The Super Hero themed pre-season rugby matches that took place in Cape Town this past weekend showed that there are a number of ways to build public interest but for me though the tried and tested method involves having a bet.
There has been plenty of talk about the fact that the Super Rugby build-up has been low key and I wouldn’t argue with that, but with just over a week to go until kick-off, the bookmakers are starting to come out with some tempting markets. New Zealand teams dominate the betting with the first 4 on the betting boards with the Lions at 17/2 the only other team quoted in single figures.
It is in the Conference betting where I am going to have an early interest. Those who have followed me on Twitter and on the Goodforthegame Forum over the years will know I have a soft spot for the Blues and while they consistently let me down, a recent post on our Forum has got me thinking that this could at last be their year. They are rank outsiders for the Conference at 22/1 and I just can’t resist a nibble at that price although my main bet is going to be that they finish ahead of the Brumbies in the regular season and you can get 12/10 about that outcome.
On to the South African Conference and here the Lions are strong favourites at 5/10, but I wonder if that isn’t a bit too short given they have lost some key players. I was initially eyeing the Sharks for a strong run and they are just under 10/1. Despite losing their match on the weekend I was actually quite impressed by the Bulls and my early interest will be on them to win the South African Conference at 13/2.
One team I think will struggle this season is the Jaguares who have lost key players and may also be asked to rest players for the World Cup. The Sharks are 8/10 to beat them in the regular season and will have a sizeable portion of my pre-season stake on that one.
So if you are still not feeling Super Rugby fever my advice is to go and have a look what the online bookies are offering, have yourself a long term interest and all of a sudden you will be excited for the action to begin.
This article was written for the CitiGaming supplement of the Citizen Newspaper and was published on the 7th of February 2019.