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PREVIEW: More pain ahead for Aussie franchises in Super Rugby Pacific round 13?

All of the Australian franchises – with the exception of the Drua – were beaten last weekend. Will there be more pain ahead this weekend or can the Aussies salvage a bit of pride in round 13?

Izack Rodda of the Western Force - Super Rugby Pacific

All of the Australian franchises - with the exception of the Drua - were beaten last weekend. Will there be more pain ahead this weekend or can the Aussies salvage a bit of pride in round 13?

Super Rugby Pacific

The inaugural season of Super Rugby Pacific has just three more sets of round-robin games remaining until the tournament reaches its business end.

After last weekend’s results, we pretty much know the make-up of the top eight with only the Highlanders under threat of dropping out.

Friday 20 May

Crusaders 1/100 | Draw 33/1 | Drua 16/1 (09:05)

Handicap
Crusaders (-31.5) 9/10 | Drua (+31.5) 9/10

The Crusaders will be looking to move into second position on the overall standings by getting the full five-point haul and upping their points difference when they take on the Drua, who are solely playing for pride.

Both sides had solid outings last weekend with the Crusaders putting in a professional display during their 26-37 over the Brumbies in Canberra. There were milestones aplenty for the Crusaders with Richie Mo’unga crossing the 1000 point mark in Super Rugby and Sevu Reece becoming the quickest to score 40 Super Rugby tries.

Meanwhile, the Drua racked a 34-19 win over Moana Pasifika which is a massive result as you could tell by the pre-match war cries that there’s a mammoth rivalry building between the duo.

The ‘Saders know they could put themselves in the driver’s seat for home semi-final hosting rights and I reckon they’ll do just this with a big win here. Back the men from Canterbury to beat a pretty big handicap.

Reds 1/12 | Draw 33/1 | Moana Pasifika 7/1 (11:45)

Handicap
Reds (-18.5) 9/10 | Moana Pasifika (+18.5) 9/10

Next up we’ve got a Reds side that really needs to stop the rot taking on another team that is playing for pride in the shape of Moana Pasifika. The hosts head into this one having lost their last four fixtures.

The worst defeat in the aforementioned run came last weekend where they were hammered 53-26 by a rampant Blues outfit. While they are still guaranteed a quarter-final berth regardless of how the next fortnight plays out, they need a win here to have a chance of hosting a quarter-final clash.

Moana Pasifika will come into this one fired up as they were soundly beaten by the Drua last week. This season has been a massive learning curve for the new boys but a win in Queensland would go a long way to ensuring it was a positive debut campaign.

The Reds aren’t firing at the moment and while I reckon they will get the win, Moana Pasifika should remain within a pretty big handicap. 

Saturday 21 May

Chiefs 1/50 | Draw 45/1 | Force 11/1

Handicap
Chiefs (-23.5) 9/10 | Force (+23.5) 9/10

Next up we’ve got a Chiefs outfit who are in the hunt for a home quarter-final taking on a Force side that are still in with a mathematical if not realistic chance of making the play-offs.

The hosts for this one have been pretty scrappy in recent weeks going down to the Brumbies while edging wins against the Reds (25-27) and the Rebels (30-33). Last week’s victory over the Rebels was far from convincing with a very late try from prop Ollie Norris being the difference between the sides.

The Force have been more consistent but not in a good way with the men from Perth losing all of their last six games. They had a total time of it last weekend as well as they were hammered 61-10 by a far from stellar Hurricanes side.

They haven’t exactly set the world alight in recent weeks but I reckon the Chiefs will get their act together and hammer a struggling Force outfit. Get on the minus.

Saturday 21 May

Hurricanes 1/14 | Draw 33/1 | Rebels 7/1 (09:05)

Handicap
Hurricanes (-18.5) 9/10 | Rebels (+18.5) 9/10

The Rebels will be looking to keep their quarter-final hopes alive when they take on a Hurricanes side that could actually sneak an unlikely home semi-final berth.

The visitors put in a great shift last weekend and were desperately unlucky to go down to the Chiefs via a try after the full-time hooter had gone. It was an almost perfect response to their 71-28 drubbing at the hands of the Blues a week prior and they will take a lot of confidence from that narrow defeat.

While the Rebels lost last weekend, the Hurricanes snatched a much-needed win as they beat the Waratahs 18-22. They were second best for most of the game but a late try from Ardie Savea saw the ‘Canes to a win.

The ‘Canes back in Wellington and I reckon they’ll register a big win in front of their home faithful. I’ll be on the minus here. 

Brumbies 22/10 | Draw 22/1 | Blues 7/20 (11:45)

Handicap
Brumbies (+7.5) 9/10 | Blues (-7.5) 9/10

The penultimate game of the weekend should be a cracker with the best New Zealand side thus far taking on the best Australian side. The Blues currently top the overall conference pops and are seven points clear of the second-placed Brumbies.

The two sides suffered contrasting fortunes last weekend with the Blues dishing out a drubbing to the Reds as the men from Auckland ran out 53-26 victors, while the Brumbies went down 26-37 to the Crusaders.

The Brumbies showed a lot of spirit in the second half of their clash with the Crusaders and if they play with the same vigour here then they should be able to keep things tight enough to stay within the handicap. Small play here. 

Sunday 22 May

Highlanders 3/10 | Draw 22/1 | Waratahs 5/2 (05:35)

Handicap
Highlanders (-9.5) 9/10 | Waratahs (+9.5) 9/10

Things come to a close at Forsyth Barr where the Highlanders will be hoping to guarantee themselves a spot in the quarter-finals while the Waratahs will be looking to keep their hopes of a home quarter-final berth alive.

The Waratahs were decent value against the Hurricanes last week and played some smart rugby turning the contest into a scrap. It ultimately wasn’t enough with a late Hurricanes try spoiling things for the New South Wales outfit.

The Highlanders put in their best display of the season as they ran out 61-10 victors over the Force. The win has put them in a commanding position to claim one of the final quarter-final berths.

I reckon we could be in for a tight clash here with a lot on the line for both sides. As such, the plus line seemes to be the sensible bet.

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