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Super Rugby preview panel for round four

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017

PREVIEW OF SUPER RUGBY ROUND FOUR (all times AEDT):

FRIDAY, March 17

CRUSADERS v BLUES at AMI Stadium Christchurch, 17:35

Head to head: Played 29, Crusaders 18, Blues 11

Crusaders at home: Played 14, Crusaders 11, Blues 3

Last clash: Round 14, 2016, Crusaders 26 bt Blues 21 in Auckland

Tab Sportsbet: Crusaders $1.40, Blues $2.95

Tip: Crusaders by 12 points

REBELS v CHIEFS at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 19:45

Head to head: Played 5, Rebels 1, Chiefs 4

Rebels at home: Played 2, Rebels 1, Chiefs 1

Last clash: Round 13, 2016, Chiefs 36 bt Rebels 15 in Hamilton

After leaking 127 points in their opening two games, the Rebels will be desperate to make a statement against one of the title favourites. However with lock Lopeti Timani joining fellow injured Wallabies Sean McMahon and Toby Smith on the sidelines, the going will be tough. Expect the home side to deliver an improved performance but they just aren't in the same class as the unbeaten Kiwi side.

Tab Sportsbet: Rebels $8, Chiefs $1.08

Tip: Chiefs by 18 points

SATURDAY, March 18

BULLS v SUNWOLVES at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 04:00

Head to head: Played 2, Bulls 2, Sunwolves 0

Bulls at home: Played 1, Bulls 1, Sunwolves 0

Last clash: Round 16, 2016, Bulls 50 bt Sunwolves 3 in Pretoria

Tab Sportsbet: Bulls $1.01, Sunwolves $17

Tip: Bulls by 44 points

HURRICANES v HIGHLANDERS at Wellington Stadium, Wellington, 17:35

Head to head: Played 28, Hurricanes 15, Highlanders 13

Hurricanes at home: Played 14, Hurricanes 8, Highlanders 6

Last clash: Round 14, 2016, Hurricanes 27 bt Highlanders 20 in Wellington

Tab Sportsbet: Hurricanes $1.35, Highlanders $3.20

Tip: Hurricanes by 7 points

WARATAHS v BRUMBIES at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 19:45

Head to head: Played 29, Waratahs 16, Brumbies 13

Waratahs at home: Played 16, Waratahs 13, Brumbies 3

Last clash: Round 8, 2016, Brumbies 26 bt Waratahs 20 in Sydney

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson is giving Bernard Foley until game day to prove he's overcome post-concussion symptoms that have sidelined the Wallabies' five-eighth from the opening three rounds. Either way, the Tahs are pumped to mark the 100-game milestones for star trio Nick Phipps, Michael Hooper and Sekope Kepu in style after a fruitless two-game tour of South Africa. The Brumbies welcome back Wallabies forwards Scott Fardy and Ben Alexander for the conference crunch match.

Tab Sportsbet: Waratahs $1.53, Brumbies $2.50

Tip: Waratahs by 6 points

SUNDAY, March 19

LIONS v REDS at Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg, 02:15

Head to head: Played 17, Lions 5, Reds 11, drawn 1

Lions at home: Played 9, Lions 2, Reds 6, drawn 1

Last clash: Round 7, 2015, Lions 18 bt Reds 17 in Brisbane

The Reds were on the cusp of what would have been a statement victory over the Crusaders last weekend but let it slip with a post-siren penalty, proving sometimes it takes more than 80 minutes to put away a high-level opponent. It'll be much the same against last year's runners-up, the Lions, who ruthlessly dispatched the Waratahs, who were the last Australian opponents they faced at altitude two weeks ago.

Tab Sportsbet: Lions $1.25, Reds $3.95

Tip: Lions

SHARKS v KINGS at Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban, 04:30

Head to head: Played 4, Sharks 4, Kings 0

Sharks at home: Played 2, Sharks 2, Kings 0

Last clash: Round 13, 2016, Sharks 53 bt Kings 0 in Durban

Tab Sportsbet: Sharks $1.01, Kings $17

Tip: Sharks by 35 points

JAGUARES v CHEETAHS at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, 06:40

Head to head: Played 1, Jaguares 1, Cheetahs 0

Jaguares at home: never played

Last clash: Round 1, 2016, Jaguares 34 bt Cheetahs 33 in Bloemfontein

Tab Sportsbet: Jaguares $1.33, Cheetahs $3.35

Tip: Jaguares by 10 points

BYE: Force, Stormers

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