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Highlanders

Highlanders

Super Rugby predictions

21st March 2013 18:00

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Crusaders captain Kieran Read R leads his team onto the field

Crusaders at home? Yes, please!

It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. We start with some Super Rugby.

Remember you can contact Russ with all your comments and questions on Twitter - @rpetty80.

Look out for the Premiership predictions on Friday once all the team line-ups have been released.

Click here to compare odds on Rugby Union with Oddschecker.com!

Chiefs vs Highlanders

The Chiefs have managed at least 34 points in every match so far and have outscored opponents in the second half each contest, a useful skill considering they've maintained their strong starts from last season too(Stormers match aside).

They've won 12/15 games against the Highlanders by an average score of 28-21 and five of the last six at home by 25-16.

They may be without skipper Clarke, but I am expecting Dave Rennie to once again set up a scheme to frustrate his former Turbos scrum-half Aaron Smith at the breakdown and have taken the 1-12 winning margin at 2.75.

The last time the visitors lost their opening four rounds was 2008 and carrying on from last season, they've now lost six in a row. The trademark abrasiveness at the contact area seems to be lacking this year and the average age of the squad is rocketing up.

If you do think they can turn it around, there's value to be had in backing either of their favourites traits, with a 1-5 margin win (7/9 victories been by that margin) available at 10.0 and to come back from a halftime deficit, a big 13.0.

Looking at try scorers - Poki at 3.5 and Horrell at 3.75 are tempting.

Crusaders vs Kings

Going back over the last few seasons, Crusaders have won 23/26 home games against all opposition, by an average score of 33-16 and 39/43 games (31 in a row) against South African teams by a rate of 36-19.

Bar that one-point loss to the Hurricanes, they've won by at least 14 points in their last six home games. After this round, they have three away matches and will be without Carter, so having got the season back on track last week, picking up maximum points is surely going to be the cards against the Kings.

The visitors have trailed at halftime in all three matches while the Crusaders have led at the break in their last 10 home games against South African teams by an average of 11 points and in 8/10 home games against all sides, also by a rate of 11 points.

Am therefore very happy to back the hosts -12 on the halftime handicap. The Kings are away for the first time, have a distraction of this 'foreign' player issue, are without Watson and Nell and Cheeky is quoting Winston Churchill!

The -27 handicap for the Crusaders is going to be very popular and whilst not a top price, I am also on Read anytime scorer at 3.5

  • Highlanders Fixtures
  • Table
New Zealand Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637