Planet Rugby

Predictions: Super Rugby, Round 3

28th February 2013 14:57

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Backing the Blues: Place your bets!

It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. Today, get set for some Super Rugby.

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

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Blues vs Crusaders

Crusaders have won eight of the last 10 clashes by an average score of 30-19. In the ITM Cup, Auckland have lost seven of their last eight matches with Canterbury, including last season's final. The Blues have also lost 10 of their last 12 conference games and it was only six games ago that they were humbled 59-12 by this opposition. Despite those stats, I'm backing the 'new and improved' Blues with +5 points. They've won their last three games, which is their best stretch of form since the middle of the 2011 season. At home, they've won 6/11 games between the sides by an average score of 22-21 and Crusaders have won just 2/8 first round away games, (with the most recent being that single point victory over Blues in 2012). Giving the hosts +5 would have covered in 7/8 games in Auckland against the Crusaders. An interesting trend is that the first half was highest scoring in nine of the last 10 matches where the Crusaders faced a conference rival away and in 7/10 games when Blues have met a NZ rival at home. Matt Todd has scored two tries in the last three and Corey Flynn five in the last eight against this opposition. They are available at 7.0 and 9.0 to score anytime while Charles Piutau at 3.5 suits for the Blues.

Waratahs vs Rebels

The 'Tahs have lost their previous nine games, with their last win coming against the Rebels. You have to head further back, 16 rounds, for when they last covered a -10 handicap and that again was a match against the Melbourne side. They have in fact won all four clashes against this opposition, leading at half-time every time and the bookies probably have that handicap amount about right. The Rebels have lost 14/16 away games and in the opening rounds this season have been forced to make over 280 tackles. They've also missed their fair share, with Kurtley Beale already up to 10. You would expect plenty of traffic heading towards his well-publicised injured left shoulder. Australian conference games do tend to be low scoring, however nine of the last 10 'Tahs home games and 32/34 of Rebels matches (14/16 away) have seen more than the 40.5 points line. Both meetings last season featured more than 50 points and I will be backing 'overs' in this one. There have been eight cards shown in the last seven Rebels contests against Australian opponents and three in their four games with the 'Tahs. There have also been four cards shown in their two games thus far, so backing a sin-bin may appeal. Polatau-Nau has collected three tries in four games against this opposition and is available at 5.5 to score anytime while team-mate Bernard Foley scored two in two last season (albeit from full-back) and is priced at 5.5.

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Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
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Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Crusaders1651
3Sharks1650
4Brumbies1645
5Chiefs1644
6Highlanders1642
7Hurricanes1641
8Western Force1640
9Bulls1638
10Blues1637
11Stormers1632
12Lions1631
13Reds1628
14Cheetahs1624
15Melbourne Rebels1621
Australian Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621
New Zealand Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637
South African Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Sharks1650
2Bulls1638
3Stormers1632
4Lions1631
5Cheetahs1624