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Super Rugby Round 11 Friday Preview

Super Rugby  - players engage in a scrum

The Lions will need to take confidence from their mighty performance over the Chiefs a week ago as they gear up for a titanic tussle with the Crusaders while the Sunwolves will look to claim another upset win when they take on the Highlanders in Tokyo on Friday the 26th of April. 


Crusaders v Lions
09h35
AMI Stadium


To Win
Crusaders 1/12
Draw 35/1
Lions 13/2


Handicap
Crusaders (-20.2) 9/10
Lions (+20.5) 9/10

The Lions will need to take confidence from their mighty performance over the Chiefs a week ago as they gear up for a titanic tussle with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

In a rematch of last year’s final, the men from Johannesburg again take on arguably one of the greatest Super Rugby sides in history. The Cantabrians are seven-points ahead of their closest rivals on the overall standings and 12 ahead of their opponents this week.

In last year’s final, the red machine ran out comfortable 37-18 victors after dominating in all facets for much of the contest. If the Lions are to have a say this weekend, they need to disrupt the Crusaders at the source; be it at set-piece or breakdown time. Kwagga Smith will be vital in this department.

The Lions should take heart from their 23-17 win in Hamilton in week 10, but it remains to be seen whether they can put a multitude of off-field distractions behind them for a second week in succession. Among the disruptions has seen the departure of Swys de Bruin, after the 59-year-old returned home citing stress as a major factor.

Scott Robertson has recalled All Black Codie Taylor to the hooker berth, while Matt Todd and Scott Barrett sit this weekend out.

The Lions have included Ruan Combrinck at fullback in place of Andries Coetzee, with the veteran sure to have his hands full in dealing with, among others, the electrifying Sevu Reece on the ‘Saders right wing.

De Bruin’s charges proved last week that they are still capable of winning in tough conditions, but this Friday presents a whole new ball game. The Crusaders should be too strong at home.
Verdict: Crusaders by 10-points or more
_______________________________________

Sunwolves v Highlanders 
12h00
Prince Chichibu Stadium


To Win
Sunwolves 33/10
Draw 25/1
Highlanders 2/9


Handicap
Sunwolves (+11.5) 9/10
Hihglanders (-11.5) 9/10

The Sunwolves will look to claim another upset win when they take on the Highlanders in Tokyo on Friday.

The Japanese outfit have been a pleasure to watch this year and, despite their lack of wins, have proven just what a brave group of players they are in matching up to some of the tournament’s heavy hitters.

Having claimed victories over the Chiefs and Waratahs, and coming close to many more, Tony Brown can be proud of his troops’ displays in 2019; especially considering their impending Super Rugby relegation.

The Highlanders, though, have looked good in patches this season and are still in the hunt for a place in the play-offs. They won’t take anything for granted as they make the trip north in their bid to haul back some of the competition’s front-runners though.

The 2015 champions have welcomed back All Black duo Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock to their starting XV, with the experience of the two sure to play a defining role in the contest.

The hosts will give everything as always, but the Kiwis should come away with a solid-enough win in the end.
Verdict: Highlanders by seven-points or more.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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