The Chiefs host the Bulls in Round 5 of Super Rugby in Hamilton on Friday and the visitors have been allocated a hefty start on the handicap.
Chiefs v Bulls, Friday 16th March, Hamilton, KO 08:35 (South African time)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
Weather Forecast – Hamilton
The Chiefs have played 2 matches so far, both were New Zealand derby’s and after losing 45-25 to the Crusaders (scored 2 tries, conceded 7), they opened their account with a 27-21 win over the Blues in Auckland in Round 3. That victory over the Blues was full of merit, especially as the Chiefs were hit by late injury withdrawals which saw them start as underdogs. They scored 4 tries to the Blues 3 and after a bye in Round 4 they now play at home to the first time this season. The Chiefs are currently bottom of the New Zealand Conference, 10 points off the pace but they do have games in hand on 3 of the other 4 franchises.
Since 2011 the Chiefs have won 13 of 14 at home to South African opposition with the Lions win in Hamilton in 2016 bucking the trend.
This is the second match on tour for the Bulls who lost 20-14 to the Reds in Brisbane last week. The Bulls were slight underdogs for that game and they led 14-10 at the break but the Reds dominated much of the second half in a game of 4 tries, 2 for each side.
After starting their campaign with a surprise home win over the Hurricanes the Bulls have slipped to third in the South African Conference standings, 10 points behind the Lions who have played a game more.
The Bulls have won just 1 of their last 12 in New Zealand, that victory coming against the Blues in Auckland back in 2013. Last season’s visit to NZ saw them lose 28-12 to the Chiefs and 38-14 to the Blues.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Tiaan Falcon, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Declan O'Donnell
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Jason Jenkins/Tim Agaba, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2017 Waikato Chiefs 28-12 Bulls (Tries 3-0)
2015 Rotorua Chiefs 34-20 Bulls (Tries 5-3)
2014 Pretoria Bulls 34-34 Chiefs (Tries 3-5)
2012 Hamilton Chiefs 28-22 Bulls (Tries 3-1)
2011 Pretoria Bulls 43-27 Chiefs (Tries 4-3)
2010 Hamilton Chiefs 19-33 Bulls (Tries 1-4)
Chiefs -18.5 points 9/10 widely available
Bulls +18.5 points 9/10 widely available
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change.
The Bulls were very disappointing last week and they now face a tougher test but with their coach returning to his old stomping ground and encouragement from having beaten one New Zealand side this season, I give them a shout on the handicap here.
They will need to step up significantly on their display in Brisbane so the stake is conservative ahead of more appealing betting opportunities to come later on the Round 5 coupon.
Bet. 2.5 units Bulls +18.5 points 9/10 widely available
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