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Super Rugby round-14 preview panel

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

PREVIEW OF SUPER RUGBY ROUND 14 MATCHES (all times AEST):

FRIDAY, May 26

Blues v Chiefs at Eden Park, Auckland, 5.35pm

Head to Head: Played 27 Blues 10 Chiefs 17

In Auckland: Played 11 Blues 5 Chiefs 6

Last clash: Round 2, 2017 - Chiefs 41 bt Blues 26 at FMG Stadium, Waikato

Tab Sportsbet: Blues $2.55 Chiefs $1.53 Draw $26.00

Tip: Chiefs by 7 points

Queensland Reds v Western Force at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 7.45pm

Head to Head: Played 17 Reds 8 Force 8 drawn 1

In Brisbane: Played 9 Reds 6 Force 3

Last clash: Round 2, 2017 - Force 26 bt Reds 19 at nib Stadium

With the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs offshore this weekend, the Reds could crank up the pressure on the two teams above them in the Australian conference by beating the Force. Refreshed after a bye, the Reds will look to post back-to-back wins for the first time since round 17, 2014. The Force, three points behind the Reds, beat them earlier this season in Perth, but are coming off a 49-point thrashing, and ongoing uncertainty about their future could be taking its tolll.

Tab Sportsbet: Reds $1.40 Force $3.00 Draw $26.00

Tip: Reds by 12 points

SATURDAY, May 27

Sunwolves v Cheetahs at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, 3.15pm

Head to Head: Played 3 Sunwolves 0 Cheetahs 3

In Tokyo: First meeting

Tab Sportsbet: Sunwolves $2.10 Cheetahs $1.75 Draw $23.00

Tip: Sunwolves by 5 points

Highlanders v NSW Waratahs at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 5.35pm

Head to Head: Played 21 Highlanders 8 Waratahs 13

In Dunedin: Played 9 Highlanders 3 Waratahs 6

Last clash: Round 4, 2016 - Highlanders 30 bt Waratahs 26 at Allianz Stadium

The Waratahs have named an unchanged squad for their trip to Dunedin, where they'll look to become the first Australian team this year to beat a New Zealand franchise. For the sake of their finals hopes, Daryl Gibson's men need to produce the goods. There were positive signs in last week's win over the Melbourne Rebels, but the Highlanders - who are coming off a huge win over the Force in Perth - shape as a much more-formidable opponent in every respect.

Tab Sportsbet: Highlanders $1.11 Waratahs $6.50 Draw $36.00

Tip: Highlanders by 15 points

Rebels v Crusaders at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm

Head to Head: Played 5 Rebels 2 Crusaders 3

In Melbourne: Played 2 Rebels 1 Crusaders 1

Last clash: Round 16, 2016 - Crusaders 85 bt Rebels 26 at Christchurch Stadium

Can the AAMI Park scoreboard tick over to 100 points? This could get that ugly. It's first, who are also unbeaten, versus last, whose injury toll has left them so short they've considered giving an assistant coach a run. Last year, the Crusaders put 85 points on the Rebels, and that's when they had all hands on deck. Melbourne will show their usual heart but it will be a long night.

Tab Sportsbet: Rebels $12.00 Crusaders $1.03 Draw $76.00

Tip: Crusaders by 50 points

Bulls v Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 11.05pm

Head to Head: Played 17 Bulls 8 Hurricanes 9

In Pretoria: Played 9 Bulls 4 Hurricanes 5

Last clash: Round 2, 2015 - Hurricanes 17 bt Bulls 13 at Loftus Versfeld

Tab Sportsbet: Bulls $7.00 Hurricanes $1.10 Draw $36.00

Tip: Hurricanes by 9 points

SUNDAY, May 28

Sharks v Stormers at Kings Park Stadium, Durban, 1.15am

Head to Head: Played 25 Sharks 13 Stormers 12

In Durban: Played 12 Sharks 7 Stormers 5

Last clash: Round 3, 2016 - Sharks 18 bt Stormers 13 at Newlands Rugby Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Sharks $1.70 Stormers $2.15 Draw $23.00

Tip: Sharks by 3 points

Jaguares v Brumbies at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, 7.40am

Head to Head: First meeting

The Brumbies can go a long way towards sealing an automatic finals berth if they can do as the Western Force did earlier this month and muzzle the Jaguares on their own home turf. Their tour guide for the team's first trip to Argentina is injured halfback Tomas Cubelli, who is helping break down the language barrier in his home country. The Brumbies are coming off their first win of the year against an overseas opponent, last week's 19-10 triumph over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.

Tab Sportsbet: Jaguares $1.57 Brumbies $2.40 Draw $21.00

Tip: Brumbies by 5 points

Lions v Kings at Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg, 10.30pm

Head to Head: Played 3 Lions 3 Kings 0

In Johannesburg: Played 1 Lions 1 Kings 0

Last clash: Round 5, 2017 - Lions 42 bt Kings 19 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Lions $1.04 Kings $11.00 Draw $56.00

Tip: Lions by 35 points

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