It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's weekend predictions for the scheduled action.
It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's weekend predictions.
Again just two Super Rugby games this Saturday but they don't come much bigger than at semi-final time, with the Waratahs and Crusaders tackling the Brumbies and Sharks respectively.
Both home teams in Sydney and Christchurch start as favourites with the bookmakers for what should be tight games, but there is always a way to find excellent rugby betting value as we now attempt to do. Read on to see our selections.
Crusaders v Sharks
The Sharks will be pleased to face something less Highlander-like in this semi. After being tested by some box office backline play last week the outfit from Durban will take on a more forward-oriented Crusaders side, as Jake White looks to make successive personal finals.
We don't expect a high-scoring affair so the under 43.5 point margin might be worth a punt. However, we just feel the travel and also their efforts last week might have taken a lot out of the Sharks and if the Crusaders play to their potential, an 11-20 point win at 10-3 is solid.
Yes we believe the Crusaders could pull away after an early tussle up front, but value is also found on the Sharks leading by 1-7 at half-time up at 7/2 with Paddy Power. These two bets cover both bases.
Waratahs v Brumbies
Paddy Power are offering money back on try-scoring bets if the first five-pointer is claimed by a forward. That means there is little point backing those wearing one to eight, particularly as five of the top ten scorers in 2014 are backs from these teams.
Because of that and us backing the 'Tahs to come out firing at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, we think backing both Israel Folau at 13/2 and Alofa Alofa at 10/1 for first try is a good shout.
We also believe the Waratahs will have too much in the tank against their Australian rivals, but just to be safe the 13/10 price on either team to win by less than 7 points is a safe punt.
New Zealand are a short 8/11 to win a fifth straight Games title, with South Africa, England and Australia deemed their closest rivals for the Gold. The kiwis do have the strongest squad on paper but there's little value backing them, with a 7/4 South Africa a good bet seeing as they have added Warren Whiteley and Cornal Hendricks to a crop of Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok and Seabelo Senatla's class.
A good outside bet would be Kenya who, under the tutelage of Paul Treu, should progress from the pool and at a huge 50/1, are worth a small play if they recapture their best form.
Superbru Super Rugby predictions
Crusaders v Sharks: Crusaders by 12
Waratahs v Brumbies: Waratahs by 6