Super Rugby Final , Hamilton, Saturday 835 am GMT, 4th August
Super rugby final. Well, after an interesting weekend we approach a final that not many would have predicted. We came out on top at the weekend with a nice win on the Chiefs Handicap, and the 1-12 Chiefs winning margin (read more here). This despite the Stormers letting us down in the second super rugby semi-final, scuppering the 1-12 double that we also had riding from the Chiefs game.
The Chiefs come into this after a good win against the Crusaders, and one that earned us a nice profit. It may have been a jittery finish, but they deserved the victory, and the bookmakers make them 4 to 6 point favourites for the final at home against the Sharks. They play a Sharks side that overcame the odds to comfortably put away both the Stormers and Reds away from home.
The Sharks, as mentioned, have defied everyone’s super rugby expectations so far. They had a brilliant win against an albeit lacklustre Reds team, and then came out and demolished a Stormers side that hardly looked interested when they went behind. We’ve been questioning the abilities and prospects of the Stormers for most of the Super rugby league run in, and they disappointed their fans yet again here. In retrospect, we should have stuck to our guns and backed the misgivings we had been voicing about the Stormers for over a month now, but we didn’t. We looked at the home advantage, and we looked at the possible fatigue factor of the Sharks, and we let conventional noise-trader thinking get the better of us. There’s a lesson to be learned here- when a team is playing rubbish rugby, and barely scraping uber-defensive wins against teams they should be hammering (based on table position), the hunger probably isn’t there for a semi-final win against any team with momentum (i.e. the Sharks). Lesson learned.
So on to this Super rugby final weekend. As you probably read a few weeks back, we had a big bet on the Chiefs when the final six teams for the super rugby playoffs were decided. We saw the price available as far too big given the narrow Chiefs losses in the run-in, the Stormers’ deceptive form meaning a real chance of a Chiefs home final, and the one less game the Chiefs would have had to play. (You can read more about that Super Rugby preview here). Suffice to say, we’ve got a smug grin on our face and we’re really looking forward to the game this weekend. We’ve asked ourselves whether we should get involved further on the Chiefs, considering we’ve already got a bet on them on the outright. We’ve asked ourselves if conventional thinking is getting the better of us again in questioning the fatigue factor of the Sharks (a trip to Brisbane, and a trip to Cape Town 2 weeks running, followed now by a trip to Hamilton New Zealand). And we don’t think we’re being greedy when we say the -4 available with Sportingbet (-6 everywhere else), is worth a bet. It’s not just the possible fatigue factor though for the Sharks; the Chiefs are the better side, finished top of the table, and are at home with a team of proven world class, ability and motivation.
Super Rugby Pick 1
Chiefs -4 10/11 sportingbet (-6 elsewhere, and the -4 won’t last long at sportingbet). The Chiefs are at home and will score tries, unlike the Stormers. The Sharks quite simply have to be at the end of their energy reserves for this one. You’d expect a bright start, but after beating the knock-out kings the Crusaders at home in the Semi, you just can’t see the Chiefs letting this opportunity slip past them. I wouldn’t expect them to run away with it, but they should get out beyond 2 scores before the endgame.
Super Rugby final Pick 2
Chiefs 1-12 winning margin, (Biggest 13/8 in Ladbrokes). It’s a final, the one game of the year where each team will give their all no matter what. The chiefs won’t have the energy or need to be scoring multitudes of tries, and the gameplan will be to get ahead, and stay ahead. This is also a decent hedge just in case a very late consolation score for the Sharks costs us the -4 above.
Super Rugby final pick 3
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger this weekend with more risk, you could make a decent argument for the Halftime/fulltime markets both ways this weekend.
Sharks/Chiefs is best price 6/1 in paddypower and ladbrokes. The Sharks have started most of their games lately with a flourish, and just like their last two games, they’ll try to get ahead early and then weather the storm defensively in the second half. Once again, they’ll know that if the Chiefs get ahead at home, it’ll be a difficult task to come back and win.
On the flip side, (and another decent hedge to our main bets), you can get the Chiefs/Sharks ht/ft at 9/1 in paddypower and ladbrokes. 9/1 is quite big for this. Despite what i’ve said above, the Chiefs might get nervous, and fatigue may not matter if the Sharks are within a score in the run-in. If super rugby has taught us anything this year, it’s to expect the unexpected.
**Friday update** As predicted, the Sportingbet -4 disappeared midweek, but it’s still available in stanjames, where every one else is at -6. One or two have -5, and there’s even -7 about. We can’t see the -4 in stanjames lasting to kickoff.
Just to note, dropkickrugby.com have managed to get our users a 100 pound/euro free bet from Paddypower, where before it was only a free 50 if you signed up directly or through the links we provide here. You can get it by clicking on the free rugby bets table front page, or any of the links here. It’s an added bit of value for you anyway, if you haven’t signed up with them already. Good luck at the weekend!