In terms of team news for this weekend, the Lions will be without Dillon Smit with the scrumhalf picking up a serious injury that will see him sidelined for a couple months. The Stormers will also be without a couple stalwarts as Seabelo Senatla and Ruhan Nel are still on the treatment table while Pieter Steph du Toit is not fit enough to play. 

Verdict: Stormers 9/10 (-12.5)
I'm all over the hosts on the minus handicap. The Lions did not impress me last week and I really do think they'll struggle in Cape Town. 

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