It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.
The final round of the Premiership and PRO12 joins Top 14 and Super Rugby action on the schedule this week.
And we are, as always, using Paddy Power for our bets on the rugby. Let’s have a look at what is out there.
This big game of the Super Rugby weekend comes from Hamilton where the leaders face the reigning champions. The Chiefs are 4/9 favourites with the Highlanders priced at 17/10 to get the job done. Alternatively the handicap is set at 6 points which we’ll leave alone this week.
With the Highlanders missing a few of their starting pack and the Chiefs welcoming back a couple of star names then it points to a win for the home side by 1-10 points which will be built up front. That’s 9/4 while we also quite like the half-time/full-time bet which is 10/11.
There will be plenty of star quality in the backlines on Saturday and in Damian McKenzie, James Lowe, Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo, surely tries are coming. Let’s back McKenzie to get the game’s first try (11/1) with Naholo as an anytime bet (13/8) in what is an intriguing derby.
The Sharks return home after a decent tour that saw them win one and lose two games narrowly in New Zealand. That will have given them a lot of confidence ahead of facing the Hurricanes, who dominated the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend. The visitors are 8/13 favourites.
It will be interesting to see if the ‘Canes can back up that showing this week and one feels the Sharks will defend much better than the Lions, leading to us backing the Hurricanes to win by 1-12 points (13/8) but also going for Sharks half-time/Highlanders full-time (5/1).
Julian Savea was back in scoring form in Jo’burg so let’s get on him to cross anytime (Evens) and also scrum-half TJ Perenara, who is (2/1).
Other Super Rugby predictions:
Sunwolves v Force: Force by 5
Waratahs v Cheetahs: Waratahs by 12
Kings v Blues: Blues by 22
There’s plenty at stake in this clash as Quins need to win to secure their Champions Cup berth although they can also achieve that feat if they win the Challenge Cup next week.
Meanwhile, Exeter need a victory to secure a home semi-final as their closest rivals on the table, Wasps, are expected to secure a big win at the Ricoh Arena against already relegated London Irish.
Harlequins are 5/6 to win this encounter while Exeter are evens but we’re backing the homeside to win by between 1-5 points. Nick Evans is worth a bet to score a try during the 80 minutes at 5/1, while Phill Dollman looks a handy option at 6/1 to score’s his team’s first five-pointer.
Other Premiership predictions:
Bath v Leicester: Leicester by 6
Gloucester v Northampton: Northampton by 4
Newcastle v Sale: Sale by 8
Wasps v London Irish: Wasps by 20
Worcester v Saracens: Saracens by 12
What a late run this has been from the Warriors as they sit top of the PRO12 standings by three points with one match to go. Glasgow were eighth in the table in February so this is a remarkable achievement, as has been Connacht’s this season, who are just behind the Warriors.
Even with a win, Connacht might not finish top of the pile though as many expect Leinster to get a bonus-point victory at home to Treviso so it’s a three-horse race to end up on top of the pile. As for the game itself, Connacht are 5/4 with Paddy Power while Glasgow are 4/6.
The return of Bundee Aki is a massive boost for Connacht but with the Scots on such a fine run we think they will win this by 1-5 points at the Sportsground. That would likely mean Connacht travel to Leinster in the semi-finals, with Glasgow hosting either Ulster or Scarlets.
Other PRO12 predictions:
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues: Edinburgh by 5
Leinster v Treviso: Leinster by 20
Munster v Scarlets: Munster by 7
Ospreys v Ulster: Ulster by 6
Zebre v Dragons: Dragons by 3