The first action in Round 14 of Super Rugby sees the Hurricanes host the Reds in Wellington on Friday and not surprisingly the handicap is a big number.
Hurricanes v Reds, Friday 18th May, Wellington, KO 09:35 (South African time)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
The Canes came away from Auckland with a 36-15 bonus point win over the Blues last week to make it 9 wins in a row. They now take aim at Australian opposition for only the second time this season and in Round 7 they demolished the Rebels 50-19 in Melbourne.
A bonus point win will be the order of the day here but the Canes have only achieved that feat in 1 of 6 earlier home fixtures, a 43-15 beating of the Sunwolves in Round 11.
The Canes remain in second spot in the NZ Conference, now just a single point behind the Crusaders who take their turn to visit the Blues on Saturday. Looking ahead the Hurricanes and the Saders will clash in Christchurch in Round 15 and in Round 16 the Canes travel to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders, vital matches in terms of the top of the NZ Conference and ultinmately the overall standings.
The Reds became the first team to lose to the Sunwolves this season when they crashed and burned 63-28 in Tokyo last week, scoring 4 tries but conceding 6. They were around 7.5 point favourites in that game and it was a bitterly disappointing showing given they had beaten the Lions in Brisbane in Round 11 before sitting out Round 12.
The only match against NZ opposition this season came in Round 10 when the Reds lost a home fixture 36-12 to the Chiefs whilst their only away win from home in the current campaign came against Jaguares (18-7) in Buenos Aires in Round 5.
Coming into the round the Reds were in third spot in the Australian Conference with 4 wins and 6 defeats against their name and they are 8 points behind the Rebels (who have played a game more) and 9 shy of the Waratahs.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2017 Brisbane Reds 15–34 Hurricanes (Tries 2-5)
2016 Wellington Hurricanes 29–14 Reds (Tires 5-1)
2015 Brisbane Reds 19–35 Hurricanes (Tries 3-4)
2014 Wellington Hurricanes 35–21 Reds (Tries 5-2)
2013 Brisbane Reds 18–12 Hurricanes (Tries 2-0)
2011 Wellington Hurricanes 28–26 Reds (Tries 4-3)
2010 Wellington Hurricanes 44–21 Reds (Tries 6-3)
2009 Brisbane Reds 28–37 Hurricanes (Tries 4-5)
Hurricanes -28.5 points 9/10 WSB
Reds +29.5 points 9/10 BetXchange
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change.
The Canes have reeled off 4 successive bonus point wins against the Reds although the winning margin on each occasion wouldn’t be enough to cover this handicap. Furthermore, their only bonus point win at home this season came against the Sunwolves by a 28 point margin.
That would bring the plus handicap into the equation although on the other side of the coin the Canes did beat the Rebels by a 31 point margin in Melbourne and this visiting Reds side could be reeling from a disastrous performance in Tokyo last week.
As far as the handicap is concerned this doesn’t look like one to be throwing to much of the bank roll at and I’ll put up no more than a nibble at the half time (minus) handicap.
Bet: 2 units, Half time handicap, Canes -14.5 points at 5/6 WSB
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