Planet Rugby

This weekend's predictions!

03rd July 2014 15:57

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4/1 first try: Israel Folau

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions from both hemispheres.

The June Tests are over, and for the briefest of periods, players north of the Equator are granted some much-needed respite in this era of relentless rugby.

In the Southern Hemisphere, however, things are seriously hotting up. The Super Rugby playoffs are fast approaching, and there are several teams outside the current top six who can force their way into the knockout stages with one final push, and the right results elsewhere.

"Must-win" games are the order of the day, with the Force welcoming the Reds, the Chiefs tackling the Hurricanes and the Blues going up against the Crusaders in three such match-ups.

Everything is on the line and that makes it an ideal opportunity have a punt on rugby results.

Let's get started.

Super Rugby

Force v Reds: There shouldn't be much in this one: the Reds have little to play for besides pride, but have not beaten the Force in their past four attempts, and will be itching to set the record straight. Similarly, after being mauled 40-14 at home by the Blues on Saturday, the hosts have a point to prove and a chance to squeeze into that crucial top six.

The best handicap deal you can get with Paddy Power is (-2) at on the Force at 10/11, who are narrow favourites. If you're feeling seriously bold, (-5) is also an option at 13/10.

We much prefer the option to back a home win by 1-10 points at 15/8 with Paddy Power. Again, if you're in an ambitious mood, 1-5 more than trebles your stake at 16/5.

We foresee a very tight encounter, with the Force sneaking through by five points!

Superbru Super Rugby predictions:

Lions v Rebels: The Lions will be playing for one of their most reliable stalwarts and have a fly-half who would like to further impress the national selectors. This could become rough for the Rebels, but at 14/1 to win by 11 points they're certainly tempting. Be sensible though and consider a Marnitz Boshoff drop goal as the first score of the game at 10/1. Lions to win it by nine points.

Crusaders v Blues: Nemani Nadolo is in such good form at the moment that his 15/2 odds to be the first try scorer are difficult to ignore. A hat-trick for the Fijian is 25/1. The Crusaders just have to win this one if they want to make the playoffs and fend off the challenge of other sides. Crusaders by five.

Stormers v Bulls: A reflection of just how close this contest could be, each time is 4/1 and 6/1 respectively to win by 8-14 points. The Stormers have shifted winger Sailosi Tagicakibau to outside centre and the Samoan, playing outside Jean de Villiers, is a 9/2 anytime try scorer. However we like the look of Victor Matfield's Bulls, who should win by seven points if not a few more.

Cheetahs v Sharks: South Africa's worst side against the best, this one feels pretty clear cut. The Cheetahs defence is the worst in the competition and the Sharks just don't concede. Sharks by ten points.

Waratahs v Highlanders: Expect tries! Two of Super Rugby's thrilling sides face off in Sydney on Sunday. Israel Folau, the tournament's top try scorer, is 4/1 to score first while Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith on the other side are both 14/1. Waratahs by ten.

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