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Super Rugby round-13 preview panel

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/05/2017

PREVIEW OF SUPER RUGBY ROUND-13 MATCHES (all times AEST):

FRIDAY, May 19 Chiefs v Crusaders at ANZ National Stadium, Suva, 5.35pm Head to Head: Played 29 Chiefs 13 Crusaders 16 In Suva: Played 1 Chiefs 1 Crusaders 0 Last clash: Round 15, 2016 - Chiefs 23 bt Crusaders 13 at ANZ National Stadium Tab Sportsbet: Chiefs $2.15 Crusaders $1.70 Draw $26.00 Tip: Crusaders by 12 points

SATURDAY, May 20 Stormers v Blues at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town, 3.00am Head to Head: Played 17 Stormers 8 Blues 9 In Cape Town: Played 8 Stormers 4 Blues 4 Last clash: Round 2, 2015 - Stormers 27 bt Blues 16 at Newlands Rugby Stadium Tab Sportsbet: Stormers $1.85 Blues $1.95 Draw $26.00 Tip: Stormers by 10 points

Hurricanes v Cheetahs at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 5.35pm Head to Head: Played 9 Hurricanes 6 Cheetahs 3 In Wellington: Played 3 Hurricanes 2 Cheetahs 1 Last clash: Round 5, 2014 - Hurricanes 60 bt Cheetahs 27 at Westpac Stadium Tab Sportsbet: Hurricanes $1.03 Cheetahs $12.00 Draw $81.00 Tip: Hurricanes by 20 points

Force v Highlanders at nib Stadium, Perth, 7.45pm Head to Head: Played 10 Force 6 Highlanders 4 In Perth: Played 4 Force 2 Highlanders 2 Last clash: Round 6, 2016 - Highlanders 32 bt Force 20 at Forsyth Barr Stadium Things are starting to look up for the Force. The Super Rugby executioner seems to be distracted in Victoria while they're coming off a win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, the first time an Australian franchise has won in South America. Matt Hodgson, winger Luke Morahan and Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polata-Nau are all set to return from injury this week as well. The Highlanders are resting All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith but will still present a strong challenge and, like all Kiwi teams taking on Aussies this season, they're strong favourites for a reason.

Tab Sportsbet: Force $4.55 Highlanders $1.20 Draw $34.00

Tip: Highlanders by 14 points

Sunwolves v Sharks at Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, 9.55pm Head to Head: Played 1 Sunwolves 0 Sharks 1 In Kallang: N/A Last clash: Round 17, 2016 - Sharks 40 bt Sunwolves 29 at Kings Park Stadium Tab Sportsbet: Sunwolves $4.70 Sharks $1.19 Draw $41.00 Tip: Sharks by 15 points

SUNDAY, May 21 Lions v Bulls at Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg, 1.15am Head to Head: Played 22 Lions 8 Bulls 14 In Johannesburg: Played 9 Lions 4 Bulls 5 Last clash: Round 14, 2016 - Lions 56 bt Bulls 20 at Loftus Versfeld Tab Sportsbet: Lions $1.16 Bulls $5.25 Draw $41.00 Tip: Lions by 7 points

Kings v Brumbies at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 3.30am Head to Head: Played 1 Kings 0 Brumbies 0 drawn 1 In Port Elizabeth: N/A Last clash: Round 8, 2013 - Brumbies 28 drew Kings 28 at GIO Stadium The Brumbies have never beaten the Kings, who were once considered the competition's easybeats but have delivered a series of shocks throughout the competition this year and could have another one in store here. The Reds, Waratahs and Force will be willing them to do so because if Stephen Larkham's men can't win in Port Elizabeth, the Australian conference will be blown wide open. They've lost their past four matches and their attack has been malfunctioning badly, with the Brumbies having not scored a try for 210 minutes of rugby, so there's absolutely no guarantees. Tab Sportsbet: Kings $2.60 Brumbies $1.50 Draw $31.00 Tip: Brumbies by 12 points

NSW Waratahs v Rebels at Allianz Stadium, Sydney 4.05pm Head to Head: Played 12 Waratahs 10 Rebels 2 In Sydney: Played 6 Waratahs 5 Rebels 1 Last clash: N/A It's been an awful week for the Melbourne Rebels, who have suddenly emerged as the new frontrunner in the race nobody wants to win - the Australian Super Rugby side most likely to be closed down at the end of the season. Assistant coach Morgan Turinui painted a picture of a club in utter despair with his emotional outburst at the start of the week and it will be intriguing to see just how the team itself responds on the paddock in Sydney. But with the Waratahs fresh from a week off and needing to win to keep their finals hopes alive, it's hard to imagine the crisis will trigger a sudden transformation for the Rebels, who have played largely diabolical rugby this year. Tab Sportsbet: Waratahs $1.19 Rebels $4.70 Draw $34.00 Tip: Waratahs by 15 points

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