Top plays bottom in Round 8 of Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday when the Chiefs take on the Crusaders in Hamilton.
Chiefs v Crusaders, Saturday 1st August, Hamilton, KO 09:05 (South African time)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Richard Kelly
Television match official: Glenn Newman
Weather Forecast – Hamilton
It's been a miserable tournament for the Chiefs who lost 21-17 away to the Blues last week. They did stay within the early handicap which was chalked up at 7.5 points whilst the losing bonus point will be little consolation for the only side without a win this season. Losing bonus points are becoming a habit for the Chiefs who have now lost all 6 of their matches, 5 of them narrowly.
Earlier in the tournament they lost 33-31 at home (33-31) and away (28-27) to the Highlanders, they slipped to 25-18 home defeat to the Hurricanes, lost 24-12 at home to the Blues, and 18-13 to the Crusaders in Christchurch
It was starting to look as though the Crusaders were going to go through the whole tournament unbeaten but last week they came unstuck at home to the rapidly improving Hurricanes. The Saders came into that game with 4 wins from 4 and double digit favourites on the handicap but they lost 34-32, a first home defeat for 4 years which could have been avoided had a late try been converted to force Super Time.
The Saders lead at the top of the log has been cut to 2 points with the Blues in second and the Canes a further point in arrears in third. It's worth noting the Crusaders have a game in hand on their rivals and as far as the betting to win the title is concerned they are still trading as overwhelming favourites at around 1/7.
In earlier results the Crusaders saw off the Blues with a 26-15 home win. they put the Highlanders away with a 40-20 victory in Dunedin, completed an 18-13 home win over the Chiefs in wet conditions and they started their campaign with a 39-25 victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Reuben O’Neill.
Replacements: 16 Samison Taukei’aho, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Quinn Tupaea
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isi Tu'ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga'anuku
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2020 SRA Christchurch Crusaders 18–13 Chiefs (Tries 2-1)
2020 Hamilton Chiefs 25-15 Crusaders (Tries 3-2)
2019 Suva Chiefs 40-27 Crusaders (Tries 6-4)
2019 Christchurch Crusaders 57–28 Chiefs (Tries 9-4)
2018 Hamilton Chiefs 20–34 Crusaders (Tries 3-4 )
2018 Christchurch Crusaders 45–23 Chiefs (Tries 7-2)
2017 Christchurch Crusaders 27–13 Chiefs (Tries 4-1) (semi final)
2017 Suva Chiefs 24-31 Crusaders (Tries 4-3)
2016 Suva Chiefs 23-13 Crusaders (Tries 2-1)
2016 Christchurch Crusaders 21-27 Chiefs (Tries 2-4)
Chiefs +6.5 at 19/20
Crusaders -6.5 at 9/10
Note: Odds quoted are subject to change
I priced this game as Chiefs +7.5 and when the early +9.5 came out I should have grabbed some. I was too slow though and the market has moved to around the 6.5 mark. The confidence of many of the Goodforthegame forum contributors including @HanrickSwart on last nights edition of THE HANDICAP has me leaning towards the Chiefs but rather than a handicap play I am going to drop my stake and go for a win on the board.
The Chiefs looked much improved last week and the Crusaders may be a touch off their game after a home defeat to the Canes.
BET: 2 units Chiefs win at 22/10 at Betway
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