You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Preview of Super Rugby round 2

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/03/2017

Preview of Super Rugby round-two (all times AEDT):

THURSDAY, March 2

Western Force v Queensland at nib Stadium, Perth, 21.30pm

Head to Head: Played 16, Force 7, Reds 8, drawn 1

In Perth : Force 4, Reds 2, drawn 1

Last clash: Round 2, 2016, Force 22 bt Reds 6 in Brisbane

The Western Force's dislike of Justin Bieber has grown to a whole new level this week, with their match scheduled to a Thursday night to accommodate the singer's concert at the venue. The Force were brave in last week's 19-13 loss to the NSW Waratahs, but they ran out of puff in a scoreless second half. The Reds are riding a wave of confidence following their 18-16 win over the Sharks, and the Force have already set a target on the back of Queensland flyhalf Quade Cooper.

Key: The battle between Force outside centre Curtis Rona and Reds counterpart Samu Kerevi is crucial. Rona held his own last week against Israel Folau, but will be given another stern test against Kerevi.

Tab Sportsbet: Force $2.35, Reds $1.60

Tip: Reds by 2 points

FRIDAY, March 3

Chiefs v Blues at FMG Stadium, Waikato, 17:35

Head to Head: Played 26, Chiefs 16, Blues 10

In Waikato: Chiefs 8, Blues 5

Last clash: Round 7, 2016, Chiefs 29 bt Blues 23 in Hamilton

Tab Sportsbet: Chiefs $1.48, Blues $2.65

Tip: Chiefs by 9 points

SATURDAY, March 4

Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 15:15

Head to Head: Played 5, Hurricanes 4, Rebels 1

In Wellington: Hurricanes 2, Rebels 0

Last clash: Round 8, 2016, Hurricanes 38 bt Rebels 13 in Melbourne

The Hurricanes had an absolute walk in the park in last week's 83-17 mauling of the Sunwolves in Tokyo. And with the Rebels losing 56-18 to the Blues, another shellacking could be on the cards. The Hurricanes have scored 11 tries in their past two matches against the Rebels, and that theme could very well continue in this match.

Key: Defence. If the Rebels can't stop the Hurricanes' awesome attacking power, this match will get ugly.

Tab Sportsbet: Hurricanes $1.02, Rebels $14

Tip: Hurricanes by 28 points

Highlanders v Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 17:35

Head to Head: Played 29, Crusaders 19, Highlanders 10

In Dunedin: Crusaders 8, Highlanders 6

Last clash: Round 12, 2016, Highlanders 34 bt Crusaders 26 in Dunedin

Tab Sportsbet: Crusaders $2.25, Highlanders $1.65

Tip: Highlanders by 3 points

Brumbies v Sharks at GIO Stadium, Canberra, 1945

Head to Head: Played 18, Brumbies 10, Sharks 8

In Canberra: Brumbies 8, Sharks 2

Last clash: Round 13, 2014, Brumbies 16 bt Sharks 9 in Canberra

In a quirk of the Super Rugby fixturing, these two sides haven't played each other since 2014. The Brumbies won that encounter in Canberra, but history will mean little in Saturday's re-match. The Brumbies were brave in last week's 17-13 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch, and they'll need to post a win here to avoid slipping too far behind in the finals race.

Key: The Brumbies have a formidable record over the Sharks in Canberra. If they can make a strong start, it will be hard for the Sharks to recover.

Tab Sportsbet: Brumbies $1.58, Sharks $2.40

Tip: Brumbies by 8 points

Sunwolves v Kings at Singapore National Stadium, 21:55

Head to Head: Played 1, Kings 1, Sunwolves 0

In Singapore: Never played

Last clash: Round 6, 2016, Kings 33 bt Sunwolves 28 in Port Elizabeth

Tab Sportsbet: Sunwolves $2.30 Kings $1.58

Tip: Kings by 18 points

SUNDAY, March 5

Lions v NSW Waratahs at Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg, 12:05

Head to Head: Played 16, Lions 2, Waratahs 14

In Johannesburg: Lions 2, Waratahs 5

Last clash: Round 16, 2015, Lions 27 bt Waratahs 22 in Johannesburg

The Waratahs were lucky to come away with a win last week against the Force, and their mettle will be tested against the Lions. The Waratahs hold a dominant head-to-head record, but the Johannesburg-based franchise are now a team to be feared after finishing runner-up last year.

Key: Nailing penalties. Winning in South Africa is tough, so the Waratahs will be hoping Reece Robinson's boot is still hot. Robinson nailed four of his five penalties last week against the Force, as well as a try conversion.

Tab Sportsbet: Lions $1.42, Waratahs $2.90

Tip: Lions by 12 points

Stormers v Jaguares at DHL Newlands, Cape Town, 02:15

Head to Head: Played 1, Stormers 1, Jaguares 0

In Cape Town: Never played

Last clash: Round 5, 2016, Stormers 13 bt Jaguares 8 in Buenos Aires

Tab Sportsbet: Stormers $1.28, Jaguares $3.65

Tip: Stormers by 8 points

Cheetahs v Bulls at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, 04:30

Head to Head: Played 17, Bulls 15, Cheetahs 2

In Bloemfontein: Cheetahs 1, Bulls 8

Last clash: Round 17, 2016, Bulls 43 bt Cheetahs 17 in Bloemfontein

Tab Sportsbet: Cheetahs $2.15, Bulls $1.70

Tip: Bulls by 12 points

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon