Planet Rugby

This weekend's predictions!

28th March 2014 07:36

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Pro12: Derby day in Ireland

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

The playoffs are fast approaching for Europe's top teams, and the race to qualify for next year's new-look replacement for the Heineken Cup is well and truly on.

There are mouth-watering fixtures in the PRO12 - Glasgow welcome the Ospreys on Friday, and there is the small matter of a Leinster-Munster derby a day later - and Premiership, where Northampton Saints go head-to-head with bitter rivals Leicester Tigers.

Meanwhile, Super Rugby gathers pace as teams look to keep up the momentum or find some much-needed form.

For the average punter, this spree of top fixtures means a host of opportunities to splash some cash; Paddy Power have got you covered.

Let's get started.

PRO12:

Leinster v Munster: What a game. What a prospect. The first thing to tell you about here is Paddy Power's offer to refund all losing try-scorer bets if Brian O'Driscoll touches down. One for the romantics, perhaps, but you wouldn't bet against BOD stealing the show. A sold-out Aviva Stadium should give the hosts the upper hand against their rivals, with just two points separating them in first and second spot in the league. A Leinster win by 1-5 points quadruples your stake, or if you want to play a bit safer, lay on Leinster by 1-10 at 6/4. Watch out for two Irish wingers who played no part in the victorious Six Nations campaign: Luke Fitzgerald and the visitors' Simon Zebo are great bets to touch down first at 9/1 and 11/1 respectively; back-row Jordi Murphy (16/1) is a more left-field option. We reckon the Dubliners will have the edge on Saturday, and take full advantage to record a five point victory.

Other SuperBru Pro12 predictions:

Glasgow v Ospreys: Glasgow by 7
Zebre v Dragons: Dragons by 4
Treviso v Edinburgh: Edinburgh by 5
Cardiff v Ulster: Ulster by 10
Scarlets v Connacht: Scarlets by 9

Premiership:

Bath v Sale Sharks: The hosts are desperate to bag a place in the Premiership semi-finals, and they currently sit best of the rest in third place behind the runaway duo of Saracens and Northampton Saints. That position is under threat from the Tigers, level on points with Bath, and the Sharks themselves, enjoying a remarkable turnaround from the doldrums of last season. That said, the Mancunians shouldn't leave the Rec with more than a losing bonus point, and even that seems unlikely: Paddy Power's -9 handicap for the hosts is a good bet at 10/11, and a Bath win by 6-10 is the most enticing of the winning margins, paying out at 10/3. The in-form Anthony Watson is the pick of the first try-scorer options (13/2), and we expect his side to triumph by about ten points.

Other SuperBru Premiership predictions:

Harlequins v London Irish: Quins by 9
Wasps v Saracens: Sarries by 7
Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester: Gloucester by 3
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers: Saints by 4
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors: Falcons by 5

Super Rugby:

Following wins for the Hurricanes and Rebels on Friday, the action continues on Saturday with four matches scheduled. The Blues host the Highlanders, the Reds tackle the Stormers, and the Bulls play the Chiefs before the weekend wraps up with the Sharks welcoming the Waratahs to Kings Park.

Blues v Highlanders

Those of you who followed our advice last week will have pocketed some cash on the points line of the Blues v Cheetahs game and we are sticking to that formula as we think going above the 53.5 offered is the right way to go. Why? Both sides like to run the ball and with Bryn Hall the home scrum-half due to the absence of Piri Weepu (we wish him a full recovery) and Aaron Smith on the other side, slow ball is no ball in their eyes.

The Blues aren't the best starters to games so the 11/2 on the first scoring play being a Highlanders try also caught the eye ahead of kick-off.

Bulls v Chiefs

Champions rarely lose two games on the bounce, let alone back-to-back champions, so we are expecting something of a backlash from the visitors to Loftus. They were beaten fair and square in Perth last week and as expected changes have been made, which has altered our thinking slightly.

Although head coach Dave Rennie wielded the axe, it does not slip by us the quality he has on his bench for a game on the Highveld after a long journey. Think about it, tired legs are sure to set in and when the Chiefs throw on a bench of Mahonri Schwalger, Jamie Mackintosh, Ben Afeaki, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Gareth Anscombe and Tim Nanai-Williams, we expect a shift in momentum. That is why we quite like the Bulls to be up at half-time and Chiefs to win when full-time arrives at 7/1. If you'd prefer, take the Chiefs just to win the second-half.

Superbru Super Rugby predictions:

Blues vs Highlanders: Highlanders by 3
Reds vs Stormers: Reds by 5
Bulls vs Chiefs: Chiefs by 2
Sharks vs Waratahs: Sharks by 8

Good luck!

  • Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
Friday , September 12
Ulster vs Zebre19:35
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys19:35
Edinburgh vs Connacht19:35
Benetton Treviso vs Munster20:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Guinness PRO12 Table
Guinness PRO12 Table
PosTeamPPts
1Treviso00
2Cardiff Blues00
3Connacht00
4Edinburgh00
5Glasgow Warriors00