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Aussies to gain Super Rugby Trans-Tasman foothold this weekend?

The Aussie sides face another uphill battle this weekend in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, but will be buoyed by the Reds’ surprise win over the Chiefs last week.

Super Rugby Trans-Tasman - Du'plessis Kirifi
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Aussie sides face another uphill battle this weekend, but will be buoyed by the Reds' surprise win over the Chiefs last week.

Last weekend saw the Australian sides finally break their duck with the Reds scoring a narrow victory over the Chiefs. The win only served as a consolation for the Australian sides with none of them in with a chance of claiming a spot in the final.

The Reds and Brumbies may have a big say on who makes the final, though, with Queensland’s finest taking on the tournament leading Blues this weekend and the Brumbies facing the second-placed Hurricanes.

Crusaders v Western Force

Friday 4 June
OreangeTheory Stadium
09:05

To Win (80 Mins)

Crusaders 1/100
Draw 40/1
Force 14/1

Handicap

Crusaders (-29.5) 9/10
Force (+29.5) 9/10

We kick the round off out in Canterbury where the third-placed Crusaders will be looking to close the gap on the Hurricanes and Blues by securing a big bonus point victory over the Western Force.

The ‘Saders are currently a solitary point behind the Hurricanes and Blues but they are 39 points off the Blues points differential. As such, they are likely to target tries this weekend. They will also look to shore up their defence having allowed the Waratahs to score a number of tries during their 28-54 victory over the men from New South Wales this past weekend.

The Force suffered their heaviest defeat of the campaign in Round 3 as they went down 43-6 to the Hurricanes. They were unable to bully the ‘Canes upfront and they are likely to struggle against this Crusaders pack as well.

Verdict: Crusaders (-29.5) 9/10

I tipped the Waratahs to keep the Crusaders inside the handicap last weekend and it paid dividends. I’ll be going the other way this weekend, though, as I think that the Crusaders will be desperate for points here.

Reds v Blues

Friday 4 June
Suncorp Stadium
11:45

To Win (80 Mins)

Reds 22/10
Draw 30/1
Blues 1/3

Handicap

Reds (+8.5) 9/10
Blues (-8.5) 9/10

This will be a make or break game for Auckland’s finest who have a cushy home game against the Force on the final weekend. Should the Aucklanders win this one, they’ll have all but sewn up a place in the final.

Getting a win will not be easy though as the Reds will be rather fired up after beating the Chiefs 40-34 last weekend. The win was far from cut and dry, with Damien McKenzie’s red card allowing the Reds to run up a massive lead which they almost blew in the final quarter of the game.

The Blues had a more straightforward victory in Round 3 as they ground down the Brumbies and then opened things up in the second half to run out 38-10 victors.

Verdict: Reds (+ 8.5) 9/10

I suspect this one will be extremely tight as the Blues will be more than happy to just walk away with a win and won’t be chasing a bonus point.

Highlanders v Waratahs

Saturday 5 June
Forsyth Barr
09:05

To Win (80 Mins)

Highlanders 1/100
Draw 40/1
Waratahs 14/1

Handicap

Highlanders (-27.5) 9/10
Waratahs (+27.5) 9/10

The Highlanders will be looking to keep their slim hopes of a finals berth alive when they take on a Waratahs side that is making some decent progress with each passing week of the competition.

The hosts currently lie two points off the Blues and Hurricanes but and really need to secure the full five-point haul here as they close their campaign with an away game against the Brumbies. They would be in a much better position heading into the final two rounds had Aaron Smith not dropped the ball just in front of the try line during their 42-27 win over the Rebels last weekend. That mistake saw the Highlanders miss out on a crucial bonus point and the handicap being cleared.

While the Highlanders’ coaching staff will be ruing missed opportunities, the Waratahs coaching set-up will probably be pretty pleased with their side’s performance during their 28-54 loss to the Crusaders. While they still struggled on defence, the Waratahs looked really good with ball-in-hand at times which is encouraging, with former Rugby League star Izaia Perese really catching the eye.

Verdict: Highlanders (-27.5) 9/10

I expect points galore here, so my main plays will be on the over points markets which you can bet on via the Hollywoodbets Live In-Play platform from the start of the game. I’ll also be having a dabble on the highlanders minus handicap.

Brumbies v Hurricanes

Saturday 5 June
GIO Stadium
11:45

To Win (80 Mins)

Brumbies 22/10
Draw 25/1
Hurricanes 7/20

Handicap

Brumbies (+7.5) 9/10
Hurricanes (-7.5) 9/10

Saturday’s action will come to a close at the GIO Stadium where the Brumbies will take on a Hurricanes side that’s looking to keep pace with the log-leading Blues.

The ‘Canes have enjoyed a great start to the campaign racking up bonus-point wins in their opening three games. It must be noted, however, that these wins have come against the Force, Rebels and Waratahs leaving them with a tough run-in that sees them play the Reds on the final weekend of the round-robin phase.

The men from Wellington gave probably their most rounded performance of the tournament this past weekend as they ran in points for fun and didn’t allow the Force to score a try. Centre Ngani Laumape was crucial to their solid showing as he had a great game on defence and offered a solid option on attack. The 43-6 win did come at a cost, however, with Hurricanes hooker Asamoa Aumua sustaining a head knock which could well rule him out of this fixture.

While the ‘Canes were in great nick last weekend, the Brumbies struggled with the Super Rugby AU runners-up being completely outclassed by the Blues. Worryingly for the Brumbies, they failed to score a point during the second half of that fixture and will need a far more rounded showing against a bang in-form Blues outfit.

Verdict: Brumbies (+7.5)

I expect a very close game here. The Brumbies have not been at their best this term but they should give the ‘Canes a real run for their money out in Canberra.

Chiefs v Rebels

Sunday 6 June
Leichhardt Oval
05:35

To Win (80 Mins)

Chiefs 1/12
Draw 40/1
Rebels 6/1

Handicap

Chiefs (-18.5) 9/10
Rebels (+18.5) 9/10

The Chiefs and Rebels will clash in the final game of the weekend. There’s still a lot of discussion as to where this game will actually take place as COVID restrictions in Victoria, Australia may mean the Rebels and Highlanders cannot fly to New Zealand for the fixture. The most recent news doing the rounds is that this game could be played in Sydney.

This game doesn’t have much riding on it as the Chiefs dramatic loss to the Reds last weekend means they’d need a miracle to get them back into contention for a finals berth. Nevertheless, you can expect the Chiefs to have a solid crack at claiming as many points as possible against a Rebels side that has been woeful, and head into this one off the back of a 42-27 defeat to the Highlanders.

Verdict: Chiefs (-27.5) 9/10

While the Rebels finally managed to score a few tries last weekend, I reckon they will not be able to keep up with a Chiefs side that scores five-pointers for dun.

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